Are you “untrue”?

german_pipe_smoker

We get a lot of comments here, but a frequent type — and they are nearly identical — is this:

This site has really gone to shit. Instead of doing articles about true underground metal, you’ve got all these stupid articles on tobacco, whiskey, SJWs and beer.

This is a variation on an old argument that splits the “No True Scotsman” logical fallacy in half. If you recall, that fallacy takes this form:

Person 1: Christians do not spit on their enemies.
Person 2: The pope just hocked a loogie onto the Queen.
Person 1: He’s not a true Christian, just a pro forma one.

Sometimes fallacies are not fallacies per se but a description of a common trope of language used to deflect an argument. When used wrongly, they fail, such as slippery slope, which is a real argument but is frequently used by ham-handed idiots (“If we legalize heavy metal, people will turn to Nazism next!”). The No True Scotsman argument is a fallacy when used to enforce a broken category, but not when it points out the exception strengthens the rule. For example, most Christians will not spit on the Queen, and that pope might just be out of line.

In the case of metal, trueness exists. It refers to people who understand metal on its own terms, instead of re-purposing it for their own social needs like hipsters do, and uphold that worldview and values system which we might call a “culture.” On the other hand, some are quick to call “untrue” anything which does not fit a selective stereotype of metalheads as being only about music and a certain lifestyle. These types are not scene-policing, but bullying others into accepting lowest common denominator behavior.

Wearing denim vests with patches, drinking trendy beer and buying lots of metal albums is not what metal is about. It’s false signaling to allow useless people to join the community because doing those things is easy, where living and understanding metal — a form of art with its own outlook and philosophy, like most artistic movements — takes some effort internal to the human being. And that is what most refuse to do. They do not want to internalize learning and share themselves and limit their own reckless impulses. They would rather have a surface-level conformity that gains them entrance to the group, and to do that, they need to spit on anyone who thinks metal is more than credit card payments, goofy clothing and being drunk all the time.

I tend to reply to such people with these:

Feel free to send in articles or ideas.

So far, none have taken me up on this. How can results be so consistent? It’s in the psychology: their psychology is not about what they say it is about, which is articles about metal. Their psychology is in putting others down by claiming those others are untrue, only so that they can in turn claim they are true for these token conformist attributes. They will never contribute… because their contribution is angry, pointless criticism. They will never do more than that. You will find whole forums (NWN/FMP) full of such people. They are hipsters of another stripe.

They remind me of another type of person that I call “the California personality.” This type is very common among bloggers. They are equal parts self-promoting and defensive, with a totalitarian intolerance of anything that seems to them to be critical of them or their choices in life. The California personality will always tell you how amazing their life is, and how they’ve made choices that magically worked out in defiance of conventional wisdom. If people think it is unsafe to walk the Cass Corridor after dark, the California personality went there and not only was safe, but met a famous artist and partied till dawn drinking artisanal wine. If people think you shouldn’t build your house on a fault line, the California personality lives in the fault and has a precious, sunlight-kissed bungalow (which is highly energy efficient).

The California personality will fool you for some time. You will look at your own life, and wonder why you don’t get such great results. They, on the other hand, appear to be picked by the hand of God to succeed in everything. But over time, you start seeing cracks in their narrative. The great house actually has lots of leaks, which is why they’re selling it. The artist they met in the Cass Corridor held them hostage until dawn and drank all their artisanal wine. Their statements are not merely rose-colored, but outright lies. A California personality goes through life always justifying their decisions as successes, after the fact, when often they are simply chumps making poor choices but are good at making those choices seem appealing to others.

The same mentality infests the hipsters, tryhards, poseurs and “trve kvlt” types in metal. Their own lives are ruins, but they want to hide that by putting down your life. They contribute nothing, but want to pull down your contributions. Like lifestyle bloggers (especially the odious “mommy bloggers”) they want to show you their great-looking children, quirky recipes and fantastic decorating choices, but are hiding a vast inner despair as their marriages fail, careers stall, and total lack of ideas creates lack of personal direction. These people are not here to do anything, but to partake in the doing of others. It’s why they are best mocked and pushed aside as this article hopes to do.

Why metal and SJWs are natural enemies

stranded_in_hell

The casual observer seeing how metalheads and SJWs, who descend more from crustfund punk and emo than metal, might ascertain that the two groups are radically different. This observer might even note how many of the “tryhard” types are in fact thinly-disguised SJWs. But at first appearance, the reason for this separation will be misunderstood.

An average person will see metal as wild and lawless, like a combination of the Wild West and medieval Europe, where SJWs are more like modern Europe: very morally righteous, sensitive and inclusive. This difference separates metalheads from SJWs, but it is not the primal reason why the two are different. It serves as a guidepost to that end however.

Black Sabbath launched themselves during the height of the hippie period. At that time, the popular narrative that people told themselves was that history from the Napoleonic Wars to 1945 was just one big mistake, and the way to defeat it was love, through people power and pacifism and universal acceptance. Apparently none of these people studied history or they would have known how frequently this trope comes up, and how it usually ends! Black Sabbath saw through what these hippies were saying an argued it was more of the same, and that humanity was in denial of reality and has been choosing various “human realities” instead of actual reality, to its doom.

In human experience, our most common error is self-delusion. When that is discovered, we usually choose another self-delusion. The classic example is the alcoholic who runs into the arms of a tent revivalist, and becomes addicted to another set of false promises. Another is the woman who flees her marriage only to find out years later that the new boyfriend she chose is a lot like the last husband. Voters run from one party to another, as they go from one cell phone company to another, thinking that “the other guy” might have answers. And he never does. The reason why is that he is also selling an illusion, because only illusions sell.

This leads us to why metal is different from rock and why it is the natural enemy of SJWs: metal is against illusions. SJWs want you to pick one illusion over others, but metal points out that whatever is popular is illusion and is wrong. We need some other way of looking at the world than what “most people” want to believe is true about it because it makes them look good, feel important and think they are unique. Humanity is basically a large organic machine for producing lies, and every group wants us to substitute their lie for the dominant lie, but all of these lies have their root in the same idea: that what we feel, judge and emote is more important than reality itself.

Look at politics. It is a wasteland. As notorious shock realist author Tom Wolfe once wrote in a letter to a friend:

The Republican Party as now constituted is obviously too stupid to survive…. What is to be done? Of course, that was Lenin’s line and the only lucid one he ever wrote. The answer is nothing. America’s position is unassailable. We are the imperial Rome of the 3rd Millennium. Our government is a CSX train on a track. People on one side (the left) yell at it, and people on the other side (the right) yell at it, but the train’s only going to go down the track. Thank God for that. That’s why I find American politics too boring to write about. Nixon is forced from office. Does a military junta rise up? Do the tanks roll? Give me a break.

Let us separate “rock music thinking” from “real world thinking.” Not in the way that our great-grandparents did, where rock was bad and work was good, but in the manner of people who recognize that popular music is entertainment which pretends to be profound, but is the opposite of art which explores profound subjects through realism. Entertainment wants you to think it has all the answers, but ultimately it is a social phenomenon, like chatting up a girl near the keg at a frat party. It says what flatters its listeners. It wants them to think they are profound, interesting, vivid, heck… it wants them to think they are the stars on the stage… because that sells rock music, and lets all these musicians and labels and journalists keep up the nice cushy lifestyle instead of the job managing a Target or 7-11 they would have had, had rock not come along.

Rock music thinking is advertising. It wants you to think that you can be all the cool in the world for just this one next purchase, whether a tshirt or CD. It needs to offer you highly dumbed-down and simplified ideas that make you feel like you are in control of the world. Why get into the nuances of international politics and millennium-long analyzes of the health of empires? Just say “love is the answer.” All the people will flock to that, not so much as they are idiots — although most of them are — but because they are self-deluding. They want that easy, convenient answer because it makes them feel in control.

SJWs are part of rock music thinking. They have gone from “love is the answer” to “tolerance is the answer,” forgetting that like so many Utopian quests this one will involve denying human nature and human needs, and as a result will require increasing degrees of force to make it work. They also ignore the somewhat banal reality that people mostly do not like each other and tend to associate in groups of people like themselves as a barrier to the broader world. In consequence, what SJWs preach is illusion just like the other illusions. Look at them all.

The public conservatives in this world are arch-dumbshits who think that if they adopt liberal ideas about equality, but keep industry and war going on, we will somehow turn out OK. Their great fiction is that if you just go to a job and spend all of your life there, and then manage your affairs responsibly, society will somehow follow your lead. Actually, they never think that far, because they are dumbshits, as mentioned above.

Liberals also fit in the dumbshit category. They think that if every person is just “free” and “equal,” society will magically self-organize into a permanent Burning Man of love and happiness. They ignore the fact that most people are inveterate liars who avoid the truth compulsively, and that what makes happy societies is forcing those stupid fucks to obey reality instead of their own neurotic, fruity minds. Liberals also like to give away things for free, taking from the useful and giving to the useless and spending themselves out of money, at which point their societies collapse. Europe and the USA are about to collapse from this phenomenon. More dumbshits.

Nazis — and I really don’t want to get into splitting hairs about who’s a fascist, a neo-Nazi, a white nationalist, a racialist or just a bigot — are also in the arch-dumbshit camp. They are SJWs of the far-right. Where SJWs think that tolerance is the answer, Nazis think that intolerance is the answer, and that if we just remove the mud races and Eternal Jews everything will be OK. This ignores the problem that most white people are stupid as bricks and dishonest as whores, and that our society needs a redesign from the top-down not bottom-up. I think Nazis more resemble Communists than they want to think. They are right in that diversity has never worked throughout history, but wrong in who they blame, which joins them in the dumbshit camp.

The far-left might be even stupider. None of them realize that the ideas they are chasing are from 1789 and 1867, but go back even farther to the religious fanatics of the 1500s. They are claiming very old and debunked ideas as a “new way” that will somehow magically avoid all the problems that human society has known since the dawn of time. If we all just went vegan, listened to posi-techno, and gave everyone free money, they think, all causes for conflict would be eliminated. But life is a cause of conflict because that is how it negotiates change so that the more realistic prevails over the self-deluding. Humans don’t want to be reminded of that, because it points out that Darwinistic natural selection (DNS) might take our lives at any moment if we delude ourselves, yet self-delusion is our nature. I see the far-left as overgrown children trying to pretend life is not happening to them.

Libertarians are like Nazis: extreme dogmatics who do not realize the leftist roots of their own philosophy. The idea of the free market I get and support because it allows better products and services to become available without some bureaucrat giving them the rubber-stamp. In fact, the libertarian idea of replacing most of society with a market has merit. The problem is that then we’re back at conservative anarchism where we assume that magically, the tiny group of people doing the right thing will win out over the self-deluding herd. Ain’t gonna happen. Libertarianism is another form of voting where the good people neutralize themselves by never, ever stooping so low as to tell others what to do, and then the masses roll right over them on their way to the Budweiser, light cigarettes and sugary cheeseburgers.

I’m not sure there are any other philosophies in politics worth considering. Anarchism is fun because in small groups, people who know and like each other can collaborate, but it falls apart after that. Communitarianism and distributism and all those other hybrids are ways to try to make socialism work within some kind of cultural context, but those fall apart because the idea of getting free stuff beats out any conditions placed on it. Traditionalism is interesting, but it’s basically Nietzsche for Christians, which makes it less useful, and the idea that religion can substitute for the structure of society — which is generally culture, leadership and religion, informed by economics — is laughable in itself. Same for Rastafarians and atheists I suppose.

Delusionists want to ignore the obvious: this world is hell. We have made a disaster out of civilization and are leading ourselves to collapse. There is no escape from the end, at least until we stop our fundamental error, which is assuming that delusion can substitute for realism, which is just like the alcoholic insisting that he’ll be OK if he only drinks clear liquors, or the tent revivalist telling you that all will be okay if you just believe and ignore the world around you (including the hand in your pocket). Humans tend toward self-deception because it flatters us that we are in control. Politics reflects this with many varieties of denial.

The point I make in insulting every political group that I can think of is this: metal wants to end human delusion, and everyone else wants their type of human delusion to be “validated” by everyone else. This is why metal hates SJWs; SJWs are apologists for our current society because they believe that with just a little tweak to our delusion, we make make the illusion work, when metal reminds us that we are the new Roman Empire falling because we have introduced too much internal conflict and lack a shared purpose. You can only have a shared purpose if you are focused on reality, and as human societies grow and become wealthy, they empower their people to deny reality and become self-deluding. Metal wins over all these silly varieties of illusion.

Isolation of the human soul in a utilitarian world

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As part of our ongoing series of heavy metal topics, or rather the ideas that are the cause of the effect of choosing to make music that sounds like machinery re-enacting medieval warfare, we look into the isolation of modern humans.

Let us begin through the eyes of W.H. Auden (as suggested by M.J.):

The Unknown Citizen

(To JS/07 M 378
This Marble Monument
Is Erected by the State)

He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a saint,
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn’t a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Instalment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace: when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his generation.
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.

Then let us turn to the poets of modern dissatisfaction, thrash band Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, first with the second song on their first LP, “Commuter Man”:

I play Pac-Man and I watch T. V.
I’m so happy ’cause it pleases me
I couldn’t really ask for anything else
Maybe my own chain of Taco Bells

I’m perfectly happy right where I am
I could live forever in a traffic jam
It doesn’t really bother me to breath the poison air
I’d choke anyway, I don’t really care

Sometimes I think about getting away for a while
But when I return I will be out of style
You may say I’m not an ambitious man
But let me tell you I’ve got some plans
Like there’s a new car I wanna buy
And a video cassette recorder yet I’m not sure why
I wanna get married and have three kids
‘Cause I’m lonely and I’ve got the hard dick
Commuter Man

Then detouring to a track from Four of a Kind:

Suit and tie guy
With his fashion phases
And his quarterly raises
Feels he’s better than you and me

Suit and tie guy
Thinks he’s real cute
In the bathroom for a toot
Until his nose starts to bleed

Suit and tie guy
I see he always hurries
I know he always worries
He’s gonna die of a heart attack

Suit and tie guy
On his way to feeding
Or an important meeting
Just like a car on a track

Suit and tie guy
He travels between stations
With certain destinations
Never varying from that routine

Suit and tie guy
And he’ll tell you in one word
That he is insured
And it’s not as bad as it may seem

Then, to cap it off, a venture into the world of later Black Sabbath with their acidic (from Born Again) anthem “Zero the Hero”:

Accept the fact that you’re second rate life is easy for you
It’s all served up on a gold plated plate
And we don’t even have to talk to you
Your face is normal that’s the way you’re bred
And that’s the way you’re going to stay
Your head is firmly nailed to your TV channel
But someone else’s finger’s on the control panel

What you gonna be brother – Zero the hero
Don’t you wanna be brother – Zero the hero
When you gonna be brother – Zero the hero
Impossibility impissibolity mother really a hero

You sit there watch it all burn down
It’s easy and breezy for you
You play your life to a different sound
No edge no edge you got no knife have you
Your life is a six lane highway to nowhere
You’re going so fast you’re never ever gonna get down there
Where the heroes sit by the river
With a magic in their music as they eat raw liver

You stand there captain we all look
You really are mediocre
You are the champion in the Acme form book
But I think you’re just a joker
Your freedom life ain’t so much of a pity
But the luv-a-duckin’ way you’re walkin’ around
The city with your balls and your head full of nothing
It’s easy for you sucker but you really need stuffing

What do we see here?

“Good” things such as freedom, commerce, love and self-gratification shown as a path to emptiness, heat death of the inner self and entropy of the mind.

“Bad” things that we fear such as discomfort, risk, danger and violence as having an appeal as getting us out of the purported “good” state.

In the end, a species sprawling in excess and writhing in misery, unable to articulate this because it requires going against public opinion.

Sounds about right.

On the difference between art and propaganda

tabacs_ajja

When issues arise like those of ideological fascists in metal, whether of the SJW or far-right types, the inevitable division between art and propaganda arises. Having written about this for over two decades, I make the following distinction: art has artistic purpose, which is to reveal; propaganda has dogmatic purpose, which is to condition and manipulate the mind through projecting a sense of self-congratulatory correctness onto the perceiver.

Luckily, others have written about this topic, and well. From Canadian author Robertson Davies writing at First Things comes this cogent analysis:

When I was a boy, I was a voracious reader. My home had plenty of moral literature on its shelves, and I was urged to read it for my betterment. There was lots of other literature, as well, but I was not forbidden, only discouraged, from reading it as it was said to be “beyond me,” which I quickly discovered meant that it dealt with life pretty much as life was, and not as the determinedly moral writers wanted me to think.

…I could not stomach Little Lord Fauntleroy, who presented me with a political puzzle especially hard for a Canadian: What was that boy, and what did he do? He was an American, but by chance he inherited a title and went to England and became a Lord, and thereafter was remorselessly democratic toward anyone who kept it firmly in mind that he was a Lord, and behaved accordingly. The Little Lord existed to hammer home two things that were presented as mighty truths: We must be democratic and we must recognize the moral superiority that goes with poverty. It was easy, I thought, to be a democrat if everybody toadied to you, and I wished that the Little Lord could spend a few days at the school I went to, where to be known as a tireless reader (for I could not conceal it) was to be an outcast. Many of my persecutors enjoyed the blessing of poverty, but it did not seem to improve their characters. They were savage, jealous, and without bowels of compassion.

My sanity was saved by the books I read on the sly. Dickens, where evil people were plentiful and often rich, successful, and attractive. Thackeray, where snobbery seemed to be the mainspring of much of the action. Thomas Hardy, where life was complicated by opposed moralities and the uncontrollable workings of Destiny, and where God was decidedly not a loving Father. I did not know it at the time, but of course these were the works of literary artists who observed life with keen eyes and wrote about what they saw, as their widely varying temperaments enabled them to see. When I myself became a writer, it was these whom I chose to follow, as best I could, and not the aggressive moralists.

SJW is a form of aggressive moralism. Nazism, which is an attempt to mold far-right values to a Leftist-style ideological structure, makes that same error (which became fatal for it). Similarly Communism and Socialism are moral appeals, meaning that they base themselves not on practical reasoning — “this works” — but on what should be, based on the feelings of individuals united into large angry groups dedicated to tearing down all people above them. Similarly, Christianity in metal attempts to be a dogmatic ideology, and so we get ludicrous songs about fighting for the Lord which like the propaganda above, present the world in black/white distinctions: one side all is goodness and purity, and the other is bad, stupid, rich and horrible.

When approaching these types in metal it is essential to see this distinction. The victimhood music of indie-rock bands for example presents us perfect, innocent, suffering victims of the type that appeared in moralist Christian literature, opposed by equally dark, evil and cruel forces of large corporations and right-wing tyrants. These overly-simplified moral models exist to make people want to be the good, and to polarize against the bad, without digging into any of the complexity of life that a realistic perspective provides. They are baby food for the brain, as manipulative as television commercials, and as deceptive as the seductions of a whore.

Art will always be better than propaganda, but people like propaganda because it makes them feel good about themselves. When you are presented with absolutes like good and evil, and those are put into simple terms of intent rather than achievement of goals, it makes every idiot shuffling in off the street into a hero just by wanting to be like the good guy in the propaganda. This is why propaganda is easily recognizable through its extreme polarization between the bad enemy scapegoat and the good virtuous long-suffering victim who is secretly a hero, just like the average person with a half-failed life wants himself to be, but will never take steps to be alone and can only do so in a large angry mob.

The assault on metal has taken many forms. During its early days, it was rock bands pretending to be metal to try to capture the authentic feel and thus the bourgeois rebel audience. Later the Christians came in, feeling that a message of evil needed to be replaced with a good one. The white power types have tried for years, often with sympathy from legitimate metal bands, but have never taken ground because metal emphasizes realism over politics. Now the SJWs — who are more similar to Communists than Nazis, but use the same methods — are trying to exact same approach. It helps to see this, recognize it as the attempted mind control that it is, and show it the door.

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.

Music is the language of the devil

music_is_the_devil

Calling to mind the 1950s American Christians who referred to rock ‘n’ roll by the same name, an Islamic Imam has been videotaped referring to music as “the devil’s language.” To be fair, the point he is making is that people should listen to religious music, which is sung and contains holy messages, instead of secular instrumental music.

But still, the comments are eerily familiar to metalheads:

When Allah speaks of music in the Koran he reminds us that music is the devil’s language. When did he remind us of this? So those who love music and listen to music, who are they listening to? The devil. They listen to the devil. There are people who disobeyed Allah and will listen to the devil…Empty your mp3 and transform it and replace it with the best words that exist: the Koran. If one says that musical instruments are haram and music is haram and that who listens or loves music risks being transformed by Allah into a pig, or will look like who? The devil.

He may have a point if we broaden “music” to mean “popular and therefore empty messages.” Then again, heavy metal has never been obedient, and has always loved the devil — the forbidden scapegoat beyond social morality where humanity connects with reality — so it is unlikely that his message will resonate with many metalheads.

Slayer Repentless over-analyzed

Slayer - Repentless (2015)

Only one can lead: guitars, voice, bass or drums. Whatever takes the lead will compel others to follow because lead means sketching out the structure of the song. The classic metal albums all lead with guitars and vocals catch up while drums provide accents and bass does whatever it feels necessary.

Repentless reverses this formula. It is built around Tom Araya’s mostly fast-spoken or chanted vocals, and guitar keeps up and drums frame the whole thing. The bass doubles the low notes and does little else, but Slayer has always used that technique. The problem is that in a desire to make catchy choruses and compelling verses, Slayer has relegated its most powerful aspect — the lead rhythm guitar — to a supporting role.

Despite a number of good riffs that call to mind material from the Seasons in the Abyss era, on this album Slayer has had to contort itself to fit around the vocals like a rock song, which de-emphasizes guitar and consequently cramps it and, in its reduced role, forces it to show off and simultaneously keep itself restrained. This keeps the worst of metal guitar and throws out the best. In addition, this reduces songs to minimal song structure based more around a lyrical narrative (or topic of a video) than development of melodies or patterns in the riffs.

This is far from a bad album. The problem is that it is the wrong sort of album. Metal escaped from rock by minimizing the human, especially vocals and feelings, to create a gritty realistic confrontation with the nihilism of existence — the knowledge that events do not depend on feelings or mythological beings, but cause and effect. Slayer expanded its audience in the 1990s to the present by being more centered on vocal hooks and foot-tapping rhythms, and does well at this, but at the expense of what made this band great.

Academics create witch hunt against metal

karl_spracklen_-_gabrielle_riches

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.

The Classical-Metal connection expands

classical_and_metal

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.

How marketing is destroying heavy metal

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A strange thing happened during the years of 1965 to 1975: advertising morphed into marketing, or the science — and rest assured, it relies in objective data™ in Excel spreadsheets — of designing products to fit people.

Never mind the old days of trying to explain to them why they need something; figure out what they will buy, and modify your product to the simplest, cheapest version of that which they will pay the most for. If a good burger costs $9, but they will take a half-soy knockoff for $6, the latter is the better product.

As a result, advertisers became scientists of a sort. They queried consumers, studied them on videotape, analyzed their purchases and made lists of “features” that customers demanded. Always their goal was to find out what the largest group would purchase at the highest price, while keeping cost lowest. Statistical mathematics had come to business.

Since that time, astute observers might note, this mentality has steadily crept into just about every field. No one is immune. And each time it does, product satisfaction jumps — but quality takes a nosedive. Beer is now sugar water, but people claim to like it. Cigarettes are ashy hot air, but they sell steadily. Heavy metal music has become angsty self-pitying radio rock, but it has more fans than ever before.

The product has improved; the object itself — in this case, the music and the artistry behind it — has degenerated.

Metal does not face this alone. Literature produces endless favorites, but no classics (or even any books that outlast a trend). The car industry cranks out limited editions but no legends. Even classical music emits a panoply of avant-garde “innovators” but none endure. The same condition even affects cigars. As blender G.L. Pease relates:

Not all change is good, or welcome.

My journey down memory lane with these old smokes is not simply a waltz with nostalgia, but something a bit more purposeful. I’ve sampled many very good cigars over the past few years, and a great many more that have not much impressed me. But, even among many of the better smokes, as much as I’ve enjoyed them, I’ve continued to find something missing, a fundamental aspect of what caused me to go geeky over cigars in the 80s, and is almost universally absent in most of the modern cigars I’ve been smoking.

…In what, to me, is a ludicrous arms race where so many makers are chasing adjectives like fatter, longer, stronger, spicier, powerful, they seem to have lost track of some of the adjectives I might apply to these old beauties; sultry, seductive, provocative. This wasn’t a rare quality, either; it was almost commonplace amongst the quality marques 30 years ago, but it’s all but gone missing in too many of the modern mash-ups of multinational leaf, rolled into burrito sized spice-bombs with enough “power” to stop a stampeding rhino dead in his tracks.

This “ludicrous arms race” comes about because, like the Clinton campaign or a user satisfaction survey, manufacturers pay attention to polls. They listen to user feedback and then plug it into computerized analyses to find out where low margin, high price and average desired features intersect. They run the calculations and out pops the ideal product. It addresses the middle segment of the Standard Distribution (a.k.a. “bell curve”) that applies to most human tendencies in most groups. The far-right of the curve, which favors quality over quantity, hates these products; the middle of the curve grudgingly finds them acceptable and in a flurry of despondent why-mes purchases them, and the far-left is both too inconsistent and too miserable to reliably purchase anything, so their patronage is entirely defined by local availability.

How might this happen in heavy metal? Every generation, marketers add up the trends of the last decade and hybridize them. In 1975 it was hard rock, blues and heavy metal combined into heavy rock; in 1985, it was heavy metal, punk and heavy rock; in 1995, it was rap, alternative rock and speed metal; in 2005, it was indie-rock, emo and underground metal. They make the product that the audience cannot recognize is a cheap alternative disguised as the New Latest Best Coolest Thing, and pump it out the door. Profits go up, quality goes down. We see it most prominently in metal, but this mentality is everywhere, and will continue to be everywhere until elitism asserts itself.

Elitism is a simple formula: quality > quantity. This cliché, while irritating, also carries a grain of truth. You can have only one or the other because to have either trait is to take things to extremes. Waffling in the middle does not work. Either the music is quality, which reduces its audience, or it is accessible, which increases the quantity of sales by expanding its audience by lowering “cognitive barriers” to appreciation. That means complexity, artistry, technicality and even relevance. The audience loves the same old thing in new clothing. People buy the same albums their grandfathers did, but with new tempi, textures, lyrics and other surface changes. This is one reason why some of us allege that rock ‘n’ roll has always been nothing more than marketing.

With elitism, people at the top of the cognitive chain — radio hosts, writers, musicians, superuser fans — gravitate toward the best stuff and everyone else imitates them. On the left end of the bell curve, confusion reigns anyway and so they just go along with the flow. On the right side, people follow others who they look up to and learn to appreciate the music that way. A few of those on the left side of middle feel left out and get angry, resentful and bratty. But, they are that way unless fed moronic pap anyway, and everyone else gets better music, so the outcome is better this way.

Except… uh oh… for labels. Labels make money not so much on the big scores as by putting out a few albums a month that consistently rake in the sales. Ever wonder why artists past their prime are still puking out albums and those albums make it into the press and stores? They sell because of name recognize. Egbert Q. Findley of West Los Angeles will keep going to his job as a middle manager at a warehouse chain and will keep on buying whatever is put out by the bands that were hip when he was 18. He wants to stay current, you see. Millions of people kept buying Neil Diamond, Liberace, U2 and REM when they drifted into pure drivel. Why? Because they’re fucking morons. — well, yes, but also because they are creatures of habit. They want something new to listen to. They do not really care what it is, or if it is good. Just something new to keep their minds off the exciting world of multi-level sales or whatever the hell it is people waste their irreplaceable time on nowadays.

Right now metal is winding up for one of its Revolutions. Each time industry comes out with its new super-product, it takes about a decade for artists to react and strike back with something new. Glam metal created speed metal, blues-metal created death metal, and now, indie-metal will force the creation of a new genre. Either that, or metal will perish, and become another flavor for rock bands of all type. Want to have a song about being a rebel? Make the chorus riff a metal one. They’ll even put a setting on the audio workstation software to do it for you, all to help you make the perfect product and live the dream — of early retirement.