Miroslav Vrzal

Masaryk University

Occult Turn in Czech Black Metal?

The last two decades brought the trend that a lot of metal – and especially black metal – bands are proclaiming serious interest in occult matters. Members of these bands are explicitly talking about the spiritual dimension of their music while sometimes arranging their live performances as occult rituals (with altars, candles and other related components) which they interpret as a channeling of dark gods and forces. In reference to Marcus Moberg we can label this approach as a form of dark alternative spirituality. Behind this expression – often using satanic elements – are moreover, sometimes some very transgressive, anti-Christian and antisocial ideologies aimed at the corruption of Christianity, society or the entire contemporary world. Relevant examples can be found in bands such as Watain, Dissection, Ofermod to name a few. Kennet Granholm designated this trend as “occult turn” by part of the metal scene and uses the term “ritual black” metal for these kinds of bands which are characterized by explicit, systematic, and sustained involvement with the occult. The aim of this contribution is to discover whether this trend is also present in the current Czech black metal environment. It will focus especially on selected Czech black metal bands which have begun to use similar ritualistic aspects and occult imagery over the past few years (for example Inferno or Cult of Fire). I will explore their interpretation of black metal music and artistic activity in (possible) connection to “dark spirituality”.