Nihil. Latin for ‘nothing.’ As a philosophical concept, nihilism has been around since at least the 4th century BCE and the hedonistic Cyrenaic school of Greek philosophy. In a slightly more modern context, nihilism is more closely associated with the existential German and French philosophers of the late 19th through the mid 20th century, none more so than Friedrich Nietzsche.
In its most basic sense, nihilism is a belief that there is no inherent meaning in anything, and that existence lacks any kind of purpose. The two most well-known tenets of Nietzsche’s philosophy come directly from this concept: the Will to Power, and his assertion that “God is dead.” The latter is also the most misunderstood aspect of his writings, with the common misperception being that Nietzsche was an atheist. Rather, he believed that the Abrahamic ‘God’ – the source from which all meaning derived in the West – had essentially been ‘killed’ via neglect as Europe pivoted towards secularism post-Enlightenment. Thus the Will to Power – the idea that man can become God in his own universe if he simply wills it to be. It also led to my favorite passage that’s commonly attributed to Nietzsche, but I can’t find a citation for right now:
Many things about man are not very godly: whenever a person excretes feces, how can he be a god then? But it is even worse regarding the other feces we call sin: man still surely wants to retain this, and not excrete it. Now however, I must believe it: a person can be God and still excrete feces. Thus I teach you, excrete your feces and become gods.
So…why am I rambling on about Nietzsche? Because Russian black metal. Obviously.
Today we’re premiering the title track from Kaluga-based Temple of Nihil‘s debut full-length Schadenfreude, which drops on June 21 from GrimmDistribution (preorder here). I don’t know that Nietzsche ever wrote about it, but Schopenhauer, who Nietzsche cited as an influence, had this to say in On Human Nature:
But it is Schadenfreude, a mischievous delight in the misfortunes of others, which remains the worst trait in human nature. It is a feeling which is closely akin to cruelty, and differs from it, to say the truth, only as theory from practice.
Cruelty, misfortune… and when viewed through a nihilistic lens, completely meaningless. I’m already into this without having heard a note.
Fortunately, “Schadenfreude” is just as engaging as the philosophy that inspired it. In some ways, it reminds me of mid-period Rotting Christ, particularly Theogonia. In other ways, it has the same austere, mid-tempo feel that Dark Fortress did so well on Ylem. It’s dark, majestic, and just melodic enough to burrow its way inside your skull and stay there for the rest of the day. In short, it’s the best thing you’ll hear today – check it out below.