Metaphysical Note about Extreme Metal

More recently I purchased the following CDs:

  • Abyssal: Antikatastaseis
  • Adverserial: D.E.N.A.T.B.K.O.N.
  • Mitochondrion: Archaeaon
  • Pyrrhon: Growth Without End
  • Sarpanitum: Blessed Be My Brothers
  • This Gift Is A Curse: All Hal The Swinelord

I welcome it that after a period of stagnation there are fresh and fruitful developments in extreme metal again! While extreme metal bands of former generations like Morbid Angel or Meshuggah sounded like if they came from another planet, bands like Abyssal, Pyrrhon or Mitochondrion sound as if they directly came from the depths of outer space (maybe from close to the region where Azathoth dwells). I call this progressive. Within those song structures we have nice chaos invocation and abstract beauty amalgamated with uncanniness giving an impression of the sublime. It gives you a sense of place – of belonging and forlornness. Of your attachedness and your seperatedness in the universe, etc. It´s a borderline, exurbia and edge phenomenon; look at how ambiguous it is and how much enigmatic meaning it carries, permanently shifting the Great Frontier! It´s metaphysical.

What I always liked about extreme metal is that it definitely confronts you with other, strange worlds (that aren´t so strange after all and for instance the occasional lyrics about Satan etc. are much more realistic and less phony than the love songs you hear on the radio). – It is both strange and surreal, and hyperrealistic and more human than human. It adds a (or multiple) dimensions to your perception. It confronts you with that that is the other and that that is unexpected. It unites the hemispheres.


Let us, ideally, say that the „Western“ mind is analytical, scientific. It is about isolating and analysing things to gain rational knowledge about the thing, with the possibility (or the permanent horizon) to get to know the „thing in itself“. It strives for knowledge to manipulate things and transform civilisation via technology. It is concerned with the possibility of solid knowledge.


Let us, ideally, say that the „Eastern“ mind, exemplified e.g. in the metaphysics of Zen, is more about getting to know and experiencing the faculty of perception and rationalisation itself. It is about dissolving the subject and amalgamating it with the object world, into a state of (for the sake of simplicity) productive mimesis. However, this state will involve serenity and sedateness, an acceptance of a certain resistance of things against manipulation and an acceptance of fate. It is concerned with the possibility of solid awareness.


Bhagwan says, people in the East have soft, fragmentary egos, and they are able to surrender and devotion (Hingabe) easily – yet their surrender is not very deep: it remains superficial. People of the West have strong and solid egos, and they are resistant towards surrender and spirituality. He concludes that a person that synthesises East and West may become something that is really interesting and transformative, but that is difficult.

„Eastern“ metaphysics somehow was designed as a pacification from unproductive upheaval and turmoil in a pre-scientific age i.e. when things could not fundamentally be changed. „Eastern“ metaphysics does not „solve“ the metaphysical problems but dissolves them, but unfortunately may also dissolve physics respectively the scientific mind, and its relaxedness may result in apathy, the insight that some things cannot be changed may make people forget to try to. The „Western“ metaphysics of the rational mind may lead to a tunnel vision and feelings of estrangement and disconnectedness from a greater whole, a disrespect for „soft“ sciences and arrogance. The „Eastern“ downside is being unscientific, the downside of the „West“ is being soulless. From a sociological point of view, Eastern societies are collectivist societies whereas Western societies are individualistic societies (with both easily abhoring each other or finding each other uncanny, although the productive synthesis includes the better elements of both).


It is said East and West are very different and difficult to unite. They are respective others. However, if you approach the other you can gradually internalise it. The trick is not to make the other a toy of your ideology and accomodate it to you, but to take it serious. The full internalisation of the man´s world is the overman. It can also be described as the so-called unitary consciousness where all forms of life, where reality, dream, fiction, time, space, matter unite into a single, fluid, penetrating experience, where contours of individualities do not dissolute but become osmotic. The analytical mind is not pacified but intensified and empowered. There is not perfect exchangeability of background and motif as you have it in the vision of Zen, rather a fractal geometry of the universe, i.e. where the „deep structure“ can be progressively revealed and calculated and where there is no stubborn resistance against „inconvenient“ truths or discoveries, since nothing is truly „inconvenient“.

By permanently approaching and confronting the other, you increase your experience and widen your perception. By trying to integrate the other and internalise it, you widen your intellect and your personality, and you reduce your indoctrinations and your ego (if, however, you don´t have much of an ego in the first place). You transcend personality into the transpersonal and become open space. It is very profound.

Meaning of life – and meaning in general – lies in establishing connections (and pathological/endogenous depression means inability to establish true connections to anything). By connecting to the other, the most wide-ranging and permanently evolving connectivity is possible. Overmen usually appear „otherworldly“ (whereas they are also the most realistic persons) because they primarily relate to the other and to their respective counterpart (Socrates and Kierkegaard talked to anyone in the streets, T.W. Hickinson noticed that obscure Emily Dickinson was very aware and concerned about him as her counterpart, Shakespeare is hardly tactile as an individual but rather seems a transpersonalised consciousness over the tapestry of life, Wittgenstein, Kafka and Beckett were also very concerned about others including the possibility of self-sacrifice, etc.). Therefore, they include otherness and the Great Other in themselves and therefore they carry and execute the so-called divine law in themselves. They appear „alien“ as nothing is alien to them. And why? Because they actually relate to the other!


(Written 2015-2017)

Postsciptum: If you think this is stupid and esoteric wait for the various Postscripts to the Metaphysical Note about Extreme Metal which shall appear over time since of course I am able to discuss Kripke and Quine as well, as well as Gadamer and Ricoeur et al.

Prelude to the Metaphysical Note about Extreme Metal