Like many I spend too much time on Facebook. Some might say I‘m wasting my time browsing through status updates and checking out what songs were posted in this or that group. Sometimes, though, wasting your time pays off. A few days ago the Norwegian avant-garde Metal band Fleurety posted a photo of a letter on their Facebook page, and it seems the writer wasn‘t too happy about Fleurety getting a deal with Misanthropy Records back in the day. Perhaps the band‘s off beat presentation was not approved of by the Black Metal Militia in Norway back then, but I sent Svein Egil Hatlevik, one of Fleurety‘s masters of madness, a couple of questions about this. He was willing to provide thorough and insightful answers to my rather basic questions, as well as raising a valid point about what was right and wrong back then…
Was it really so that Fleurety wasn’t accepted by black metallers in Norway?
That is a timely question indeed. I think there was only a tiny minority that ever cared about whether or not Fleurety was an “acceptable” band. Some people took part in a smear campaign against our band, but this campaign didn’t have much impact. We had our friends and people from other bands that we hung out with, so the conditions were good for discussing music, exchanging ideas and laughing at other bands that we thought were silly. The letter that we posted at our Facebook site is clearly LOL-worthy, and that’s why we wanted to share it.
What was the scene like back then?
I usually keep on repeating the point that the boundaries of black metal were undefined — meaning nobody really had an idea of what black metal was supposed to sound like. That’s why you had such an enormous variety during the early nineties. When Master’s Hammer, Necromantia (with saxophones!), Mercyful Fate, Arcturus, Celtic Frost, Thorns, Burzum, Ulver and Darkthrone would all pass as black metal, then it is fairly obvious (at least to me) that a lot of diversity had to emerge. This was the time before the release of “Transylvanian Hunger” and all those records that made people think that black metal is supposed to adhere to a specific formula.