Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Vinterriket- Der Letze Winter
I love to dance to music before going to work to get me in an energetic mood. This morning I was listening to Der Letze Winter, an album by German one-man Black Metal band, Vinterriket.
This album might be better described as 'Mountain Metal' rather than Black Metal, as it is inspired by winter mountain landscapes. It is hardly surpising that a German would make an album like this; in the 19th century, Caspar David Friedrich and other German landscape painters graced the world with some of most incredible mountain landscapes; presenting an incredible portrait of man overwhelmed by the immensity of the natural world.
Musically, Der Letze Winter is pretty minimalistic. All the songs largely sound the same. But it still drives me crazy. The influence of Burzum's Filosofem on the album is unmistakeable. Ambient syntheziser soundscapes are juxtaposed with fuzzy guitars and electronically distorted vocals to a backdrop of samples of snowstorms.
The sense of a musical landscape is what I love about this kind of Black Metal music. Although I have enjoyed it since I was 18, the time I spent doing missionary work in Japan really cemented my appreciation of it. People often think of Japan as a gleaming urban metropolis; yet they forget that it is also filled with desolate areas of mountains and forests. While I was there I travelled through the mountains in winter; which is quite a scary experience. There is something scary about being surrounded by mountains and vast forests in winter. While I did not take any Black Metal to listen while I was in Japan, I discovered a new appreciation of it when I returned.
One of the aesthetic acheivement of Black Metal is its portrayal of a sense of hostility and chaos embodied in the landscapes of Norway, Sweden or Germany.
Christians often focus on the natural world as a sphere in which the beauty and glory of creation is displayed. This is a biblical concept. Yet the creation is also fallen and arguably in a state of chaos. In recent posts I am arguing that God is not the only force working behind creation. There are other powers at work in shaping the cosmos, namely the thrones, dominions, principalities and powers- the elements of this world.