The idea of an audio political unconscious is suggested by Jacques Attali when he argues that music, as a particular organization of noise, heralds the coming of a future social order. The extremes of metal, however, push at the intensely pleasurable threshold of dis/organization in which music becomes noise as well as vice versa. Any notion of a future social order promised by metal therefore can only be seen as highly equivocal and as precluded as much as pre-empted. But that does not mean that immanent to metal there isn't the possibility of some future thinking of the political. Certainly the extremes of metal exist in the absence of any political thought adequate to the current state of affairs. Across Europe, old and new, national and regional varieties of DM, BM, Viking, battle, folk, doom and ambient have tracked the expansion of the EU and its borderlands. At the same time, the expansion of the homogenizing force of the techno-bureaucratic EU, that is itself a symptom of the failure of the nation-state in the face of global capital, has left a trail of discontents, some of which have found a voice in metal. This chapter looks at metal as the bearer of both a political and audio unconscious in which can be located, along different tracks, the positive reverse of the absence of any European popular culture in which could be located a political alternative to the ‘globalatinization’ represented by institutions like the EU.
For an ebook Title tba edited by Imke von Helden and Niall Scott, Inter-Disciplinary Press.