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“Black Metal” Goes To Sundance

Kat Candler released her short film, Black Metal onto YouTube in preparation for its upcoming premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. The plot revolves around the singer of a black metal band whose music may—or may not—have inspired a teenager to kill his teacher. The film features sound clips from Honed Almighty, Vesperian Sorrow, Curtis Heath and Pallbearer.

Black Metal is Candler’s second short film to premiere at Sundance in as many years. Last year’s short, Hellion, garnered some positive buzz; given the controversial subject matter and arresting images that black metal offers, I’d wager Black Metal will draw further attention to Candler, especially in light of the shooting at Sandy Hook earlier this year.

What Black Metal says about the relationship between music and youth violence, and metal as a subculture, is obscure. It would be easy to dismiss Black Metal as another example of non-listeners co-opting black metal’s violent past for the sake of attention, but the soundtrack is current, high-quality, and obviously curated by someone with an interest in metal beyond the film. Even the concert sequence looks accurate to an average black metal show. If Candler wanted to make black metal into a scapegoat she could have tried harder—there are no musicians doused in blood, no women hanging from crucifixes, or goat heads flying into the audience. Metal blogger and true crime writer Corey Mitchell served as a consultant on the film.

Judge for yourselves. It’s a fine short, and takes less time than a cigarette break:

Joseph Schafer

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