Holding On To Black Metal

Album: Circuital (2011)

Songfacts®:

  • Black Metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal that took root in Norway in the early 1990s. An outlet for young, adolescent aggression, it has been met with hostility from mainstream culture, mainly due to the misanthropic and anti-Christian standpoint of many artists. Moreover, a few of the genre's pioneers have been linked with church burnings, murder and National Socialism.

    This track from American indie rock band My Morning Jacket find them expressing scepticism about people holding on to things as absolutely bleak and dark as black metal once they reach adulthood. Bassist "Two-Tone" Tommy explained to IFC: "There's no doubt that an obsession with anything - even a genre of music or a TV show or a movie or collectibles - can be a distraction from what's really going on or a way to hang on to the past in a way that keeps the responsibilities of life/ adulthood at bay. But there are also things that can only be expressed, or are easier to express, through escapism and especially through music, so much so that its importance should never be discounted. How difficult would adolescence have been without the music that helped carry us through it? No one enters adulthood feeling none of the emotions they did when they were 16."
  • Vocalist Jim James is accompanied on the song by an all-female choir made up of a group of women the band is friends with. Their contribution was recorded in a funeral home in Louisville, which Two-Tone commented, "makes it more metal."
  • Two-Tone told IFC about the recording of the song: "Jim's demo was built on a loop he had made from a Thai pop song called "E-Saew Tam Punha Huajai" by Kwan Jai & Kwan Jit Sriprajan. His mission to the band was to perform the loop like child soldiers roaming the streets. We recorded several takes but the first one - where we're all just getting a feel for playing the loop together - was the keeper."

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