So you want to get into the murky underworld of grinding guitars, answering-machine production, and raspy vocals that is True Norwegian Black Metal? Well, it'll take more than just looking like a panda and toting a can of petrol and a well-thumbed guidebook to churches of northern Europe you know. The scene is actively based on being impenetrable to outsiders; any form of commercial success is deemed as worthy of deep disapproval. However, all is not lost. With this handy lexicon, you too can ingratiate yourself!

A is for Assumed Name. You can't be true if you're called Bob, Giles, Nigel, and Ken, now come on! You need to give yourselves sobriquets that involve either Satan, Vikings, Satanic Vikings, or suchlike, preferably stolen from obscure parts of Lord of the Rings.

B is for Bullet Belt. This, an indispensable accessory, is made of a number of dead bullets strung together in a belt. If you have one it must be worn at all times, even when attempting to get through Customs at the Eurostar terminal in Brussels. If you're really tr00, you can even have bullet bracelets as well as the belt. B is also for Blast Beats which are a good thing to throw in if you can't decide how your song goes next.

C is for Corpsepaint. The general look you're after is a cross between Gene Simmons, a street mime artist, and a panda. Anything else and you may well be untr00. Speaking of which, C is also for Cradle of Filth who are not black metal any more for they have definitively sold out. Sounding or looking like them is a poor idea and may result in becoming a faggoth.

D is for Dishwasher. If your record does not sound like it was recorded on an answering machine placed in one of these, you fail at tr00th. Another D, Darkthrone, excel at dishwasher production, but be careful - emulating the latter too much may cause you to become norsecore.

E is for Euronymous. Otherwise known as Øystein Aarseth, Euronymous was the guitarist for Mayhem until he was stabbed 23 times by his bassist Varg Vikernes of Burzum. After his death he has become a martyr and whenever the True Mayhem (the band's line-up until De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas) is mentioned, you should stand, put your hand on your heart and, as if honouring the memory of a comrade sent to Valhalla in honourable battle, say, "RIP Euronymous." Even if you didn't know the bloke or haven't even heard any of the true Mayhem's works.

F is for Faggoth. Faggothdom is the state in which you appeal to homosexual gothic types and must be avoided at all costs. It is not grym or kvlt to be so. There are many ways in which one becomes a faggoth - the use of keyboards or production is one sure-fire way. However, you can go to a faggoth band's gig to try to pull tasty women in corsets and this is acceptable.

G is for Grym. 'Tis not easy to be grym. Generally, if you look like a glam-rock zombie, you're on the right track. Standing with a blank facial expression in front of a frozen Nordic forest is another good idea.

H is for HELNORSK SVARTMETAL! This, which means "True Norwegian Black Metal" in Norwegian, is what you should aim to be.

I is for Idiots. That's you that is.

J is for Joke, which is what Black Metal pretty much grew out of but all the scene types refuse to admit.

K ist for Krieg which is what Black Metal ist, according to Nargaroth, and for Kvlt, which is being deliberately really obscure with your band. A good example of kvltness is the German band Moonblood, who only released limited-edition vinyl LPs hand-numbered to 666 copies. Ownership of a kvlt release makes you kvlt by proxy, to a lesser extent. K is also for Keyboards, which are an instrument that cannot be permitted in tr00 black metal. After all, Cradle of Filth use keyboards and they're the biggest faggoth sellouts on the planet.

L is for Leather which is what trousers are made of. There are rumoured to exist other materials for such garments but these have never been corroborated.

M is for Masturbation. Be prepared to do a lot of this once you're a grym and tr00 black metaller, for obvious reasons.

N is for Norway which is where tr00 people hail from even if they're not Norwegian, and also for Norsecore which is almost as bad as being faggoth and is what you are when your band tries to imitate Darkthrone with shitty production, buried bass, and an inability to play songs slower than 180bpm. The album Panzer Division Marduk is a prime slab of norsecore. Occasionally, a band is deemed both norsecore and faggoth - Anorexia Nervosa of France is such an act.

O is for Odin. You really don't know anything about him except that he was some Viking deity and Vikings were cool because they put the boot into Christians, but it's a good idea to claim this sort of thing.

P is for Production which is generally skipped in the black metal recording process because production is associated with major (or even large independent) record labels and that's a sign of selling out. See "Dishwasher" above for an idea of what sort of sound you're after.

Q is for Quorthon. Progenitor of the Northern Darkness that is Black Metal and also of Viking Metal, the man behind Bathory died in 2004 of heart failure. See "Euronymous" above for a guideline as to what you should do when Bathory is mentioned in a tr00 conversation.

R is for Raw, which is the excuse you use to cover up the fact that one or more members of the band can't play. If you fuzz up the guitar tone enough, nobody will notice that your pal Giles (aka Brennuvargr Dragøn Occültofuck - see "Umlaut" below) fishes for notes more often than he catches them.

S is for Selling out. Once you do this, you are definitively prevented from being tr00 or kvlt ever again. Selling out can range from having mildly decent production to being signed to a moderately large record label. The use of non-approved instruments such as keyboards or even to try to appeal to more people in any way may, in fact, be selling out.

T is for Tr00. Absolutely the most important thing to be in Black Metal, if you aren't tr00, you're nothing. To be tr00 you must, among other things, own every release by Darkthrone, Burzum, and Satyricon (except their new one because it's a bit faggothy) and stacks of ultra-limited edition clear or spattered vinyls or other kvlt releases. You must also refuse to countenance the idea of other types of music or indeed even untr00 bands, even though you secretly wish you were Dani Filth. Being an Odinist also helps with being tr00, but is not compulsory.

U is for Umlauts. Put them over every vowel and 1d4 consonants for additional truth. Better still, put in one of those O's with lines across it that they use in Norwegian and then pronounce it just like an ordinary O.

V is for Vinyl. This is another material from which clothing is made, and also what your stuff is released on. The fact that very few people nowadays have a turntable means that your fans will be a cut above (read: elitist snobs) the standard consumer sheeple. V is also for Viking which is what you should aspire to be like.

W is for Women. They are best avoided. They distract you from the pursuit of kvltitude and prancing round in a forest pretending to be a troll. They do have some uses in the world of black metal, though, usually if you put out a video it's obligatory to have fanservice in the form of gratuitous nudity and suchlike. See below.

X is for X-Rated. This is how you make your video singles sell. I am sure that when Satyricon put out the extremely hilarious video to "Mother North" it would not have sold but for the presence of Monica Braten wearing a very thin sheet and little else.

Y is for YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! This is the ideal opening lyric. The longer you stretch it the tr00er you are.

Z is for Zebra. If you decide to go topless on stage you are required to corpsepaint your body. This is what you should be aiming for. Think Vrangsinn of Carpathian forest (except without the plastic comedy tits.)

So now you know. Now go forth and conquer!

(IRON NODER 2011, 21/30)

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