Another take on the Hellfest porn angle

by Brett Stevens
April 18, 2014 –

hellfest2014_lineup

By now, you’ve probably heard that France’s Hellfest had been planning to team up with a porn site to provide entertainment at the show. Naturally, two sides have formed, the pro side who think either this might be cool or it should be allowed, and the con side which thinks it’s a bad idea.

I’m going to join the con side at a meta level by saying that I think we should be very careful about involving any industry with metal, including the “metal industry” (which should be an oxymoron) itself. Industry wants the opposite of music quality; it wants a tractable fan-base that will buy whatever comes out so long as it has some “new” quality, like using a trombone or a different singer.

Pornography is many things. There’s a moral argument against it from conservatives, which is that it debases the family; there’s also a moral argument against it from liberals, which is that it degrades women. Probably both are true to some degree, but it’s also true that women and men both voluntarily join up to participate both in the films and in purchasing the eventual product. Either it’s not debasing/degrading, or some people want that experience or at least don’t mind it.

But the real issue here is economic. People are already leery of Toyota’s Scion imprint sponsoring metal shows, or past sponsorship deals with alcohol companies. There’s no reason we should be less skeptical here just because porn is an “underground” industry (like the “metal industry”). It will still try to infiltrate and use you for its own ends, metal fans, because to it you represent dollar signs. Does the money go into the music, or the… ah… you know?

16 comments

  • Lord Mosher

    The other day I listened to Hjlidskjalf in a forest right next to a big tree with a river view. Not long ago I was at a very lonely building complex that on weekends gets incredibly quiet. There, all by myself I listened to a couple speed metal records.
    Metal is a personal thing for one to enjoy in solitude. I give a fuck if metal or the industry were destroyed tomorrow.

  • wyvern lord

    Couldn’t agree more with this write-up, and I say this as an enthusiastic supporter of pornography

    Great metal, as art, should function as refuge from the bullshit and insanity of a modern lifestyle dominated by commerce, jobs, morality, and televised golf tournaments. A lot of metal fans, including most of my friends who enjoy metal, want metal to be simply music to party and feel like a badass to — essentially Trey Songz with guitars and growling. At its best, metal is pretty much the opposite of that — a very personal intellectual and emotional experience. Any superfluous injection of not only commerce, but hedonism into metal should be viewed with skepticism.

  • Nito

    Porn is good. The industry wanting to intermingle with the “metal industry” should surprise no one. We’re at the stage where Millencolin, Buckcherry and Skid Row are playing alongside Gorgoroth and Incantation. $$$$$$$$$$

  • trystero

    This is terrible and it makes metal look cheap and low-brow. Porn is disgusting and definitely bad for you, addictive so that eventually only the most depraved of acts can cause a response in the deadened souls that use it. It is responsible for an upsurge in erectile dysfunction in the young, who find they cannot perform when with a normal woman in a normal sexual encounter because it isnt intense enough for them.

    What degrades the body degrades the soul as well. A permimssive attitude towards sex is not what I am arguing against, even though I am also against that. Porn is a step further in depravity that would be viewed upon as intensely depraved by any other era. It is only with societies of plenty, mass media and the raw ubiquity of pornographic material that it seems relatively normal to a lot of people.

    1. trystero

      Even porn that seems relatively tame is an abnormal, voyeuristic, harmful experience. It is wise to remember that we are in fact animals, and not in control of our psychology. Not saying pornography causes rape or anything like that, but it certainly does affect the psyche.

      1. Count Ringworm

        Well said. Porn is cancerous and artless; metal should want no part.

        Porn is mainly for addicts who seek to ensconce themselves in a bubble of titillating un-reality.

    2. Robert

      “It is responsible for an upsurge in erectile dysfunction in the young, who find they cannot perform when with a normal woman in a normal sexual encounter because it isn’t intense enough for them.”

      Good point.

    3. wyvern lord

      “This is terrible and it makes metal look cheap and low-brow.” — agreed.

      Disagreed:
      “Porn is a step further in depravity that would be viewed upon as intensely depraved by any other era.”

      I have found that the past had as much need for depravity as our present; which, though it may not seem that way to you, still frowns upon pornography to a large degree.

      Case in point — the ukiyo-e artists of 18th and 19th century Japan, where very serious and talented artists who created scenes of great beauty at the same time were producing very kinky and explicit erotic prints, and having them mass-produced to an eager public. Frankly, I find the artistic value of most of those pornographic prints dubious at best, but the fact remains that the culture at large was rather welcoming to pornographic material and the artistic giants of the day were willing to devote time and mental energy to their creation.

      “disgusting and definitely bad for you” and the degradation of the soul are also highly questionable points (is defecation disgusting — or simply a malodorous necessity? is the soul not degraded by the very fact that it is chained to the excretions and desires of the body, and not free to roam amid the Aether of Real Forms?) — though your point about erectile dysfunction in young men has value — I’m pretty sure I remember reading something like this from a scientific study a few years back. I have not heard a whole lot about ED in my personal circle, probably because most people would be too ashamed to admit it, but a sexual taste built predominantly on pornography will inevitably seek novelty. I can totally see this spilling over into one’s o biological response to women.

  • Anthony

    I like how the festival organizers have created these goofy little islands of terrible music under each major band logo. Opeth with Paradise Lost, The Black Dahlia Murder, Soilwork, and (the now decadent) Unleashed… it’s Gothenburg prog nerd low self-esteem day! Carcass with Nile, Gorguts, Hail of Bullets, and (the now decadent) Suffocation… it’s obese death metal can’t really mosh too fast nerd day! 1349 with Vreid, Windir remnants, Ruins of Beverast, and Solstafir… it’s black metal trying to relive the early ’90s but not understanding why the old bands were better anti-human anti-life nerd day! Electric Wizard with Godflesh, Kylesa, and Caspian… it’s left-over from the Sunn O))) dissolution beardo nerd day! See also post-Hanneman Slayer pose thrash day, Avenged Sevenfold refreshingly honest old fashioned mallcore day, Aerosmith wifebeater burn-out day, etc.

    What’s funny is how bizarrely the remainder bands are sprinkled amongst the neatly arranged packages. The presence of Weekend Nachos and Benighted seem to shows some bleed-through from mosh monkey land into death metal prog nerd zone. I don’t know what the fuck synth-pop-cum-Springsteen hearthrobs Killers are doing with the Aerosmith and Deep Purple crowd. My personal favorite is the Black Sabbath stage, which appears to have been the dumping ground for the overflow. I’m sure that Seether fans really feel connected to Crowbar’s slow and fat music. Maybe that stage is supposed to be made entirely of bands whose music is easy accessible on the shelves of Best Buy and Target.

    This festival is the convex hull of the decadent dissolution of metal and the hungry maws of marketing, as extrapolated into twenty-first century space. The porn thing is just part of the global marketing system’s half-assed attempt to absorb what remains of metal culture. That’s why you get these goofy lineups and weird co-marketing attempts (of which the Scion A/V shit is another example). The bean-counters aren’t entirely sure what they’ve got, but they’re frantically trying to make it work in a profitable manner. That kind of nonsense is old hat by now; seen it!

    What’s really depressing here is the other curve of that hull: life among the ruins of metal. We don’t have the vital and interesting Emperor that was a scene leader in the prime; instead, we’ve got the post-post-Emperor project zombies rehashing the decadent second half of their career for kids that saw In the Nightside Eclipse on a TOP 666 MOST EVIL BEST BLACK METAL RECORDS OF EVER list on the internet and thought that the cover looked kind of cool. Remember old Katakylsm? Remember how awesome those first albums were, how they totally rose above the first death of the death metal movement and gave us something original and fantastic that no band (including Kataklysm) has ever really followed up on?Remember old Incantation? Remember old Enslaved? Remember old Carcass? Remember old Gorguts? Well, you’re not getting any of those, but you’re getting the next “best” thing… the shit new versions, where instead of maturing and developing the ideas that were unearthed in their lightning-in-a-bottle early careers, they fell back into standard verse-chorus Capitalist/Communist/Christian/Materialist rock’n’goddamn’roll with growly vocals to scare the kids who wore collared shirts to high school.

    The marketing bullshit is just vultures feeding on a corpse. I really wish that metal aged like Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, and the like, getting better instead of worse. Maybe metal is biologically incapable of doing that, or maybe metal musicians get too obsessed with conforming to an aesthetic. Then again, maybe that’s just what happens in a society that rewards the ability to please the largest amount of people before they drive to McDonald’s/Whole Foods and stuff their faces and fuck their sluts and produce more garbage people because we’re all so fucking free.

  • Anthony

    Not that I’m blaming “society” or the Zionists or the Freemasons or some shit like that. The greatest conspiracy is that there is no conspiracy. Just fucking monkeys.

  • hiarctow

    Can’t say I wouldn’t mind seeing a few of those bands, but looking at the line-up on this poster I’m really struck by just how much metal is now an industry… So thoroughly workman-like and uninspired.

    Whether it’s the reformed bands who’re back to grind out a few more paychecks (Sabbath, Emperor, Godflesh, Carcass) the nu kids who all look like they formed after reading ‘metal for dummies’ (Solstafir, Avenged Sevenfold, Watain) the ‘arty’ bands (Enslaved, Pinkfrothyaids, Kylesa), or the ones who’ve been using it as a paycheck for years (Slayer, Nile, Sepultura, Unleashed) – the whole thing just looks so washed-up.

  • Laozi

    I can’t say that I’ve stayed away from porn all my life, but there should come a point within self-reflection that one should realize how hedonistic it is.

    Continuous sense pleasure (drinking, smoking weed, snorting coke or heroin, masturbation) seems to be a huge demographic of the Metal community. Fans who frequent this site seem to be an exception to the rule (as far as appearances don’t deceive)… many I encounter within “scenes” and forums are textbook hedonists and have more in common with the Philosophy of AC/DC’s “Shoot to Thrill” than in common with Death Metal bemoans lyrically.

    The move to fuse Porn with Metal is likely based on Internet cookie research. As damaging as Porn is, we should question the high Death Drive that seems to be linked with current Metal culture. After all Death Metal is clearly antithetical to “Life” Metal. And Most Metal nowadays is made for money anyway. Why the fuck else would a festival of this sort (or its inferior cousin MDF) even exit?

    1. Nito

      This was probably the same realization Atrocity made in 1994 when they decided to play BDSM themed groove rock while pissing away their worldview. Why long for death when you can “shoot to thrill”?