Defining metal

People don’t understand that inaction is a form of action. They like to act against anyone who changes their default expectation. They’ll call that person a fascist or a control freak, blind to how they are trying to control as well — just passively.

And if there’s one thing that’s un-metal, it’s passivity.

Here’s a conversation I had recently:


Wolves In the Throne Room isn’t black metal per se. It’s like indie shoegaze with a black metal influence.

Other Dude:

Who are you to say what is or isn’t black metal?


So you’re saying Wolves in the Throne Room is black metal?

Other Dude:



So in other words, you’re telling me what is black metal?

Other Dude:



And by extension, you’re also going to tell me what is not black metal, if it’s not on the list of what you say is black metal?

Other Dude:

Well yeah but


So you’re doing the exact same thing you accuse me of.

Other Dude:

I think most people would say Wolves in the Throne Room is black metal.


But in addition to that, you’re telling me what is and is not black metal? Yes or no please.
Source: /r/metal

I’ve had this discussion more times that I can safely recall without vomiting. The crowd assumes that if they’re not the one making the assertion, they’re not telling you what to do — when, whether they’re hiding behind the skirts of “what everyone thinks” or not, they’re doing exactly that.

0 thoughts on “Defining metal”

  1. Raff says:

    So what IS black metal?

    Do we have a global organization that standardize the definitions of metal sub-genres and abortions?

    Music is just Music, everything else is just human judgment. And yours lacks coherence.

    If WITTR start using black metal make up would that make them black metal per se?

  2. lucifer6 says:

    Interesting observation as this passive form of argument is not just limited to the discussion of metal and music genres. I guess people get an ego boost by seeing themselves as open-minded (non-assertive).

  3. Richard says:

    Indeed, elitism is an assertive, positive and individualistic – elitists do not need the ego boost that the ‘open-minded’ crave.

    Conversely the crowdist (open-minded, non-assertive) mentality is unproductive due to its amorphousness – it is passive in defining itself so that it can react to fickle crowdist trends.

  4. awesome says:

    How many shoegaze/indie bands have lyrics about nature/spirituality and songs dominated by blastbeats, shrieks, and tremolo-picked minor scale melodies? None. I don’t even like WITTR and I think you’re a moron for posting this.

  5. Ben says:

    isn’t it the case that WITTR fans want to have their cake and eat it, too? Unlike the Xasthur fan, the WITTR fan is less likely to insist on the “true” or “kult” nature of this band. Perhaps I am being too generous, but is this band aiming more for the pensive Agalloch crowd, than the more obvious and “genre-bound” USBM bands which tout their own lack of originality? I am genuinely in the dark about how this whole discussion would be framed in its more reflective (non-message board) form

  6. joe says: