If this genre is to grow and define itself, and not live in the shadow of black metal and ambient music, how much emphasis needs to be put on being "true" to the genre? That emphasis on exclusivity seems to be what made black metal such a phenomenon, but on the flip side seems to be what made it such a trend of mimicry. Many of the black metal pioneers bemoaned what black metal evolved into, and I'm sure many of you reading this blog are disillusioned with that genre today, cherishing primarily the albums of the early 90's. What separated those artists from the thousands making black metal today is that they were extremely individualistic, carrying on the torch of genuine obscurity and originality. Today it's just a bunch of kids plugging the notes into a prescribed formula, staying true. So then is a trend what occurs when one emphasizes the orthodox aspects of a genre, or are those things separate, meaning that black metal died in trendiness and stagnation for another reason?
To rigidly proclaim what dungeon synth is and who plays it, as seems to be my primary goal in this blog, is very important to get recognition of this genre. However, I often wonder if that might be sowing the seeds for stagnation, assuming dungeon synth continues into the future. So what I wonder is whether dungeon synth might be inherently individualistic enough and unappealing to the mainstream enough that it might be able to avoid the pitfalls black metal fell into and still emphasize the "trueness" and exclusivity of its nature, thereby standing out and not getting re-engulphed into these larger genres from which it has possibly now emerged.
Perhaps dungeon synth is above all this jogging suit vs. corpse paint nonsense, in which case I'm probably at fault for bringing it up. But still, there's another interesting point, should there be concern for the imagery of the artists themselves? Mortiis obviously went above and beyond in this regard, and I expect his troll get-up set the tone for more listeners than just myself. Should dungeon synth artists unite in this regard, dressing up as fantasy characters perhaps? I can only imagine that would cause the genre to be the butt of many jokes for those who don't particularly have a taste for it. Perhaps the "look" of dungeon synth could be not showing one's face at all, like a god who is fully present in the world's creation and circumstances but never visible. Or perhaps it should be a "come as you are" sort of thing, treating the genre as a more respectable and detached art, like literature.
And that brings me to my next point. Should dungeon synth continue in the metal tradition of using fantastical, pagan, or blasphemous pseudonyms for the artists? It would seem a good way to show its metal roots and allegiances, however black metal is one of the primary genres that it should be looking to detach from. Should dungeon synth attempt to seem more mature and adult, avoiding the showiness that is so akin to modern entertainment? Could we even say that dungeon synth is more adult, considering that it has far less aggression but far more escapist tendencies. And then what of band t-shirts and merchandise and that sort of thing? Should dungeon synth be something one wears, openly and with pride, or is that "walking-billboard" mentality something that should be looked down upon as childish and too akin to the "hamburger culture" that many of these sorts of genres reject?
I've been asking a lot of questions here, and while I do have personal opinions, I don't think it's my role to dictate what direction I think this genre should go, however I also wish that it would be open to exploration, or else stagnation would seem inevitable. I think it all comes down to whether we would like this genre to become a lifestyle of some kind, and if so what that may be, or should it rather be a fantasy completely detached from day-to-day experience, only residing in the lone wanderings of our imagination? Or perhaps dungeon synth will remain obscure to the point that this question will never be relevant to the current time, which might not be such a bad thing either, as long as there are still a few isolated black wizards to carry and pass down the torch.
I would very much like to hear the thoughts that you various dungeon synth listeners might have on this topic.