Metal: popular but lacking quality

Has metal traded its soul for its popularity with the “service industry” workers, a/k/a hipsters and indie rockers?

Metal today is probably the most popular its been since the 80’s with bands reaching “the charts” with more frequency, worldwide acceptance in mainstream culture (even hipsters and indie fruitcakes are into it nowadays), feature films and documentaries (The Story of Anvil, Metal: A Headbangers Journey, Hesher). The ability for bands to tour on this side of the globe when in past years they would never had gotten the chance because of lack of label support, the popularity of Metal festivals not only in Europe but now in the U.S. with MDF, Gathering of the Bestial Legion, CIM, 70000 of Metal and others. The involvement of major companies like Scion with the Scion Fest and all the shows they put on and a wider acceptance by major venues like HOB to host Metal shows.

Come to think about it, its a pretty good time to be a Metalhead these days.

On the flipside one can’t help but notice that a lot of what people call Metal these days is utter crap I wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole. A lot of the bands and music being churned out left and right is unoriginal and emotionless. It is more concerned with fashion and image than with creative riffs and memorable anthems. So much of what kids (old fart voice) listen to nowadays is so watered down,tepid and soulless. Its hard for me to find new bands have any of that spark that would get my heart racing…. memories of listening to Dismember’s Like an Ever Flowing Stream for the first time and headbanging nonstop because you couldn’t help but feel the music. –

He makes a good point. Click the link above to read the whole rant.


DRI street team

D.R.I. is about to fly into cities across the country and play shows without any crew. We need temporary roadies to help in the cities we are about to play. Here is your chance to roadie for the Dirty Rotten Imbeciles. This is serious; there will be some real work. You must be SOBER and could be asked to drive locally. You will not get paid, but you will get into the show for free. You’ll get a free shirt and free soft drinks (no beer, must be sober!). Plus, you get to hang out with some imbeciles.

The more experience you have the better. If you can tech a little (tune, change strings, change drum heads), you have a better chance of being picked. If you play an instrument or are in a band, let us know. List your experience. Tell us what you’ve done, what you can do, or even why you deserve to get the job. Keep it short and to the point. It must fit within the first page of the application located below. If you are chosen, you will be notified at least 2 weeks prior to the show.


New Year, new direction… old direction?

From the mailbag:

I just had a rather unfortunate epiphany: after watching a few episodes of Spawn: The Animated Series, which allowed my sensibilities to become firmly engulfed by early/mid-90s aesthetic grimness, I decided, naturally, to continue along the same path and give Cause of Death a listen, followed by Spiritual Healing. Something about the nostalgia, or rather the temporary transportation to another time, in which everything from the music to the imagery (in regard to both lyrics and album artwork), rang true and made the experience that much more impactful, as a result of not only the sonic brilliance, but the context in which it was conceived. Feeling myself begin to weep for the state of modern metal (a lament to which I’m sure you’re no stranger), I then put on Epitome of Darkness, as it, in my mind, represents a genuine return to Swedeath form in the age of inconsequential copycat and/or hybrid genres, and typically provides at least temporary relief from the subcultural nihilism. Yet it did very little for me, especially when compared to the transformative genius of Death and Obituary, as it lacked that sense of earnest vision found within the aforementioned albums. So I was wondering if there are any relatively new bands and/or emerging styles or scenes that you find genuinely original? And, more importantly, do you think metal, mainstream or underground, has any place, aside from a parade of pitiful sentimentality, in today’s culture?

This was my response:

Let me take these questions in backward order.

Is underground metal or metal in general still relevant? — yes, mainly because it expresses an eternal idea, which is the importance of power/beauty of a situation over individual drama. Metal is anti-individualist, as reality itself is; hence our celebration of death, destruction and other factors bigger than the individual. The problem with metal’s relevance is that many of the newer listeners have grown up on state-, media- and commerce-supported propaganda and so have no idea of a world outside the self. They are perfect consumers and little egomaniacs.

Emerging styles, scenes or new bands of inspiration? — there are some newer bands of note, but not too many; most of the ones on the list ( are older bands brought back in new form. I think that some have found new ways to take the old ideas, for example Beherit or Blaspherian. My thought is that good music out there exists in potential form, but musicians have no idea how to form a movement, express ideas, or even what ideas to choose. Metal is either stranded in imitating the past or in imitating indie, and neither is a new direction so it confuses musicians. Further, the preponderance of bad metal getting good press is driving away talented musicians. When you see all the magazines in a genre praising utter crap, you hit the road, because you know that your best efforts would be ignored in that genre.

Originality. — I’m not sure this is important. Coming from the world of classical music, nothing seems original; it takes known techniques and develops along those lines to the point of exclusivity. For example, syncopation and pentatonic scales have never been unknown to classical, but were seen as appropriate only at particular times in larger pieces. Is it original to use them to exclusivity? In the same way, Plato touches on every topic of philosophy in his writings. When we tackle any one of those, in depth, we’re not being original but getting more in depth. What matters more than originality, then, is truthfulness meaning “does this represent useful ways of understanding the world.” To my mind, the best of death metal helps us perceive this world more clearly and to construct a spirit for enjoying it as it is. I’m thinking of Demigod here, but the first few albums from Death or Obituary would work as well.

I like your observations on the state of metal and hope you take them further. We need more people to point out that the Emperor has no new clothes, and that we need instead to put our focus on quality and intensity so that newer metal of power can grow out of the community.



There are two views of history; one is the linear view (we evolve steadily toward higher levels) and the other is the cyclic view, which states that similar approaches in evolution beget similar results, and that individuals and populations tend to go through “cycles” as they discover these truths, until they stick and no longer need discovery. This approximates learning itself, in my view.

In the linear view of history, metal is evolving toward a higher state.

In the cyclic view of history, metal has lost a higher state and is stumbling through error until it rediscovers the value of a higher state and starts making moves in that direction.

Which is it?


Morbid Saint “Thrashaholic” 3CD set

Morbid Saint is re-releasing their first album with a demo of their second album and rare tracks in addition to a live DVD:

  • Disc 1: Spectrum of Death. The purest form of the original recording done at Opus Recording Studios in 1988.Our own master copy that has been re-mastered at Sixsound Studios.This is the only copy of Spectrum of Death made right after the final mix was done, before any mastering.
  • Disc 2: Destruction System with Extras. Re-mastered demo of the second album (master tapes have been lost). Also includes four previously unreleased songs in live and demo form.
  • Disc 3: Morbid Saint live DVD. Recorded live in 1991 at our first show. Recorded with multiple cameras, this DVD shows never before seen footage of Morbid Saint playing songs from both albums live.

As with all things Morbid Saint, stay in touch via

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