Black Metal Rainbows
By Daniel Lukes and Stanimir Panayotov
Black metal is a paradox. A noisy underground metal genre brimming with violence and virulence, it has captured the world’s imagination for its harsh yet flamboyant style and infamous history involving arson, blasphemy, and murder. Today black metal is nothing less than a cultural battleground between those who claim it for nationalist and racist ends, and those who say: Nazi black metal fvck off!
Black Metal Rainbows is a radical collection of writers, artists, activists, and visionaries, including Drew Daniel, Kim Kelly, Laina Dawes, Espi Kvlt, Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, Svein Egil Hatlevik, Eugene S. Robinson, Margaret Killjoy, and many more. Across essays and theory-fictions, artworks and comics, we say out loud: Long live black metal’s trve rainbow!
This unique volume envisions black metal as always already open, inclusive, and unlimited: a musical genre whose vital spirit of total antagonism rebels against the forces of political conservatism. Beyond its clichés of grimness, nihilism, reaction, and signature black/white corpse-paint sneer, black metal today is a vibrant and revolutionary paradigm. This book reveals its ludic, carnival worlds animated by spirits of joy and celebration, community and care, queerness and camp, LGBTQI+ identities and antifascist, antiracist, and left-wing politics, not to mention endless aesthetic experimentation and fabulousness. From the crypt to the cloud, Black Metal Rainbows unearths black metal’s sparkling core and illuminates its prismatic spectrum: deep within the black, far beyond grimness, and over a darkly glittering rainbow!
“This is a manifesto as much as a book: A grand declaration of war against those who would confine black metal to crude invocations of masculine, heteronormative nativism. Black Metal Rainbows is an untamed collection of art, memoir, essays, and interviews that explode black metal into an infinity of kaleidoscopic pieces. It celebrates the truly unruly, the revolutionary and the playful, and it refuses to turn its subversive gaze away from black metal itself. A not–so–subtle reproach to those who condemn ‘wokeness’ as a pacification of black metal’s vitality, Black Metal Rainbows demonstrates an awakening to black metal’s true destiny.”
—Keith Kahn–Harris, author of Extreme Metal: Music and Culture on the Edge
“Black metal is a fascinating genre—in part because of its complicated (and bloody) history but also because of the rigorous theory and deep thoughts buzzing around it. If you were to put together a perfect black metal book, one that captures that essential complexity while also providing historical and personal insights, it would be Black Metal Rainbows, a sprawling collection of essays, interviews, band and label profiles, and all kinds of art for both the true kvlt and the curious. It sets the new standard for how we should think about this music.
—Brandon Stosuy, The Creative Independent
“Finally black metal is delivered from the tedious edgelords who have long diluted the decidedly queer heart of the desire for darkness, death, and despair as an effulgent world of creative infinity. This volume offers myriad trajectories, via art, philosophy, action, and music that black metal has created, perhaps because of, perhaps in spite of, its embrace of all things tenebrous. This delicious book is a beacon of black light that shows the wonders which occur when the atrophied figure of the dominant human undergoes putrefaction and emerges from the crypt in glittering cerecloth. An absolute joy to read.”
—Patricia MacCormack, author of The Ahuman Manifesto
“This wide–ranging compendium pushes past the conventional and conservative to explore black metal as a site of contest and transformative possibility—an act which is itself actually transgressive.”
—Jes Skolnik, senior editor, Bandcamp Daily
“Despite being there in the moment during the ascent of the Venoms, the Bathorys, and the Hellhammers, I’ve tended to fidget warily from afar since black metal partly curdled into a mess of homogenized inhumanity. So, I welcome this collective liberating howl beyond the stereotypes of icy forests and puerile hatred. Bravo!”
—Barney Greenway, Napalm Death
About the Contributors
Daniel Lukes has written for metal and rock magazines Terrorizer, Kerrang!, Decibel, and Helvete: A Journal of Black Metal Theory. He has a PhD in comparative literature from New York University, and is the coauthor of Triptych: Three Studies of Manic Street Preachers’ The Holy Bible (Repeater Books). He lives in Montreal, where he likes to disappear into the winter.
Stanimir Panayotov holds a PhD in comparative gender studies from Central European University, Budapest. He works at the intersections of continental and feminist philosophy, non-philosophy, and late antique philosophy and has published in the Minnesota Review, Aspasia, Heathen Harvest, and Metal Music Studies. He is the editorial manager of Identities: Journal for Politics, Gender and Culture.
Jaci Raia is an all-black-wearing art director currently living and working in New York City. She works in advertising, and uses her free time to take on a variety of both freelance and personal projects to fulfill herself creatively. After design and typography, metal music is her second love, and she spends a lot of time seeing shows in town and collecting records, tapes, and band shirts, much to the detriment of her wallet.
- 400 pages
- PM Press (1/3/23)