Ritual Black Magic

Popular Music as Occult Mediation and Practice

Kennet Granholm 

From the creative fantasy of musicians to the fearful imaginations of concerned parents and fundamentalist crusaders, Metal music has frequently been linked to the occult. It is, however, only recently that the occult milieu as represented by initiatory orders and segments of the broader Extreme Metal scene have been brought close enough to each other to spawn an identifiable “Ritual Black Metal” scene characterized by explicit, systematic, and sustained engagements with the occult. Members of this scene, particularly the musicians involved in it, not only demonstrate an interest in occult subject matter that surpasses most of what came before, but explicitly claim their artistry to be an expression of the occult in itself—as divine worship or communion, an expression of and tool for initiatory processes, and/or an explication of seriously held beliefs. In this article I examine the Swedish Ritual Black Metal scene, with some detours to the Finnish scene when closely connected to the Swedish one, by looking at both scenic institutions and key artists.

Extreme Metal; Black Metal; Dissection; Watain; Ofermod; Saturnalia Temple; Forgotten Horror; Jess and the Ancient Ones; The Devil’s Blood; Misanthropic Lucifer-Order (MLO); Temple of the Black Light; Dragon Rouge