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Who does metal belong to?

Who does metal belong to?
February 04, 2007, 04:02:53 PM
When exposed to the raw ferocity of metal and when the music is absorbed into the person an immense feeling of power and triumph can be felt. It is this that attracts many different people to metal. Whether they feel in it comfort and support or a motivation for great deeds. Due to this attraction and a sense of being part of it, many claim that they truly understand what gives metal its power. Most of the time they are humanists who say metal is for everybody, other times they have an extreme right-wing political agenda.

Because of the fantasy world that metal projects it is used as an outlet for many deep rooted fears and frustrations by a large variety of (future) social misfits. To each of these metal represents something different in a philosophical context. And they try to show that to the world by affiliating with bands by wearing T-shirts, mentioning them in discussions, and eventually trying to pass them off as "their" bands as if memorizing the lyrics to a certain song gives you the copyright of it. Not only are these people often hugely mistaken in their perception of the artists, they are largely also cripple-minded people in need of a crutch to build their persona on.

Due to the depressing reality that our polluting society enforces upon it's subjects there is a dire need for instant fantasy to escape through. We can see that in the structures of most of modern society's art forms: the classic heroes are all dead and replaced with stereotypes representing modern man. In the second half of the last century in most of the west the middle-class has increasingly absorbed both the elite and the working-class, eventually to leave only a gray mass led by a group of interest-holders masquerading behind the (im)popularity of politicians. By increasing the amount of luxury-products available for the common man they have made this gray mass believe that they are part of the elite. Most of today's popular music is just a manifestation of this consumerist lifestyle. Music is popularized not to serve as propaganda but to be a distraction, as a colorful fantasy for a dull and gray life. Extreme metal opposes this fantasy, but replaces it with another.

The ideology of metal has always been an elitist one. But just like the expanding middle-class are led to believe they are part of the elite, so has metal become a gray mass that continues to absorb both the greatest and the worst. Due to it's increase in popularity with a mainstream crowd, metal has adhered to it's audience not to fulfill artistic expectations but those of technological values and an emotional acceptance of all it's fans. The same two standards are used to measure the happiness of a modern life: technological progress and social acceptance. And those are the very two elements of society that metal originally opposed by exploring an unabashed return to the glory and harshness of the past.

The now popular classic metal albums still have their strength, but they are diluted by the interpretations of the crowd. Their purpose is not lost, but their meaning is lost in the translations of others. Even 98% of the great artists eventually become estranged of what once made them so great. During christmas time the album-sales go up, and with each generation that drops the uniform a new one arises to start wearing it. But in the meantime the effect it promised on society has become a recurring trend that only affects the sale of T-shirts and the coming and going of artists who once assured a revolution.

Metal offers a fantasy that can inspire the need for a different reality. As long as that fantasy remains only a fantasy it will bear no consequences and will only be the dark sided equivalent of what it pretends to oppose. Life belongs to those who live it. And whether the listener understands the music or not, intelligent musicians understand that once they release their music it's not entirely theirs anymore: it becomes part of the crowd. But what the majority of popular bands eventually descend into is becoming property of the crowd themselves.

Re: Who does metal belong to?
February 04, 2007, 08:27:22 PM
Metal belongs to those who live it.

Re: Who does metal belong to?
February 04, 2007, 09:45:56 PM
Metalist, all your arguments are based on the assumption that I'm talking about death metal. But where does it say "death metal" in the whole article? I wrote it about metal in general and extreme metal specifically. It's the first article on the subject I've written and I was wondering what people here would think of it. I appreciate your comments anyway (apart from you calling it "ridiculous") I'll just take it that this article didn't appeal to you from your death metal view-point.

I'd just like to comment on this though:

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Can the value or meaning of art really be affected by what others think of it?  The idea of a classic is that it stands the test of time.  How can an album sound diluted because "others" find it appealing as well?


I was not suggesting that albums sound diluted because others like them, I said that the meaning of classic albums is lost on the crowd.

Re: Who does metal belong to?
February 04, 2007, 09:54:50 PM
no form of metal ever tries to replace fantasy with another fantasy, it has always been about finding a reality, dispelling the illusion set up by the problems with our current state of affairs

i think (key word think) metalist used death metal because its ideals are really the heart of what metal tries to achieve, even black metal uses death metal as a base for everything it reaches for

if it is a paradox to death metal it will almost probably be some sort of paradox to metal as a whole

Re: Who does metal belong to?
February 04, 2007, 10:08:12 PM
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no form of metal ever tries to replace fantasy with another fantasy, it has always been about finding a reality, dispelling the illusion set up by the problems with our current state of affairs


Yes, that's why there's a genre called "fantasy metal"

(key word google)

Re: Who does metal belong to?
February 04, 2007, 10:30:03 PM
even if they sing about fantasy it does not mean they are creating a fantasy world to live in

the use of fantasy in metal is much the same as the use of pagan ways of life, songs about war and death

its promoting heroism and shows we want an older order, one where real values exists, not the very impractical and flawed values and morals we have today (essentially platonic thought)

i have never herd of fantasy metal before, im just assuming it is referring to power metal bands, there are a huge amount of invented genres out there an this looks like one of them

Re: Who does metal belong to?
February 04, 2007, 11:05:52 PM
Yeah, I admit it's one of those "self-proclaimed genres" that bands label on themselves to sound more "innovating"

But really, when I look at the history of metal starting with Black Sabbath I would say that it all definitely started with fantasy-lyrics and album-covers. Some took it more serious, but the majority doesn't and that's what I was refering to with "diluted"

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Metal offers a fantasy that can inspire the need for a different reality. As long as that fantasy remains only a fantasy it will bear no consequences and will only be the dark sided equivalent of what it pretends to oppose. Life belongs to those who live it.


Here based on the premise that all metal is fantasy and some is not I make the distinction between real and fake. It's a simple fact that the majority of metal-bands are about fantasy and only a few are for real. But I'm not saying that only the "real" bands should be hailed. I'm saying metal should simply be made real for it to have value.

I think the main problem with my article might be that it tries to say too much in too little time and doesn't concentrate on a specific type of metal which is confusing. I'll try to do a re-write (edit: I'll probably write a new article about "metal and fantasy" since this one was originally supposed to be about "who does metal belong to") Comments are still appreciated though.

Re: Who does metal belong to?
February 04, 2007, 11:08:35 PM
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Metal belongs to those who live it.


Only life is real.

Re: Who does metal belong to?
February 05, 2007, 02:19:55 AM
I'm glad i caught this post.  I thought that was pretty insightful.  
I definitely see newer metal as being more product than art (if you could even call it art).  One small thing that disturbs me about most bands these days is this queer tendency to gloss up their production with that shiny digital, metallic sound you always get with every album after '96.  Certain bands can pull it off, i suppose, but that type of production is usually the cue for my brain to shut down.  Theres that problem with production and most importantly the fact that so many metal magazines over-hype the worst new bands and "comebacks" from older band's who have adapted to the mess of the current extreme metal.   Its pretty pointless to write more about why metal has gone downhill simply because most of the metal fans who appreciate it's spirit and study its evolution never really stomach every bit of hyped up cheese thats served to them.  

Intelligent metal fans only trust the music itself and not what magazines (who are normally paid off by the band's label in order to receive good reviews), crowds of illiterate hardcore kids, or even the band's themselves have to say about the music.  The music speaks for itself.  No band is safe from the critical ear of a die-hard metal fan.  

True extreme metal does not belong to the crowd and it never will.  No one can completely apprehend something timeless because its bigger than just one individual alone and far beyond the grasp of a mindless group of inbreds that you find in the current metal scene.

Re: Who does metal belong to?
February 05, 2007, 08:44:50 AM
Thanks for your reply.

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True extreme metal does not belong to the crowd and it never will.  No one can completely apprehend something timeless because its bigger than just one individual alone and far beyond the grasp of a mindless group of inbreds that you find in the current metal scene.


I fully agree, it's just that once artists release albums anyone with money can buy them. The consumer makes up his/her own version of it and so it's meaning becomes diluted. The ideology doesn't fit in with the crowd but extreme bands still become "part of the crowd" because the crowd buys a large amount of the cd's and t-shirts. But when artists start to make albums to appeal to the tastes of the crowd the band has actually become property of the crowd (i.e. have become whores: you can probably think of a huge list of them)

I'm probably stating the obvious here but for those who didn't fully understand it. It's mostly a matter of how one reads the article anyway (interpretation... oh the irony!)

Re: Who does metal belong to?
February 05, 2007, 10:48:34 PM
Yeah,
Thats when you can truly say "These guys have sold out."  Morbid Angel, Suffocation, Deicide (especially), Mayhem, Darkthrone, Gorgoroth, Immortal...whether you like it or not, they have become a product.  Its actually pretty frustrating to hear these very same bands talk about the scene as if its blossoming or becoming stronger just because they're selling more cds, t-shirts, etc.  You have to always look past these empty statements and refer to what you can actually observe.  If there is something out right now thats representative of older metal in form and spirit, we'll most likely miss out on it because we have trouble letting go of metal and everything associated with it.  I think that if we just learn what we can from the older generation, we can cut our own path and give ourselves an alternative to the product of the metal underground.

Re: Who does metal belong to?
February 06, 2007, 06:00:18 AM
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I twinge when I see metal on MTV as well, but some of these arguments are ridiculous.  I think we can only start making progress once we analyze ourselves to see why we don't like to see (true) metal commoditized by the crowd.


I often question myself about reacting the same way.

Re: Who does metal belong to?
February 06, 2007, 08:10:49 PM
Ownership is irrelevant. Rights are irrelevant. Politics are irrelevant.

What matters is what the best humans do and how they make life more intense. Metal doesn't belong to those who live it, because many of those are nonconstructive shitheads.

Metal belongs to the elite who are altruistic enough to give a shit about something more than themselves.

Re: Who does metal belong to?
February 07, 2007, 02:44:34 AM
Metal doesn't belong to the elite, nor does it belong to the shitheads. Metal is a style of music, there will always be good and bad metal, there will always be simple and complicated ways of playing metal. Metal is for anyone who can appreciate what it is.

Re: Who does metal belong to?
February 08, 2007, 01:56:25 PM
There different levels of appreciation though. Some listen to metal to be cool and different, and others listen to it for something more than that. Now its easy to see which type is more "entitled to own" metal, but thats not gonna stop morons from listenning to metal and thinking that they own it in some way.