Twilight of the Guitarist?

It is a harsh truth that all things in our finite world will end at some point or another.  I was fortunate enough to learn this lesson at young age, with friends moving out of state and death claiming some of those closest to me. But there are many who are not so lucky to experience the cruelty of life during their youth and are now struggling to adapt to the harsh political and cultural upheaval that is sweeping the world at large.

This failure mainly stems from a cultural and educational system that leads us to to believe none of the beloved things in our safe American bubble will ever see massive change and upheaval- that our world and lives probably won’t be much different than that of our parents and teachers. But already, we are witnessing the death of malls, the value of college degrees, major retail chains, cable television, Hollywood movies, mainstream media, atheism, and an the age of idealism.

And sadly for fans of rock and metal music, the final hour may be at hand for a beacon of our pride and culture: the guitar hero.  With the impending bankruptcy of Gibson and now the imminent bankruptcy of Guitar Center, it would be foolish for anyone to still proclaim the immortality of the “guitar god.” For all things of this world must one day end, and dare I must ask… could the twilight of the guitarist truly be at hand?

It’s time to confront the uncomfortable, painful truth about what is happening in the world of metal: the days of the rock star guitarist are over.  Nobody is buying guitars anymore, and thus guitar retailers and big name guitar brands cannot survive.  The music industry has instead committed itself to elevating the personalities of rappers and DJs as the new rock stars and in turn has left guitar-based music to rot.

In another dooming turn of events, the executives of the music industry have found a possible lifeline of survival: music streaming.  Through high listener investment, music streaming has funded a successful year for the industry in 2017.  But thanks to musician payouts equating less than a fraction of a cent per stream- most non-pop artists will never see a single dime in return.

Meanwhile, rock music has surrendered to female-fronted hypocrisy and decisively sealed its fate.  At the same time, metal is losing a war against progressive liberal values and mainstream media journalists.  The culture of Scandanavia, the United Kingdom, and other countries that have birthed Celtic music (the root of metal and blues) is being rapidly displaced.  And with the metal underground fractured, polarized, and abandoned by the budgets of the music industry, the future for metal is destined for an eternity of niche, fringe fandom.

But this necessarily may not be a bad thing.  The spirit of metal- a timeless, eternal attitude and ideology- will live on in the depths of the underground where it belongs.  Great minds will create great music, and this will be shared amongst the closed circuits of micro scenes and micro cultures.  These niche micro metal communities will share music amongst themselves and judge any and all outsiders harshly.  The hipster metal press will eventually wither  and spread to covering rock and (eventually) indie pop to try to survive as career journalists.  And the nu-male fascination with thrift-store metal labels like Nuclear War Now! and Hell’s Headbangers will too move on to something more mainstream.

It is a grim reality that no guitarist of tomorrow will be hailed as the type of musical genius and demigod as we’ve seen with Randy Roades, Jeff Hanneman, Trey Azagthoth, or even Euronymous.  But given that such an idolatry is a contradiction to the spirit and attitude of metal, this should be celebrated.  Great guitarists will continue to innovate, captivate, and create incredible works.  And while they won’t be rewarded with stacks of cash, they will find fulfillment in carrying the metal torch and igniting a flame that will sooth their body, mind, and spirit.

Fame, materialism, and consumerism are shitty gods that will fail you every time.  If you aspire for any of them as a musician, you will never fill the craving and die a broken and miserable man.  But if you find yourself grounded in a stronger foundation and still feel a deeper truth that calls you to musicianship, I beckon you to answer that calling WITHOUT sacrificing career, family, and the pursuit of knowledge.  You will find fulfillment in your art, as you should.

All things in our world, culture, and existence will end some day.  At any given moment, and any given time, the life of a human being can collapse into pieces.  At any given moment, our entire existence may be completely undone.

One day, Brock Dorsey will no longer be editor of Death Metal Underground, but the site will still thrive.  One day, Brock Dorsey will die, be buried in the Earth, see his remains be disintegrated into the rot and ash of the Earth, but yet the Earth will still turn.  One day, the celebrity guitarist will cease exist.  One day, the guitar itself will cease to exist.  One day, music will cease to exist.  One day humanity, the Earth, and the cosmos will cease to exist.

The guitarist is finite.  Record sales are finite.  Fame is finite.   Existence is finite.  Legacy is finite.  Learn this, understand this, or you’ll be doomed to spend your days lost, in sorrow and in suffering.

“See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”


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20 thoughts on “Twilight of the Guitarist?”

  1. I am the wack blizzards says:

    Seems that guitar heroics haven’t been moving albums since the Shrapnel crowd got too old to keep buying new releases

    Then Skint and their ilk became hip and how fast you could play guitar stopped mattering

    Meanwhile mainstream turned to grunge so the common consumer just continued to never care about musicianship as had been the case since the 70s

    So naturally the demand for new guitars has dropped since you are less likely to see a financial return, but plenty of people are still playing the things, it’s just more of a resale market than ever

    1. Charles Stuart says:

      I see a fair number of kids around carrying guitar cases. That being said, when I was a youngster it did seem like nearly everyone I knew played an instrument and it was no problem finding people to jam with. I interact with quite a few kids (18-25 or so) and I’ve met but two that play any sort of instrument. The one I talked to more in depth said it was almost impossible to find people to play with.

      It seems like it is a good thing – kind of a hurdle that will keep the herd out of music to a degree. The guitar centers are closing, but the local shop I’ve frequented for many years is still going… for now at least.

      Does make me wonder if I could find some cherry axes for cheap.

  2. Exsanguination says:

    Lol, in which first world country is athiesm dying out?

  3. Become Just B says:

    Well, damn. I’ll be my own guitar hero.

  4. GGDD says:

    At least spell their last names properly, for fuck’s sake

    1. Brock Dorsey says:

      Spelling is gay

    2. canadaspaceman says:

      meh, that was the first thing I noticed, then didn’t care as the article was correct otherwise.
      Grammar nazis fuck off.

    3. GGDD says:

      niggers and other low IQ scum can’t spell for shit.. have some love for your ancestors… ( are u niggers?)

      1. A dick says:

        I am the black niggers.

        1. GGDD says:

          U waz black niggers kangs n’ shit

  5. NWN War Metal Tranny Rapist says:

    All things cease, but raping trannies will forever be in our hearts:

    They shall not rape trannies
    As we that are left rape trannies
    Shemale music shall not weary them
    Nor the soy condemn
    At the going down of the penis
    And in the morning woodz
    We will rape trannies
    We will rape trannies

    1. Charles Stuart says:

      Nice off-rhyme of penis/trannies.

  6. CJ says:

    Metal and Blues have their roots in black music not Celts. Thats why Dr. William L. Pierce and many other white nationalist back in day hated metal and rock because of it’s negro origins.

    1. ghjkl; says:

      Please, how much Robert Johnson do you really hear in Slayer? That’s just dishonest.

      As for rock n roll, it has has numerous roots that can’t be attributed to any one race (gospel, blues, country, swing) and it became very distinct from those roots as early as the 50s.

      If rock is entirely indebted to black people because ‘muh blues’, I suppose jazz must be entirely indebted to white people too, considering how much Rachmaninoff Duke Ellington listened to.

      1. CJ says:

        Doom metal the original form of Heavy Metal (Black Sabbath) is pretty much the blues played on electric guitar. Thrash metal like fucking Slayer was influenced mainly by punk rock that was created by a band called death(black guys from Detroit). It’s a sad fact that without negros traditional and exteme metal wouldn’t exist. Also Hitler banned jazz and swing music because of it’s negro origins.

  7. ghjkl; says:

    usually these things ossify into ‘charming kitsch from decades yonder,’ and whatever coolness they retain has its own sanded off internal logic. They become museum exhibits. Rock is dead, but it might be too soon to tell if its archetype is headed for the museum–you don’t have to spend too long on youtube to see that Queen and Guns n Roses still have this mythological allure to 13 year olds that makes them feel like they’re sticking it to music “normal people” like.

    Notice how blacks either claim ownership over rock (“muh Chuck Berry, muh blues, muh pharaoh mind powerz”), or they treat it as a threat, part of an enemy tribe. Blacks get angry about rock, the same way old white men get angry about rap. In both cases the anger is really about hegemony; the idea that either yours is disintegrating, or that it’s still not as strong as you wanted it to be.

    Our culture is moving apart on racial lines. The most important thing that’s dying is any sort of shared American heritage/mythology/identity. Thank the boomers for that.

  8. ihateeveryone says:

    Why Brock Dorsey, you’re nothing but an emo whiner! LOL, all things end pal, get a grip, it’s not that big of a deal. Maybe God can help you out?

  9. Disciple of Brockery says:

    There is some truth to the fading of guitar “heroics” in metal. True virtuosity is undervalued: how many underground metal records today can rival the average 80s Megadeth song in intricacy and instrumental prowess? When tech death was particularly en vogue 10 years ago, it felt liberating to write riffs with power chords, tremolo, and low E string pedal point gallops with nary a sweep-pick in sight. But when the scene upon which your flag is planted becomes subsumed by the likes of blackgays, slam, and caveshit, one begins to long for the days of expertly crafted, tightly performed riff constructions like “Sinners Bleed,” “Within,” or “By Inheritance.” Then on the other end of the spectrum we have the continuity of Pantera -> Post Thrash -> Groove Metal -> Nu Metal -> “Djent.” The latter being worthless music made by autists banging a piano wire with mallets then quantized to fit their 4/4 post-African repetitions.
    Moving forward, being skilled at your instrument and using it to write interesting songs will be the only lifeboat in this sea of excrement.

    1. Nice Stockhausen reference. However, if new bands were making stuff as interesting as Aphex Twin, I’d be pleased.

  10. GGDD says:

    Whitey Phd and I predict that once oil runs out, most of humanity (specially the low IQ kind in most cities) will perish, as all means of transportation of food will stop, and only people in / near farms will survive.
    Globalism will come to an end, the internet will be history as most server farms won’t have the power to keep servers running. Without cheap electricity all means of electronic music production will end.. and people will be back to playing acoustic instruments.. strumming guitars. violins.

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