Tuesday 25 December 2007

Metallic Magia Posthuma

According to this short text on Rohr's 1679 De masticatione mortuorum,

"De Masticatione Mortuorum (or to use its full title Dissertatio Historico-Philosophica de Masticatione Mortuorum) is now cult among the modern 'vampire' community, and a favourite name for death metal bands."

As one easily notices when searching the net for information about "magia posthuma", there also was a Belgian heavy metal band called Magia Posthuma. According to various web sites they released one album and have now split up.

Personally I find it pretty hard to relate to this association between the topic of this blog and a musical genre which I find myself unable to appreciate. Aesthetically and musically it is quite adverse to what I identify with. I remember many years ago buying a LP titled Nosferatu by a band called Helstar because both the title and cover illustration referred to Murnau's 1922 movie Nosferatu. Well, it was very hard to just listen to once, so I have steered clear of that kind of records ever since.

But it seems to be a curious fact that people can have very different approaches to our subject of vampires and magia posthuma.


klavaza said...

I understand you but it should be considered impossible to separate these neo-pagan, so called cultures, from magic, witchcraft and vampires. Please read Deena Weinstein's Heavy Metal: A Cultural Sociology, ISBN 0-669-21837-5, or its revised edition, Heavy Metal: The Music and its Culture. Da Capo. ISBN 0-306-80970-2. I myself enjoy a lot Heavy Metal, as well as Baroque and Antique music.

Niels K. Petersen said...

I suppose that from the point of view of modern popular culture it is indeed impossible to make that separation, but as my main interest is to understand the historical vampires and revenants, I find it reasonably easy to separate modern concepts of vampires from e.g. 18th century magia posthuma.

I personally do enjoy some of the modern interpretations of vampire mythology, and I am constantly fascinated by the fact that they owe so little to the historical vampires and so much more to other mythologies and literary themes. Although I do own a few soundtracks from vampire movies as well as a couple of other relevant musical works like Marschner's opera Der Vampyr, the main musical effect of my interest has been an interest in listening to some of the music from the period of the original magia posthuma/vampire cases. I.e. I have been interested in associating the historical events of magia posthuma with what was happening musically at the courts of Vienna and other capitals of 18th century Europe.

I am aware that there are people whose lifestyle are affected by their interest in this macabre subject, but in my own case it is only reflected in the fact of my spending many hours (and some money) in front of my computer or at libraries searching books and the internet for useful and new information, as well as writing and translating material :-)

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