Which Philosophies Do These Metal Genres Exemplify?

Categories: 2013

Metal bands have a beautiful combination of ballsiness and self-importance to put themselves out there, and risk looking hilariously self-serious. Simply put, there's no scene that gels better with my high school philosophy class than metal. You'd always rather read Kant listening to Ulver over Modest Mouse. So with that in mind, we felt it necessary to pick a specific school of philosophy/theology that best associates with a specific subgenre of metal. Because if there's anything we're sure of, it's that Socrates would've loved blast beats.

See also: What Artistic Movements Do These Rappers Exemplify?

Doom Metal = Nihilism
We start with the easiest one. The grinding sound that we, as people, are all slowly moving towards inevitable death and decay, immortality is a haughty lie, and there's nothing in the world to be optimistic about outside of the self-realization that life is meaningless, can only be associated with Doom Metal. Thanks Iommi, we wouldn't have gotten here if it wasn't for you.

Death Metal = Puritanism
So you might've thought death metal was a shoe in for nihilism right? A common mistake! Obviously death metal shares the same general sense of hopelessness as nihilism, but there's far too much Christian iconography in death metal to write it off to the everlasting void. Death metal has most in common with Puritanism, where pleasure is bad and no matter what, you're probably going to hell.

Black Metal = Absurdism
Absurdists embrace the looming reality that humanity's constant quest to find meaning in life will always come up empty, so instead of worrying about the angry taste of lost value, we should instead listen to a whole bunch of Watain.

Viking Metal = Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, and the entire history of ancient Greek philosophy
One of the things professors forget to tell you when they go on extended tangents about the brilliance of Socratic logic is that all of those marble men were, quite literally, pagans. That's right! When you pick the brain of Plato you are referencing the work of someone who's about three degrees away from being a straight-up druid. Viking metal doesn't quite fetishize classical philosophy, but it sure does love old weird beliefs. The Greeks are an obvious fit.

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