Michelle Boorstein of the Washington Post reports: Self-described Satanist Emperor Magus Caligula, lead singer for the Swedish black-metal band DARK FUNERAL, is scream-growling at an internal-organ-rattling volume inside Jaxx's concert hall. Thrilled fans, many of them teenagers clad in black, shoot Devil-horn hand signs into the air. A horned, fang-toothed man-beast roars from a massive banner across the stage.
Most common T-shirt of the night: "The day you die is the day I smile." Most common adjective: brutal (in a good way). Most common piece of jewelry: It's a tie between chains and upside-down crosses.
These are Ronnie Bittinger's people. As with any tribe, sure, there are internal squabbles. The 23-year-old Fredericksburg auto technician finds the spooky whiteface makeup, pricey black fashion and showy Satan-worship a bit poserish. A bit commercial. "It's an insult to people who are actually Satanists," he says. But these are people who understand his draw to black metal, an increasingly popular musical genre that's moody, super-fast and blatantly anti-Christian.
"The more intelligent you are, the more unlikely you are to believe in God; it's a fact," says Bittinger, drinking a beer with a group of childhood friends at the Jaxx bar one Wednesday night. Music thunders from the adjacent concert hall. "People in the underground scene tend to have higher IQs — my own being 143."
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