Groovy Commercialism

who wants a hugThis morning I was flipping through the book Choosing Death and landed on an interview with commerce queen Angela Gossow detailing her opinion on Cannibal Corpse:

“I loved Cannibal Corpse’s Eaten Back To Life, because it was so extreme at the time when I was a kid, but I didn’t sing along with those lyrics.” Gossow admits. “It’s somehow just a bit intimidating. It’s so much about violence against women. It’s not a guy who’s being totally shredded—it’s always a woman. It’s usually a sexual thing too, like rape, then murder, and I don’t think you should promote that. You don’t wanna have your girlfriend raped, strangled and ripped apart when she was pregnant. I still don’t get it when so many of the people out there sing about that [subject matter] have girlfriends—I just don’t know how they can justify that.”

While she does have a valid point from a woman’s perspective, the dots didn’t connect that the main factor to their popularity is shock value. Cannibal Corpse have become the most popular death metal band for outraging people in a cartoonish manner. Most of their lyrics are so farfetched in its violence, sex and gore that it defies a sensible reality. They found a commercially viable formula and cater to people that seek music that doesn’t delve farther than the surface level. I can easily envision a teenager sitting at the dinner table wearing a Cannibal Corpse shirt for one sole purpose: to repudiate his parents and be “rebellious”.

Cheese: The nineteen nineties were besieged by an onslaught of second rate bands that were inspired by the shock value of Cannibal Corpse and took the concept even further. One such band that accelerated to popularity more than the others for being more extreme was Devourment. Instead of deriving their lyrical themes from fantasy and outlandish gore, they sought to bring a more shocking element by advocating the murder of babies. Their song Baby Killer quickly became a classic among those that needed something more edgy than their prized Cannibal Corpse.

Relapse Records recently picked up Devourment to cash in on this concept. Knowing that it wouldn’t be profitable advocating baby death, Devourment went the Cannibal Corpse route and devised their lyrical themes to be cartoons. Their popularity has already grown. The era of Cartoon Death Metal is overshadowing those who approach the genre as an art form.


9 thoughts on “Groovy Commercialism”

  1. Matters says:

    I thought you guys supported Texas metal.

    1. fenrir says:

      You’re missing the whole point. This has nothing to do with a band being from Texas, New York, Poland, The Netherlands or Sweden. It has to do with the lyrical content of the songs and the way the genre is approached.

  2. metrosexual says:

    If they want to be the new edge in shock, they should create more imaginative, less repetitive music videos. Alternatively, shock bands could kill themselves on stage. I’d buy tickets for that.

    Death metal on basketball jerseys and short shorts is a new low.

  3. Trey Azagthoth had said something similar in this interview from 1998, during death metal’s decline:

    1. Anthony says:

      Hadn’t even seen that one, thanks! I bet you he was talking about Lividity with that “dildos in their asses” comment.

  4. Man In The Forest says:

    The central thesis in your piece is observant, and cuts through social presuppositions. This, if course, means people who hold those presuppositions to be true will think you’re just being “pedantic” or “elitist”.

    Its hard to talk about gender issues in general when people like this are allowed to set the standards amongst our societal intelligentsia, if you will.

  5. Herbivore says:

    The lyrics and themes should not be about killing/hurting vulnerable groups like babies or women if they have real power to fight against men.

  6. archibald says:

    Still, It’s better than the new Burzum album.

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