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Class conflict in metal

Class conflict in metal
December 31, 2008, 03:56:30 AM
This issue has many sides, and I'm not sure what I think about it.

In general, it seems that upper-middle-class people look down on heavy metal as being for yahoos and blue-collar workers.

The middle class seems accepting of it, but then there's conflict between the very metal suburban middle class and the more urban punks -- although probably about half of them are suburban kids who are just pretending.

Within metal, some music appeals to one group over others, and the creators vary widely. At the Gates came from an upper middle class background, as did Sepultura.

I wonder how much of the misunderstandings of a deliberate nature come from the passive and gnarled nature of this conflict.
ASBO

“Kurt Cobain was, ladies and gentlemen, a worthless shred of human debris.” - Rush Limbaugh

Re: Class conflict in metal
December 31, 2008, 11:08:47 AM
I wonder how much of the misunderstandings of a deliberate nature come from the passive and gnarled nature of this conflict.

It certainly plays into the elitist/populist dynamic that seems to play out so often on internet forums.  The anti-intellectual tradition in working class circles tends to play out as a "drink beer, bang your head, and don't think so much" mentality among a lot of metal fans, and it certainly feeds the resentment of ANUS and its disciples.

Re: Class conflict in metal
December 31, 2008, 12:47:29 PM
The correlation between classes and metal is very shakey, because most metal is not political music. Blak metal and a lot of death metal is Scandinivian which is a veryrich part of the world and has created some of the most intellignetly written music, but there are many examples of working class based bands that don't fit thesteriotype of stupid beer drinking headbangers.
In a state of permanent Abyss

Re: Class conflict in metal
December 31, 2008, 02:55:53 PM
The personnel from Morbid Angel didn't come from a wealthy background, and they've produced some of the most intelligent music period.

Imagination and willpower are the most important aspects in creating music, I would say. And that has nothing to do with where one fits within a society.

Re: Class conflict in metal
December 31, 2008, 05:20:12 PM
I wouldn't be surpirsed if many of the greatest metal bands (Burzum, Enslaved, Immortal) came from relatively well-to-do upbringings.  I have no evidence, it's just an assumption.  Here's why:  if you have time to contemplate things like music, death, the occult, etc.  it's because you don't have to worry about food, money, friends, shelter, etc.  It's Maslow's hierarchy of needs, in essence.  This is just a GENERAL thought, and again, I have no evidence.
I live in my own place
Have never copied nobody even half
And at any Master who lacks the grace
To laugh at himself, I laugh!

Re: Class conflict in metal
December 31, 2008, 08:16:29 PM
Here we trod close to nature vs. nurture politics. The many great Scandinavian bands likely did well due to having a society of widespread affluence supporting their endeavors, true, yet at the root of this is people of Scandinavian decent who made such a society and some of the resulting metal excellence it produced for the world.

In contrast is Brazil, where affluence is not widespread, but rather concentrated among the tiny minority European-descended ownership class from which its only notable metal band Sepultura arose.

The overall pattern is that metal is an overwhelmingly native and colonial European-heritage phenomenon forged in both the tangible benefits and observable failures of modern Western society. The metal music phenomenon is like an antibody reaction in an otherwise strong organism that has but recently fallen very ill.
”The Revolution ends by devouring its own children” – Jacques Mallet du Pan, 1793

Re: Class conflict in metal
December 31, 2008, 09:40:38 PM
Quote from: Viridovix
In contrast is Brazil, where affluence is not widespread, but rather concentrated among the tiny minority European-descended ownership class from which its only notable metal band Sepultura arose.

Don't forget Sarcofago, who were also white Brazilians (if memory serves me correctly).

Re: Class conflict in metal
January 01, 2009, 11:26:42 AM
I wouldn't be surpirsed if many of the greatest metal bands (Burzum, Enslaved, Immortal) came from relatively well-to-do upbringings.  I have no evidence, it's just an assumption.  Here's why:  if you have time to contemplate things like music, death, the occult, etc.  it's because you don't have to worry about food, money, friends, shelter, etc.  It's Maslow's hierarchy of needs, in essence.  This is just a GENERAL thought, and again, I have no evidence.

I remember reading that Varg Vikernes' parents are both successful engineers, and his brother similarily pursued a respectable career (I think in engineering). In that light the whole black metal scene comes off as a whiny little brat; having never endured real hardships, they're glum and morose about nothing because of the ego-battle initiated by Euronymous, the ringleader of the whole Norsk BM circus. And then they throw away their well-to-do background by ending up in prison. Fail.

With regard to class, I haven't noticed any large class distinction among the youth attending metal shows. Most tend to be middle class, reflecting the statistical norm, and very few are upper class. I doubt you'd find anyone in the above 40 crowd at a metal gig who's anything but lower class, though.

MLK

Re: Class conflict in metal
January 01, 2009, 02:44:49 PM
At the beginning metal seems to have been a very working class affair; as far as the creators are concerned at least - audience may be a different story. Sabbath, Priest, Motorhead, almost all NWOBHM... wrote music that helped them escape the drudgery of their crappy factory jobs.

Speed metal seems to have been a mostly middle class thing, which shows that at least when it got bigger heavy metal reached a middle class audience. explains how the punk influences and liberal politics crept in.

DM/BM was probably predominantly upper middle class. Kids rebelling against having nothing to challenge them or make life interesting. an underground tape trading/zine network needs constant cash to keep it going, enter rich mommy and daddy.

Seems to have stayed a working class product in England longer than elsewhere (Godflesh, Carcass), where there was also no real notable DM/BM movement.

Modern day audiences and bands are almost completely middle class, but then most people nowadays are. Theres no industry in the west to define much of a working class. closer probably to say theres now a consumer class, a class of spongers/breeders and a super rich. None of which are very productive or creative.

Re: Class conflict in metal
January 01, 2009, 03:55:29 PM
Quote
I remember reading that Varg Vikernes' parents are both successful engineers, and his brother similarily pursued a respectable career (I think in engineering). In that light the whole black metal scene comes off as a whiny little brat; having never endured real hardships, they're glum and morose about nothing because of the ego-battle initiated by Euronymous, the ringleader of the whole Norsk BM circus. And then they throw away their well-to-do background by ending up in prison. Fail.

What, now we're Christians who must suffer and be martyrs before we're allowed to note that the world is fucked up?  Personally, I think it reflects rather well on the intelligence and principles of the early Norse scene that it's primary figures rose up against a world they knew was heading for failure, despite the privileged positions they could have occupied merely by accepting the status quo. 

ken

Re: Class conflict in metal
January 03, 2009, 06:00:03 AM
I wouldn't be surpirsed if many of the greatest metal bands (Burzum, Enslaved, Immortal) came from relatively well-to-do upbringings.  I have no evidence, it's just an assumption.  Here's why:  if you have time to contemplate things like music, death, the occult, etc.  it's because you don't have to worry about food, money, friends, shelter, etc.  It's Maslow's hierarchy of needs, in essence.  This is just a GENERAL thought, and again, I have no evidence.

I have to agree, if I didnt have to worry about my uncertain future I could spend more time creating something.

Re: Class conflict in metal
January 03, 2009, 06:21:10 AM
Speed metal seems to have been a mostly middle class thing, which shows that at least when it got bigger heavy metal reached a middle class audience. explains how the punk influences and liberal politics crept in.

DM/BM was probably predominantly upper middle class. Kids rebelling against having nothing to challenge them or make life interesting. an underground tape trading/zine network needs constant cash to keep it going, enter rich mommy and daddy.

I believe this is entirely incorrect. In fact, by and large - specifically in regard to the creators and early participants and adherents - there is no real delineation between these two groups, but perhaps the more well-healed Norse BM crowd. Early DM was a direct outgrowth of Speed and Thrash Metal, and was both created and enjoyed by essentially the same people. Back in the 80's and early 90's virtually all the people I personally knew in the burgeoning DM world(primarily in the NYDM movement - in and out of NY)hailed from at best working class to lower middle-class backgrounds. No one in that scene had a "rich mommy and daddy" that I can recall - and if they did it made no difference because that rich mommy and daddy had long since kicked them out of the house by then!! Again, BM may be a different story, but at least in America, DM was not born of the upper middle class.


   

Re: Class conflict in metal
January 03, 2009, 05:17:44 PM
So to some up, in the early days metal was a working class thing in the UK and the US, then in Scandinavia it was taken on by middle class kids, mostly cos its a rich part of the world. In America and Britain it has since become more predominantly middle class but this is due more to the shrinking of the working class in general rather than anything to do with metal.
In a state of permanent Abyss

Re: Class conflict in metal
January 05, 2009, 11:14:51 AM
In America and Britain it has since become more predominantly middle class but this is due more to the shrinking of the working class in general rather than anything to do with metal.

The working class and lower middle class in America have two types of art/entertainment: the distracting kind, and the liberal political (moralistic, but secular) kind.

Metal doesn't fit into either of those slots. It's fantasy that applies to reality.
ASBO

“Kurt Cobain was, ladies and gentlemen, a worthless shred of human debris.” - Rush Limbaugh

Re: Class conflict in metal
January 16, 2009, 03:00:38 AM
Here we trod close to nature vs. nurture politics. The many great Scandinavian bands likely did well due to having a society of widespread affluence supporting their endeavors, true, yet at the root of this is people of Scandinavian decent who made such a society and some of the resulting metal excellence it produced for the world.

In contrast is Brazil, where affluence is not widespread, but rather concentrated among the tiny minority European-descended ownership class from which its only notable metal band Sepultura arose.

The overall pattern is that metal is an overwhelmingly native and colonial European-heritage phenomenon forged in both the tangible benefits and observable failures of modern Western society. The metal music phenomenon is like an antibody reaction in an otherwise strong organism that has but recently fallen very ill.

Could never agree more on this, it is unimaginable for example to  even think that a healthy death metal or black metal scene could come out from third world shitholes. Most individuals who made great metal were refined men of an aristocratic and gentlemanly nature, obviously men of such persuasions and habits could not arise from the sweating, stinking mass called "humanity"