OK, well first off, I'm not self-centered so I feel a bit strange participating in a thread about 'my' views and I participate in the hope that it evolves into a broader sort of discussion.
First, the DLA is my favourite metal website, if admittedly not because it's so good as much as because all the others are so awful. I find it surprising no other websites beyond the DLA have taken a stab at furthering high-level metal discourse, and that's a main reason why I recently created (The Metal Discourser
(TMD). Furthermore I believe the DLA, while having done metal a great service, has simultaneously done metal a significant disservice, in the way it melds together high-level metal discourse and concepts that aren't innately metal-related such as nationalism, nihilism, etc. It's a disservice largely because the DLA is the only website around dealing with high-level metal discourse--for which the DLA cannot be faulted, but should be praised--and that as a result how it treats the subject carries that much more weight. I feel high-level metal discourse is now in the general metal population significantly associated with the DLA, as if there were no other way to go about it other than the DLA's, and I feel this association has frequently tainted the notion of high-level metal discourse in the minds of those metal listeners who disagree with the DLA's views or attitudes. Because, at the end of the day, I do hold the DLA in a fairly high regard, I must hold it responsible for failing to recognize the influence it has as the flag-bearer of high-level metal discourse and / or for deliberately confining the discourse to rigid frameworks (that serve its own ideological agenda).
TMD's statement of belief (as listed on the home page) is as follows:Metal scholars agree that the field of metal music studies remains highly stigmatized in the academic world and is underdeveloped. An extremely wide and varied genre of music, among modern musical genres metal deals with some of the most profound subject matter such as philosophy, spirituality, occultism, social commentary, etc, corresponds with some of the most unique alternative lifestyles in its 'metalhead' listeners, expresses some of the most sonically and musically extreme sounds, and incorporates some of the highest levels of complexity and sophistication in terms of musical theory and composition. Metal demands to be examined more closely, from the spiritual or occult experiences of catharsis or transcendence many of its listeners report cultivating, to its applicability in a wide range of academic fields of study and a greater understanding of subcultures and the world we live in, to the age-old question of what makes some metal more psychologically healthy, 'authentic' or just downright better than other metal.
TMD isn't some shining beacon of hope or anything so dramatic, indeed the fact that the need for a website like TMD has existed much longer than TMD has, the fact that the niche has gone unfilled for so long, says far less about TMD's innovation than about the stagnation it seeks to overcome. Making full use of the internet's vast potential as an information technology and maintaining an atmosphere of open-mindedness, seriousness, integrity and clarity, TMD aims to help render the domain of metal in the marketplace of ideas free of bias and misinformation that truth may be free to rise to the surface.
On a personal level, when I think of metal I ignore anything to do with the lyrics or what the musicians intend to convey. For myself, based on my own views and personal experiences, metal is extremely spiritual in nature, more specifically in the vein of the left-hand path, which is the path I walk. For me it's all about how the music makes me feel, what concepts / sentiments it evokes, and I choose to listen to music that is congruent with, expresses, exalts and perhaps even expands on my personal spiritual paradigm. I created TMD's aggregator because I believe internet information aggregation of that sort is the way of the future, far more efficient than the traditional library, and I do plan to monetize TMD in the future (if possible). However I also maintain TMD because I wish to promote metal, because I wish to promote the left-hand path. I listen to metal purely for entertainment in a hedonistic way on occasion, as I'd submit that one cannot constantly maintain a heightened awareness amidst the sickness and perversity of modern society and that sometimes it's efficient to vent or 'slack off', but I have absolutely no desire to promote metal for its applications to mere entertainment. When I say in the statement of belief that "TMD aims to help render the domain of metal in the marketplace of ideas free of bias and misinformation that truth may be free to rise to the surface", I'm referring mainly to PMRC-type misinformation among non-metal-listeners and I want with TMD to help increase metal's respectability among the world's population in general--so that the magical left-hand path hymns can reach more ears and perhaps subtly nudge more minds.This blog post
(which I posted on this forum and received no responses to hehe) expands some more on my views about metal's spiritual potential.