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youthful ambiguity (names/labels)

youthful ambiguity (names/labels)
August 14, 2010, 02:27:58 AM
Hope everyone is doing well.

Some people like to plan everything out before they begin something, whereas others begin with intuition and learn about boundaries as they go along.  I've been a fan of bands like Suffocation, Atheist, Napalm Death, early Enthroned, Summoning, and many others for a fair amount of time. 

Of course, when you're initially getting into a new type of thing or what have you, there's a tendency to immediately seek out the most significant bands, attitudes, and people.  That is, only if you're serious.  I think that the majority of the people who listen to extreme bands have a similar story regarding their initial understanding of the music or "what they called it."  In other words, some of you probably heard a handful of extreme bands a long time ago, loved them, but only later found out that they were "death metal" bands.  Maybe it was "grind" or "hardcore."  There's a good chance you called it something that was entirely wrong according to the majority or the more experienced members of the community.

I used to call all this music "hardcore," because that was the most concise definition a 17 year old could come up with.  I was thinking about this recently and, although I initially chuckled at my own previous obliviousness, I had to really ask myself what function the divisions between the genre's (specifically hardcore, grindcore, black metal, and death metal) really served when it came to my musical endeavors like trying to write good music in this same vein. 

Obviously, when you're just discovering that there's an entirely new dimension of music out there, you want to shoot for the top and learn as much as possible.  You have to.  Its only natural.  That's why I praise this site a lot and don't want this post to seem cynical in the end.  Its basically what separates the serious from the flaky:  this desire to dig deeper into the art and really grasp it.  Then, you can play a role in it, I suppose, but the problem really begins there.  We all know what real death and black metal sounds like; that much is clear to people who surf this site due to the very nature of the content here.  It goes beyond the surface. 

Obviously, this isn't everyone's experience, so i have to ask....what about those who learn about the name "death metal" or "black metal" before they actually have any interaction with the music/ideas and then afterward dub themselves fans?  I can see this sort of thing happening a lot now because of the widespread use of the internet and the various wars of terms that occur on forums.  As I said before, I used to call all of it "hardcore," but I didn't learn about the division between hardcore and metal until I heard one of the members of a rather energetic local band chastise his lead guitarist for playing "metal." (he was playing Ride the lightning in between their songs during the set). 

I don't regret learning about different styles, but I'm beginning to really wonder if these divisions in genres are making musicians lazy and pompous these days.

Re: youthful ambiguity (names/labels)
August 14, 2010, 04:31:12 AM
I first heard about "Speed Metal" when I was about 8 - someone much older than me talking about Slayer - and "Thrash" when I was 9 (someone else talking about Metallica).  By the time I was 10/11, I just called everything I listened to "Heavy Metal" - everything from Linkin Park through Iron Maiden to Cradle of Filth was "Heavy Metal".  The distinction between genres came around the age of 13, when I was introduced to Emperor, Burzum, then Darkthrone, started reading Metal Magazines (Metal Hammer, Terrorizer), and eventually discovered that the internet could be used to find out about music, as well as programming/hacking and video games.

It's very easy to tell when a musician/band is trying to play in a certain style.  If you look at the early output of the second wave bands, none of them plays the same style of music as another.  They had a central idea, and let the music come from that.  Nowadays, people have a set of rules.

Caffeine

Re: youthful ambiguity (names/labels)
August 14, 2010, 05:40:42 PM
Nowadays, people have a set of rules.

Which is why you have to wade through 99% of new music to find a likable album.  I'm seventeen, so I don't remember the old days (I didn't get into death metal until I was 13-14, and I live in bible-belt Georgia, US so that's pretty good), but I don't have many newish albums on my mp3 player as compared to old albums.  And even then, some-many of those newish albums are from bands who've been playing for a long while (like Immolation).  I've always hated "genres", it's only useful for categorizing sections in a CD store in my opinion.

Re: youthful ambiguity (names/labels)
August 14, 2010, 08:00:30 PM
Nowadays, people have a set of rules.

Which is why you have to wade through 99% of new music to find a likable album.  I'm seventeen, so I don't remember the old days (I didn't get into death metal until I was 13-14, and I live in bible-belt Georgia, US so that's pretty good), but I don't have many newish albums on my mp3 player as compared to old albums.  And even then, some-many of those newish albums are from bands who've been playing for a long while (like Immolation).  I've always hated "genres", it's only useful for categorizing sections in a CD store in my opinion.

I'm right above you in TN.  As a side note, have you heard any of the bands from Georgia's Deathgasm label?  I've always thought highly of Avulsion and some of the guys who came through here on tour were really cool, namely the band Quintessentia, even though I wasn't really blown away by what they were doing musically.  Their singer is also in Blood Stained Dusk, but I can't say I'm a fan of them either. 

Honestly, it doesn't matter how underground a band is.  I went up to Chicago earlier this year and found this store called "Metal Haven," which was basically like a standing version of these internet distros that carry obscure titles, but having only a fleeting knowledge of what all those bands cd's sounded like (due to previous samples i'd heard off the internet) and affiliation with sub-genres (there were bands like Gotyna Kry, Graveland, and similar ones), I didn't really feel that sort of excitement that I imagine a lot of people might upon entering the store.  Of course, I thought "this is more like it," but the only thing I really felt was this insane obligation to buy something....take a chance with my dollar, support underground music, or whatever it was.  The strange thing was that, even at Metal Haven, I felt like I was being drawn in by album covers, affiliation, and all these totally irrelevant things and duped into being excessive just for the sake of reaffirming some lame idea of my personal involvement in the "scene," even though the only thing I've really done has been to attend a show.

How sad would it be to find that there's a large number of individuals who only feel a connection to something by consuming it in whatever form it appears to them?