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  • Mayhem’s De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas

Black metal had an interesting year in 2011. Records by Liturgy and Wolves in the Throne Room, two American bands, topped year-end lists at outlets both expected and highly unlikely, stirring up controversy and bringing out haters all across the metal world. Criticism of these bands ranges from more or less reasonable if not terribly sympathetic (purists see Liturgy et al as snotty trust funders exploiting a subculture they don’t understand—the word “hipster” gets thrown around a lot) to childish and absurd (I read a post on Metal Sucks that compares Liturgy front man Hunter Hunt-Hendrix to Justin Bieber). But no matter how you look at it, these bands are blurring the lines, with their music and their messages, that used to define “true” black metal. For today’s 12 O’Clock Track, however, we’re going back to the genre’s roots.