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Mainstream recognizes what sets metal apart

Mainstream recognizes what sets metal apart
April 17, 2009, 09:58:52 PM
http://wtbfocus.wordpress.com/2009/04/17/why-i-love-metal-music/

Despite the namedropping of terrible bands, the general point is correct (before he falls into the "it's hard to play, so it's good!!" trap)- rock music is about simply creating a song to a template, whereas (good) metal has an idea and sets the form around it. Progressive rock such as King Crimson or the better Pink Floyd works (although Animals is much better than The Wall) attempted this, but wound up lapsing back into the rock tropes they wanted to get away from; same with proto-metal such as Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath.

It's funny how people with no exposure to the underground can understand this better than modern-day "kvlt" black-metallers.

Reminds me of:

You either try for acceptance (rock 'n roll, a LCD if there ever was one) or you try to make music form follow substance, which excludes rock music which is made by making variations of form disconnected from substance. Black metal was form shaped by substance; now it's substance shaped by form. Tail wagging dog, inverted values, fatalism not heroism, dick in the ass, etc.

I like metal for its epic Romanticist viewpoint: that life is beautiful and if we overlook our fears of death and evil, we can see how all is continuous and amazing. Metal is about finding joy in power and beauty in vastness, and escaping the human perspective and its petty fears.

And also:

The TV show "Bones" defines death metal and black metal

Wordsworthian Sublime, anyone?

rock music is about simply creating a song to a template, whereas (good) metal has an idea and sets the form around it

Sorry, but I think that's bullshit. Music has been in some way built "around an idea" since its beginnings, from ritual, folk and liturgical music, and rock music isn't a gap in that tradition. Think of the Beatles' "Yesterday", can you honestly tell me that that song doesn't try to illustrate a concept musically? In fact, I think more often than not metal fails that standard, becoming absolute music. How does the music in Incantation's song Golgotha serve to illustrate anything? Virtually every song on that album sounds the same and is interchangeable; sure, there's some variation in form IE Christening the Afterbirth and Rotting Spiritual Embodiment are slower or Unholy Massacre actually has a good riff, but the songs might as well have been about eating kitty litter. Death Metal might have succeeded in creating and improving a form but they certainly haven't in applying that form coherently to express something meaningful. The music and the messages (if any) are completely detached from one another. Correct me if you think I'm wrong, but at least provide some examples.

Death Metal might have succeeded in creating and improving a form but they certainly haven't in applying that form coherently to express something meaningful.

I think you entirely misunderstand this genre.

Its poetry is the song structure composed of its riffs interacting to project a narrative form with a clear mechanism, like poetry.

For examples:

  • "Land of Ice" by Unleashed. Notice how the song builds to an internal climax and then smooths out into an entirely different timbre and riff style. Why?
  • "Fall from Grace" by Morbid Angle. Verse/chorus, and then explanatory passages.
  • "Hardening of the Arteries" by Slayer. Notice how each riff change has an introduction and these thrust the song forward to its conclusion.
  • "Obscura" by Gorguts. Rotational form of riffs, produces sestina-like poetry.


Now compare this to classical music, specifically the storm Romantics (Brahms, Beethoven) and leitmotif-driven moderns (Wagner, Bruckner, Respighi).


As an addendum to the above post:
Personally, black metal was never too difficult to get into. Darkthrone bored me the first time I heard them, but after a few more listens to a few more albums, I was hooked. Death metal, however, had always been problematic for me. It seemed too chaotic, too primal, too unfocused for me to appreciate it. This opinion changed entirely after I started listening to classical music again(Bach and Beethoven having the strongest effect) - learning how to appreciate that gave me a wholly different perspective on how to listen to death metal.
HE WHO REAPS STORMS, SOWS WINDS. HE WHO SOWS WINDS, REAPS STORMS.

"It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart."
-Ecclesiastes 7:2

Me too. I think when I first encountered death metal, it sounded really chaotic to me because I was from the rock camp, where there's one riff per verse and chorus and they are harmonically changing but melodically static, where death metal is the exact opposite. It's the art of writing a good phrase and putting it together with others to form a simple phrase shape poem.
ASBO

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

Interesting. I found death metal much easier to get into that black metal. I guess listening to bands like Slayer help in the transition; they're basically a proto-death metal band. However the harshness of the black metal aesthetic me put me off it intitially. I remember when I first listened to In The Nightside Eclipse it thought it was rubbish because it sounded like it was recorded in a cave- now it's one of my favourite albums. I guess any new forms of music exposed to the mind needs time to be absorbed and appreciated.

ITNE has probably one of the 'better' examples of production in black metal, and is definitely more accessible than other black metal albums.

Death Metal might have succeeded in creating and improving a form but they certainly haven't in applying that form coherently to express something meaningful.

I think you entirely misunderstand this genre.

Its poetry is the song structure composed of its riffs interacting to project a narrative form with a clear mechanism, like poetry.

For examples:

  • "Land of Ice" by Unleashed. Notice how the song builds to an internal climax and then smooths out into an entirely different timbre and riff style. Why?
  • "Fall from Grace" by Morbid Angle. Verse/chorus, and then explanatory passages.
  • "Hardening of the Arteries" by Slayer. Notice how each riff change has an introduction and these thrust the song forward to its conclusion.
  • "Obscura" by Gorguts. Rotational form of riffs, produces sestina-like poetry.


Now compare this to classical music, specifically the storm Romantics (Brahms, Beethoven) and leitmotif-driven moderns (Wagner, Bruckner, Respighi).

I don't think structure is the same as content. Sure, you can use structure as a device to say something, but it's not everything. That's like focusing on the fact that a poem is structured AABBA instead of what the words in it actually mean. In an essay, it's not the structure of the essay that gets the message across, it's the statements made in it. The analogue of a statement in a metal song is the riff, melody, musical phrase, whatever.

You can rearrange a turd however you want, the result is still a turd. You can even rearrange it in very creative and elaborate ways, maybe even create a fecal reproduction of Bartonlini's Nymph With Scorpion, the result is still a pile of shit. This is how I see Death Metal. "Oh cool, they didn't make this song verse/chorus or this riff kinda develops off that one." So what? What you're describing sounds like another exercise in form to me.

I think the term "narrative composition" as applied to death metal on this site's articles is a huge misnomer. A "narrative" would imply that the songs actually have something to say and illustrate with the music, not just that songs are a bunch of chained up abstract noise that may (or may not) make sense musically and sound pretty cool but have no purpose beyond that.

Why do you see the riffs in death metal as shit? Explain.

Structure isn't an important arbiter of meaning in literature?  Really?  Have you actually thought this through, or is this contrarian bullshit for the sake of contrariness?

Maybe metal song structure parallels or contradicts the listener's own brainwaves.

You have a consonant brainwave _||__||__||_ a dissonant song structure ||_||_|| with temporal overlap creating a full constant signal like meshed gears that turn representing time's passage. That's a crude way to explain my point for lack of another way. Why are we throwing away resources helping the permanent hopeless of humanity rather than funding more studies into this subject and unlocking magnificent creations with our findings?

http://www.anus.com/metal/hall/index.php/topic,3927.0.html
”The Revolution ends by devouring its own children” – Jacques Mallet du Pan, 1793

Death Metal might have succeeded in creating and improving a form but they certainly haven't in applying that form coherently to express something meaningful.

I think you entirely misunderstand this genre.

Its poetry is the song structure composed of its riffs interacting to project a narrative form with a clear mechanism, like poetry.

For examples:

  • "Land of Ice" by Unleashed. Notice how the song builds to an internal climax and then smooths out into an entirely different timbre and riff style. Why?
  • "Fall from Grace" by Morbid Angle. Verse/chorus, and then explanatory passages.
  • "Hardening of the Arteries" by Slayer. Notice how each riff change has an introduction and these thrust the song forward to its conclusion.
  • "Obscura" by Gorguts. Rotational form of riffs, produces sestina-like poetry.


Now compare this to classical music, specifically the storm Romantics (Brahms, Beethoven) and leitmotif-driven moderns (Wagner, Bruckner, Respighi).

I don't think structure is the same as content. Sure, you can use structure as a device to say something, but it's not everything. That's like focusing on the fact that a poem is structured AABBA instead of what the words in it actually mean. In an essay, it's not the structure of the essay that gets the message across, it's the statements made in it. The analogue of a statement in a metal song is the riff, melody, musical phrase, whatever.

You can rearrange a turd however you want, the result is still a turd. You can even rearrange it in very creative and elaborate ways, maybe even create a fecal reproduction of Bartonlini's Nymph With Scorpion, the result is still a pile of shit. This is how I see Death Metal. "Oh cool, they didn't make this song verse/chorus or this riff kinda develops off that one." So what? What you're describing sounds like another exercise in form to me.

I think the term "narrative composition" as applied to death metal on this site's articles is a huge misnomer. A "narrative" would imply that the songs actually have something to say and illustrate with the music, not just that songs are a bunch of chained up abstract noise that may (or may not) make sense musically and sound pretty cool but have no purpose beyond that.

Structure isn't an important arbiter of meaning in literature?  Really?  Have you actually thought this through, or is this contrarian bullshit for the sake of contrariness?

I agree, Godkiller does seem to lean towards providing contrary examples for the sake of doing so. If a valid point was explained here, I would be more than willing to discuss its implications further. However, if one is to give any sort of objective analysis to art, that analysis lies in structure. To borrow from an article on the main site: Do we call a chair a chair because it is made of egg whites, wood, or feces; or do we know it as a chair because of its function? If one were to compare structure to poetry, and melodies to sentences, one would see that traditional music resembles poetry in that themes are provided, and altered as if to expand information about that theme. Sub-passages and counter-point are often times reintroduced as dominant themes with changes in cadence or pitch, carefully assembled to guide the theme of the overall architecture to its conclusion. Whether your ideology agrees with these themes or not is a completely different story, but the structure reveals what it reveals regardless. Death metal and black metal are the only modern forms of music I have heard that continue this spirit in composition.

rock music is about simply creating a song to a template, whereas (good) metal has an idea and sets the form around it

Sorry, but I think that's bullshit. Music has been in some way built "around an idea" since its beginnings, from ritual, folk and liturgical music, and rock music isn't a gap in that tradition. Think of the Beatles' "Yesterday", can you honestly tell me that that song doesn't try to illustrate a concept musically? In fact, I think more often than not metal fails that standard, becoming absolute music. How does the music in Incantation's song Golgotha serve to illustrate anything? Virtually every song on that album sounds the same and is interchangeable; sure, there's some variation in form IE Christening the Afterbirth and Rotting Spiritual Embodiment are slower or Unholy Massacre actually has a good riff, but the songs might as well have been about eating kitty litter. Death Metal might have succeeded in creating and improving a form but they certainly haven't in applying that form coherently to express something meaningful. The music and the messages (if any) are completely detached from one another. Correct me if you think I'm wrong, but at least provide some examples.

This is so fucking idiotic, it makes me want to tear my hair out. How can you hear Incantation and not have an immediate grasp of what it's "about"? Its essence is implicit in its form. Just because something is "pure abstraction" doesn't mean it doesn't have content. I think your problem is that you need things to be spelled out for you lyrically in order to comprehend some sort of meaning. Honestly, ha.... as though "absolute music" doesn't have content. Would you say, in perfect sincerity, that Bach's works could be conveying the spirit of "eating kitty litter"?

Your reaction is like someone looking at a beautiful oil painting of a stormy ocean and saying, "WAHT I SEE PURPLE!"

Maybe your incomprehension is actually honest, as opposed to a spiteful passive-aggression fueled by outrage that some others might actually have a deeper, richer, more rewarding experience of music than you do. In the former case, I apoolgize for my venom, but nonetheless encourage you to approach this in a more open manner. There is little indication that you're making a serious attempt to understand why so many people have organically come to the conclusions expressed on ANUS and the Dark Legions Archive.