Vol. 1, Issue #15 August 18th - August 31st, 2006

Welcome to the Dark Side: Tahlequah Black Metal band Hits the Map
By: Ryk Weston

Since its inception in the early Eighties, black metal has cornered nearly every part of the world without the aid of radio, TV, or the mainstream press. Through tape trading and underground fanzines, black metal remains one of metal’s strongest genres, yet with a fanbase more rabid than a Brazilian soccer fan. Even Ozzfest saw the potential of this phenomena and quickly scooped up Norway’s Dimmu Borgir for its traveling metal circus. Black metal bands have popped up everywhere in North America as well, and now Oklahoma can finally add itself as host to one of black metal’s newest contenders, Tahlequah’s Rituals of a Blasphemer.

With a population of nearly 15,000 residents and the attraction of Lake Tenkiller, Tahlequah seems an unlikely spot in NE Oklahoma to garner a black metal band. The growing popularity of death metal and grindcore in Tulsa, however, only feeds the notion that a black metal act was inevitable. But how does such a genre as black metal make it in such religious and conservative conditions? It isn’t easy. Just ask founding members Grim (guitars/vocals) and Nocturnal (drums/vocals) about backlash from local conservatives, or the turn of events which led to the ousting of Grim from his parent’s home at the age of 17. “Basically, my Mom is a heavy Bible thumper...so it was either quit the music or get out of the house.” says Grim. Ultimately, he was ostracized from his residence and was welcomed in by Nocturnal.

The most recent backlash came from locals earlier this Spring when Rituals of a Blasphemer preformed at a local parking lot show which displayed the band at it’s most heinous. Naturally, many in the audience didn’t take well to their lyrics or the fact that the band brandished an oversized inverted cross, which was thrust into the ground as they played on. Such is the life of a black metal band. But as the old saying goes, “If you can’t take the heat...” says Grim, “You know what to expect if you’re going to see a black metal band. What they were doing there in the first place is beyond me.”


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