Black Metal is not new, and it isn’t even a new thing to see its aesthetic in mainstream culture, but it has definitely reached a new level of acceptance. It has more so been ushered into the culture of underground music. It’s appeal has been fitting more and more into various unrelated sub-genres (noise, indie, hardcore).
I think a new type of music listener is emerging who will be more interested in black metal. The internet levels the under and over ground into one easily navigated plane. People find music that is esoteric as easily as they would find Radiohead or Coldplay. Being underground is easier and easier, and encouraged by every source of music. The cultural badges of underground music are more easily attained. You can get your eagle scouts degree online in one eighth the time. Black metal has somehow become part of this process of understanding the music underground, whereas I don’t think metal was very much incorporated before this point.
Also, people love being in on the joke. The internet jokes spread faster an faster. They become funny for less and less time. You basically laugh now at the people who haven’t heard the joke yet, idiots! Then humor dies. So it changes. Changes changes. Black metal is a joke that everyone needs in their repertoire. It also seems that more so than any other genre, bands want to let their listeners know that they TOO listen to black metal by using visual cues. Even though their music has nothing in common with the style, they can’t keep the information to themselves. (i.e. BORIS stealing the VON typeface for their logo). Does this give legitimacy?
If you show people something they know, that they think not everyone might know about, you are more likely to get their attention and thus sell them some goddamn shoes.
It has gotten to a point, though, where we have to be ready for black metal everywhere on every level of media. It has already gotten to the point where it is not just a full out reference to some guy in corpse paint/spikes but merely the subtle incorporation of an upside down cross. The vocabulary of black metal has fully permeated pop culture, in the same way that you might not even notice a ‘punk’ nautical star in a Target commercial.
But! Black metal is newer than most things. It’s really only competing with new forms of dance music for its novelty. So it looks a little bit newer, it’s somewhat fresher than goth or punk or hip hop/graffiti. You do have to admit that Black Metal is not as ‘dead’ as punk though. So it’s aesthetic might be a little bit more intriguing at this point and has new variations still being drawn up and eagerly exploited.
old Klaxon Records interview with Bone Awl. If anyone saved these interviews it’d be super cool if you could send them my way I only have a portion of this one.