Death Metal Underground

A word on protection of speech

by Brett Stevens
July 2, 2013 –

parents_music_resource_center_pmrcI am an introvert, but I tend to like people. I see in each of you a series of small (and in some cases, large) miracles. Biology and naturalism will always fascinate me, as will the study of the mind, and of reality itself. It is full of wonder.

That being said… I’m not going to agree with most of you on anything except the really obvious (Mental Funeral is Autopsy’s best album, nu-core is a misstep for metal, and the Cro-Mags trash almost all UK punk except Amebix and Discharge). I’m a realist, an active nihilist, and a perennialist. You will find my view of life either laughably stupid, appallingly Jack Londonism, or not materialistic enough. So it goes.

The point of that rather pretentious detour is that I’m not into the business of trying to stop other people from having their say. There’s only really two limits on that: illegal, or non-contributive. The latter is a field that like all things is a subjective assessment of an objective reality, and includes but is not limited to being massively off-topic, repetitive and played word-tics, violent and pointless speech directed at groups, drive by commercial spam, anal goat porn, etc. Illegality threatens the site, and the other is basically equivalent of commercial spam in that it has nothing to give to the community here. You have to meet us halfway.

You’ll notice there are no ideological limits there, but it does overlap with some ideological questions. For example, is outright political debate acceptable here? Based on other failed experiments along these lines, it’s clear that it isn’t. It polarizes one way or the other and then all the users are compelled to fall into lock-step with Ideologies created and endorsed by large impersonal entities. I see no point in that, but it’s also not that easy. Our political outlooks are a product of our personalities and philosophies. They’re going to creep into everything we do, because the political outlook is the result of a philosophy of life. (It even extends to cooking and music listening.)

A new user recently wrote in with a complaint and eventually he said:

Came by your site again to check out thoughts on the new Carcass single but was put off the rampant homophobia in the comments section. Since I now know that you moderate comments and only post those that “contribute” to the conversation, I feel I must inform you that I will never be visiting deathmetal.org again.

Naturally, the true metalhead response is to give the finger and say, “Eat dicks, you clone!” Right?

I dunno. I’d rather people come could in, learn about metal, and learn about metal’s philosophy of life. I don’t trust the plastic Ideologies and I think we should look toward what a metal society would be like, which would probably resemble a cross between things found on Summoning and Voivod albums. But the point is, why erect a DO NOT ENTRY sign at the door, especially considering that most people are brainwashed by TV, parents, big media, the government, the Raelians, etc.?

When I started in metal, it was the Reagan 1980s. People were reclaiming a country that had split apart in 1968 and drifted into the easy pleasures of the 1970s. But like all compensations, this one over-compensated. As a result, thanks to (Democratic, ironically) politicians you could get carded as a 55-year-old man for buying an Eazy-E cassette tape, and people did get their asses pounded flat for being Communists.

In the 1990s, the shoe went on the other foot, and it’s still that way. You won’t find anyone in the whole metal sphere expressing a right-wing opinion, but they also take the sort of casual “yes, Mom” approach to leftist beliefs as well. Metalheads, even when they adopt Ideology, are skeptical of it. A metal society is one united by brotherhood of battle, honesty, realism and human desires to exceed the lowest common denominator, wherever it manifests itself. It doesn’t need or have Ideology. It has culture.

Thus, I’m going to demonstrate with my behavior what my ideals are. I’m going to ask our regular posters to be welcoming. I’m not going to ask you to stop using the term “gaydar.” I don’t care about political correctness, which as far as I’m concerned is just Communist-bashing in a new form, making people feel superior to others for having some point of view or another. I’m going to ask our anonymous commentator here also to grow up a bit and accept a difference of opinion. Just because he thinks his opinion is correct, and the media and government and large corporations agree with him, does not mean we should end the debate there. He should be welcoming as well.

You’ll notice this isn’t a rule. Yeah, I don’t believe in rules. They train us to be submissive and stop watching our own behavior for its actual consequences, and they make us resent authority because rules are blockheaded (literally: square and boxy, where life is elegant curves), in addition to being easy to sidestep and thus defining a new “minimum tolerance” standard which is quickly exploited. This is how we’d do it in a Hessian society: this is a good idea and we should adopt it.

But in that spirit — and to avoid blatant hypocrisy — the comments are open for discussion on this issue.

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21 comments

  • bitterman

    Okay, but ask those defending fan boys if they’re still listening to that new Carcass or Gorguts album 3 months after it comes out. At least Bolt Thrower became honest with themselves and only performs live now knowing their recent material was lacking. Autopsy is questionable, they could live off “mediabook deluxe edition” reissues and their constant flow of new merch designs, their new albums being downgraded reinterpretations of their 2nd album (the Vader syndrome; see Black to the Blind and beyond). Carcass are phoning it in. The lame song titles in conjunction with the “trying to be metal” incongruous blast parts in a rocking song sounds like the byproduct of a focus group meeting with many different people who have different ideas of what Carcass should be. So Carcass caved in and made a song like this, parts that will appeal to different people but a whole which never capitalized on the momentum of any one part. That in conjunction with their half decade long “one-off” reunion and Jeff Walker’s new jaded rock star persona makes all of this seem like nothing more than lining the pockets. They are well aware of the status they achieved after their absence and are now taking advantage of those Bloodstock and Wacken festival offers while giving the gullible something else to throw their money at (this album).

    1. Anthony

      Whoa, whoa, whoa there, Tex. Black to the Blind and Litany are both excellent albums. Everything after that is pretty garbage though. You’re spot-on about Carcass though. Very disappointing career trajectory.

      1. fallot

        They were passable when they were released and are almost unbearable now. When is the last time you gave Litany a spin?

  • Dominating Fucker

    Brett, I’d like to ask you a question. Did you ever read the comments on the Anus.com blog, ever? During two riot years that comment section became a tradition for the Anus Trolls of Doom that brought havoc, destruction and fun for all. The words cock and faggot have never been abused in the history of the internet, as much as it was back then and there. I’m glad you didn’t censor those comments, but why didn’t you??

    1. Brett Stevens Post author

      I’m glad you didn’t censor those comments, but why didn’t you??

      Because without a very good purpose, censorship is loathsome to me.

      Also, much of it was hilarious. It was only when (like certain troll groups and boards in their final days) it became cyclic and imitative that it really became irritating.

      The answer you’re looking for “beneath” this question is thus:

      We have new worlds to explore, and new lands to conquer.

      I am sure you will understand.

  • Dominating Fucker

    Besides it is scientifically proven that fans of new Carcass are also fans of Gojira and all of them are 42 year old bears looking to breed young twinks (or viceversa)… and it is their God-given right to lick another man’s penis like it was an ice cream cone and get mad at people for calling on them.

  • Concerned Citizen

    It’s interesting you link to metal-archives in this article. I never joined that site but saw a handful of forum posts where angry moderators ban people for having a different perspective on a band or album that conflicts with the mainstream view, even if it’s not in a hostile tone and intelligently written. An interesting one was on Soulfly’s acceptance even though they are a “mallcore” band as they call it.

    The first comment on the Carcass article said it all, especially with the “hordes of idiots” observation. A disagreement on the song’s quality in the youtube comments led to people proving that point with the lines “the riffs are better”, “drums are more brutal”, “production is cleaner”, “regular death metal is old”, etc. against the detractors.

    I think this site does a good job at observing music beyond the superficial level. If the Maryland Death Fest whores and the Metal-Archives had their way, we would all listen to Necropsy and Dan Swano projects just because Century Media told us it’s old school in their propaganda statements/press releases.

    1. Brett Stevens Post author

      I never joined that site but saw a handful of forum posts where angry moderators ban people for having a different perspective on a band or album that conflicts with the mainstream view, even if it’s not in a hostile tone and intelligently written

      On most internet forums, the moderators are power abusers because they have no power in real life and want to “make someone pay” with their cyber-elite skills.

      Mainstream metal sites are the worst because they’re so individualistic that they necessary form hive minds so that everyone can think they’re being individualists, while clinging to herd consensus so that they have a gang to defend them.

      I think this site does a good job at observing music beyond the superficial level.

      Thank you. It’s that people “get it” and enjoy reading that keeps us writing.

      It seems the world agrees with you, since over the last fifteen years especially, people have borrowed our texts and ideas on a regular basis.

      I think that’s why we upset the mainstream “big” metal sites; we are something they can never be, just as they’re something we can never be.

      With deathmetal.org, we’re taking a middle path: including everyone but never backing away from our realist vision and the knowledge that even the subjective describes the objective, with varying degrees of success. It’s sort of like the anti-individualism, which was one of the messages of death metal.

  • fallot

    “Came by your site again to check out thoughts on the new Carcass single but was put off the rampant homophobia in the comments section. Since I now know that you moderate comments and only post those that “contribute” to the conversation, I feel I must inform you that I will never be visiting deathmetal.org again.”

    This site believes metal is about something, correct? Is this not the kind of view that metal is against? Is another egalitarian hugbox for transsexuals, homosexuals, internet radical feminists and the male nerdy types who prop them up and support them needed or wanted? There are plenty of people who are sick of this stuff; who don’t want their thoughts and words to be policed. It can’t be about being welcoming for the individual who wrote that to you, because being welcoming would mean “don’t say faggot” or “don’t be homophobic”. The article seems to say that this isn’t what is desired, yet how else can one be more welcoming in this situation?

    Where are the unwelcoming comments anyway? Even the arguments with Ara were mostly civil when the other side was not. Making a show of it isn’t going to attract more people. Thinking comments are the problem isn’t going to attract more people. Personally I think you should go hard in the other direction. Play up your uniqueness rather than compromising. This is supposed to be a place that offers something different from the vast majority of metal websites and news aggregates, which is its strength.

    1. shoko asahara

      i attempted to see Boyd Rice the other day only to find that it was canceled because he is allegedly a mean vicious racist woman hater! the hipster venue compromised with the PC trolls of the world, but, it is their right to do so, even though everyone would forget all about it in 3 days. now if only they would have all those indie bands sent to gulags…ohh!!

  • Westgrove

    It doesn’t matter if you moderate the comments or not, because that isn’t what promotes a spirit of true, critical dialogue. If you want the bar to be raised on how we talk about metal, or anything for that matter, and for critical insight and understanding to flourish, then you have to hold people accountable for the ignorant, thoughtless things that they say. From what I have seen on this board, people do not do this. Take, for instance, the comment we have attached to this article:

    “Besides it is scientifically proven that fans of new Carcass are also fans of Gojira and all of them are 42 year old bears looking to breed young twinks (or viceversa)… and it is their God-given right to lick another man’s penis like it was an ice cream cone and get mad at people for calling on them.”

    What has been contributed by saying something so thoughtless and stupid? Is it supposed to be a commentary on how people defend their poor taste with the notion of rights? Does that really make any sense?

    Perhaps you will find such things humorous, but the more comments like this that there are on the board, the lower level we are at as a whole dialogically. It would be better if people chose not to speak unless they actually had something intelligent to say, and that means that the board would no longer see the garden variety homophobic, racist, and any other bigoted comments that tend to circulate here.

  • Tarbuz

    “If you want the bar to be raised on how we talk about metal, or anything for that matter, and for critical insight and understanding to flourish, then you have to hold people accountable for the ignorant, thoughtless things that they say. From what I have seen on this board, people do not do this.”

    Often times, it might not be worth responding to people like that, even if you do take them to task for what they say. Why respond to it when you can discuss subjects with people who are being thoughtful? Since this isn’t an oral forum, the low-brow comments can simply be skipped over. It’s not possible for them to interrupt a good conversation if the people locked in dialogue can simply skip over their comments. In other words, intelligent people should know better than to engage that type of person unless there’s the possibility they could mature. But typically, all you have to do is nod your head, smile, and then point to a pair of boobs and say, “OMG look lol!” Problem solved.
    Personally, I like this site a lot and the way it’s run. Even with the few trolls, the site is way better than the rest of the metal forums/sites out there. The immature comments that pop up don’t bother me. I just sift through them and look for thoughtful posts.

    1. Westgrove

      Fair enough. I will grant you that, especially because it is online, it is much easier and probably better to ignore people who have nothing interesting or worthwhile to say (it would be interesting to ask ourselves if dialogue proper is even possible online) I will also agree that, to some extant, dm.org is superior to the other websites in its content. Although I tend to disagree with most things that Steven’s and his other writers are saying, the important things are covered: history, culture, spirituality, etc. Identifying these things in metal, and taking it seriously enough just to think about how it fits into these topics, is a great leap forward for anyone who has learned to love metal in its many dynamic qualities.

  • BillHopkins

    I’m not impartial to a bit of trolling, if it is does at the right time and doesn’t become a wank fest, it can be hilarious and more importantly a welcome break from the easy, weak, herd morality of political correctness.

    However, it should be (1) heavily moderated and (2) never to be relentlessly directed at a particular target by individuals or groups of individuals.

  • BillHopkins

    Haha. Reading the comments to the Carcass post really brings this here topic into focus. We really do have a band of witty, perceptive metal fans who know shit when they hear it (which is what makes this place special, after all) and are not afraid to go to bat for their musical opinions.

    Sure, moderate to find a wider audience, but don’t loose this. It’s glorious in its own, flaming way.

  • fallot

    That metal-archives thread is incredibly depressing. The worst posts to read are by the guys who have qualms but play along to seem all progressive or tolerant (or at least indifferent). This is what not rocking the boat looks like I guess. The moderators all seem to be part of one smug hugbox hivemind: Metal-Archives is a safe space, we welcome everyone whether they are gay, trans, queer, genderqueer, questioning, teletubby, asexual, intersex, hipster, neutrois, bisexual or any combination thereof! My metal will be an intersectional, critical and feminist metal or it wont be metal at all! Rise against hate \m/