The Heavy Metal Book Club

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The term “educated” has become such a weasel phrase in our time that it is worthy of attack. It implies that some are just better than others, and have gone through a rigorous program, and we should listen to them first because they know stuff. Implied in that is the idea that they are smarter and more successful than the rest of us and we should just bow down before their degrees. It is not politically correct to say outright that someone is smarter or wiser, because not everyone can equally access those things. But education? If you sit through the right classes, and memorize the right stuff, you too — whoever you are — can be “educated.”

This trope has the unfortunate effect (which is fully desired by those who use it) of silencing people by attacking their self-esteem. If they do not have the degree(s) required for public acceptance of their education, they are expected to remain silent while those with degrees and titles dictate to them what they should think, despite the quality of education having plummeted and degrees themselves meaning less now than before. Those without “education” are styled as ignorant hicks and basement-dwellers, when many of them are in fact too impatient and not compliant enough for our regimented, memorization-based educational system.

I have met smart people in every walk of life and every area of the world. They tend to hide themselves, having been aware since an early age of how retibutive this world is against the honestly intelligent. Usually they focus their energies on practical things, but because of the stigma of “education” as a social status, they shy away from some of the greatest things that our cultures have to offer, namely books. Not every book; like metal bands, books come in varying degrees of quality, and most are mediocre gibberish, especially some of the most popular. But even in that flood of inanity there are books worth spending time to understand.

For this reason, I suggest a heavy metal book club. Goals would be modest: select a book every month, read it and discuss it. Then figure out a thumbs up or thumbs down, and have someone write a review. The book does not have to be metal-related, but some of those might be fun too. It would require someone to organize it through a mailing list or this blog, and we’re taking volunteers now :)

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SJW war on metal heats up

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Following the banning of Disma from the Netherlands Deathfest by SJWs, those cuddly political fanatics have attacked again by setting fire to a black metal club in Germany.

As reported in local news, the entrance to the club — originally a tiki-themed club now repurposed to be one of the most important black metal venues in Germany — was set ablaze in the night by SJWs who identified with “Antifa,” originally an anti-fascist organization that now works alongside other SJW groups. These groups publicly claimed responsibility for the attack and issued the ominous statement, “This fall we have some catching up what was missed in the last few years!”

Interestingly, Blackland Club was not a Nazi club. It allowed black metal bands to play there and by all accounts, most of the bands who performed at the club were not political in any way. SJWs attacked under the excuse that it provided a platform for Nazi bands, ignoring the fact that most black metal bands have extremist philosophies that make the Nazis look like Williamsburg Democrats. The club became a target because it did not adopt the SJW line that those who do not expressly reject certain beliefs must be destroyed. Some of the “evidence” compiled by SJWs includes that people there wear Burzum tshirts.

This type of phenomenon — a witch hunt organized by an internet hate mob motivated by SJW ideals — was last seen in the Disma debacle where SJWs pushed Disma to apologize for possible pro-Nazi statements by one member. The point of the apology is that it humiliates the person, and shows everyone else a broken and contrite citizen who acknowledges that he has been disciplined, which instills fear in the rest of us of the same happening to us. That is the point of all this SJW scene policing: to create fear and through that, compliance and control. SJWs have made their demands clear: support our ideology or we will destroy your career. This is the power of having an internet lynch mob to deploy against non-conformists.

As political instability in the US and Europe accelerates, we are likely to see more of these clashes as SJWs attempt to unify their ranks. This reveals SJWs are involved in metal only incidentally because their actual purpose is to be involved in politics, and they want to use heavy metal as a propaganda weapon in that fight. This is why their increasingly shrill, intolerant and dogmatic voices are infesting metal, punk and rock as happened when record label Run For Cover Records cut ties with band Whirr over “transphobic” — meaning not fully approving of transsexualism — messages on Twitter:

Last night, the Bay Area band Whirr posted a series of negative tweets about G.L.O.S.S., a punk band whose lead singer is a transgender woman. (The tweets have since been deleted, but an archive can be found at Stereogum.) Among other things, they tweeted, “g.l.o.s.s. Is just a bunch of boys running around in panties making shitty music,” and compared G.L.O.S.S. to the Buffalo Bill character from The Silence of The Lambs.

While this is clearly vitriolic, it is not any more vitriolic than what is regularly posted on metal bulletin boards on the internet. But it does provide an opportunity for SJWs to create a “teachable moment” in which they destroy someone’s life to remind the rest of us to toe the line or we, too, will be on the chopping block. One label created a religion out of this division, and said, “We have zero interest in working w/ hateful people.” That they have in turn created a hateful echo chamber seems like too much thinking for them, but the result is that the metal/punk scenes are polarizing: there are those who are SJW, and there are those who SJWs consider their enemies for not being SJW.

This behavior is not specific to SJWs in metal. Everywhere they go, the commandment is the same: Destroy the unbelievers. If you deny their ideology in public, they will seek you out not to disagree with you, but to try to get you fired and otherwise socially ostracized. It is their one weapon, the threat that they will declare you something the media thinks is bad (“Nazi,” “racist,” “sexist,” “transphobic”) whether or not there is any truth to it, and you will be unable to participate in our liberal-leaning society as a result.

In the meantime, refuting a recent SJW attack which claimed that folk metal was plagued by “sexism” and “racism” but never quite showed how that was true, some sources have begun posting an extended list of folk metal bands that are not white, male and pointed toward European mythos:

Amocualli – Aztec folk metal from Mexico
Arkan – Islamic folk/death metal from France
Kartykeia – Hindu/Vedic folk/death metal from Russia
Melechesh – Mesopotamian folk/black metal from Israel (ethnically Assyrian and Armenian) now based in the Netherlands
Myrath – Oriental folk/progressive metal from Tunisia
Rudra – Hindu/Vedic death metal
Skinflint – folk metal from Botswana
Tengger Cavalry – Mongolian folk metal from China

As usual, the SJW story does not add up because SJWs are ideological fanatics and not realistic members of society. Western Civilization continues crashing into the abyss and no one will do anything about that, so they focus on nice low-hanging fruit like convincing all of us to support the right of transsexuals to listen to black metal too, even though no one had ever attempted to deny them that ability. The best way to combat this is to end the perception that SJWs speak in any way about whether someone is “good” or not, and see them for what they are: lonely fanatics in their lonely apartments, raging at the world for not granting them more power.

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Metal riffs without distortion

As something of a followup to yesterday’s article about rearranging or otherwise reinterpreting metal for compositional purposes – Youtube guitarist VAALVLA recently uploaded a video showcasing the main riffs of some popular metal and rock songs played clean and without any guitar distortion.

This was insightful and/or gimmicky enough to earn the attention of a couple other metal journalism websites, and it helps to reveal, on some level, the difference in technique between, for example, a Slayer and a Pantera song. A drum track was provided, but it doesn’t detract from the lesson at hand. VAALVLA also has several other videos in a similar vein that may be interesting to our readers.

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The History of Metal and Horror documentary begins filming

The History of Metal and Horror

Director Mike Schiff has embarked on a new project: a documentary called The History of Metal and Horror which explores the complex relationship between heavy metal and horror films. The documentary will include interviews with horror icons such as Tom Savini, Gunnar Hansen, Sid Haig, and John Russo as well as musicians such as Kirk Hammett, Corey Taylor, Alice Cooper, Jonathan Davis, and more.

Metal Blade founder and icon Brian Slagel is producing the film. The producers released the following statement:

A documentary (currently in production) which explores the history of heavy metal music, horror films, and how the two genres have merged together over time.

Various metal artists share their greatest fears, favorite horror films, their influences, and much more. Horror film icons also discuss how their films have influenced the horror genre, their connections to metal artists, and why metal and horror work together.

For more info, head over to the movie website and watch the promo trailer below.

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How to write better metal music – Recontextualization

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Too many of the bands I review are (apparently) uninterested in their songwriting beyond a basic level, and too many of those that actually are interested approach improving it from exclusively an academic position – the idea that applying enough ideas from theory will make for interesting content. DMU’s orthodox positions are firstly that being able to work from some sort of message/concept is a potent motivator, and secondly that greater emphasis is needed on structural development. These are both useful things to keep in mind, but properly implementing them requires a great deal of effort and possibly some rearrangement of your internal mental hardware. While there is no substitute for hard work, there is one particularly useful technique I’d like to share that helps with the latter.

The concept is fairly basic – take a work of music, transcribe it, and adapt it for different instrumentation, but executing it effectively takes some proficiency. For the best results, you need to use instruments that require radically different performance technique than the originals, or at least something that imposes major restrictions on your sonic palette. The canonical example around here is either a kazoo or a piano, depending on how serious an article discussing the subject is. As someone who relies heavily on software to create and ‘perform’ music, I would tend to recommend restrictive, simulationist sequencing software like Famitracker (which emulates the limited sound hardware of the Nintendo Entertainment System). Ultimately, the exercise has been done enough by other people that de-emphasizing the specific choice of instrument makes sense.

Ideally, the very act of rearranging a composition will provide some insights into its structure. Transcribing the composition requires some understanding of what an instrument can and can’t do, and possibly a strong ear if good notation or transcription is lacking. Furthermore, the limitations of the new instruments may force one aspect of the songwriting into the limelight, revealing its strengths and weaknesses. One caveat is that the derivative you end up making will probably incorporate your own biases as a performer and composer, but even that might help you to understand your own strengths and weaknesses in that regard. I personally should know, since I often end up taking my own compositions and rearranging them as I gain access to new tools I want to take advantage of. In the process, I often end up making structural changes that hopefully strengthen the new versions, and I also learn ways to make future works better.

In short, rearranging is a useful technique to learn some aspects of composition, although it’s no panacea, especially since there are limits to how much original thought you add while still calling it a rearrangement. Given an opportunity to hone your composition skills, though, you should seriously consider giving it a shot, especially if you’re in a band that likes to play covers.

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#Metalgate explodes: Maryland Deathfest denies, then confirms SJW censorship

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Maryland Deathfest went full SJW by announcing that it was severing ties with death metal band Disma for its California Deathfest event. This comes only a day after the MDF organizers denied any connection between their act and SJW beliefs, blaming it instead on the departure of guitarist Daryl Kahan from the band.

Disma was dropped because of the pressures and safety/security at stake, demand by the Oakland community – which let me remind you – is the most racially integrated city and progressive in the entire country. As one of the organizers behind this, our community has zero tolerance for any kind of bigotry or hatred. Period. Craig Pillard had the opportunity to repudiate his past ties to fascist promotion, but he clearly choose not to. That is entirely his choice. Thanks tot he growing pressures of the Movement in Ferguson and Baltimore, with Oakland battling racist police for three straight weeks, you best think twice before coming here championing any kind of oppression.

Disma fired back a response that was predictably irate, seeing how the band has lost time and money in preparing for its departure to this fest:

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ANGELA DANCEV is a liar! DISMA did not get kicked off the fest for any previous reason or accusation. We got kicked because of ANGELA DANCEV terrorizing the fest with her idiotic and selfish agenda. For her to lump this situation in with the past riots of Ferguson and Baltimore is absolutely ridiculous and utterly insane! Please show me ONE live show from us that caused any problems. Please source your accusations! She created this racist band myth based on her ignorance of Craig’s previous shock project that picked a different boogieman other than Satan. His past projects or whatever he does in his spare time has nothing at all to do with DISMA. All of us live within 10mins. of the most culturally diverse city on the planet! NYC So please spare us another ignorant statement. Our friends and fans know who we are! So stop hiding behind Oakland. All we were going to do was play a show for our fans. We do not promote violence or hatred of any kind. so again, please source your references to these false accusations. Sorry again to all the people who were looking forward to seeing DISMA.

Yesterday, Maryland Deathfest organizers reacted with denial and insults when confronted with their actions. Today, they confirm what was said here and then denied by MDF, and even more, double down on the vitriol and defensive posture. It seems that MDF does not like being recognized as SJW-run and pro-censorship, but they can’t find a way out of the corner they have painted themselves into. No sympathy here.

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Brendon Small launches “crowd” campaign to continue Metalocalypse

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Despite being a huge animation nerd, I was never able to develop much interest in Metalocalypse, but my support certainly wasn’t required for the companies involved to release four seasons, four Dethklok studio albums, and seriously concern Brett. A couple years of production may have fatigued its audience, though, as the show has essentially been canceled by Adult Swim. Show creator Brendon Small seeks to reverse this – enter the “Metalocalypse Now!” campaign, which at first glance is presumably intended to mobilize fans into a veritable army of demanding Adult Swim and/or Hulu provide the funding for a series finale. In isolation, this is at least a sign of the times – growing social media efforts and the theoretical possibility of crowdfunding continues to open up opportunities for content creators to promote and distribute their work.

On closer inspection, though, I began to question how relevant the efforts of fans would be in this campaign’s success or failure. The campaign has already attracted an enormous amount of corporate sponsorship, ranging from understandable fans like metal journalism/interest sites such as MetalSucks and MetalInjection, to record labels and surprisingly the computer peripheral company Razer. This leads me to believe that the result of this campaign is already predecided by the corporate sponsors. At best, anyone who participates in the social media end of this is a number they can pull up at the inevitable business presentation with Adult Swim’s executives. With some of the names involved, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a huge promotional blitz and a successful conclusion to this campaign, but our readership would likely be disappointed either way.

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Hipsters attack black metal with pale imitations

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Since the early 1970s, the music industry and the social scene behind it — comprised of those who use external appearance to signal social success — has been trying to find some way to counter the authenticity of metal. While rock and blues stars appeared to be rebels, the truth emerged over time that most were very conventional in their outlook except for hedonism.

Heavy metal on the other hand rejected the founding myths of our society since the intellectual shift so-called “The Enlightenment,” in which people decided that social pressure to enable the individual to be “equal” whether right or wrong, good or bad, was more important than social standards. Heavy metal pointed out that our perceived enemies are scapegoats, and the real problem is that the enemy is us, and that people are delusional and happy hippie flower power is another variety of the bourgeois deliberate ignorance of reality that promotes social decay.

In recent years, the same people who were hippies back in the 1960s — the conformity of appearance non-conformist and then going to work at a bank and retiring as a fat Baby Boomer — have returned as “social justice workers,” or SJWs. These people, together with an industry that realizes it can sell more re-branded indie rock than it can discover compelling metal bands, have created a new style that culturally appropriates the appearance of black metal while injecting it with the same messages of self-indulgence, self-pity, victimhood and pacifism that the hippies bleated about back in the day.

As the UK’s leading cheerleader paper reports, the herd is claiming this new false black metal is in fact an “innovation,” despite it resembling music from thirty years ago that black metal bands detested.

Enter “blackgaze”, the buzz term for a new school of bands taking black metal out of the shadows and melding its blast beats, dungeon wailing and razorwire guitars with the more reflective melodies of post-rock, shoegaze and post-hardcore. It’s a geographically loose scene and its bands have been embraced by the indie media, which means you’re now as likely to hear black metal at ATP as in the Carpathian mountains.

Alert readers may note the “post-rock, shoegaze and post-hardcore” attribution, which Death Metal Underground has long identified as being the origins of this material. In other words, it is not black metal, but indie rock playing “dress up” as black metal. The quest of the industry for a safe rebellion goes on.

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Academics create witch hunt against metal

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Academics, always in a position to justify their jobs and knowing they can make headlines by finding “racism” and “sexism” under every rock like 21st century witchfinders general, have recently released a study claiming associations with racism and sexism in folk metal.

As Leeds Beckett University states:

“Through the study, I found that although women fans of heavy metal enjoy folk metal with the same kind of passion and intensity as male fans, and there is no doubt they find identity and belonging through the music, the heart of folk metal is predominantly masculine. The warrior myth that folk metal is focused on is normalising this masculine predominance in our modern day world- men still have enormous social, cultural and political power.

“Folk metal’s obsession with warriors and cultural purity, displayed through tales of Vikings and dressing up as Vikings on stage, reduces belonging and identity in a muti-cultural, cosmopolitan society to a few exclusive myths. It is showing white men how to be white men and showing women and ethnic minorities their place in European society.”

Talk about jumping the shark: the definition of “racism” used by these academics is pride in your heritage and masculinity, in the context of music enjoyed by women (and, from my observation, people from minority groups as well). What is this, then? It’s another attempt to browbeat metal into going along with the SJW agenda by calling us bad names and hoping we’ll apologize, purge the dissenters and start repeating the correct message as these academics see it.

Karl Spracklen, previously interviewed here, became part of Metalgate when he “unfriended” me on Facebook and presumably helped block me from the Metpol mailing list after SJWs attacked me for allegedly having opinions that were not politically corrected. It is interesting that he, as a white male, caught the fear and now has joined the SJW side.

As always, metal remains a desired commodity. Metal symbolizes rebellion and freedom. That is why many groups — Christians, Nazis, SJWs, corporations — would love to be able to control it and have it parrot their party line, thus controlling more minds. But as Metalgate pointed out, the resistance in metal to such control is strong and we enjoy telling society where it can stick its pretentious and manipulative “moral” standards.

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The Classical-Metal connection expands

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For 20+ years, first with the Dark Legions Archive and next with the Death Metal Underground, the writers behind this site have encouraged comparison with heavy metal and two things: European Romanticism in art, music, and literature; and European classical music, which overlapped with Romanticism both in a specific time period and in themes it revisits even to this day. The similarities are abundant and apparent but offensive to those who want to believe the blues-rock spectrum was part of an authentic tradition, when in fact it was a commercial product simplifying earlier styles, and that — of course — metalheads cannot have any associations more profound than the sacred indie rock and its origins in 1960s protest music.

Now, others are taking up the call. Perfect Sound Forever, one of the oldest e-zines on the net, addresses the metal-classical linkage in an article in its current edition:

I’m here to show you that rock and roll and classical are very much relatives in an, albeit, diverse musical family. First off, the sort of person who enjoys classical music is the same sort of person who would enjoy metal or heavy rock music. Research by scientists at Heriot-Watt University has found that not only are peoples’ personalities linked to their taste in music – classical and heavy metal listeners often have very similar dispositions.

“The general public has held a stereotype of heavy metal fans being suicidally depressed and a danger to themselves and society in general,” explained Adrian North, the professor who led the study. “But they are quite delicate things. Metal fans, like classical listeners, tend to be creative, gentle people, at ease with themselves. We think the answer is that both types of music, classical and heavy metal, have something of the spiritual about them — they’re very dramatic — a lot happens. ”

Perhaps more will be known about not only the similarities between these genres, but — because every cause has an effect — what similar ideas or emotions motivated artists to make such similar music centuries apart.

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