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What separates good metal from the rest?

What separates good metal from the rest?
August 06, 2012, 05:00:12 AM
As recently observed in an article in 'The Atlantic', metal (and even 'brutal' metal like Deicide) shares with New Age music an interest in the trascendant. Readers of the DLA will of course already appreciate this.

However it is a mute point to observe that styles of metal which aren't traditional black or death are concerned with trascendence. Bands like OM, Sunn O))), Drudhk (as described by the article) all evoke meditative, reflective, 'spritual' atmospheres. I do not happen to enjoy OM and Drudhk (I like Sunn O)))), and I think that they do not share the same compositional techniques as old school black and death metal, but nevertheless they, like psychedelic bands, some forms of electronic music etc, are obviously motivated by some sort of desire to get beyond the individualistic and solipsistic themes of rock, pop, rap, R&B etc.

The unique compsotional structure of old school death and black metal I think seperates bands belonging to these genres from bands ike Drudhk and OM, and also perhaps the themes of death and black metal bands puts them a rung up the ladder, literally. It could be argued that although stoner, doom, drone, psychedelic music is concerned with the transcendent in appearance, beneath the surface it's really just escapist psychology. You get high to reverb-laced guitars, and lyrics about ancient temples etc. However, the same argument could be made of death and black metal. Even though the themes are more 'ascetic' (war, death, combat) and thus perhaps more trasncendent than doom, drone, stoner etc (and leaving aside the issue of its compositional uniqueness), you can cite countless examples of fans of this music being completely introverted, detached individuals who are hiding away in their medieval fantasy worlds and avoiding the battles they should be engaged in today, here and now in the real world. It is a fine line.

Taking a different direction: even if death and black metal do evoke a different variation of the quasi-transcendent themes of a wider variety of music (more 'war-like' or 'ascetic'), the factors which elevate metal, comparatively, then become purely political ones. 'Music X is more transcendent than Music Y because it takes approach 'a' to issues of war, nation and other people as opposed to approach 'b'. This is political or ideological, and the issue hinges on one's conception of what exactly transcedence is (is it the path of action or contemplation, for instance? is it an aristocacy of the spirit, or is it universal compassion? etc)

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/08/doom-metal-has-a-dirty-soothing-secret-its-a-lot-like-new-age-music/260582/


Re: What seperates good metal from the rest?
August 06, 2012, 12:01:56 PM
One point to be made is that metal is better when it's mythological and unconcerned with the specific "problems of the day."

http://www.deathmetal.org/news/slayer-best-during-mythological-years/
His Majesty at the Swamp / Black Arts Lead to Everlasting Sins / Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism / Oath of Black Blood / Privilege of Evil / Dawn of Possession / In Battle There is No Law / Thousand Swords / To Mega Therion

Re: What seperates good metal from the rest?
August 06, 2012, 01:25:40 PM
Definetely true

Re: What seperates good metal from the rest?
August 06, 2012, 02:40:12 PM
Agree. It's one reason I can never really get into punk.
But metal done right is a mixture of dissident and transcendental forces.
Exactly what the world needs :)

Re: What seperates good metal from the rest?
August 06, 2012, 07:13:59 PM
One point to be made is that metal is better when it's mythological and unconcerned with the specific "problems of the day."

http://www.deathmetal.org/news/slayer-best-during-mythological-years/

Or, if it is to refer to "problems of the day", approaching the subject from a metaphorical standpoint (perhaps through a mythological lens) definitely makes things more interesting.

Bottom line - metal is best when it doesn't forget the fantastical elements.
No.

Having reviewed the thread, baby Jesus is most definitely weeping at this point.

Re: What seperates good metal from the rest?
August 08, 2012, 09:14:19 PM
http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/08/doom-metal-has-a-dirty-soothing-secret-its-a-lot-like-new-age-music/260582/

This article doesn`t really state anything new and seems nothing more than sensational and pandering to a certain demographic in nature.

Re: What seperates good metal from the rest?
August 09, 2012, 03:06:24 AM
http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/08/doom-metal-has-a-dirty-soothing-secret-its-a-lot-like-new-age-music/260582/

This article doesn`t really state anything new and seems nothing more than sensational and pandering to a certain demographic in nature.

Maybe not for DLA readers. But it's new, for 'mainstreem' press, and it's pretty cool to see the idea that metal is about something higher entering a wider arena.

Re: What seperates good metal from the rest?
August 10, 2012, 03:19:30 AM
Or, if it is to refer to "problems of the day", approaching the subject from a metaphorical standpoint definitely makes things more interesting.

Dead Kennedys are one of the best punk bands because they have the ability to criticize society via satire and metaphor. Most punks are just jocks with piercing and tattoos.

It doesn't surprise me that Slayer was into Dead Kennedys.