A tension has been simmering under the surface in metal for the better part of a decade now and shows no signs of calming down. It concerns the division of metal into old and new.
Up through the late 1990s, metal was fairly consistent: it was music based on riff Jenga and distrust of society’s pleasant illusions. It was not protest music, but it was outsider music.
Then came an influx of people who were “alternative,” meaning that they wanted to escape the mainstream, but still wanted what it offered, which was essentially protest music.
In our society, popular music tends to take only a few forms. One is the standard song of individual gratification, usually love or longing. Another is protest at how people are treated.
Hardcore music was a breath of fresh air. While it was opposed to society, it did not protest how people were treated. It protested an insane existence. There was no bad guy, only a dying society.
Metal picked up on this vibe and mixed in the metaphorical and otherworldly approach of early Black Sabbath lyrics. The result was something truly outside of any perspective that was mainstream or alternative.
Now the alternative types have recaptured metal, using their superior numbers to reduce it to something palatable for mainstream and/or alternative consumption.
A counter-revolution against this tendency burst onto the underground recently when pro-OldSchool trolls took over longstanding New England metal blog “Return to the Pit”:
A place where metal is happy and not disgusting. A place where somebody would rather message you on Facebook or text you when you’re nowhere near them in the show.
A place where one man’s smile is another man’s laughter.
A place where the boisterous voices of jokes and YouTube discussion outweigh any serious topic.
A place where it’s okay to have star tattoos covering your flabby forearm.
A place where MetalArchives reviews are that of a fact.
A place where moshing and dancing lost their edge.
A place where everybody knows your name and is friends with you on Facebook.
A place where threads are made about you on a dying board that is absolutely horrible now thanks to the FUNDERGROUND.
While we can’t lend our stamp of approval to the trolling which has essentially devastated this forum, we can point out that there’s some truth in these allegations.
Since 2000, metal has increased in popularity by a vast degree. There are more fans, and more bands, than there ever have been before.
However, these aren’t the same type of bands. They sound more like late hardcore bands, who specialized in putting unrelated riffs together to achieve a “carnival music” or “variety show” effect.
Modern metal seems to have lost sight of who it is, and instead borrows its personality from crowd-pleasers like *core, indie, emo, lite jazz and rock.
The term “Funderground” refers to people who are using the underground as a way to socialize, instead of a way to make music that expresses their viewpoint on the world.
When you think about it, metal has always been anti-social and distrustful of social impulses. We can now see why: when socialization comes out, good music goes away, and with it, the best of metal fans also disappear.