The Black Metal Paradox
I have heard for a long time that the local scene is divided, everyone seeking for their own benefit and the brotherhood that once existed is no more. Personally, I could not say if that unity remembered from past times existed as it is told. What I can say is that this division is not exclusive to black metal, nor is it limited to El Salvador ("I Am the Black Wizards", Hedge Olsen, 2008, p.4). In recent years, we have seen disputes between producers and between other organizations. Divisions have reached the point where events are scheduled on the same day or very close to each other. The goal seems to be a mutual boycott and not to promote music, forcing some bands to take sides. Choosing one means disqualifying yourself for the other. This may be considered as a matter of loyalty, but promoting this division is not beneficial to anyone. Some bands prefer to organize their own concerts, and tours without agencies in between, to avoid these conflicts.
|Darlament Norvadian at RaganaRock Bar.|
Many blame this whole situation on "wars of egos", some people wanting to gain notoriety for one reason or another, but not precisely for their music. In practice, this ranges from undermining or ridiculing the work of others with malicious intent, up to trying to influence the public so we take sides as well. They do not seem to understand that doing this against someone within the metal movement can affect the entire fragile structure of this subculture we all belong to. I am realistic and I consider that aspiring to see all Salvadoran metalheads united is the image of a benevolent utopia that, in practice, is almost impossible to achieve. Especially when it comes to extreme metal. For me, the reasons are clear: Those of us who share a rotten taste for the most violent forms of metal are rarely sociable beings. This inevitably generates friction and clashes between personalities that can lead to greater problems if not handled well. Black metal is the most transgressive aspect of metal and its followers proudly practice a high degree of individualism and misanthropy. This type of radical behavior is like what has been seen in punk ("Extreme Metal: Music and Culture on the Edge", Kahn-Harris, 2007, p.41-42) in all its variants, from Oi! to RAC, and other alternative movements. This, added to a biased, ego-focused overview, means a slowdown in metal development in the country. I do not expect to see the unity of all metal fans in El Salvador, much less among those who create or follow black metal. The base for a significant development is to grow as individuals, this also applies to collaborative work with people sharing a common goal. I consider this to be the real sense of elitism in black metal, to focus on your own work and not on what others can, or cannot, do. With all the cultural disadvantages limiting art development in this country, it is even more difficult for a subculture that believes in individuality and tends to isolate itself to grow consistently.
|Sulphure at Búho's Bar.|
There is only one way to resolve the contradiction between the individualism proclaimed by black metal and the need for a collective movement where these art expressions can be shared, that is working for a common goal, and if you do not like it let others do it and shut the fuck up.