The problem of commercialism in metal

black_metal_saloon

Some will tell you that metal cannot sell out because metal is not a large financial enterprise. The question then is, “What is large?” because if a genre supports dozens of labels, has top-grossing tours, and tens of thousands of bands, it seems that someone is getting paid more than they would otherwise.

But don’t take it from us. Look at what commercialization has done to another genre:

I was so blown away by the first “Star Wars” film when I saw it in 1977, I went back two more times the same week to wallow in its space age fantasy. But here’s the thing: George Lucas’ creation, basically a blown-up Flash Gordon adventure with better special effects, has left all too many people thinking science fiction is some computer graphics-laden space opera/western filled with shootouts, territorial disputes, evil patriarchs and trusty mounts (like the Millennium Falcon).

“Star Wars” has corrupted people’s notion of a literary genre full of ideas, turning it into a Saturday afternoon serial. And that’s more than a shame — it’s an obscenity.

He has a point, and reveals a situation parallel to that of metal. Sci-fi was too hardcore and dry for most readers, but then if you add in princesses in skimpy costumes, wookies and light sabers, suddenly it’s… an action movie with soap opera aspects. The audience can tune into that, and so can all the basement greebos who will cosplay, imitate and nerd it to death.

Metal was also originally too hardcore and dense for most listeners, but then if you added in the drama of burning churches and murders, people could really get into that wacky far-out identity. Suddenly it’s hard rock with distorted vocals and Satan. The audience can tune into that, and so all the basement neckbeards emerge to record collect and/or emo it to death.

Two sides rapidly form in any debate: one side says we should have purity of essence of what is being done, and the other side thinks that this principle should be more malleable in order to support social popularity and commerce. I say stick with the purity of essence: metal was built on years of accumulated knowledge, and turning it into entertainment flushes that all down the drain.

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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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjX7tXu_XQ4

 

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Tau Cross Releases New Track “Burn With Me” From Upcoming Album Messengers of Deception

Revolutionary but traditional metal/punk band Tau Cross — continuing, among others, the legacy of legendary hardcore band Amebix — unleashes its forthcoming album Messengers of Deception on December 4th, but has released a teaser track for the song “Burn With Me,” featuring a video by Jakob Moth which showcases some of the imagery and aesthetics behind the band. This continues the search for a single voice between punk, metal, and hard rock that avoids both commercialism and indecisive polyglot, instead creating a powerful sound of dissent and exploration.

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Hosts of Lord – Prophetic Visions of Harrowing Despair

Hosts of Lord are an interesting curiosity, a Christian Black metal band hailing from the USA but rather than taking standard Noregian second wave and adding Christian lyrics, sole member Μαθθίας takes influence from the short lived and for the most part left alone French scene. While current the French Black metal scene has discarded its greats in favour of more commercial strands or Deathspell Omega like dissonance, Hosts of Lord attempt to channel the self-destructive and truly misanthropic tendencies of their influences into eschatological predictions of the future.

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SMR – Business As Usual


Ulcerate – “Stare Into Death And Be Still”
Riffless Death metal outfit Ulcerate have toned their typically dissonant approach in search of something more akin to Post-Rock as seen by many of the modern “black” metal bands. The shapes of the melodies remain virtually identical to their previous works with just the choice of notes changing to reflect this sudden change. Inquisition like tremolo effects form the “tails” of most of the melodies. While such effects have been used in metal to deliver great results (Iron Maiden – “22 Acacia Avenue”), here they just give the illusion that there is more than what is truly happening. In reality this is a compilation of random ideas shoved together that maintain a certain atmosphere without any actual composition.

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Blood Incantation – Hidden History Of The Human Race (2019)

Blood Incantation return after the heavily flawed but full of potential “Starspawn” that showed songs with a well defined direction lose focus and meander aimlessly. Here the band have devolved into Timeghoul worship for Indie kids and tek-deaf fans who need constant riff changes. The titles are taken from the pseudo-historical documentaries that detail drug addled stories of humans being assisted by aliens throughout time. An obvious sign that something is deeply wrong with both the music and the musicians responsible for this.

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The Accüsed

The Accüsed came to life in 1981 as a punk/metal-act from Seattle who indulge in a self-coined musical style interchangeably referred to as “splatter core” or “splatter rock.” Releasing their debut full-length album in 1985, The Accüsed developed tangentially to thrash luminaries such as D.R.I., C.O.C. and Cryptic Slaughter, with whom they share musical characteristics. Like the latter, the Accüsed applies metallic riffing to rudimentary song structures fueled by the raging intensity of hardcore punk.

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Extreme Metal in Cinema


article by Belisario

There are many movies that portray heavy metal, but the ones addressing extreme metal could be counted on the fingers of one hand, and all of them are rather recent. In such a mainstream format as cinema, it is no wonder why extreme metal has remained largely out of radar, although it has to be pointed out that the treatment received by more conventional heavy metal has actually never been really thorough. Since the popularity peak of the genre in the late 70s, almost all its appearances on the big screen have portrayed a musical genre essentially grounded in rock music, with no clear differences discernible between both fields. That is the case of Wayne’s World (1992), Airheads (1994) or, for those familiar with Spanish cinema, the two parts of the Isi/Disi saga, Amor a lo bestia (2004) and Alto voltaje (2006). All of them share a stereotyped and humorous vision, which on the other hand always eschews any disquisition of the music itself or its fans.

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Desperate Earache records Signs Emo vocalist turned Street Rapper

As the money in modern metal continues to dry up despite various attempts to enter the mainstream through the hipster community. Useless label Earache records has resorted to signing Metalcore singer/guitarist and now Soundcloud rapper Alireza. This should come as no surprise since rap music has become the pop music of the 80s and the Earache fans at this point are pretty much the same people that download Iphone recorded rap. The reek of desperation and the constant barrage of race politics that have entered the commercial metal universe reaffirms the idea that Modern metal is heading towards its grave and it should be a fun ride as even more obvious cash-grabs will appear that will soon alienate the gullible hipster crowds.

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