This is my proposal and abstract I submitted to the academic journal Helvete, which is devoted to the study of Black Metal music. For their third issue, they opened it up to non academic writers. I wrote it is 2014, when my life was very different. I found it while rummaging through papers for something else. I have no idea why they rejected it. After four years I think it is unique, if a little intense. I was sorry not to have the incentive to delve thoroughly into Neoplatonism.
PROPOSAL FOR HELVETE ISSUE 3: BLEEDING BLACK NOISE
This proposal is for two items:
- The main article, ‘Goats All The Way Down: Problems of Hermeneutics in Black Metal ’ (below).
pPoem ‘What Really Happened to Pelle When He died’. Here I contend that the founding gesture of Black Metal was indeed the suicide of Dead. I present Dead as the golden hero Sigurd, slaying the dragon Fafnir, and thus becoming one with him. The poem is a response to the articles by Scott Wilson and Hunter Hunt-Hendrix in Hideous Gnosis.
GOATS ALL THE WAY DOWN: PROBLEMS OF HERMENEUTICS IN BLACK METAL
I live in Christchurch, Aotearoa/New Zealand. Christchurch underwent a devastating earthquake in 2011 and remains in a state of problematic flux. I work in emergency psychiatry, at the local ED, doing night shifts, where I relate self-destruction and psychological brokenness to the destruction of my city. I began listening to Black Metal last year, and my life has become suffused with it. Walking a broken city at odds with the rest of society accompanied me into the fundamentally difficult and antinomian nature of BM.
I propose to explore the apophatic nature of BM. Apophatic spirituality (or the Via Negativa) talks about the Divine in terms of what it is not. The best of such language points away from itself. For the Mystery School thinkers, however, from Gnostic and Neoplatonist traditions, there was no shortage of words as they attempted to explore the ineffable, to know a God that was beyond existence or non-existence. 
The apophatic emerges in BM’s ultimate failure to attain union with this dark and empty Divine. This failure sets up hermeneutic difficulties. What in BM can be spoken of at all? How can the BM practitioner seek purity of sound and ideology and yet evolve in real social time? What can be shown and what obscured? How does the BM practitioner live? Can only self-destruction serve to show devotion and transcend the mundane self? When BM finds a way out, for example through Theistic Satanism or through NSBM, it risks becoming positivist.
The article will find negative spaces in the music itself, what the music doesn’t do. My experience of it is aleatoric in that it changes and randomises my physical environment. I describe walking the damaged city, especially at night, and include nocturnal photography I have taken from ruined houses and the riverside. This is ‘blackened walking’, where I bear witness to the decay of my environment and find its dark and illicit spaces. I call this walk ‘Cthonic squeeze’ and reference a failed rite of passage, of being trapped in the limen.
I conclude with a poem which I reproduce here in full:
You cannot linger on the precipice.
Zoroaster knew that.
It was all dross and gold and shit on the way up.
In the end you have three choices.
You throw yourself off.
You get thrown off.
You stay there. The moon will freeze over. The dirty wolves will get your daughters. Your ego will be devoured.
There is no resile from this. These are the last sounds you will ever hear. Not pre-verbal. Post-verbal. Not primordial. What is left over. No easeful stupid death. Black noise. The sound of soul scraping rock
 Scott Wilson ‘BAsileus philosoPHOrum METaloricum’ pp. 47-50; Hunter Hunt-Hendrix ‘Transcendental Black Metal: A Vison of Apocalyptic Humanism’ pp. 55-58 Hideous Gnosis: Black Metal Theory Symposium I , Lexington, 2012
 Richard T Wallis and Jay Bregman, eds. Neoplatonism and Gnosticism SUNY Press Oklahoma,1992, p. 180
Here is the link to the journal