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Metal: a repository for losers?

Metal: a repository for losers?
September 11, 2008, 03:13:41 AM
Most of the best people I've met in life were associated with metal, but the converse is not true: not all metalheads are good people.

Specifically, there's two major groups:

(a) urban hipsters who work at Target, have shitty bands and fail at life;
(b) middle class college kids who spout a good game on the net and then go back to their tool jobs and change nothing.

Is metal just the receptacle tip of a dying empire? ** spuuuuurt **

Re: Metal: a repository for losers?
September 11, 2008, 05:49:22 AM
I heard it said once (on here I think) that metal once upon a time used to be a club for those who rejected society, but now it's a club for society's rejects. When I observe the crowd at local gigs, this statement holds true, especially if the band playing professes influence from the likes of Bodybag Darrell or Schuldiner.

Inversely, many of the smartest and most grounded people I've known are metal fans.

The quality person to moron ratio seems to be a bit better than the rest of society, but not by enough. If it's to improve, the subculture must become more exclusive, not inclusive.

Trauco

Re: Metal: a repository for losers?
September 12, 2008, 03:10:37 AM
My experience is somewhat different than both your views (probably because of culture). To me, "metalhead" has become a synonym with "failure".

All of the worst characteristics of current society: its drama, its selfishness, its neuroticism, are all exemplified AND amplified by the average metalhead, specially of the "true underground" variety (closet hipsters who have shitty bands/zines/pretensions, and fail at life). Incidental fans (low and middle class college kids who spout a good game on the net and then go back to their tool jobs and change nothing) seem less annoying and destructive than the previous, but, of course, they fail to understand the complex ideals behind the craft of metal. Then again, so do the underground warriors. It's sad and embarassing to hear them talking about ideology.

I don't even look for worthwhile people in the metal community. It's a lost cause, and I purposedly severed all contact with them, save a few every now and then.

So, locally, the subculture is dead and rotting. The only solution I see is seceding into a sub-underground group / scene which rejects the clichés of the metalhead "lifestyle" and embrace its ideals. I'm working on it. ;)

Re: Metal: a repository for losers?
September 12, 2008, 04:14:07 AM
I heard it said once (on here I think) that metal once upon a time used to be a club for those who rejected society, but now it's a club for society's rejects.

Inversely, many of the smartest and most grounded people I've known are metal fans.


These are close to reality, though gross generalizations of course. Since I was ensconced in the Metal world back in the mid- 80's through early 90's on many levels, I can say with authority that the "club" was indeed different back then. Of course, it would be easy to romanticize all that too, and forget what a pack of imbecilles were involved then as now also. Still, no proper "Metalhead" I ever knew fit either of ASBO's categories by a long shot. Back then, most were lower middle-class to relatively poor kids from broken homes, had little means or money, was probably intelligent though often ill-educated, and lived a breathed "Metal" as a lifestyle, philosophy, attitude, etc.

In many respects we were the anti-hipster of today. We played Metal on generally crappy equipment, through well-used amps, and with little understanding of music on the whole. Today the Hipster plays his PRS custom guitar, through his Mesa rack-mounted amp with Bogner cabs, has every effect, tuner, and gadget on the market, etc.(all bought by Mom and Dad), has likely been been formally trained at some point, has mastered the internet tab format, etc., etc.
The whole appraoch was different - our bitterness, disillusionment and anger was valid, heartfelt and came from experience....Today's Metal-hipster is like unto the suburban white Hip-Hop wannabe, who fantasizes about life in the ghetto and fashions himslef after the latest MTV thuggery, yet has lived as pampered and sheltered a life as one could conjure. Perhaps one could argue that such a lifestyle might also produce disillusionment and rejection...but for very different reasons and in what seems to be a very affected manner.

One the whole, many I knew from "back when" are still very much into Metal(mostly the older), many attend shows, some still play, and most are still dissatisfied with society, though to be honest, I still suspect many don't fully understand, or even want to know why. 

I cannot relate to the "Hipster/middle-class college kid" metalhead, as most are young enough to be my children, thus the whole mind-set is alien to me - well beyond the music and message I suspect.

Re: Metal: a repository for losers?
September 12, 2008, 05:57:33 AM
I think it's fairly well known here that metal has become something that is simply another "alternative".  Most metalheads have no ear for a beautiful melody, will pass up something that does because of other aspects that either destroy their superficial interest (an actual challenge to their existence, or perhaps certain petty aesthetics don't match their conception of what "metal" should be), or instead they accept it as something merely OK, because it does not have wildly recombinant aspects (the classic "grindcore with a flute" example).  Metalheads in general are a problem, but what is truly metal is not.  The most important aspect of the metal, the Romantic concepts of the embrace of struggle and beauty in darkness, is something that gives life to me everyday.  Over 4 years of listening to the genre, most of which I listened superficially, it's encouraged and succeeded in me changing much.  That concept is not the problem.  Neither are the good musical aspects of metal.  The long, winding, sweeping, fast strummed melodies of both death metal and black metal are among the few genres in this age that match the beauty humanity once created in the Baroque-Romantic eras.  We should not give up on metal because metalheads suck.  I think a good example of what to do is found in Hessian.org, that is the idea of changing the terminology to reflect something that is in tune with the metal spirit, but not limited to the wide mainstream conceptions of the genre, be those of block-headed Pantera fans disguised as death metal listeners, idiots in make-up writing emo played in a distorted arpeggio style, and these indie rock bastards in the "metalcore" and "post-metal" scenes.  The idea is not to be a metalhead, but to instead be a Hessian, which is a way of living, a metal way of living, as I have understood it.  In this sense, as many wise people have said on this site and on this forum, we can then not limit ourselves to upholding metal "because it's metal", but instead praise and uphold the greatest works of the genre, the great bands, seek newer bands that hold the concept and music that metal should be, and seek the spirit within other arts.  To the void with garbage, to the void with "not bad", to the void with "it could be worse".  Those are the statements of one who is afraid to strive for something.  Garbage is garbage, and no dressing up will change that.  Go through your mp3's, and purge everything that you don't listen to on a regular basis, because clearly either it's not meaningful to you, or you simply lack qualitative judgment of good art.  Praise the great works.  Of course, this is but nourishment for the Spirit.  If we truly wish to live metal, we need also to nourish the Body and the Mind.  We need to strive always to be at our greatest, and this includes something many do not do: ACT!  If the felling of trees anger you, or sadden you, do something.  Plant some perhaps, or perhaps take up conflict against the bastards.  If hipsters anger you, tell them off every chance you get, troll the hell out of them anywhere, especially at a metal concert.  If society is fucked, then we must be prepared to build anew, or to build within.  These are wide examples, but one starts with the small.  If you praise metal music that praises nature, should you not praise nature as well?  Would it not make sense to follow from what you profess to believe?  This is the starting point from which we can grow.

Re: Metal: a repository for losers?
September 12, 2008, 01:12:41 PM
I have spent many hours with friends and people i meet dispelling the myth of what a "metalhead" is like, be it the fat beer drinking slayer fans, or the younger hipster variety. It takes time but it works. Make people realise that there is a distinction between a "metalhead" and a Hessian. One has an aim, a goal, ideals, and one does not. Most people view metal as music for idiots; a place to channel masculine agression. With a few good discussions and some listenning one can dispell this myth.

Re: Metal: a repository for losers?
September 12, 2008, 02:10:58 PM
I have spent many hours with friends and people i meet dispelling the myth of what a "metalhead" is like, be it the fat beer drinking slayer fans, or the younger hipster variety. It takes time but it works. Make people realise that there is a distinction between a "metalhead" and a Hessian. One has an aim, a goal, ideals, and one does not. Most people view metal as music for idiots; a place to channel masculine agression. With a few good discussions and some listenning one can dispell this myth.

Absolutely and whole-heartedly agreed, and from this point we can start to make ourselves known, a force in society.  May the strong spirits love metal, and may the weak fear it, if we get metal known in this sense, the Hessian sense, then we gather people who are intelligent to the genre, but who have not heard of it, or if they had, have been put off by the hipsters and by the other idiots.  This way, we gather people who are into the idea first, which is the most important component.

Re: Metal: a repository for losers?
September 12, 2008, 05:05:39 PM
Quote
(b) middle class college kids who spout a good game on the net and then go back to their tool jobs and change nothing.
I probably would fit into this category pretty well.

The thing is, however, that being a 'middle class college kid' I only got into the music 2 or so years ago and haven't really had much of a chance to analyze and absorb the meaning of metal. You can't simply shrug off people like me because we 'don't get it (yet)'.

Re: Metal: a repository for losers?
September 12, 2008, 05:09:55 PM
My experience is somewhat different than both your views (probably because of culture). To me, "metalhead" has become a synonym with "failure".

All of the worst characteristics of current society: its drama, its selfishness, its neuroticism, are all exemplified AND amplified by the average metalhead, specially of the "true underground" variety (closet hipsters who have shitty bands/zines/pretensions, and fail at life).

I understand, and I feel lucky to know many of the good metalheads, including many of you on this forum.

If we all put our effort in the same direction, we could change this mess more easily than it seems.

At least, that's my impression after years of experience with metal. I believe in metal. I don't believe in everyone in the world being able to be a metalhead. It's not who you are, socially, but who you are inside -- competence, mainly -- that determines the real metalhead, in my view.

Re: Metal: a repository for losers?
September 12, 2008, 08:00:02 PM
Most of the best people I've met in life were associated with metal, but the converse is not true: not all metalheads are good people.

this is probably the best blanket statement concerning metal fans.

for every intelligent, interesting metal fan that i come across, it seems i come across 15 more who are lowlife, attention-whoring, Slipknot/Pantera-worshiping, sometimes overweight morons who look like they cant tell their ass from their neck. there is more to metal than "FUCK YEAH METALLICA BEERZ FUCK METUL FUCKIN RULEZ METALHEADZ FOR LIFE". that is what these idiots do not understand. while theyre busy swimming around in their teen angst and working at Wal Mart, others are getting a good education or a good job, and all they care about is how "different" they are from the crowd.

i dont want metal to seem as a "pretentious" or "snobby" music form, like progressive rock or indie. but it should not be the dumbass' choice either. ill go with what others have said here and state that metal should be more inclusive.

Re: Metal: a repository for losers?
September 12, 2008, 11:55:29 PM
ill go with what others have said here and state that metal should be more inclusive.

You mean more "exclusive"?

Re: Metal: a repository for losers?
September 12, 2008, 11:55:56 PM
I don't have quite so negative a perception, possibly because my main interaction with others into metal has been at metal shows. What I see when I go there always amazes me. If you go to the right shows, there is a sense of community which is hard to find elsewhere. In comparison with other musical sub-cultures, the people aren't hostile or defensive (rock and nightclubs), they don't usually fragment into hundreds of hipster cliques, there is no pretentiousness (jazz) or total withdrawal from the social aspect (classical concerts). At metal shows almost everyone is smiling or seems genuinely happy. It seems to me that this happens with metal and not many other subcultures because people are there primarily for the music. They don't use the event as a facade for their intellectuality, insecurity or to fit in to something, whatever that something is. So what we get is a high concentration of similar people, and the positive effect of this shown in the way they interact is great to see. The ones that I am talking about do not fit either of ASBO's category, and though some are fat, lazy and drink too much beer, somehow watching a metal show I can't think of them as anything other than good people. I can't reconcile this with 'failure' because the same phenomenon probably occurs at comic book fairs and star trek conventions, but it has definitely shown me that when people with the same genuine interests get together in the same area, something nice happens.      

Re: Metal: a repository for losers?
September 13, 2008, 04:18:08 AM
ill go with what others have said here and state that metal should be more inclusive.

You mean more "exclusive"?

......damn it.

yeah. i mean exclusive.

Re: Metal: a repository for losers?
September 13, 2008, 05:15:27 AM
when people with the same genuine interests get together in the same area, something nice happens.      

A metaphor for society, perhaps.

NHA

Re: Metal: a repository for losers?
September 15, 2008, 08:25:19 AM
In many respects we were the anti-hipster of today. We played Metal on generally crappy equipment, through well-used amps, and with little understanding of music on the whole. Today the Hipster plays his PRS custom guitar, through his Mesa rack-mounted amp with Bogner cabs, has every effect, tuner, and gadget on the market, etc.(all bought by Mom and Dad), has likely been been formally trained at some point, has mastered the internet tab format, etc., etc.
The whole appraoch was different - our bitterness, disillusionment and anger was valid, heartfelt and came from experience....Today's Metal-hipster is like unto the suburban white Hip-Hop wannabe, who fantasizes about life in the ghetto and fashions himslef after the latest MTV thuggery, yet has lived as pampered and sheltered a life as one could conjure. Perhaps one could argue that such a lifestyle might also produce disillusionment and rejection...but for very different reasons and in what seems to be a very affected manner.

Sounds like the typical whiny materialistic bitterness associated with mainstream "angry" music if you ask me. Its amazing how the lower economic classes love to lord it over everyone about how much more authentic they are for being poor - a blatant psychological defense mechanism if i ever saw one (1).

If you are going to reject society, do it based on ideological principles, not because your fragile ego cant stand having less toys than other people.  Otherwise you're like a fat goth chick with a chip on her shoulder - mad at the world for not being able to live up to superficial standards of beauty, adopting "anti-fashion" and masturbating over the new "unique" persona.

Ultimately, luxury is relative. No matter what, there will always be people better/worse off than you.

Consider also that most humans adapt to their environment within months. As a  consequence you are desensitized - making your house and diet largely irrelevant. As long as you're not living with cockroaches and malnutrition there really isn't any meaningful difference between being rich and poor, assuming you aren't a materialist.

Besides, if you eat lobster & butter every day you just end up getting a heart attack anyway heh.

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(1)  Of course, this isn't to say the rich don't spout the same type of bullshit from a different angle, but whatever.