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Pure Metal and ANUS

Pure Metal and ANUS
August 09, 2010, 02:55:34 AM
I have not been listening to heavy metal for very long, only five years; this is a time that is a mere fraction of the veterans'.  Despite this, I am a proud metalhead who knows he has the heavy metal spirit.  As a metalhead, I feel confused and concerned about ANUS.  I understand this is a community with an intellectual orientation, so I hope you can embrace a healthy and constructive discussion that is likely to morph into an engaging debate.

My issue with the ANUS philosophy is that it is an example of historical revisionism.  You view death and black metal as the purest representations of what metal is; correct me if I am wrong about that.  The problem is, speed/thrash metal and all the metal subgenres that germinated from it are, in essence, heavy metal diluted with punk.  You think metal is nihilistic?  You are incorrect.  Metal is romantic.  It is a very romantic genre, and optimistic, and emotional, with a strong will to power.  It is a fun genre, but it does explore every human emotion, including the darker ones.  It is spiritual, vibrant, and driven by moral codes of unity and respect, and most importantly, individualism.  The best representation of the true metal spirit can be found in bands like Manowar, Saxon, and Judas Priest.

Because the influence of punk seethes through the veins of your personal favorite metal musicians, I think you have a warped concept of what metal is about.  The attitude you see in extreme metal is typically a punk one, and people who exclusively enjoy extreme metal are more punk in spirit than metal.  Your nihilistic view would fit better if ANUS were a punk website.  Pure metal?  It's a square peg in a round a hole.

I'm being honest and blunt with this:  your website does not scream denim and leather, spikes and chains, and sword and sorcery.  In other words, it does not scream "metal."  It screams punk.

I'm interested in what your views are on these criticisms.

Re: Pure Metal and ANUS
August 09, 2010, 03:38:56 AM
Nihilism as has been popularly portrayed in punk music is passive nihilism, which is fatalism trying to disguise itself as something other than a personal disposition. In other words: nothing is of any value, so nothing is worthy of pursuit. This is not the idea of nihilism that is defined by the ANUS website as the more explicative definition of the term nihilism, and I say more explicative because the ANUSian definition of nihilism cannot be easily confused with fatalism. The only definition of nihilism the website provides is that the universe has no inherent values. Think about that for a moment; some values that human beings take for granted as inherent go far beyond religious values, but extend to things like the absolute good of the accrual of greater amount of resources provided by scientific research, the indisputable value of human life, and the categorizing of anything painful to the human experience as absolutely negative or a "problem" of reality. If we examine the universe, and not through the lens of "how does this play into my desire to achieve this or that", then we can easily see that nothing has an absolute value, because it does create a result that can be measured as "good" or "bad" in every single instance that it is interacted with. This leaves INFINITE space open for the interpretation of reality not as something we use only as an ends to alleviate our pain, which a nihilistic viewpoint realizes is only a human conception, but as something we can create, through a form of romanticism, into something worth living for. The website does advocate the idea of metal as romanticism, and very earnestly so. Metal is not meant to prove anything, like the worthlessness of pursuing anything because of the worthlessness of existence, that would be against a nihilistic perspective as defined by the website. Metal creates an experience, and through the value of that experience itself does one come to an appreciation of it. The removal of bias to pursue any means necessary to make existence worthwhile not in just the alleviation of pain, which eventually creates world-weariness, or weariness of the battle to alleviate pain, but worthwhile in the sense that it is a powerful, epic experience, much like those swords and sorcery books you like the influence of in metal so much, IS nihilism as supported by the website. The website feels that death and black metal, because the song-structure of these genres tends to be more epic and narrative, and tends to attempt the communication of experience without a moral "point" in the most vivid methods possible, is the height of this desire of removing personal bias to begin to worship the real, and not just gloomily accept it like a punk. The website also celebrates heavy metal groups that created the foundations for this sentiment, but I think it only finds them less communicative than death and black metal on the grounds that sometimes heavy metal can be little more than some slightly discursive verse-chorus songs with only the lyrical subject matter pointing towards something epic. This sort of creates the utilirianist idea that as long as you write lyrics about big battles, warriors, and being powerful that you must communicate the spirit of metal, and so it makes it possible for any band to make that sort of music and feel accomplished, instead of feeling accomplished for putting immense effort into a song that breathes that epic nature through the melodies and the placement of melodies itself. That shirking away from accomplishment in preference for "as long as you got songs about warriors, you're in" attitude, is NOT very metal, wouldn't you agree?

Re: Pure Metal and ANUS
August 09, 2010, 04:32:00 AM
Nihilism as has been popularly portrayed in punk music is passive nihilism, which is fatalism trying to disguise itself as something other than a personal disposition. In other words: nothing is of any value, so nothing is worthy of pursuit. This is not the idea of nihilism that is defined by the ANUS website as the more explicative definition of the term nihilism, and I say more explicative because the ANUSian definition of nihilism cannot be easily confused with fatalism. The only definition of nihilism the website provides is that the universe has no inherent values. Think about that for a moment; some values that human beings take for granted as inherent go far beyond religious values, but extend to things like the absolute good of the accrual of greater amount of resources provided by scientific research, the indisputable value of human life, and the categorizing of anything painful to the human experience as absolutely negative or a "problem" of reality. If we examine the universe, and not through the lens of "how does this play into my desire to achieve this or that", then we can easily see that nothing has an absolute value, because it does create a result that can be measured as "good" or "bad" in every single instance that it is interacted with.

Indeed, this clears up exactly what is meant by nihilism in the ANUS context.  As an individualist though, I address the issue of a universal truth by equating it with my perception.  Every instance that I am sentient, I experience existence through one lens.  This lens is inescapable, the only thing I know to be true for sure.  I do not necessarily believe there is an objective reality.  I would imagine others have there own subjective realities, but since I can never experience them, I focus on my own.  This does not mean I become a sociopath, hedonist, or non-theistic Satanist of some sort concerned only with his own pleasure; I have a personality that takes pleasure in watching those who are good in an apparent state of joy, and those who are bad in an apparent state of suffering.  Good and bad are determined by myself, and this is not arrogant since I do not expect others to see themselves in any less of a state of judgment (if they judge differently, then prepare for battle), and I balance out my will to see justice with my hedonistic personal desires and seven deadly sins; I believe balance is pivotal, for me as an individual, to get what I want most out of life.

Even nihilism as defined by ANUS doesn't sit so well with me as a metal philosophy.  I think a metalhead should be able to raise his fist in the air and say "I know that brotherhood and unity, truth and justice, and rocking as hard as you can is the best way to live; these are values that are absolutely true and good.  If you disagree, then we might just meet in war."  I do not like wishy washy there-is-no-absolute-right-and-wrong.  I think metal gives off a stronger aura than that.

This leaves INFINITE space open for the interpretation of reality not as something we use only as an ends to alleviate our pain, which a nihilistic viewpoint realizes is only a human conception, but as something we can create, through a form of romanticism, into something worth living for. The website does advocate the idea of metal as romanticism, and very earnestly so. Metal is not meant to prove anything, like the worthlessness of pursuing anything because of the worthlessness of existence, that would be against a nihilistic perspective as defined by the website. Metal creates an experience, and through the value of that experience itself does one come to an appreciation of it. The removal of bias to pursue any means necessary to make existence worthwhile not in just the alleviation of pain, which eventually creates world-weariness, or weariness of the battle to alleviate pain, but worthwhile in the sense that it is a powerful, epic experience, much like those swords and sorcery books you like the influence of in metal so much, IS nihilism as supported by the website. The website feels that death and black metal, because the song-structure of these genres tends to be more epic and narrative, and tends to attempt the communication of experience without a moral "point" in the most vivid methods possible, is the height of this desire of removing personal bias to begin to worship the real, and not just gloomily accept it like a punk. The website also celebrates heavy metal groups that created the foundations for this sentiment, but I think it only finds them less communicative than death and black metal on the grounds that sometimes heavy metal can be little more than some slightly discursive verse-chorus songs with only the lyrical subject matter pointing towards something epic. This sort of creates the utilirianist idea that as long as you write lyrics about big battles, warriors, and being powerful that you must communicate the spirit of metal, and so it makes it possible for any band to make that sort of music and feel accomplished, instead of feeling accomplished for putting immense effort into a song that breathes that epic nature through the melodies and the placement of melodies itself. That shirking away from accomplishment in preference for "as long as you got songs about warriors, you're in" attitude, is NOT very metal, wouldn't you agree?

I define metal by its texture and riffing style, not necessarily by its lyrics.  If a hiphop band sings about warriors, it is still not going to be metal, because sonically it just is not.  What makes heavy metal special to me is that the music matches up perfectly with the atmosphere and attitude created by the lyrics.  They go hand-in-hand.  The verse-chorus format is one of my favorite song structures, a tradition that has stood the test of time for the reason that it best communicates anthemic feelings.  A lot of times, heavy metal is a very simplistic art form, capturing raw human emotions in their natural state, celebrating their nostalgia for age-old traditions alongside rebellion and individuality; it warps the orthodox instead of creating a new one.  That being said, I also love epic songs that take me on a journey, but life isn't about journeys.  I like music that reflects my life, my feelings, and my fantasies;  while I may go on journeys now and then, if all my music were a journey I would fail to celebrate myself in my entirety.  A significant portion of my life consists of hanging out with friends, going to work, going to university, a party here and a camping trip there, and satiating natural human urges of hunger, thirst, lust, greed, and relaxation.  Some of these things are far from journeys; they are the tedious, mundane, or at the very least formulaic ordeals of daily life, and I want art to be able to take snapshots of this.  Epic song structures would be very inappropriate for this.  Even epic lyrics would not work, which is why only some of the metal I listen to deals with it, although it is amongst my personal favorite subjects and takes up a huge chunk of my listening pleasure.

A lot of the heavy metal I listen to is not just sword and sorcery, but also as I said, denim and leather.  They sing about falling in love and breaking up, riding down the highway, having sex or drinking a beer, etc.  It is certainly not all epic, or a journey; still, it is exactly what I view as the pure, true metal spirit that is completely unadulterated.

Perhaps the ANUS philosophy is a hybrid of metallic romanticism with punkish "pseudo-nihilism" or fatalism (however you think of it).  What I am confident in is that it is not the same as my philosophy, or the philosophy of heavy metal and its creators.  I have seen ANUS be critical of rock music, which is absurd to me, because I am proud to shout out heavy metal as the greatest of all rock genres.  There is a reason why so many metal bands sing about rocking out; how do you people want to distance yourselves from our respectable rock-and-roller ancestors who created us?  Heavy metal is an amped up Little Richard song, to paraphrase Lemmy of Motorhead; that is a great compliment, because heavy metal amplifies the original rebellion and will to power of rock and roll and takes it a step further.  It also, in addition, branches off into new and exciting grounds that ignite my wanderlust.

Re: Pure Metal and ANUS
August 09, 2010, 07:19:55 AM
As an individualist though

Please define "Individualism" in your terms.

Quote
"I know that brotherhood and unity, truth and justice, and rocking as hard as you can is the best way to live; these are values that are absolutely true and good.  If you disagree, then we might just meet in war."

Metal is, typically, European music.  Europeans have always held loyalty, honour, and duty/responsibility to be the highest values of men, except under outside influence (i.e. Christianity).  Metal shies away from the modern perspective to the extent that these ancient values are born again.  This is not to say that these values are inherent to Nature, though.  The Universe does not, as far as I know, consciously reward loyalty, honour, and duty - they are simply conducive to the survival of the individual and his family/clan/tribe/people.

I define metal by its texture and riffing style, not necessarily by its lyrics.  If a hiphop band sings about warriors, it is still not going to be metal, because sonically it just is not.  What makes heavy metal special to me is that the music matches up perfectly with the atmosphere and attitude created by the lyrics.  They go hand-in-hand.  The verse-chorus format is one of my favorite song structures, a tradition that has stood the test of time for the reason that it best communicates anthemic feelings.  A lot of times, heavy metal is a very simplistic art form, capturing raw human emotions in their natural state, celebrating their nostalgia for age-old traditions alongside rebellion and individuality; it warps the orthodox instead of creating a new one.  That being said, I also love epic songs that take me on a journey, but life isn't about journeys.  I like music that reflects my life, my feelings, and my fantasies;  while I may go on journeys now and then, if all my music were a journey I would fail to celebrate myself in my entirety.  A significant portion of my life consists of hanging out with friends, going to work, going to university, a party here and a camping trip there, and satiating natural human urges of hunger, thirst, lust, greed, and relaxation.  Some of these things are far from journeys; they are the tedious, mundane, or at the very least formulaic ordeals of daily life, and I want art to be able to take snapshots of this.  Epic song structures would be very inappropriate for this.  Even epic lyrics would not work, which is why only some of the metal I listen to deals with it, although it is amongst my personal favorite subjects and takes up a huge chunk of my listening pleasure.

Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar; it reproduces all that it represents, and the impersonations clothed in its Elysian light stand thenceforward in the minds of those who have once contemplated them, as memorials of that gentle and exalted content which extends itself over all thoughts and actions with which it coexists.
-Percy Bysshe Shelley

Art (the Coleridgean "Poetry") illuminates Reality for the audience.  An individual piece of Art will take an individual aspect of this Existence and will show it in such a light as to make more sense of its fundamental being than could be understood from mere observance of facts as they appear to us, primarily because Art engages the creative faculties of the mind, which are not trapped, as are the senses, by the physical and observable actualities which surround us at all times.

The conclusion of this is that the validity of a piece which simply attempts to validate life as it is for one individual or another comes into question.  Art should, as is often said by ANUS/the DLA, transcend the human.  The greatest pieces of Art show us "the Sublime", force us to accept our infinitesimal nature, and then linger in the backs of our minds for all time, always yielding their message to us ("the impersonations... stand thenceforward in the minds of those who have once contemplated them").

Quote
A lot of the heavy metal I listen to is not just sword and sorcery, but also as I said, denim and leather.  They sing about falling in love and breaking up, riding down the highway, having sex or drinking a beer, etc.  It is certainly not all epic, or a journey; still, it is exactly what I view as the pure, true metal spirit that is completely unadulterated.

Taking a break from supporting ANUS's views, I'm going to agree with you here.  I think that the very typical Manowar tracks about biking, wearing leather, drinking, and telling people to fuck off, is a part of that same Romantic Spirit which permeates all "true" Metal.  It's the very "tribal" aspect of Metal - this is what we are, and this is what we do, and if you have a problem, then we have a problem.  However, this should never become the focus (which is where Manowar ended up failing) - eventually, we lose all sight of that which is epic and transcendental, and simply celebrate our own existences without ever growing in any real fashion (look at the Black Metal "scene" post-1994 - it's focused on the here and now [how "cult" and "grim" are you?]).  If we accept that the direction of life itself is evolution (which I don't think is too bold a claim to make), then stagnation is the "evil" to evolution's "good" (if life is "good").

Quote
Perhaps the ANUS philosophy is a hybrid of metallic romanticism with punkish "pseudo-nihilism" or fatalism (however you think of it).  What I am confident in is that it is not the same as my philosophy, or the philosophy of heavy metal and its creators.  I have seen ANUS be critical of rock music, which is absurd to me, because I am proud to shout out heavy metal as the greatest of all rock genres.  There is a reason why so many metal bands sing about rocking out; how do you people want to distance yourselves from our respectable rock-and-roller ancestors who created us?  Heavy metal is an amped up Little Richard song, to paraphrase Lemmy of Motorhead; that is a great compliment, because heavy metal amplifies the original rebellion and will to power of rock and roll and takes it a step further.  It also, in addition, branches off into new and exciting grounds that ignite my wanderlust.

Extreme Metal went so far along those branches into new and exciting grounds that it actually said "fuck those guys back there, we're never going back from here again".

Re: Pure Metal and ANUS
August 09, 2010, 07:15:46 PM
As an individualist though

Please define "Individualism" in your terms.

Individualism is the celebration of the individual and his or her ability to think for his or herself.  It rejects conforming to any group of people that the individual does not choose to conform to by free will, meaning social pressure is no excuse to conform to a group but doing so out of individual choice (as is the case with becoming a metalhead) is acceptable.


Quote
"I know that brotherhood and unity, truth and justice, and rocking as hard as you can is the best way to live; these are values that are absolutely true and good.  If you disagree, then we might just meet in war."

Metal is, typically, European music.  Europeans have always held loyalty, honour, and duty/responsibility to be the highest values of men, except under outside influence (i.e. Christianity).  Metal shies away from the modern perspective to the extent that these ancient values are born again.  This is not to say that these values are inherent to Nature, though.  The Universe does not, as far as I know, consciously reward loyalty, honour, and duty - they are simply conducive to the survival of the individual and his family/clan/tribe/people.

I define metal by its texture and riffing style, not necessarily by its lyrics.  If a hiphop band sings about warriors, it is still not going to be metal, because sonically it just is not.  What makes heavy metal special to me is that the music matches up perfectly with the atmosphere and attitude created by the lyrics.  They go hand-in-hand.  The verse-chorus format is one of my favorite song structures, a tradition that has stood the test of time for the reason that it best communicates anthemic feelings.  A lot of times, heavy metal is a very simplistic art form, capturing raw human emotions in their natural state, celebrating their nostalgia for age-old traditions alongside rebellion and individuality; it warps the orthodox instead of creating a new one.  That being said, I also love epic songs that take me on a journey, but life isn't about journeys.  I like music that reflects my life, my feelings, and my fantasies;  while I may go on journeys now and then, if all my music were a journey I would fail to celebrate myself in my entirety.  A significant portion of my life consists of hanging out with friends, going to work, going to university, a party here and a camping trip there, and satiating natural human urges of hunger, thirst, lust, greed, and relaxation.  Some of these things are far from journeys; they are the tedious, mundane, or at the very least formulaic ordeals of daily life, and I want art to be able to take snapshots of this.  Epic song structures would be very inappropriate for this.  Even epic lyrics would not work, which is why only some of the metal I listen to deals with it, although it is amongst my personal favorite subjects and takes up a huge chunk of my listening pleasure.

Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar; it reproduces all that it represents, and the impersonations clothed in its Elysian light stand thenceforward in the minds of those who have once contemplated them, as memorials of that gentle and exalted content which extends itself over all thoughts and actions with which it coexists.
-Percy Bysshe Shelley

Art (the Coleridgean "Poetry") illuminates Reality for the audience.  An individual piece of Art will take an individual aspect of this Existence and will show it in such a light as to make more sense of its fundamental being than could be understood from mere observance of facts as they appear to us, primarily because Art engages the creative faculties of the mind, which are not trapped, as are the senses, by the physical and observable actualities which surround us at all times.

The conclusion of this is that the validity of a piece which simply attempts to validate life as it is for one individual or another comes into question.  Art should, as is often said by ANUS/the DLA, transcend the human.  The greatest pieces of Art show us "the Sublime", force us to accept our infinitesimal nature, and then linger in the backs of our minds for all time, always yielding their message to us ("the impersonations... stand thenceforward in the minds of those who have once contemplated them").
 

There is no logical reason for this argument to be persuasive to me, as it seems dangerously close to an appeal to authority fallacy.  No matter what a thousand wise thinkers and poets may say, I do not need to agree with them.  I do not agree with the notion that the most superior art is transcendental.  I view it as equal to the recreation of already experienced thoughts and emotions, since it is transcribing them from one medium (the memory) to another, a translation in and of itself deserving praise of a completely different but equal type compared to composing a new and abstract universe from scratch.

Quote
A lot of the heavy metal I listen to is not just sword and sorcery, but also as I said, denim and leather.  They sing about falling in love and breaking up, riding down the highway, having sex or drinking a beer, etc.  It is certainly not all epic, or a journey; still, it is exactly what I view as the pure, true metal spirit that is completely unadulterated.

Taking a break from supporting ANUS's views, I'm going to agree with you here.  I think that the very typical Manowar tracks about biking, wearing leather, drinking, and telling people to fuck off, is a part of that same Romantic Spirit which permeates all "true" Metal.  It's the very "tribal" aspect of Metal - this is what we are, and this is what we do, and if you have a problem, then we have a problem.  However, this should never become the focus (which is where Manowar ended up failing) - eventually, we lose all sight of that which is epic and transcendental, and simply celebrate our own existences without ever growing in any real fashion (look at the Black Metal "scene" post-1994 - it's focused on the here and now [how "cult" and "grim" are you?]).  If we accept that the direction of life itself is evolution (which I don't think is too bold a claim to make), then stagnation is the "evil" to evolution's "good" (if life is "good").

But the direction of life itself is not, or at least should not be, evolution.  It is a fallacy to assume that something more evolved is superior to something less evolved, since to survive you do not need to be stronger than your ancestors, just strong enough to not die out.  I believe in perfection, that there is an ideal to shoot for;  we reached that ideal in 1969 when Black Sabbath recorded their eponymous song.  That song is musical perfection, and while thousands of other metal songs and metal albums have reached that perfection again and again, using different paths that all lead to the same summit, that level of perfection has never been topped and can never be topped.  I have no problem with fusing metal with other genres, such as punk, to try to reach that perfection in more different ways; what I do have a problem with, and find offensive to the metal community, is when people claim that metal used punk to become superior.  No, metal was already perfect without punk.  It is way too strong to need other genres to carry it, and when people claim that extreme metal is better than pure and unadulterated metal, it is insulting to heavy metal, and not what I see as the remark of a true metalhead.

Metal can progress and evolve without incorporating new influences.  Genres such as power metal and doom metal have proven this.  I have no problem with any punk/metal hybrid, and I am a huge fan of many of those bands, but I would never dare call them an improvement over the original.  Once you do such a thing, it is betraying loyalty to metal.

As for Manowar, they happen to be my favorite band, and I see nothing wrong with showing pride for the sake of pride.  ANUS always speak about how the average metal fan misses the wonderful melodies and composition in bands like Morbid Angel or Burzum, because those elements are more subtle and obscure, requiring digging; today, I ask you to take your own advice.  The intellectual merit of a band like Manowar is hidden under the barbarian costumes and womanizing, but if you dig you will find it, and it will fulfill you like it did for me.  Just like the harsh vocals and heavy distortion turn off the untrained ear, so do the muscles and swords that for whatever reason society has stereotyped as unevolved.  Maybe you need to use your imagination, and put your own meaning behind art sometimes, if none is apparent.  Make it interactive.

Quote
Perhaps the ANUS philosophy is a hybrid of metallic romanticism with punkish "pseudo-nihilism" or fatalism (however you think of it).  What I am confident in is that it is not the same as my philosophy, or the philosophy of heavy metal and its creators.  I have seen ANUS be critical of rock music, which is absurd to me, because I am proud to shout out heavy metal as the greatest of all rock genres.  There is a reason why so many metal bands sing about rocking out; how do you people want to distance yourselves from our respectable rock-and-roller ancestors who created us?  Heavy metal is an amped up Little Richard song, to paraphrase Lemmy of Motorhead; that is a great compliment, because heavy metal amplifies the original rebellion and will to power of rock and roll and takes it a step further.  It also, in addition, branches off into new and exciting grounds that ignite my wanderlust.

Extreme Metal went so far along those branches into new and exciting grounds that it actually said "fuck those guys back there, we're never going back from here again".

Then I think it is unfortunate that metal is relegated to escapism for you.  For me, fortunately, it covers escapism and reality simultaneously.

Re: Pure Metal and ANUS
August 09, 2010, 07:47:40 PM
Individualism is the celebration of the individual and his or her ability to think for his or herself.  It rejects conforming to any group of people that the individual does not choose to conform to by free will, meaning social pressure is no excuse to conform to a group but doing so out of individual choice (as is the case with becoming a metalhead) is acceptable.

The problem here is that people do not think for themselves. Thinking for oneself is typically an illusion about our lives all along that we hold in our heads. We are products of:

1) our heredity which is gene expression which dictates our personality typology - this no more random than the execution of a very complex computer program is random
2) our societies and cultures which pass along the languages we have in common, the meaning of things in life, and our beliefs - again deterministic but modified as variables are introduced

We can work on #2 as we grow and mature learning more. We can also rank the quality of the results of our working on #2:

Best: civilization is stagnant in its end cycle and we need to be open to superior ideas since the recent ones have degraded badly. Some things are consistently true in principle across the ages.
Worst: even though someone taught me logic and mathematics that hold consistent and these are elementary building blocks for our shared reality, I instead imagine my own reality is unique rather than that I am an ignorant fool

Re: Pure Metal and ANUS
August 09, 2010, 07:57:24 PM
Individualism is the celebration of the individual and his or her ability to think for his or herself.  It rejects conforming to any group of people that the individual does not choose to conform to by free will, meaning social pressure is no excuse to conform to a group but doing so out of individual choice (as is the case with becoming a metalhead) is acceptable.

The problem here is that people do not think for themselves. Thinking for oneself is typically an illusion about our lives all along that we hold in our heads. We are products of:

1) our heredity which is gene expression which dictates our personality typology - this no more random than the execution of a very complex computer program is random
2) our societies and cultures which pass along the languages we have in common, the meaning of things in life, and our beliefs - again deterministic but modified as variables are introduced

We can work on #2 as we grow and mature learning more. We can also rank the quality of the results of our working on #2:

Best: civilization is stagnant in its end cycle and we need to be open to superior ideas since the recent ones have degraded badly. Some things are consistently true in principle across the ages.
Worst: even though someone taught me logic and mathematics that hold consistent and these are elementary building blocks for our shared reality, I instead imagine my own reality is unique rather than that I am an ignorant fool

When I refer to thinking for oneself, I mean getting in touch with #1: the genetics.  Forget about the influence from around you, find what your genetics pull you toward, and then after finding a rough identity, polish it with the ideas of others you naturally gravitate toward.  Do not accept that what you are raised in or by chance exposed to is what is right; instead, explore.

I also do not feel that heavy metal, as an idea, has degraded.  I find the new albums by bands formed in the 70's and 80's to be about equally powerful to the debuts, and there are new bands forming that add new ideas to metal without incorporating punk or any other genres; they are pure metal.

Re: Pure Metal and ANUS
August 09, 2010, 08:37:15 PM
Before this thread goes on we need to be very careful when throwing terms like "pure" and "perfect" around. For me, no metal is perfect, nothing is perfect, perfect implies some absolute. Perfect by what standards? True, many acts come pretty damn close to a given definition of perfect.
 
I don't see the problem with the claim that metal that has borrowed from punk to become better as being in any way insulting to metal. If you want to claim that pre-punk metal is just as good, you're perfectly entitled to do so, but reaching unexplored hieghts by incorporating other ideas and other methods is not un-metal. When you say that Black Sabbath is perfection, and we will never go beyond this perfection, it implies stagnation, to me at least. We are not talking about something being more evolved here, but HOW it is more evolved, not something being progressive, but something progressing. The best of metal aspires to Romantic ideals, but it is not there yet. There is so much more potential in this music, which has not been, and may never be, utilized.

I take the same view as "pride for the sake of pride" as I would the verse chorus structure. inherently there's nothing wrong with it, but its been done, its been done in countless genres besides metal, and if thats all your music has going for you then give up. Compared with what the best metal can offer there is no substance behind the theatre. Its awesome being into metal, and its cool to be reminded of that, but "Death the Brutal Way" reminded how cool it is to be into metal so much than any Manowar output.

Re: Pure Metal and ANUS
August 09, 2010, 09:16:13 PM
Quote from: Night of the Demon
As an individualist though, I address the issue of a universal truth by equating it with my perception.
I suggest you cease and desist this conflation immediately.  Your perception is constituted of representations, not actual objects manifest in reality.  How these two things relate to one another is a complicated issue.

Quote
I do not necessarily believe there is an objective reality.
If no objective reality exists, then by what means do sentient beings communicate with one another?  Or are you simply a solipsist?

On the issue of pure metal:  Pure metal is any type of music that evolved organically out of the musical / philosophical tradition of the genres roots.

Re: Pure Metal and ANUS
August 09, 2010, 09:24:46 PM
Before this thread goes on we need to be very careful when throwing terms like "pure" and "perfect" around. For me, no metal is perfect, nothing is perfect, perfect implies some absolute. Perfect by what standards? True, many acts come pretty damn close to a given definition of perfect.

Perfect means I wouldn't change a thing about it.
 
I don't see the problem with the claim that metal that has borrowed from punk to become better as being in any way insulting to metal. If you want to claim that pre-punk metal is just as good, you're perfectly entitled to do so, but reaching unexplored hieghts by incorporating other ideas and other methods is not un-metal. When you say that Black Sabbath is perfection, and we will never go beyond this perfection, it implies stagnation, to me at least. We are not talking about something being more evolved here, but HOW it is more evolved, not something being progressive, but something progressing. The best of metal aspires to Romantic ideals, but it is not there yet. There is so much more potential in this music, which has not been, and may never be, utilized.

There is nothing wrong with claiming it borrowed from punk to expand or become different, but to say it topped metal is definitely putting metal below any achievement of paramount.  Mixing metal with non-metal is not non-metal, but it logically makes it less metal and more of just a general, encompassing type of "rock."

Claiming we can never go beyond the perfection of certain Black Sabbath music does not imply stagnation, because we can climb many equally tall mountains and enjoy the scenery, but we just can't get any higher.  Metal definitely has the potential to do many interesting and great things it has yet to do, but not greater.

I take the same view as "pride for the sake of pride" as I would the verse chorus structure. inherently there's nothing wrong with it, but its been done, its been done in countless genres besides metal, and if thats all your music has going for you then give up. Compared with what the best metal can offer there is no substance behind the theatre. Its awesome being into metal, and its cool to be reminded of that, but "Death the Brutal Way" reminded how cool it is to be into metal so much than any Manowar output.

I respect that you prefer that particular example of music over Manowar, as we all have opinions.  No music is ever created twice, either.  There are always new riffs, new melodies, new drum beats, and new lyrics.  One mountain might have a thousand paths up it, all leading to the same summit, but with different scenery.  I want to climb the same mountain over and over if it is a mountain that I love.  I will not give up music because it is my passion, and I value it with fervor; it is the ultimate art and entertainment.

Re: Pure Metal and ANUS
August 09, 2010, 09:33:01 PM
Quote from: Night of the Demon
As an individualist though, I address the issue of a universal truth by equating it with my perception.
I suggest you cease and desist this conflation immediately.  Your perception is constituted of representations, not actual objects manifest in reality.  How these two things relate to one another is a complicated issue.

Quote
I do not necessarily believe there is an objective reality.
If no objective reality exists, then by what means do sentient beings communicate with one another?  Or are you simply a solipsist?

On the issue of pure metal:  Pure metal is any type of music that evolved organically out of the musical / philosophical tradition of the genres roots.

To address your first points, my perception is the closest thing to reality I am aware of.  Sentient beings, as different subjective realities, could communicate through metaphysical collisions of their subjective realities, creating the illusion of an objective reality.  I do not know whether or not that could be labeled as a branch of solipsism.

To address the second point, by that logic even then, extreme metal has borrowed a lot from punk philosophy.  Having some roots in the original metal philosophy?  Well, so do some bands that have nothing to with metal.  Pure metal needs then sound and philosophy, nothing watered down.

Re: Pure Metal and ANUS
August 09, 2010, 10:11:19 PM
Well the people here seem to prefer extreme metal, I think it's way cooler, but I enjoy heavy metal a lot. And also, black metal may be transcendental art and death metal too, but death metal seems to have the same attitude of heavy/thrash metal in a more extreme way, hence the distorted vocals wich I believe is one of the reasons ANUS referred to the music as "organic". Sometimes it really looks like the songs are made of organic tissues.

Re: Pure Metal and ANUS
August 09, 2010, 10:37:50 PM

[/quote/]To address your first points, my perception is the closest thing to reality I am aware of.  Sentient beings, as different subjective realities, could communicate through metaphysical collisions of their subjective realities, creating the illusion of an objective reality.  I do not know whether or not that could be labeled as a branch of solipsism.

To address the second point, by that logic even then, extreme metal has borrowed a lot from punk philosophy.  Having some roots in the original metal philosophy?  Well, so do some bands that have nothing to with metal.  Pure metal needs then sound and philosophy, nothing watered down.
[/quote]I would respond to your first point thusly: from whence have the sentient beings arisen? If there is no objective reality in which they could have originated and developed, then how could they have ever come into being?

My own answer to the question would be Nietzsche's revision of Descartes' famous maxim: "sum, ergo cogito".

Now to the second point: what is 'pure metal'? Has there ever been 'pure metal'? Remember that Black Sabbath themselves combined a variety of influences, including horror movie soundtracks,classical music, progressive rock, and psychedelic/acid rock. Metal since its very inception has been an admixture of several disparate compositional techniques and philosophies.

Nihilism as has been popularly portrayed in punk music is passive nihilism, which is fatalism trying to disguise itself as something other than a personal disposition. In other words: nothing is of any value, so nothing is worthy of pursuit. This is not the idea of nihilism that is defined by the ANUS website as the more explicative definition of the term nihilism, and I say more explicative because the ANUSian definition of nihilism cannot be easily confused with fatalism. The only definition of nihilism the website provides is that the universe has no inherent values. Think about that for a moment; some values that human beings take for granted as inherent go far beyond religious values, but extend to things like the absolute good of the accrual of greater amount of resources provided by scientific research, the indisputable value of human life, and the categorizing of anything painful to the human experience as absolutely negative or a "problem" of reality. If we examine the universe, and not through the lens of "how does this play into my desire to achieve this or that", then we can easily see that nothing has an absolute value, because it does create a result that can be measured as "good" or "bad" in every single instance that it is interacted with.

Indeed, this clears up exactly what is meant by nihilism in the ANUS context.  As an individualist though, I address the issue of a universal truth by equating it with my perception.  Every instance that I am sentient, I experience existence through one lens.  This lens is inescapable, the only thing I know to be true for sure.  I do not necessarily believe there is an objective reality.  I would imagine others have there own subjective realities, but since I can never experience them, I focus on my own.  This does not mean I become a sociopath, hedonist, or non-theistic Satanist of some sort concerned only with his own pleasure; I have a personality that takes pleasure in watching those who are good in an apparent state of joy, and those who are bad in an apparent state of suffering.  Good and bad are determined by myself, and this is not arrogant since I do not expect others to see themselves in any less of a state of judgment (if they judge differently, then prepare for battle), and I balance out my will to see justice with my hedonistic personal desires and seven deadly sins; I believe balance is pivotal, for me as an individual, to get what I want most out of life.

Even nihilism as defined by ANUS doesn't sit so well with me as a metal philosophy.  I think a metalhead should be able to raise his fist in the air and say "I know that brotherhood and unity, truth and justice, and rocking as hard as you can is the best way to live; these are values that are absolutely true and good.  If you disagree, then we might just meet in war."  I do not like wishy washy there-is-no-absolute-right-and-wrong.  I think metal gives off a stronger aura than that.

This leaves INFINITE space open for the interpretation of reality not as something we use only as an ends to alleviate our pain, which a nihilistic viewpoint realizes is only a human conception, but as something we can create, through a form of romanticism, into something worth living for. The website does advocate the idea of metal as romanticism, and very earnestly so. Metal is not meant to prove anything, like the worthlessness of pursuing anything because of the worthlessness of existence, that would be against a nihilistic perspective as defined by the website. Metal creates an experience, and through the value of that experience itself does one come to an appreciation of it. The removal of bias to pursue any means necessary to make existence worthwhile not in just the alleviation of pain, which eventually creates world-weariness, or weariness of the battle to alleviate pain, but worthwhile in the sense that it is a powerful, epic experience, much like those swords and sorcery books you like the influence of in metal so much, IS nihilism as supported by the website. The website feels that death and black metal, because the song-structure of these genres tends to be more epic and narrative, and tends to attempt the communication of experience without a moral "point" in the most vivid methods possible, is the height of this desire of removing personal bias to begin to worship the real, and not just gloomily accept it like a punk. The website also celebrates heavy metal groups that created the foundations for this sentiment, but I think it only finds them less communicative than death and black metal on the grounds that sometimes heavy metal can be little more than some slightly discursive verse-chorus songs with only the lyrical subject matter pointing towards something epic. This sort of creates the utilirianist idea that as long as you write lyrics about big battles, warriors, and being powerful that you must communicate the spirit of metal, and so it makes it possible for any band to make that sort of music and feel accomplished, instead of feeling accomplished for putting immense effort into a song that breathes that epic nature through the melodies and the placement of melodies itself. That shirking away from accomplishment in preference for "as long as you got songs about warriors, you're in" attitude, is NOT very metal, wouldn't you agree?

I define metal by its texture and riffing style, not necessarily by its lyrics.  If a hiphop band sings about warriors, it is still not going to be metal, because sonically it just is not.  What makes heavy metal special to me is that the music matches up perfectly with the atmosphere and attitude created by the lyrics.  They go hand-in-hand.  The verse-chorus format is one of my favorite song structures, a tradition that has stood the test of time for the reason that it best communicates anthemic feelings.  A lot of times, heavy metal is a very simplistic art form, capturing raw human emotions in their natural state, celebrating their nostalgia for age-old traditions alongside rebellion and individuality; it warps the orthodox instead of creating a new one.  That being said, I also love epic songs that take me on a journey, but life isn't about journeys.  I like music that reflects my life, my feelings, and my fantasies;  while I may go on journeys now and then, if all my music were a journey I would fail to celebrate myself in my entirety.  A significant portion of my life consists of hanging out with friends, going to work, going to university, a party here and a camping trip there, and satiating natural human urges of hunger, thirst, lust, greed, and relaxation.  Some of these things are far from journeys; they are the tedious, mundane, or at the very least formulaic ordeals of daily life, and I want art to be able to take snapshots of this.  Epic song structures would be very inappropriate for this.  Even epic lyrics would not work, which is why only some of the metal I listen to deals with it, although it is amongst my personal favorite subjects and takes up a huge chunk of my listening pleasure.

A lot of the heavy metal I listen to is not just sword and sorcery, but also as I said, denim and leather.  They sing about falling in love and breaking up, riding down the highway, having sex or drinking a beer, etc.  It is certainly not all epic, or a journey; still, it is exactly what I view as the pure, true metal spirit that is completely unadulterated.

Perhaps the ANUS philosophy is a hybrid of metallic romanticism with punkish "pseudo-nihilism" or fatalism (however you think of it).  What I am confident in is that it is not the same as my philosophy, or the philosophy of heavy metal and its creators.  I have seen ANUS be critical of rock music, which is absurd to me, because I am proud to shout out heavy metal as the greatest of all rock genres.  There is a reason why so many metal bands sing about rocking out; how do you people want to distance yourselves from our respectable rock-and-roller ancestors who created us?  Heavy metal is an amped up Little Richard song, to paraphrase Lemmy of Motorhead; that is a great compliment, because heavy metal amplifies the original rebellion and will to power of rock and roll and takes it a step further.  It also, in addition, branches off into new and exciting grounds that ignite my wanderlust.
Remember that even a simple trek through the woods can be a journey.

The "rebellion" exemplified by Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, and their ilk seems to me to be little more than the musical equivalent of refusing to take out the garbage. You should also keep rock 'n rolls' almost purely corporate roots in mind.

The role of punk in the development of metal is akin to the primordial integration of mitochondria into prokaryotic cells: the original organism was fully functional on its own, but new levels of complexity were only possible once these new organelles, once independent creatures themselves, became part of their biochemical makeup.  

Re: Pure Metal and ANUS
August 09, 2010, 11:15:29 PM

I would respond to your first point thusly: from whence have the sentient beings arisen? If there is no objective reality in which they could have originated and developed, then how could they have ever come into being?

This dilemma is one that applies equally to objective and subjective realities.  It remains a scientific mystery how something came out of nothing, and even if you believe in objective reality, the issue is then how objective reality came out of nothingness before the big bang.  Another thing to take into consideration is the possibility of an original sentience at the beginning of time which is responsible for sowing its seeds of sentience into the conscious creatures we see today, but even this "God" is not necessary to justify this general belief (at least, not any more-so than simply accepting that any reality at all exists.)  Of course, there is the issue of where the original sentience came from, again not a new issue added specifically by this theory but one in effect for all thinking people (whether they believe in a God or not.)

Quote
Now to the second point: what is 'pure metal'? Has there ever been 'pure metal'? Remember that Black Sabbath themselves combined a variety of influences, including horror movie soundtracks,classical music, progressive rock, and psychedelic/acid rock. Metal since its very inception has been an admixture of several disparate compositional techniques and philosophies.

Is there a pure me?  In one sense, the sense you are thinking with, the answer is no.  I am a mixture of my mother and father's genes.  In another sense, I am my pure self, because my self is defined by what created me and whose essence became components of me.  Heavy metal has the genes of hard rock, blues, classical, and its many parents (and ancestors) that bred it.  Punk is not one of those parents or ancestors.

Quote
Nihilism as has been popularly portrayed in punk music is passive nihilism, which is fatalism trying to disguise itself as something other than a personal disposition. In other words: nothing is of any value, so nothing is worthy of pursuit. This is not the idea of nihilism that is defined by the ANUS website as the more explicative definition of the term nihilism, and I say more explicative because the ANUSian definition of nihilism cannot be easily confused with fatalism. The only definition of nihilism the website provides is that the universe has no inherent values. Think about that for a moment; some values that human beings take for granted as inherent go far beyond religious values, but extend to things like the absolute good of the accrual of greater amount of resources provided by scientific research, the indisputable value of human life, and the categorizing of anything painful to the human experience as absolutely negative or a "problem" of reality. If we examine the universe, and not through the lens of "how does this play into my desire to achieve this or that", then we can easily see that nothing has an absolute value, because it does create a result that can be measured as "good" or "bad" in every single instance that it is interacted with.

Indeed, this clears up exactly what is meant by nihilism in the ANUS context.  As an individualist though, I address the issue of a universal truth by equating it with my perception.  Every instance that I am sentient, I experience existence through one lens.  This lens is inescapable, the only thing I know to be true for sure.  I do not necessarily believe there is an objective reality.  I would imagine others have there own subjective realities, but since I can never experience them, I focus on my own.  This does not mean I become a sociopath, hedonist, or non-theistic Satanist of some sort concerned only with his own pleasure; I have a personality that takes pleasure in watching those who are good in an apparent state of joy, and those who are bad in an apparent state of suffering.  Good and bad are determined by myself, and this is not arrogant since I do not expect others to see themselves in any less of a state of judgment (if they judge differently, then prepare for battle), and I balance out my will to see justice with my hedonistic personal desires and seven deadly sins; I believe balance is pivotal, for me as an individual, to get what I want most out of life.

Even nihilism as defined by ANUS doesn't sit so well with me as a metal philosophy.  I think a metalhead should be able to raise his fist in the air and say "I know that brotherhood and unity, truth and justice, and rocking as hard as you can is the best way to live; these are values that are absolutely true and good.  If you disagree, then we might just meet in war."  I do not like wishy washy there-is-no-absolute-right-and-wrong.  I think metal gives off a stronger aura than that.

This leaves INFINITE space open for the interpretation of reality not as something we use only as an ends to alleviate our pain, which a nihilistic viewpoint realizes is only a human conception, but as something we can create, through a form of romanticism, into something worth living for. The website does advocate the idea of metal as romanticism, and very earnestly so. Metal is not meant to prove anything, like the worthlessness of pursuing anything because of the worthlessness of existence, that would be against a nihilistic perspective as defined by the website. Metal creates an experience, and through the value of that experience itself does one come to an appreciation of it. The removal of bias to pursue any means necessary to make existence worthwhile not in just the alleviation of pain, which eventually creates world-weariness, or weariness of the battle to alleviate pain, but worthwhile in the sense that it is a powerful, epic experience, much like those swords and sorcery books you like the influence of in metal so much, IS nihilism as supported by the website. The website feels that death and black metal, because the song-structure of these genres tends to be more epic and narrative, and tends to attempt the communication of experience without a moral "point" in the most vivid methods possible, is the height of this desire of removing personal bias to begin to worship the real, and not just gloomily accept it like a punk. The website also celebrates heavy metal groups that created the foundations for this sentiment, but I think it only finds them less communicative than death and black metal on the grounds that sometimes heavy metal can be little more than some slightly discursive verse-chorus songs with only the lyrical subject matter pointing towards something epic. This sort of creates the utilirianist idea that as long as you write lyrics about big battles, warriors, and being powerful that you must communicate the spirit of metal, and so it makes it possible for any band to make that sort of music and feel accomplished, instead of feeling accomplished for putting immense effort into a song that breathes that epic nature through the melodies and the placement of melodies itself. That shirking away from accomplishment in preference for "as long as you got songs about warriors, you're in" attitude, is NOT very metal, wouldn't you agree?

I define metal by its texture and riffing style, not necessarily by its lyrics.  If a hiphop band sings about warriors, it is still not going to be metal, because sonically it just is not.  What makes heavy metal special to me is that the music matches up perfectly with the atmosphere and attitude created by the lyrics.  They go hand-in-hand.  The verse-chorus format is one of my favorite song structures, a tradition that has stood the test of time for the reason that it best communicates anthemic feelings.  A lot of times, heavy metal is a very simplistic art form, capturing raw human emotions in their natural state, celebrating their nostalgia for age-old traditions alongside rebellion and individuality; it warps the orthodox instead of creating a new one.  That being said, I also love epic songs that take me on a journey, but life isn't about journeys.  I like music that reflects my life, my feelings, and my fantasies;  while I may go on journeys now and then, if all my music were a journey I would fail to celebrate myself in my entirety.  A significant portion of my life consists of hanging out with friends, going to work, going to university, a party here and a camping trip there, and satiating natural human urges of hunger, thirst, lust, greed, and relaxation.  Some of these things are far from journeys; they are the tedious, mundane, or at the very least formulaic ordeals of daily life, and I want art to be able to take snapshots of this.  Epic song structures would be very inappropriate for this.  Even epic lyrics would not work, which is why only some of the metal I listen to deals with it, although it is amongst my personal favorite subjects and takes up a huge chunk of my listening pleasure.

A lot of the heavy metal I listen to is not just sword and sorcery, but also as I said, denim and leather.  They sing about falling in love and breaking up, riding down the highway, having sex or drinking a beer, etc.  It is certainly not all epic, or a journey; still, it is exactly what I view as the pure, true metal spirit that is completely unadulterated.

Perhaps the ANUS philosophy is a hybrid of metallic romanticism with punkish "pseudo-nihilism" or fatalism (however you think of it).  What I am confident in is that it is not the same as my philosophy, or the philosophy of heavy metal and its creators.  I have seen ANUS be critical of rock music, which is absurd to me, because I am proud to shout out heavy metal as the greatest of all rock genres.  There is a reason why so many metal bands sing about rocking out; how do you people want to distance yourselves from our respectable rock-and-roller ancestors who created us?  Heavy metal is an amped up Little Richard song, to paraphrase Lemmy of Motorhead; that is a great compliment, because heavy metal amplifies the original rebellion and will to power of rock and roll and takes it a step further.  It also, in addition, branches off into new and exciting grounds that ignite my wanderlust.
Remember that even a simple trek through the woods can be a journey.

The "rebellion" exemplified by Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, and their ilk seems to me to be little more than the musical equivalent of refusing to take out the garbage. You should also keep rock 'n rolls' almost purely corporate roots in mind.

The role of punk in the development of metal is akin to the primordial integration of mitochondria into prokaryotic cells: the original organism was fully functional on its own, but new levels of complexity were only possible once these new organelles, once independent creatures themselves, became part of their biochemical makeup.  

A simple trek through the woods may be able to be called a journey, but you and I both know that by this logic "I Kissed a Girl" by Kate Perry is a "journey."  Am I wrong to presume that when ANUS refers to musical journeys, they refer to ones that are somehow complex, epic, and/or lead us to an epiphany?

Rock and roll sonically and commercially was limited by its time, but it is easy to see the spirit.  And to be honest, I like those limits, because it makes me use my own mind to imagine the grandiosity that may not sonically exist, but certainly can be felt if you are in touch.  It is like the difference between reading a novel and watching a film.

Your analogy to prokaryotes does not work due to the reason that we do not refer to the organisms that evolved from them as "prokaryotic cells."  We refer to them as dogs, or dolphins, or human beings.  They are not more "pure prokaryotic cells" than a single prokaryotic cell.  Also, while you compare the evolution from heavy to extreme metal with prokaryotic cells to complex organisms, I would compare it between Asian men and Native American men after crossing the land bridge between modern day Russia and Alaska; they are different, but one is not clearly superior to the other.

Re: Pure Metal and ANUS
August 10, 2010, 12:42:36 AM
Shall I be the first to call "troll"?