Friday, February 16, 2007

Rant De Jour- The Death of the Metal Scene

Today, metal is split into so many factions that it has become almost silly. Every band now falls into some bullshit category so that critiques can easily determine a reason to dismiss a band that they particularly don’t care for. It is much easier to lump a band into some generic group, than to speak honestly about why you don’t care for a band.

A similar predicament killed punk back in the 80’s. Punk became so fragmented that good bands were quickly dismissed because they didn’t fit into a narrow scope that each individual fan listened to. There are still many great punk bands out there, but they are so underground that few people know they exist.

Metal will surely suffer the same fate if we continue to fragment the scene as the current trend suggests. Corporate-friendly, radio safe bands will continue to saturate an already bland market, and good bands will never be able to dig themselves out of their local club scene because metal fans have become as close-minded as the punks from the mid-80’s. It is truly sad that metal has come to this, and the only way this can change is if we, as metal fans, start dismissing these bullshit labels. Black metal, death metal, speed metal, thrash metal, doom metal, power metal, etc…(the list can go on and on).


I’m not saying we need to embrace shitty bands like Avenged Sevenfold or [insert generic shitty emo band], but we need to learn to support the entire metal scene and not just a small sect of bands that fit neatly into some bullshit classification of what someone thinks metal should be. If not, the entire metal scene will eventually perish.


ken hawk said...

TOtalally. wthe key IS commmunaicaTion. ill Statrt bY talkinG about a band called manowar. oK so im nOT gOing to say what kInd of meTal they are or anYthing. but i will Tell you now these guys SHRED!!!!fourfive!!# they havE the coolest costumes and stuff and some people will sasy theyre teh ghey which they are so totoally not OMG even tho i think one of the guyss real name iS Lance Glory or somethIng.
nEw ass K Ken AHWk postEd today.

BlackLabelAxe said...

Manowar is proof of one thing:

The harder you try to be uber-masculine the more TEH GH3Y you end up being. Manowar does rule to some extent, however.

I agree with you BND about metal sub-categorizing itself into a handful of warring tribes.

Think about the metalcore people: they claim to be more of a "thrash" band, but the real thrashers call them mallcore, but the hardcore people call them assholes, and now you end up with a talented young band like Trivium getting boo'ed on every stage at every show they play. Yeah, Trivium have a lot to learn and they may never get there, but they are not so bad as to deserve being boo'ed. They idolize Dimebag for God's sake. Where do we draw the line?

As for Avenged Sevenfold- I think of them as a rock band more like Guns N Roses, and now they don't bother me anymore. The sound of their name pissed me off when they were getting compared to metal bands.

Yeah, this whole sub-genre thing is ridiculous. It's being perpetuated by website like Blabbermouth, and it's only going to get worse until they can come up with a catchy title for MACHINE HEAD's music.

Speaking of that, I need to re-post the comment of the fucking day, in reference to the new Machine Head album:

"Hey do you like this record?"

"No, the guy wore a shiny shirt 6 years ago."

"What does that have to do with the music on the new record?"

"Absolutely nothing, I'm just an idiot"

"Yes you are."

I think the adjective "Swedish" is the only positive description left anymore.

Goremaster said...

the way i see it is this. gernes are okay but then abusing it goes too far. for example, death metal. nothing wrong with that but technical brutal death metal would go way too far and that gets annoying and this just breeds more bullshit labels and confusion. standard gernes like death metal, black metal, etc. are ok and have nothing to do with anything with destroying metal (hell dm and bm saved all of metal threw out the 90's and it still does) but other labels like melodic avant garde black metal could destroy metal by confusing and upsetting others,etc.

BigNewsDay said...

Dividing metal into genres also divides the scene. METAL IS METAL!!!

Factioning off the scene is just that. FACTIONING OFF THE SCENE!!!!

Metal is a genre of rock, which make death metal a sub-genre of rock. You will eventually have sub-genres of death metal and sub-genres of those sub-genres. Where does it end?

Goremaster said...

"You will eventually have sub-genres of death metal and sub-genres of those sub-genres. Where does it end? "

There actually is sub-gernes of death metal. I just feel death metal should just be called death metal. if people would just leave it at that then i see no problems with gernes.

BlackLabelAxe said...

I think you're right- abandoning the titles is probably going to be the best thing for increasing the popularity and even the "trueness" of metal.

I'm reminded of this line of logic from a totally unrelated subject:

"Don't take yourself too seriously, because no one else does".

Nobody but us worries about the sub-genres, it is all metal or it's something else. I talk to people all the time who like Slipknot, or Killswitch Engage, or Metallica, and they want to know what are some other good bands I recommend they give a listen to. It's sad that I catch myself analyzing the metal/metalcore/thrash/death/prog/stoner titles until everybody's just intimidated and confused.

I do what Goremaster might do in this situation: I give them a burned copy of "Wolverine Blues" by Entombed to bridge the gap from rock into death metal, and see if that tree bears fruit.

Machine Head's "Burn My Eyes" is another masterpiece I love to share with prospective headbangers.

Anyways, the basic sub-genres will always exist, but it would be so much better to just refer to Slayer as a METAL band, and Megadeth as a METAL band, and Nile as a METAL band. It makes it so much easier to outsiders, but then again, that's not really why we do this in the first place.

BigNewsDay said...

Yes, but the more new fans we can turn on to real metal. The more real metal fans there are, the stronger the scene becomes, and the louder of a voice we will have when corporations continue to feed us bullshit music.

A great example of what I am saying is HRRL. Why do we listen to HRRL and not the local Clear Channel station?

Because HRRL plays music we want to hear!

Remember, people will purchase what they are spoon fed. That is why these shitty bands keep getting signed and actually make money. Pull these kids aside and give them a slayer, kreator, death, etc... CD and say "Listen to this! This is real metal." Then, instead of having a silly little emo kid to make fun of, we have a new fan of real metal.

Goremaster said...

Best albums to get people hooked on real metal imo are the following (also this happens to be my top 10 fav albums)

1. Death-Scream Bloody Gore
2. Massacre-From Beyond
3. Death-Leprosy
4. Burzum-Filosofem
5. Burzum-Hvis Lyset Tar Oss
6. Mercyful Fate-Melissa
7. Death-Human
8. Slayer-Reign in Blood
9. Deicide-Deicide
10. Mayhem-De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas

BlackLabelAxe said...

They have a multi-page memoir of Chuck Schuldinger in the new Guitar World. I just got it in the mail a few days ago, so it should be in stores soon.

It has Dimebag at the center, Duane Allman to his left, and Randy Rhoads to his right on an orange flame background.

Do you think that Death is really accessible enough to turn on new fans? I know I broke into metal because of the first Black Label Society record, because they had a sound that was a crossover from the world I knew (classic, southern rock) into the abyss of metal which I now call my home.

I think if somebody handed me a Deicide album first, I'd probably turn it off right away and never even think about it again. Now that I came up from crossover bands like Corrosion of Conformity and Entombed, I can dig even the craziest, most brutal shit imaginable.

The more metal I listen to, the more Death strikes me as brilliant and unique. I'm not going to lie, the first few times I heard it I couldn't really understand why people lost their shit over this band. Now I can appreciate it, but it's because I've taken small steps further out into the abyss.

Goremaster said...

"Do you think that Death is really accessible enough to turn on new fans? "

Yes. Whole catelog. If they want something extremely brutal listen to Scream bloody Gore if they want something more techinical and melodic listen to Human. IMO Death is the greatest band of all time.

ken hawk said...

Ive tried breaking in friends I thought would get into my style. Some would get it, some wouldnt. My wife loves In Flames. My running buddy doesnt get anything.
Point: I think what BND was going towards was the tolerance of metallers. I think you're dead on as far as some allowing the subgenre system to dictate their views, I've tried to express this point numerous times. Me, hell, I'm all about tech death metal from Death, Martyr, Decapitated, but you'll find Alice In Chains CDs on my wall, Red Hot Chili Peppers funk in my truck and even some classical on my iPod.
Music is such an emotional force, people get as defensive over it as with religion. You may never convince someone of how they SHOULD see, or hear, regardless whether you are right.
The important thing is to find your own inner peace, and keep an open mind until you've heard that track. You can influence others without pushing yourself on them.

Lefty Metalhead said...

I think metalheads tend to forget that metal is primarily MUSIC. Once we attach labels and false aesthetic values to the music, we pollute the true meaning of metal, which is the most extreme form of rock.

Such debates are good for the metal community's advancement. We get to share our ideas on metal music and culture. We exchange our thoughts on what makes a great band and what doesn't. However, we all have different opinions, and these disagreements can dampen our metal community. I can tell you from personal experience how this is so.

Perhaps we should just listen to the music and analyze purely for sport, and not to attempt to direct metal on a specific course.

B.L. Sabob: now "completely heterosexual" said...

Twas ever thus.

The whole issue of musical factioning has always been there and probably always will. Ire recall an reading an interview with Henry Rollins a long time ago where he was talking about punks giving Black Flag shit about the fact that they were avowed fans of The Grateful Dead. It talked about how sad it was that these supposed rebels were just as closed minded as the people they were supposedly rebelling against.

I guess it's just human nature to want to join a group and say that all other groups are inferior to your group. Other than the desire to secure natural resources, it’s the most common reason for warfare. It happens in religion, nationalism, sports, music, you name it.

But it is the sub-genre factionalization that is the most pathetic and comical. Its one thing for a punk to hate The Deadhead scene, I understand. We chose the culture/lifestyle that we do not by random (hopefully) but because we find it superior in some ways to the other alternatives. And we listen to what we listen to because we (hopefully) find it better than the things we chose not to listen to.

But when you chose to hate something simply because you perceive it as being part of a "scene" that you and your "tribe" have decided to hate, well that's just friggin stupid. I was part of the early 80s Chicago punk scene for a brief period of time. And I was dismayed at how much hatred and factionalization was going on. Not only did the local punk hate The Clash for achieving commercial success, but they claimed that wasn't Punk, just because it didn't fit their narrow definition of what punk was. I always thought that punk was an attitude, but they acted like it as fashion. Sorry there aren't enough safety pins in my beat up motorcycle jacket and that I listen to some bands that know more than three chords and one tempo, asshole.

What this reminds me of is the way some sports fans act about teams. Now, it would be one thing for someone who really loves football to say that they think baseball sucks. But when you have a fan of one sport, say baseball, who thinks that they must have a seething hatred of all other teams than their hometown boys, that’s just fucking retarded. And it gets even more retarded when you have intra-city hatred. I used to live in Chicago and always laughed at the vitriol spilled onto one another by Sox and Cubs fans. Hey douche bags, it’s all the same sport and they're both from the same city. What’s to hate?

Like I said, it may just be an inescapable human characteristic to "tribe up" and throw spears at the neighboring tribes. Race, religion, nationality, redstate/bluestate, paper or plastic, whatever. We all need some way to join a group, identify with it and piss on the other groups.

Oh by the way, My group? I'm in the group of people who don't think they join groups and then look down on all those who do.

BigNewsDay said...

Cool, we are in the same group.