It’s no secret that Norwegians love their black metal. What gave it away? The church burnings, or Dimmu Borgir’s recent performance with an orchestra? Regardless, the Norwegian foreign ministry has taken notice at how popular they’ve become around the world for their black metal exports. In fact, they’ve recognized its popularity by starting to train aspiring diplomats in “TNBM – True Norwegian Black Metal”.
Kjersti Sommerset, the head of the foreign ministry’s centre of excellence, told Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv that:
“we now have 106 foreign service missions and they get many enquiries from people who want information about Norwegian black metal as a phenomenon. In the training program, we have a large cultural program in order to give the trainees a good understanding of Norwegian culture and the cultural industry.”
And rightfully so, black metal is a part of the Norwegian culture being taught. Apparently trainees will learn everything about black metal, including the church burnings and murders connected to black metal in Norway during the 1990s. However, this dark period won’t be the main focus, with Håvard Rem, author of a leading book on TNBM called Infødte skrik and who is currently helping in the training, stressing that “You have to realize that this is the history, but it was 20 years ago and, today, Norwegian bands are acceptable.”
While it makes sense that black metal’s popularity has gained the attention of a foreign ministry, it’s somewhat surprising to hear the word “training” instead of “witch hunt.” Has black metal finally been shown tolerance by others? Either way, this adds onto Norway’s metal cred indeed. As does the fact that they have a “centre of excellence.”