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Historically, rock and roll has often been associated with a sense of rebellion and pushing boundaries. Black metal arguably took this concept to the extreme, with some artists blurring the lines between artistic expression and real-world violence.

In a recent interview with Metal Hammer, Ihsahn, a prominent figure in black metal and arguably the mastermind behind Emperor‘s success, questioned whether the genre had lost its “danger” and expressed concerns about the changing relationship between artists and fans in the age of social media.

While condemning the extreme actions in the Norwegian black metal scene of the 90s, Ihsahn pondered if there’s room for a new form of “dangerous” music, hopefully without the destructive elements of the past.

“I have been wondering. I hope my kids don’t have to be part of it but what’s the next shocking thing? There was something every decade since Elvis and his hips. People said it can’t get any worse than punk. But since black metal, what’s the next dangerous thing?”

During the same interview, Ihsahn also delved into the impact of social media, highlighting the increased accessibility between musicians and fans. He questioned whether this closeness necessarily benefits the music.

“With social media these days you get so close to the artist, which is not necessarily a good thing. It’s almost like a counterpart when you see bands like Ghost or Sleep Token maintaining that distance between artist and music. I’m not sure if people would have connected to our early albums if they’d had this image of spotty teenagers!”

According to Ihsahn, such constant connection removes the mystique that once fueled the imagination and intrigue surrounding certain genres. He discussed how Norwegian black metal musicians used corpse paint to somehow maintain that “distance”.

“When you’re doing music, it’s an art form that kind of uses you. I guess it feels natural to distance it from the private, everyday part of who you are. Especially when you’re young and trying to convince yourself more than anyone else, you try to make yourself into the character you want to be.”

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