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May 1, 2011 7:32 AM   Subscribe


 
Metal was all bluster and theatrics, putting on costumes to become warrior kings in its own mind.

Rap emptied a clip into that farce and left the bodies out in the air to rot.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:47 AM on May 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


Rap emptied a clip into that farce and left the bodies out in the air to rot.

“This is real hardcore; Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit soft.” — Nas
posted by the mad poster! at 7:50 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh c'mon. Puff Daddy and Ice T were from the burbs. And Norwegian Death Metal band Mayhem scares me way more than Fifty Cent ever could.
posted by codswallop at 7:54 AM on May 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


although it overstates the case in the beginning the article is actually pretty good. I think there are genres in rock that actually get even closer to the seething simmering id in people though; with less bluster and more vulnerability— despite all the ridicule it catches I kinda like the more vulnerable, weird, borderline-emo segments
posted by the mad poster! at 7:56 AM on May 1, 2011


Metal was all bluster and theatrics, putting on costumes to become warrior kings in its own mind. Rap emptied a clip into that farce and left the bodies out in the air to rot.

Meanwhile, free improvisation happily ignored it all, playing to tiny audiences in tiny basement rooms.

Country and western continued sounding indistinguishable from soft rock, and started wearing even bigger cowboy hats.

Jazz stayed out of the argument, and split its time between Lincoln Center and festivals in little Austrian towns.

Electronica had too many knobs to turn, faders to push and software to install to worry about it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:58 AM on May 1, 2011 [22 favorites]


An explanation of why Master of Reality is such a great Christian rock album:

Bassist Geezer Butler, a mystical vegetarian, wrote the lyrics. Raised Catholic, Butler as a youngster had entertained thoughts of the priesthood, and for all the band’s occult trappings, his view of things was essentially orthodox, if a little on the medieval side: God over here, Satan over there, man flailing and biting his nails in the middle. “Lord of This World,” from 1971’s Master of Reality, made it all very clear
posted by NoMich at 7:59 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Metal was all bluster and theatrics, putting on costumes to become warrior kings in its own mind.

Rap emptied a clip into that farce and left the bodies out in the air to rot.


Well hey, why don't we kick off the thread with a trolling, generalization-laden statement that is wrong about rap, wrong about metal, and wrongheaded in its attempt to create some kind of fake conflict between the two? Here, go take a listen to a couple of early classic rap songs and then tell me more about those 'bodies.'
posted by googly at 8:00 AM on May 1, 2011 [16 favorites]


I love me some rap, but it's just as much about bluster, theatrics, and costumes and heavy metal. Hell, I think that's part of the reason I love it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:03 AM on May 1, 2011 [15 favorites]


Rap emptied a clip into that farce and left the bodies out in the air to rot.

I love hip-hop, too, but you must be listening to the wrong metal, my friend.
posted by jonmc at 8:03 AM on May 1, 2011 [10 favorites]


Rap and Metal combined wouldn't last a round against The Innocence Mission.
posted by joannemullen at 8:05 AM on May 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


I also find it quite distressing that a Public Enemy song is now referred to as an "early classic." It's like hearing Nirvana on an oldies station. The early hip hop classics I came up with were almost a decade older.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:07 AM on May 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ice T listens to the real hardccore shit - Phil Collins.
posted by Artw at 8:11 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hmm, I must have missed rap killing off metal....I thought they temporarily joined forces in Body Count, RATM, Anthrax/Public Enemy, and Cypress Hill/Fear Factory, then went their separate ways. I'll go notify Morbid Angel et al. that metal is, in fact, dead. Again.

Didn't metal die in the late '90s? I recall Phil Anselmo rambling on and on about it.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:13 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Rap and Metal combined wouldn't last a round against The Innocence Mission.

Well, heck, back in the day, this was rap and metal combined. And it kicks the Innocence Mission's ass to the curb.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:13 AM on May 1, 2011


“Dark and disturbing, the music is honest about human nature
Seriously: metal? Not punk or the blues? That's a silly, silly statement.
posted by davel at 8:14 AM on May 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Metal Manifesto
posted by ReWayne at 8:15 AM on May 1, 2011


Seriously: metal? Not punk or the blues?

Not to mention country and western. Really.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:16 AM on May 1, 2011


Seriously: metal? Not punk or the blues?

Not to mention country and western. Really.


Can't they all be?
posted by Existential Dread at 8:18 AM on May 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


Metal was all bluster and theatrics, putting on costumes to become warrior kings in its own mind.

So Kanye is pretty much this, but with auto-tune.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:18 AM on May 1, 2011 [13 favorites]


I banged my head and the metal drove me mad.
posted by PapaLobo at 8:22 AM on May 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


By the way, why should anyone care what the Atlantic has to say about metal (or any music in general)?
posted by ReWayne at 8:22 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


but Black Sabbath, from Birmingham, England, was heavy metal. No joy here, nor any wisp of psychedelic whimsy

Objection! "Sweet Leaf" is totally about Hobbit pot.
posted by Artw at 8:22 AM on May 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Music is a wonderful thing. All music worth a listen. If you don't at least listen how do you know what you like? With over 14,000 tracks in my collection I feel I have a varied base to speak from.

A partial list of the artist I listen to:

Gregg Allman, Etta James, Fourplay, Harry Connick Jr., Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Michael Buble, Joe Bonamassa, Pink Floyd, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Black Keys, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Robert Plant, Phil Collins, Kid Rock, Journey, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Linkin Park, Kings Of Leon, Monster Magnet, Hinder, Shinedown, Five Finger Death Punch, Foo Fighters, Led Zeppelin, Stone Sour, Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, Social Distortion, Decemberists, Cake, Arcade Fire, Jimmy Eat World, Adele, Cage The Elephant, Pink, Kesha, Black Eyed Peas, La Roux, Kylie Minogue, Donna Summer, Bruno Mars, Kaci Battaglia, Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Drake, Lil Wayne, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown Band, Grascals, Abigail Washburn, Dierks Bentley, Mumford & Sons, Wiz Khalifa, Ray Lamontagne, Austin Lucas, Bob Dylan, Cathouse Thursday, Cross Canadian Ragweed, The Long Ryders, Rusty Truck, Nine Inch Nails, Anarbor, The Black Keys, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Bob Mould, Cat Power, Company of Thieves, Flatfoot 56, One Eskimo, Del Bombers, Corb Lund Band, Pantera, Black Diamond Heavies, Graveyard,
Ect., Ect., Ect......
posted by bjgeiger at 8:23 AM on May 1, 2011


impressive the amount of crappy music you listen to bj!
posted by ReWayne at 8:28 AM on May 1, 2011 [20 favorites]


impressive the amount of crappy music you listen to bj!

well, Etta James gets a pass.
posted by the mad poster! at 8:31 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can't they all be [honest about human nature]?

Metal has blues roots, but to me it deviated from honesty about, or understanding of, human nature. It “rang true” for adolescent boys, but we tend to have underdeveloped/warped understandings of human nature at that age.
posted by davel at 8:33 AM on May 1, 2011


I was really into punk (specifically, American and British political hardcore), and I'll admit that me and my friends used to laugh at the "burnouts" who listened to Maiden, Sabbath and Priest. Funny, though, that we were always cutting school at the same time, always in detention together, buying weed from the same people, go to the same tiny music stores, always hanging out at the same places away from adult prying eyes ... yeah. Didn't take us long for us to put two and two together and welcome our long-haired, denim-clad, hightop-wearing brothers.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:35 AM on May 1, 2011 [11 favorites]


Lemmy - 49% Motherf*cker, 51% Son of a B*tch is very much worth a watch btw Well it made we want to own a tank anyway
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:35 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


This thread needs more Dethklök.

***Prepare... for ULTIMATE FLA-A-A-A-AVOUR!!!***

posted by spoobnooble at 8:35 AM on May 1, 2011 [4 favorites]




Oh, I listen to a whole lot more. If I don't listen I can't find the gems I like.
posted by bjgeiger at 8:37 AM on May 1, 2011


(Not to say that punk wasn't *also* full of adolescent piss & vinegar.)
posted by davel at 8:37 AM on May 1, 2011


And oh yeah it's back on motherfucking youtube... THE BEST THING ON THE ON WHOLE FUCKING INTERNET
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:38 AM on May 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


Well hey, why don't we kick off the thread with a trolling, generalization-laden statement that is wrong about rap, wrong about metal, and wrongheaded in its attempt to create some kind of fake conflict between the two?

1. Wasn't trolling.
2. The crux of the the article was the relevance of heavy metal in expressing some inner turmoil. Rap, like most music, did the same thing and eventually became larger than heavy metal because it co-opted white and black audiences as opposed to keeping them separate.

After gangsta rap hit it big, it made heavy metal look like a church boy in comparison, which just made it sexy to the teenagers and their wallets.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:39 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fair enough, BB. But I don't think its as simple as rap killing off or becoming larger than metal. They appeal to a lot of the same demographic, and they're very heterogenous categories. For every NWA there is an MC Hammer, and for every Poison there is a Napalm Death.
posted by googly at 8:44 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Death metal doesn't scare me.

Cantopop? Now that's fucking frightening.
posted by bwg at 8:46 AM on May 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Metal has blues roots, but to me it deviated from honesty about, or understanding of, human nature.

Counterpoint:
And Justice For All
Mastodon-Shadows that Move
Burnt by the Sun-You Will Move
Drugs of Faith-Grayed Out
posted by Existential Dread at 8:49 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it's time for me to step away from the computer and go stand in front of an obnoxiously loud amp, hit an E chord to light up a city block to start off, and then proceed to beat on my guitar mercilessly until I've worked up a bit of a sweat and a smile that won't quit.

Thanks for the reminder.
posted by smcameron at 8:57 AM on May 1, 2011


With over 14,000 tracks in my collection

I listen to 14,000 tracks before breakfast.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:59 AM on May 1, 2011 [13 favorites]


I think of metal as opera for people who don't like classical music.
posted by wittgenstein at 9:00 AM on May 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


@Existential_Dread: yeswell, we've fallen into a common trap: when you like a class of things, it’s hard to forget Sturgeon's Law; when you hate a class of things, it’s hard to remember it.
posted by davel at 9:03 AM on May 1, 2011


I have nothing to add to this discussion but my favorite version of "Ace of Spades."
posted by cropshy at 9:03 AM on May 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think of metal as opera for people who don't like classical music.

I am wearing my cape right now.
posted by Artw at 9:05 AM on May 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


"With over 14,000 tracks in my collection

I listen to 14,000 tracks before breakfast.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:59 AM on May 1 [+] [!]"


he...he...he...
posted by bjgeiger at 9:08 AM on May 1, 2011


I think of opera as funk for people who don't like to roller skate.
posted by everichon at 9:09 AM on May 1, 2011 [16 favorites]


I GOT YOUR RAP
posted by clavdivs at 9:09 AM on May 1, 2011


By the way, why should anyone care what the Atlantic has to say about metal (or any music in general)?

I find it all the more interesting because it's the Atlantic.

Metal has blues roots, but to me it deviated from honesty about, or understanding of, human nature. It “rang true” for adolescent boys, but we tend to have underdeveloped/warped understandings of human nature at that age.

Whatever. Like Astro Zombie, I also listen to well over 10,000 songs before breakfast every morning (Brian Eno's in the mix just now), only a handful of which are what an anthropologist might call METAL. But damn, that's an essential handful. When the shitstorm's are hitting, when the war pigs are howling, when the liars, hypocrites, false prophets are mewling and the great gates of oblivion are opened wide, my angst requires a powerful gothic edge to its soundtrack.

For instance ...

Which is not to say that the various gangstas and punk-hooligans and back country rebels don't also have their moments. Glad I've got'em all. Fight The Power any godforsaken way you can.
posted by philip-random at 9:13 AM on May 1, 2011


I think of roller skating as walking for people who don't like to remain upright and unbruised.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:13 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


The crux of the the article was the relevance of heavy metal in expressing some inner turmoil. Rap, like most music, did the same thing and eventually became larger than heavy metal because it co-opted white and black audiences as opposed to keeping them separate.

I like Ice Cube and Dre, but gangsta rap isn't interested in expressing any inner turmoil. (With a few exceptions like When Will They Shoot?) They're about swaggering, and inner-anything is anathema to them.
posted by ignignokt at 9:16 AM on May 1, 2011


Any sufficiently long list is going to have some made-up names on it.
posted by box at 9:17 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


became larger than heavy metal because it co-opted white and black audiences as opposed to keeping them separate.

Don't tell the Batswana metal cowboys!
posted by adamdschneider at 9:21 AM on May 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


bjgeiger: no insult intended, but you're actually listing a very narrow spectrum of artists there - people who sing (or speak) pop songs in English in 4/4 time signature (nearly all the time, I can certainly name some non 4/4 songs by some of these artists).

You seem to be missing all non-English speaking artists, instrumental music, "progressive" music, orchestral music, electronic music, avant-garde, experimental and noise music, traditional music, "new" music (i.e. music coming from an academic root).

Let me know and I can send you all sorts of goodies if you're interested - there's a lot of amazing things out there.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:23 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


(Or you could just check out my radio station...)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:26 AM on May 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


(Or you could just check out my radio station...)

lupus - where/how do I find that remix of Gong's Isle Of Everywhere you've got listed there? Definitely one of my all time fave space-psyche-jams ...
posted by philip-random at 9:35 AM on May 1, 2011


Metal was all bluster and theatrics, putting on costumes to become warrior kings in its own mind.

Rap emptied a clip into that farce and left the bodies out in the air to rot.


"that's a take!" yelled the director - 5 minutes later rap and metal were in country's dressing room, with teenpop telling them about her latest marketing strategies
posted by pyramid termite at 9:35 AM on May 1, 2011 [19 favorites]


lupus_yonderboy, I have those also. I posted only a very small section of what I have.
posted by bjgeiger at 9:35 AM on May 1, 2011


Though written in 1922, this is metalspeak, pure and simple. The venerable mythographer was presaging not only the basso quakes and pyro-blasts that have long been a staple of the larger metal shows, but the metal mind-set itself. Since its invention (to which we will return in a moment), heavy metal has been the popular music most ardently devoted to Frazer’s underground magma pools, and most grandly expressive of their inevitable eruption. Metal’s commerce with the lower realm has been extravagant, ridiculous, and covered in glory. The sleeper parched of his dreams, or purged of his nightmares, goes swiftly bonkers: without fantasy there is no reality. It might be argued—indeed, it will be argued, by me, right now—that heavy metal has kept us sane.

Awesome article!


Metal is one of those things I really love and support in theory, but I can't listen to it much. I love reading about it. I love the aesthetic. I love what it gives to people who draw power from it. I love essays like this. I loved seeing Iron Maiden in concert. But for some reason I can never actually get into listening to the stuff. Maybe I'm listening to the wrong music, but it usually feels too slow for me. But smug comments like It “rang true” for adolescent boys, but we tend to have underdeveloped/warped understandings of human nature at that age. and You seem to be missing all non-English speaking artists, instrumental music, "progressive" music, orchestral music, electronic music, avant-garde, experimental and noise music, traditional music, "new" music (i.e. music coming from an academic root). make me want to listen to power metal with my little brother.

Why not read 30 poems about metal band Drastus by John Darnielle?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:38 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


The great scholar of heavy metal Robert Walser, doing research for his 1993 book, Running With the Devil, interviewed a Twisted Sister fan who told him that the easy-listening music favored by her mother had made her paranoid. In Walser’s words: “It so obviously seems to lie to her about the world.”

That's actually a pretty good insight.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:40 AM on May 1, 2011 [8 favorites]


That said, I have seen GWAR. And what makes me think metal is important and neccesary is the SIGNIFICANCE. People need to be bigger than themselves. My fantasies don't usually run to warrior kings and demonic hordes anymore but if that helps somebody get through a frusturating life than why not go for it? Why not be something bigger and scarier and stranger than you are?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:40 AM on May 1, 2011


This thread is useless without Amon Amarth. They perform in a fucking longboat. With a dragon on it. YES.

Good article. "not enough warlocks" sums up my existential ennui nicely.
posted by Errant at 9:40 AM on May 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Northern Warriors is a good place to find something you might like Errant.
posted by bjgeiger at 9:45 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


From the article quoting The Golden Bough, "or a sudden spirt of flame"... spirit + spurt = spirt
posted by maggieb at 9:50 AM on May 1, 2011


"that's a take!" yelled the director - 5 minutes later rap and metal were in country's dressing room, with teenpop telling them about her latest marketing strategies

Yeah, in the context of "pop", no genre ever goes away (except perhaps polka -- more on that later). They just arrive fresh, change the fucking world, then get stale, fall into a sort of half-life of annoyingness ... but eventually we wake up to find them part of the ever-evolving foundation of the culture that, in its perpetual hunger for redefinition, will soon be demanding yet another NEW-ESSENTIAL-SOUND. This is all good.

As for polka, I like to think that got buried with the Third Reich, though in all probability there was probably still life in the corpse ... so I guess we should be expecting some zombie form of it to rise from the grave sometime soon, maybe with Geezer Butler on bass.
posted by philip-random at 9:50 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why not be something bigger and scarier and stranger than you are?

I'm not interested in any of that, so my life must be awesome? *shrug*
posted by davel at 9:51 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you're looking for edge, darkness and danger in music you can find it in most genres. You can find it in punk. You can find it in blues. You can find it in jazz. You can find it in country. You can even find it in indie - or at least you used to be able to.

No need to play silly rap v metal games.
posted by Decani at 9:54 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: "That said, I have seen GWAR."

I once smoked a joint with the original guitarist of Gwar before his alt-country band got up to play. He talked about GWAR, and being yourself, and being not-yourself, and...shit, I forgot the rest.
posted by notsnot at 9:54 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metal was all bluster and theatrics, putting on costumes to become warrior kings in its own mind.

posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:47 PM on May 1


You've clearly never spent an evening with Lemmy.
posted by Decani at 9:58 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metal: More flamboyant than disco. Whinier than emo. More self-important than gangster rap. There, I said it.
posted by Skwirl at 9:59 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The thing I think differentiation Metal from other genres is that to be very very serious about it you have to be very very serious about it in a not very serious way at all.

Or alternatively eat a fellow band member's brains.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:05 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Y'all want some "Heavy" "Metal"? HERE. 1958. I love Sabbath, but give me a fucking break. And I always thought that THIS was some heavy shit, especially when I first saw it in a theater as a kid (yes, this clip was in the theatrical release, only recently restored to the DVD release), out years before the first BS album.

Now get off my lawn, or I'll hit you with a Matchless Dirt Box that weighs more than your balls.
posted by dbiedny at 10:09 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


\m/_ TRÜ BLAK METAL _\m/
posted by adipocere at 10:09 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


As for polka, I like to think that got buried with the Third Reich, though in all probability there was probably still life in the corpse ... so I guess we should be expecting some zombie form of it to rise from the grave sometime soon, maybe with Geezer Butler on bass.

Weird Al
posted by brundlefly at 10:12 AM on May 1, 2011


Norteno.
posted by box at 10:14 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


And just to be clear, I'm not the only one harboring the Link Wray opinion...
posted by dbiedny at 10:15 AM on May 1, 2011


This article is absolutely correct in citing G. K. Chesterton as a proto-metalhead. G. K. Chesterton is the optimistic counterpart to H. P. Lovecraft. They both believed very deeply in an incomprehensible majesty just outside of our pathetic modern, material world - it's just that one was more optimistic about it than the other. If only the two of them could have had jam sessions. The Man Who Was Thursday meets The Music of Erich Zann, except with crunchy guitar, teeth-shaking bass, and a lengthy lute solo care of J. R. R. Tolkein.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:15 AM on May 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Rap emptied a clip into that farce and left the bodies out in the air to rot.

If I had a dollar for every rap album out there whose cover features a guy on a throne wearing a crown, I'd be able to live like that guy on the cover claims to.
posted by mhoye at 10:16 AM on May 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'll put on some :wumpscut: for this thread.

As I understand it, we may view rock as some popularization of jazz's rebellion against the structures of classical music. Metal and progressive rock are commonly viewed as reintroducing the technicality of classical music, if not the structures. Punk is otoh a rebellion against the metal and progressive rock idea that musical skill determines quality, focusing instead upon the subject matter, social role, aesthetics, and ethics. Rap fills basically the same niche as punk, but punk was a reaction, while rap's evolution was driven by resource limitations rather than some semi-concious choice.

In this vein, if we compare metal and progressive rock, metal has embraced significant fragments of classical music theory, albeit occasionally inverting them, while progressive rock not so much. I'd conjecture that metal's tendency towards conflict oriented lyrics and imagery simply stems from the fact that classical music commonly talks about conflicts.

As for theatrics, we're talking about performers guys, duh they're all theatrical, emo, etc. Yes, metal's theatrics more closely follow the classical mold, just like their music theory, subject matter, etc. Punk & rap otoh simply invented their own theatrics. Imho, progressive rock practically replaced their theatrics with raw musical skill, hence the distain from Rock's old guard.

Afaik, all the mid-evil "warrior kings" aesthetics only really occurs in the Scandinavian metal tradition, suggesting it's simply pride in their Viking heritage.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:21 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Gong is from "You Remixed (disc 2)" which is a killer Gong remix album!

I was thinking about this article and about seeing Lightning Bolt the other day (a sort of hardcore noise band)... there's something about a crazed rock band that's simply unobtainable with a guy and a mic and some drum machines...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:23 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


As I understand it, we may view rock as some popularization of jazz's rebellion against the structures of classical music.

i don't really think the origins of jazz - or the blues - lay in any kind of rebellion against the structures of classical music - that's too western-centric a view
posted by pyramid termite at 10:30 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


A question about music and the mosh pit!

Do people mosh at rap shows? (Probably not...?) For that matter, they don't mosh at metal shows... do they?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:30 AM on May 1, 2011


> i don't really think the origins of jazz - or the blues - lay in any kind of rebellion against the structures of classical music

In fact, I'd say jazz and the blues are simply a development of the "standard" Western song structure using African-based rhythms and are a natural outgrowth of "classical" music rather than any nihilistic denial of it.

I don't think it's at all a coincidence that many of the great instrumentalists of two and three generations ago were able to play both jazz and classical at the highest levels...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:32 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I listen to 14,000 tracks before breakfast.

that's awesome because i often try to do the same thing.
posted by rainperimeter at 10:33 AM on May 1, 2011


Last.fm tells me that I've played almost 250,000 tracks with them...! Damn. That's a little scary...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:39 AM on May 1, 2011


Who are these people? Why are they taking so long? If only you could smite them all …

This. I admit, I'm very prone to sidewalk rage. Between the fools standing in front of the doors when you're trying to exit the train, the fools meandering down the middle of the sidewalk making it nearly impossible to pass, and the fool cars who think it's okay to stop in the middle of the crosswalk or keep on turning long after their light has changed, commuting is a daily exercise in stress-management. Some might seek to calm their nerves with some nice relaxing jazz or whatever indie crap it is that they always have on in Starbucks or the Gap. I find that only good Viking, Folk, or Power Metal will do...

Swords in their hands, they killed each and every man
Who dared to invade their sacred land
Victory songs are rising in the night
Telling all of their undying strength and might!
--Ensiferum, Victory Songs
posted by gueneverey at 10:39 AM on May 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


> commuting is a daily exercise in stress-management.

I think it's a very good exercise in learning to appreciate the Buddha nature in others. When I get pissed off, I always try to remember that all of these people will suffer and die, just like I will - it puts it into context.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:48 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]




fearful symmetry: The thing I think differentiation Metal from other genres is that to be very very serious about it you have to be very very serious about it in a not very serious way at all.


EXACTLY. My husband and his friends are passionate metal fans, and I get the sense that part of the appeal is how over-the-top metal can be. They're totally aware of how silly metal can be -- they're always sending each other links to crazy metal videos and laughing their asses off.

But it's not ironic appreciation -- it's more like, to a real metal fan, even when metal is bad it's still pretty good. As long as it has the energy and sincerity, it's fun. My husband is always getting me to watch the most ridiculous metal videos on Youtube and he's like "Look at these guys! Look at the poses!" and then he dies laughing, but he's also making his rock face and turning up the volume. Even though the band is cheesy as hell, he gets them, because it's METAL.
posted by Toothless Willy at 10:52 AM on May 1, 2011 [12 favorites]


Metal was all bluster and theatrics, putting on costumes to become warrior kings in its own mind.

Rap emptied a clip into that farce and left the bodies out in the air to rot.

The crux of the the article was the relevance of heavy metal in expressing some inner turmoil. Rap, like most music, did the same thing and eventually became larger than heavy metal because it co-opted white and black audiences as opposed to keeping them separate.

After gangsta rap hit it big, it made heavy metal look like a church boy in comparison, which just made it sexy to the teenagers and their wallets.


HAHAHA METAL GO LAUGHS AT RAP GOD. LET RAP GOD COME AT METAL GOD WITH ALL HIS BULLETS AND HOOKERS. METAL GOD WILL SMITE HIS ENEMY'S RUIN UPON THE MOUNTAINSIDE.
posted by Demogorgon at 10:53 AM on May 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Why not be something bigger and scarier and stranger than you are?

How is music that makes you believe those things about yourself not music that lies to you about the world?
posted by enn at 10:56 AM on May 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


adamdschneider: Don't tell the Batswana metal cowboys!

Or this guy.
posted by vanar sena at 10:56 AM on May 1, 2011


The article was pretty much what I expected it to be, but it did turn me on to Zoroaster, who fucking rock.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:58 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Metal God laughs at you. He laughs from his mountain.
posted by Artw at 11:00 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


...from his mountain.
posted by rainperimeter at 11:05 AM on May 1, 2011


I like music that sounds like it's coming straight outta the garage. That's the best kind. The genre doesn't matter so much. But you can keep the costumes and videos and hype and fancy pants production--that stuff tries to cover something that everybody knows is missing.

Also, are we required to conjure H.P. Lovecraft in every fucking MeFi thread now? Jeebus.
posted by rain at 11:15 AM on May 1, 2011


Gangster rap is the hair metal of the 21st Century.
posted by vibrotronica at 11:15 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


it's just sounds, guys, they mean whatever you want them to mean

if you don't believe that your most hated genre is a threat, then it isn't

problem solved
posted by LogicalDash at 11:21 AM on May 1, 2011


One more anecdote. I went out to see a metal band last year because I knew someone in the band... I'm not really a part of that scene.

It turned out to be a very interesting scene. For one, it was actually racially mixed - that's pretty damned rare in NYC, sadly enough, if you like live music (it might be better in rap shows but since I like to see people manipulate instruments I don't see those). I really liked that.

And there were a lot of girls - again, the average New York music crowd is about 2/3s male.

Even though I didn't love the material, I was quite surprised at the level of musicianship - these guys were monster players in pretty well every band, lots of weird time signatures, bizarre chords, dramatic shifts in songs.

It suffered from being formulaic - as opposed to the new music scene, where the "formula" these days is that "everyone is being unique" (which can get pretty tiring too), the songs were all kinda similar, but I enjoyed it a great deal and would have done it again (had that place not closed the next week :-( )

It made me think about starting a band in that genre, frankly - but using a lot of the technology I have from being an electronic musician, and my own vocal style which isn't that cookie monster voice (one of the only things I actively don't like about the music - it was great the first couple of dozen times I heard it but it never changes). I don't know if the crowd would be open to it, but I'll bet they would if you used the classic metal rhythm section/guitar (which I love...)

If anyone here is in NYC and interested... :-D
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:21 AM on May 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


I love metal. That is all.
posted by ob at 11:26 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


By dwelling at such length on the lyrics, and mentioning Schopenhauer, I of course risk the capital vice of the writer-on-metal: I risk being intellectual.

You went way beyond risk into the territory of mission accomplished as soon as you wrote: "It might be argued—indeed, it will be argued, by me, right now—that heavy metal has kept us sane." Which sounds like something lifted from a private high school essay.
posted by blucevalo at 11:34 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


truckfighters - the fuzzomentary \m/
posted by Mach5 at 11:34 AM on May 1, 2011


Why not be something bigger and scarier and stranger than you are?

How is music that makes you believe those things about yourself not music that lies to you about the world?


Some of us believe that human nature is bigger and scarier and stranger than most of society claims it "is". You can call that a lie if you like, but I'd say that history (including much of the history we're making right now, frankly) is on our side, not yours.

The more people insist that the wolf in man is a "lie", the more we need to embrace it. Likewise, if you really don't understand that the warrior kings and demonic hordes symbolize a way of thinking and feeling which is very much alive in the world, well... I'd rather believe my own lie than yours!
posted by vorfeed at 11:35 AM on May 1, 2011 [10 favorites]


lupus_yonderboy - I wouldn't worry about folks being open to it - industrial metal isn't quite dead yet.
posted by vanar sena at 11:36 AM on May 1, 2011


Metal actually DOES keep me sane. I woke up in a nasty mood this morning, the culmination of a lot of stressful crap going on lately. Put on some Eyehategod, walked it off, felt tons better.

Metal is so awesome, it has it's own bowling league.
posted by medeine at 11:40 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


it's = its. Grrr
posted by medeine at 11:41 AM on May 1, 2011


Why not be something bigger and scarier and stranger than you are?

How is music that makes you believe those things about yourself not music that lies to you about the world?


Yeah! to what vorfeed just said. I AM bigger and scarier than the world, sometimes. Metal at its MOSTEST reminds me of this, sometimes. Other times, of course, it just sort of embarrasses me.

it's = its. Grrr

METAL doesn't care about proper punctuation.
posted by philip-random at 11:43 AM on May 1, 2011


By the way, why should anyone care what the Atlantic has to say about metal (or any music in general)?
THESE BEANS ARE SO METAL THAT THEY TASTE LIKE UNUNOCTIOUM (aka Super Heavy Element #118, atomic weight 293)


Metal: More flamboyant than disco. Whinier than emo. More self-important than gangster rap. There, I said it.
Oh, it's ON, Sqwirl. It. Is. ON! (Though, if you're talking about the Nu Metal of the late 90'a and early 00's, then you are correct about the Whininess. DEATH TO FALSE METAL!)


Some of us believe that human nature is bigger and scarier and stranger than most of society claims it "is". You can call that a lie if you like, but I'd say that history (including much of the history we're making right now, frankly) is on our side, not yours.

The more people insist that the wolf in man is a "lie", the more we need to embrace it. Likewise, if you really don't understand that the warrior kings and demonic hordes symbolize a way of thinking and feeling which is very much alive in the world, well... I'd rather believe my own lie than yours!


This double barreled book review back in 2004 sums it up very nicely.
posted by KingEdRa at 11:44 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Khlûl' hloo-hloo-hloo, ah yeah-hloo-hloo
But what's confusing you
Is just the nature of my game....
posted by clavdivs at 11:45 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


It made me think about starting a band in that genre, frankly - but using a lot of the technology I have from being an electronic musician, and my own vocal style which isn't that cookie monster voice (one of the only things I actively don't like about the music - it was great the first couple of dozen times I heard it but it never changes).

Cookie monster voice isn't mandatory. Consider operatic metal, for example.
posted by rodgerd at 11:50 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I credit Metal with being part of the reason I eventually got into different kinds of International music, since it helped me appreciate good music even when I could not understand what the singer was saying.
posted by stifford at 11:51 AM on May 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Of the many, many things that are great about metal, the fact that it will never be used to sell me an iPod is one of the greatest.
posted by outlaw of averages at 11:53 AM on May 1, 2011 [13 favorites]


"Rap and Metal combined wouldn't last a round against The Innocence Mission."

i coulda been challops contender!

"but Black Sabbath, from Birmingham, England, was heavy metal. No joy here, nor any wisp of psychedelic whimsy"

Fairies Wear Boots was a serious story about the dark side of brownies.
posted by klangklangston at 11:57 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


outlaw of averages: Of the many, many things that are great about metal, the fact that it will never be used to sell me an iPod is one of the greatest.

It's a matter of time, I'm afraid.
posted by vanar sena at 11:59 AM on May 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


There are many metal fans that don't like the cookie monster voice, lupus_yonderboy. In fact, symphonic metal groups like Nightwish commonly prefer female vocals, operatic or otherwise.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:06 PM on May 1, 2011


Fairies Wear Boots was a serious story about the dark side of brownies.

I was a bit disapointed to learn it's about skinheads and not, you know, fairies in boots.
posted by Artw at 12:07 PM on May 1, 2011


Iron Man is totally about a dude that goes to the future, sees the apocalypse, comes back in time -getting turned into a monster robot in the process - terrorists everyone with his hea-vy boots of lead (fills the people full of dread) and causes the apocalypse he witnessed. It's a time twister future shock!
posted by Artw at 12:10 PM on May 1, 2011


@KingEdRa: Thanks, that's the best article I've read in a week!
posted by davel at 12:11 PM on May 1, 2011


It made me think about starting a band in that genre, frankly - but using a lot of the technology I have from being an electronic musician, and my own vocal style which isn't that cookie monster voice (one of the only things I actively don't like about the music - it was great the first couple of dozen times I heard it but it never changes). I don't know if the crowd would be open to it, but I'll bet they would if you used the classic metal rhythm section/guitar (which I love...)

I'd suggest you develop more of an ear for the genre first. I understand why people think that "the songs are all kinda similar" and the "cookie-monster voice never changes", but neither is all that accurate an observation even when applied to the same subgenre, much less metal as a whole. Most people need to hear a lot of metal before they grok this, though -- it's kind of like being initially turned off by haiku or modern art or rap because "all the poems/paintings/songs are kinda similar" and "the nature/abstract/vocal-delivery theme never changes".

In short: there's a reason why most (but not all) death/black/etc metal bands have screamed/growled vocals, and why the songs (especially from bands playing a show together, most promoters don't book a collection of totally dissimilar bands!) tend to be "kinda similar". I think you should listen to a lot more stuff before you entirely dismiss this...
posted by vorfeed at 12:13 PM on May 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one and they all stink.
Overanalyze all you want, but don't forget context. I was pre teen when I hear the Paranoid album. Forms of pop at the time included such subhuman waste as Donnie Osmond singing Puppy Love. When Led Zeppelin was on the radio it was so almost. Early Alice Cooper, so almost. Master of Reality? That was IT! That was exactly what I needed. Of Sabbath's first 4 albums, I must've ragged out over 20 cassettes. Thanks to all the Mefi metal heads for turning me on to so much great music. I love it all, even the rap/metal crossover stuff. For myself, there is an age where some kind of music will take your ears' cherry and there may one day be better, but only one first. In my sepulcher, my corpse will clutch an mp3 player stuffed with classic Sabbath. I regret nothing
posted by Redhush at 12:30 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


vorfeed: In short: there's a reason why most (but not all) death/black/etc metal bands have screamed/growled vocals

Specifically, you have to stop thinking of the voice as part of the melodic section of the band, and accept it as a syncopated rhythm instrument. A sort of messed-up extra snare, if you will.
posted by vanar sena at 12:36 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gangster rap is the hair metal of the 21st Century.

Eventually, every music genre reaches the hair metal stage, leaves it, then goes back it again.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:45 PM on May 1, 2011


Polka with an edge
posted by Sailormom at 12:56 PM on May 1, 2011


Lemmy from Motorhead gives very good advice.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:07 PM on May 1, 2011


there's a reason why most (but not all) death/black/etc metal bands have screamed/growled vocals

I just think it's the only vocal style that really suits the music and is equally complimented by it. What would you be inspired to do vocally if you were just hearing blast beats and over-driven Triple Rectifiers on their own? Barbershop?
posted by Demogorgon at 1:15 PM on May 1, 2011


That dude said he was going to argue that metal keeps us sane, hinted around it for about a thousand words, and then never actually argued a damn thing. At most that's a lazy summary of metal's history with a few vague insinuations.

Anyway, the only metal I really like is stuff where the singer is doing more than growling about demons and norse mythology. I usually listen to music at least 50% for the lyrics, and metal's fantasy bent makes me roll my eyes. I think I'd like metal a lot more if they weren't singing about corpse piles and dragons and shit. I feel like metal is a pretty large blindspot in my musical taste, a bit like jazz or country western, but unlike jazz and country western I don't really feel compelled to ever fill that blindspot in.

and, for what it's worth, i think tyler the creator is pretty fucking metal
posted by codacorolla at 1:24 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


For the record, the Golden Bough was written in 1890, not 1922. A later edition appeared in 1922.
posted by condour75 at 1:29 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just think it's the only vocal style that really suits the music and is equally complimented by it. What would you be inspired to do vocally if you were just hearing blast beats and over-driven Triple Rectifiers on their own? Barbershop?

One of the things I like about Turisas is the use of harmonised male chanting for some passages. Considering their schtick is all about referencing back to Viking-era myth and history, not only does it sound good (quickfire metal bass drums and chanting is aurally interesting), it's quite evocative of what you'd have had at the time, vocally speaking: lots of men singing together.
posted by rodgerd at 1:29 PM on May 1, 2011


What would you be inspired to do vocally if you were just hearing blast beats and over-driven Triple Rectifiers on their own?

but there was a time when someone said to themselves, well, what should i sing over this kind of music? - and the first cookie monster vocals were done - some people thought it was too much and others thought, that's the sound right there

i don't see why lupus_yonderboy shouldn't try something different with that music - it could be something that many may find fresh and new

---

I'd suggest you develop more of an ear for the genre first.

sometimes, new kinds of music are done by people who take from a genre and don't hear it very well - metal has its origins in blues - and i don't think any of the musicians involved were doing a very good job of replicating the music they were interested in

which is why it ended up to be more valuable music - mistakes can be more fruitful than accurate imitations
posted by pyramid termite at 1:38 PM on May 1, 2011


Well sure, but when are Turisas most-often chanting? During the melodic/folk breakdowns. Cursed be Iron is a perfect example of this. I'm not trying to say that nothing else is acceptable in metal, just giving my own thoughts on whence arose the singular vocal performances.
posted by Demogorgon at 1:39 PM on May 1, 2011


I credit Metal with being part of the reason I eventually got into different kinds of International music, since it helped me appreciate good music even when I could not understand what the singer was saying.

I credit metal with getting me into ambient, neoclassical, IDM, and glitch (not the hip-hop side of that subgenre) by teaching me to appreciate the value of both intricacy and repetition.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 1:39 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


"How is music that makes you believe those things about yourself not music that lies to you about the world?"

You sound like you believed the Beatles literally lived in a yellow submarine.

(And a better construction isn't that metal allows you to tell yourself that you're important or powerful, but rather to tap into the subjective experience of being powerful. And really, that's only some of it, best exemplified by "power metal.")
posted by klangklangston at 1:40 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I credit metal with getting me into ambient, neoclassical, IDM, and glitch (not the hip-hop side of that subgenre) by teaching me to appreciate the value of both intricacy and repetition.

Yeah I feel sort of the same way, as a non-metal fan the stuff that I do like is either:
  • foreign, like Boris, where I can't understand the words,
  • or droning, nearly ambient walls of sound like Electric Wizard and Earthless.
If anyone has any metal suggestions along those lines, then I'd be happy to hear them.
posted by codacorolla at 1:42 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


And a better construction isn't that metal allows you to tell yourself that you're important or powerful, but rather to tap into the subjective experience of being powerful.

i have to question this though - my daughter insists on listening to the contemporary metal station wgrd - bands like shinedown, disturbed, seether - and lyrically, the newer bands seem to be expressing powerlessness, despair, resentment, grief and rage over dysfunction and addiction

it's a different mindset and makes me wonder about the state of our society
posted by pyramid termite at 1:47 PM on May 1, 2011


Lemmy - 49% Motherf*cker, 51% Son of a B*tch is very much worth a watch btw Well it made we want to own a tank anyway
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:35 PM on May 1

Lemmy tells a joke (NSFW)
posted by Decani at 1:51 PM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


i don't see why lupus_yonderboy shouldn't try something different with that music - it could be something that many may find fresh and new

Sorry, my first comment was addressing rodgerd. I totally agree with this, though. If there is something about the music that interests you, there's no reason not to experiment with that and find what sounds good to you. Electronic music and metal have a rich history, much of it devoid of screaming.

Yeah I feel sort of the same way, as a non-metal fan the stuff that I do like is either:

* foreign, like Boris, where I can't understand the words,
* or droning, nearly ambient walls of sound like Electric Wizard and Earthless.

If anyone has any metal suggestions along those lines, then I'd be happy to hear them.


Sons of Otis
Weedeater
Ufomammut
Celestiial (local/friend plug)
Ahab
Burning Witch

...so many more!
posted by Demogorgon at 1:52 PM on May 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, sorry, I was overbroad. I don't think that's true for all metal, but there's a pretty decent amount of it that is. Metal's really, really broad.

And man, you gotta tell your daughter to go TRV CVLT and not listen to anything that's not on cassette. She'll remember Seether like I remember being into Stabbing Westward.
posted by klangklangston at 1:53 PM on May 1, 2011


That Weedeater link should have gone to Wizard Fight, although they are both good tracks.
posted by Demogorgon at 1:59 PM on May 1, 2011


sometimes, new kinds of music are done by people who take from a genre and don't hear it very well - metal has its origins in blues - and i don't think any of the musicians involved were doing a very good job of replicating the music they were interested in

which is why it ended up to be more valuable music - mistakes can be more fruitful than accurate imitations


I didn't say lupus_yonderboy should "replicate the music" or make an "accurate imitation". I did suggest that he hear a lot more than one metal show before trying to start a band with metal influences, though, and I stand by that.

I'd also disagree that early metal bands hadn't listened to rock or blues further than that level -- I'd say bands like Sabbath did hear the blues (you're aware that they originally played in a straight-up blues-rock band, right?), which is why they were able to make something new and enduring out of it, something that went beyond co-opting its surface characteristics.
posted by vorfeed at 2:06 PM on May 1, 2011


I only got far enough into the article to read the Frazer quote when I thought to myself: "What the hell am I doing reading some silly article on the internet? I should be reading The Golden Bough!" I still haven't finished it but of the parts I've read I highly, highly recommend it to everyone I meet.

I never got way into metal, though I once worked with an unassuming accountant who loved the stuff and insisted I borrow his whole collection. He wasn't into the growly stuff so much, more stuff like Iced Earth or Children of Bodom, though he did set me on a path and I explored some of harder stuff.

Ultimately it's not for me, but I respect the sentiment as well as the musicianship. And really, ALL music is about the visceral and, to a lesser extent, the communal. We like music that helps us feel all those things that we can articulate so well in our heads but often struggle to express with words. When you're young it's easy to see a lot of inanity/insanity in the world and music is a healthy outlet for expressing that frustration. When we meet like-minded folks who share the same sentiments, well, it feels good. It's a sprit of camaraderie that fills a hole in our lives.

Which I suspect is also why folks are so passionate about their choice of music. We want people to like the same music we like because we believe it's a reflection of who we are. This is why Last.fm exists. So when somebody poo-poos on our stuff or in some implicit way devalues it, we tend to get a little defensive. It's human nature, but the good news is that the underlying desire isn't mean at all, but rather a striving for connection.

When someone says "look at all these heavy-as-shit metal bands that I love" what they're really trying to say is "do you see how I view the world? I'm serious about this, and I hope you'll join me because I think this is really important." Likewise when someone says "look at my extremely eclectic playlist," they aren't bragging so much as trying to express something that they feel deeply about themselves: "I'm a curious person, and I like to make friends, won't you be my friend?"

I think it's really interesting that pretty much all popular music grew out of a reaction to something, as an exercise in solidarity against some force that individually (and communally or tribally) we felt a need to confront. Whether it was the seemingly capricious natural world of our pre-historic ancestors, the restrictions of the magisterium, the crushing boot heel of the slave-master, the oppression of poverty, the casual bigotry of the establishment, the horrors of war, the complacency of the masses, or even just dealing with the pain of personal loss or wondering at the wide world, music speaks to us in ways that no tongue or pen alone can match.

What a wonderful time we live in to see so many strange new musical horizons. Rock on.
posted by jnrussell at 2:07 PM on May 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


At any rate, I agree that mistakes can be more fruitful than accurate imitations, but the most fruitful mistakes tend to be the ones which grow out of an understanding of the artistic boundaries previously in play. Otherwise everyone's two-year-old really could "do that Jackson Pollock stuff"... and metal really would be full of sub-genres which are nothing more than Unrelated Style X with "the classic metal rhythm section/guitar" added in.
posted by vorfeed at 2:18 PM on May 1, 2011


I'd say bands like Sabbath did hear the blues

my point being that they weren't very good at playing them and ended up playing something different - an intelligent decision on their part, because that demo's poor - tony's not bad, geezer and bill are just passable and ozzy has no business trying to sing straight blues

they couldn't play them "right" so they found a way to play them "wrong" that worked
posted by pyramid termite at 2:20 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The article mostly just reminded me how spot on Spinal Tap was (especially Stonehenge).
posted by TheShadowKnows at 2:33 PM on May 1, 2011


they couldn't play them "right" so they found a way to play them "wrong" that worked

I seem to recall Ozzy saying as much in a fairly recent interview, except it wasn't the blues he was referring to, it was the Beatles. That was the band he wanted to sound like, to emulate, to be in. But he failed miserably. Thank Satan for that.
posted by philip-random at 2:37 PM on May 1, 2011


Interesting idea to see the cookie monster voice as part of the percussion section!

It took me a while to see that about the guitar and reggae....
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:39 PM on May 1, 2011


I like almost all genres of music: classical, jazz, folk, noise, rock, pop, blues, country, avant-garde, rap/hip-hop, R&B, and especially music from other lands too numerous to name. Sure, some pop is too saccharine for my tastes, and some rap too obnoxious, and most progressive rock (ELP) too pretentious, but there is only one genre I can't stand. Metal. Being born at the wrong time didn't help (1952), but there are a host of other reasons I can't listen to it. The vocals, of course. The lyrics. The theatrics (not my style: I don't hate theatrics per se). The chords. The pretentiousness. The attitude. (The posing. Am I wrong? Are the musicians and fans genuine or sincere in any way? They must be, because the apparent lack of irony in most of the music I hear/see also bugs me.)

Feel free to either hate me or enlighten me. Someone like me who turns it off after two bars obviously doesn't know shit about metal.
posted by kozad at 2:52 PM on May 1, 2011


The attitude. (The posing. Am I wrong? Are the musicians and fans genuine or sincere in any way? They must be, because the apparent lack of irony in most of the music I hear/see also bugs me.)

Not necessarily.
posted by Bangaioh at 3:02 PM on May 1, 2011


my point being that they weren't very good at playing them and ended up playing something different

Yes, fine, but they didn't do that after hearing one show. They did it after listening to a lot of blues, after enjoying it as the blues, and after genuinely trying to play the-blues-as-the-blues. They didn't do it by encountering the blues and then immediately running off to base new music on a surface impression like "well it's interesting but they always sing about the same depressing stuff and that 12-bar thing never changes".

That's all I'm saying here.
posted by vorfeed at 3:13 PM on May 1, 2011


I don't think it's at all a coincidence that many of the great instrumentalists of two and three generations ago were able to play both jazz and classical at the highest levels...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:32 on May 1

Can you give us the names of some of these instrumentalists?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:03 PM on May 1, 2011


...on a surface impression like "well it's interesting but they always sing about the same depressing stuff and that 12-bar thing never changes".

That would have been an incorrect surface impression, anyway.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:06 PM on May 1, 2011


That would have been an incorrect surface impression, anyway.

Yes. That was my point.
posted by vorfeed at 4:11 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Which I suspect is also why folks are so passionate about their choice of music. We want people to like the same music we like because we believe it's a reflection of who we are. This is why Last.fm exists. So when somebody poo-poos on our stuff or in some implicit way devalues it, we tend to get a little defensive. It's human nature, but the good news is that the underlying desire isn't mean at all, but rather a striving for connection.

Well, yeah. The music I listen to reflects me, and I reflect it. One of the things I like about the occasional metal shows I've been to is that the people going to them REALLY LIKE METAL. They're not trying to look cool, they're not trying to find out what the newest sound is or whatever. They just really like metal.

I reviewed a local metal festival, and because it's not my genre I asked people at the show for help with what sub-genre the bands were and how they thought they sounded and stuff like that. Everyone was really nice and accommodating and tried to get me to appreciate the music. Could you imagine going to, say, Xiu Xiu or LCD Soundsystem and saying 'I don't know much about this music. could you help me out?' You'd get scoffed at. Scoffed at hard.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:34 PM on May 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sometimes, I feel like I'm not solid.
I'm hollow; there's nothing behind my eyes.
I'm a negative of a person.
It is as if I never thought anything, never wrote anything, never felt anything.
All I want is blackness.
Blackness and silence.


Sylvia Plath started ambient black metal.
posted by NoMich at 4:44 PM on May 1, 2011


THESE BEANS ARE SO METAL THAT THEY TASTE LIKE UNUNOCTIOUM (aka Super Heavy Element #118, atomic weight 293) - posted by KingEdRa at 2:44 PM

Back when the world was young, we were going to call our heavy metal band "OSMIUM" (or maybe Ösmium, with an umlaut...) - because it's like the HEAVIEST metal, maaan.

(Engineering nerds, what can I say. Of course we were laughing too hard at the concept to ever play out, but still...)
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 4:46 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, I take that back, she started blackened epic doom metal.
posted by NoMich at 4:46 PM on May 1, 2011


> Can you give us the names of some of these instrumentalists?

Sure! Miles Davis, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, that era - as I said, two or three generations ago, but even now you have people like Richard Stoltzman or the Marsalises who play jazz and classical.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:55 PM on May 1, 2011


Metal has kept me sane, and happy. I mean, songs like this (totally NSFW video) crack me the hell up and place a goofy smile on my soul.

For those who haven't seen it yet, you should visit the well designed Map of Metal which does a great job of explaining the various sub genres with audio examples of each.

Great thread, BTW.
posted by mapinduzi at 4:57 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sure! Miles Davis, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw

Hmm. Wasn't aware that these three noted jazz musicians had ever been known to play "classical at the highest levels". I must've missed that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:01 PM on May 1, 2011


Sylvia Plath started ambient black metal.

I'm still trying to pin down where the "Do you believe in anything at all?" clip on that album is from, but the response is a passage from a book by "Ragnar Redbeard" available on Amazon.

Also, I just got into Hayaino Daisuki after listening to Gridlink for a while and HD fucking shreds (the fake 90s Japanese thrash band persona/media campaign aspect just makes it so much better).
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:15 PM on May 1, 2011


> Wasn't aware that these three noted jazz musicians had ever been known to play "classical at the highest levels". I must've missed that.

You could certainly argue that they weren't at the very top of the profession as classical performers, but each of them had multiple successful recordings and performances with top symphony orchestras - people took them seriously and if you hear the recordings, they're a good listen, you "wouldn't know" they were primarily jazz players.

Interestingly enough, I just learned, "Goodman commissioned and premiered works by leading composers for clarinet and symphony orchestra that are now part of the standard repertoire, namely Contrasts by Béla Bartók, Clarinet Concerto No. 2, Op. 115 by Malcolm Arnold, Derivations for Clarinet and Band by Morton Gould, and Aaron Copland's Clarinet Concerto," says the Wikipedia.

Now today, if you're a classical clarinetist, trumpet, sax... it's fairly certain that you make money playing jazz as well, unless you're in a serious orchestra, because there simply isn't that much market left and you have to cover a lot of basses. Er, bases.

Point is that the techniques and mind set aren't that different between classical and jazz - it's really that one swings and one doesn't....
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:17 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually, I'm not sure now that there are any Miles Davis classical recordings, please forgive my faulty memory if not.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:19 PM on May 1, 2011


I can't believe no one has mentioned Metalocalypse yet. Adult Swim animated series full of black humor about a worldwide popular death metal band...what's not to like?
posted by evening at 5:28 PM on May 1, 2011




My husband is always getting me to watch the most ridiculous metal videos on Youtube and he's like "Look at these guys! Look at the poses!" and then he dies laughing, but he's also making his rock face and turning up the volume. Even though the band is cheesy as hell, he gets them, because it's METAL.

Toothless Willy, we should form a Metalhead Wife Association!
posted by Tarumba at 5:36 PM on May 1, 2011


I have seen GWAR. And what makes me think metal is important and neccesary is the SIGNIFICANCE. People need to be bigger than themselves.

Fool! GWAR does not make people bigger than themselves. GWAR is bigger than people, people merely annoy GWAR and they will behead you for such impudence.
posted by Hoopo at 5:40 PM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]




I am not sure why this turned into a thread that had to compare metal and rap. There is bad metal and bad rap. That doesn't make a whit of difference about Metal and its significance. Obviously the writer of this story has struck a controversial note to some music snobs.

Sanitarium, by Metallica

Welcome to where time stands still
No one leaves and no one will
Moon is full, never seems to change
Just labeled mentally deranged
Dream the same thing every night
I see our freedom in my sight
No locked doors, No windows barred
No things to make my brain seem scarred

Sleep my friend and you will see
That dream is my reality
They keep me locked up in this cage
Can't they see it's why my brain says Rage

Sanitarium, leave me be
Sanitarium, just leave me alone

Build my fear of what's out there
And cannot breathe the open air
Whisper things into my brain
Assuring me that I'm insane
They think our heads are in their hands
But violent use brings violent plans
Keep him tied, it makes him well
He's getting better, can't you tell?

No more can they keep us in
Listen, damn it, we will win
They see it right, they see it well
But they think this saves us from our hell

Sanitarium, leave me be
Sanitarium, just leave me alone
Sanitarium, just leave me alone

...

Revolution Calling, Queensryche

...

Got no love for politicians
Or that crazy scene in D.C.
It's just a power mad town
But the time is ripe for changes
There's a growing feeling
That taking a chance on a new kind of vision is due

I used to trust the media
To tell me the truth, tell us the truth
But now I've seen the payoffs
Everywhere I look
Who do you trust when everyone's a crook?

Revolution calling
Revolution calling
Revolution calling you
(There's a) Revolution calling
Revolution calling
Gotta make a change
Gotta push, gotta push it on through

I'm tired of all this bullshit
They keep selling me on T.V.
About the communist plan
And all the shady preachers
Begging for my cash
Swiss bank accounts while giving their
Secretaries the slam

They're all in Penthouse now
Or Playboy magazine, million dollar stories to tell
I guess Warhol wasn't wrong
Fame fifteen minutes long
Everyone's using everybody, making the sale

I used to think
That only America's way, way was right
But now the holy dollar rules everybody's lives
Gotta make a million doesn't matter who dies

Revolution calling
Revolution calling
Revolution calling you
(There's a) Revolution calling
Revolution calling
Gotta make a change
Gotta push, gotta push it on through

...

The Prisoner, Iron Maiden

...

Not a prisoner I'm a free man
And my blood is my own now
Don't care where the past was
I know where I'm going ...out!

...

Hallowed be they name, Iron Maiden

...

When you know that your time is close at hand
Maybe then you'll begin to understand
Life down there is just a strange illusion

...

Heaven and Hell, Black Sabbath

...

They say that life's a carousel
Spinning fast, you've got to ride it well
The world is full of Kings and Queens
Who blind your eyes and steal your dreams
It's Heaven and Hell, oh well
And they'll tell you black is really white
The moon is just the sun at night
And when you walk in golden halls
You get to keep the gold that falls
It's Heaven and Hell, oh no!
Fool, fool!
You've got to bleed for the dancer!
Fool, fool!
Look for the answer!
Fool, fool, fool!

....

I'm thankful that metal was there for me in the 80s. These days I have very wide set of musical likes, but unlike some who say they've 'grown out' of their early metal fandom, my appreciation has actually taken deeper root.

You haters can eat it. You can't relate so you hate. It is a shame.

Up the irons!
posted by kmartino at 7:01 PM on May 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


kmartino: be fair, now, you wouldn't be happy if everyone liked metal, would you?

Metal and rap get lumped together because a lot of people dislike one or the other or both.

People don't like metal because it's assaultive and loud, true, but because they don't find the genre itself appealing enough personally to see the details that make it interesting so it all sounds the same.

But I really don't think too many people claim all rap sounds the same to them today, if only because they've heard so very many different rap styles already - the problem people have with rap are various: some like instrumentalists and singers and so deplore rap; others don't like the "bad element" associated with it, perceived or real; some people really like tunes.

The aggro thing is common to both. "Your Mom" won't like either for that reason...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:38 PM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


"the easy-listening music favored by her mother ... so obviously seems to lie to her about the world.”

Granting that civilization is a thin veneer, and that swimming in the Hudson builds up your immune system, that most of war (most of what we've had so far) is long periods of quiet punctuated by moments of terror. So I'll rarely, ground myself to feel shock music - but mediated by people like Crimson.

Easy-listening is not so much music as a sonic bubblebath to hold at bay the terrible silence. Of say, 20 sweaty strangers jammed in a elevator hanging over a deep dark pit. Or to soldier on 'til the next V2. Muzak, it must be admitted, is ... instrumental.

I like better the tension created by listening to music that suggests that - at sometime, maybe in a distant future, maybe tomorrow - life could be more than hiding in sewers lathered in ichor and gnawed on by rats. But hey, that's just me. And most of the videogames out there tell me I'm an endangered species.
posted by Twang at 8:35 PM on May 1, 2011


But I really don't think too many people claim all rap sounds the same to them today

I might say that.
I was listening to some random metal bands - wish I could remember the subgenre - and it was relaxing because the intensity of the music matched what was in my head. Easy listening holds a certain terror for me.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:05 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


that atom and his package song fucking sucked. why did you do that to us?
posted by rainperimeter at 11:11 PM on May 1, 2011


NoMich. have you heard of Lurker Of Chalice? the record this song is off of, man, it rules.
posted by rainperimeter at 11:22 PM on May 1, 2011


I was hoping this was going to be about the magazine. Brandon Blatcher is apparently currently going to my high school back in 1991. We also enjoyed a good metal vs. rap conversation/fist-fight back in the day. It's good to see that somewhere, somewhen, those adolescent impulses are still firing on the internet, at least.
posted by ServSci at 5:48 AM on May 2, 2011


Metal more powerful than a speeding locomotive

"Maybe the metal gods above were smiling on me and they didn't want one of their true warriors to die on them. Otherwise, I'd be up there in the kingdom of steel."

Preach it, brother.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:39 AM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


that atom and his package song fucking sucked. why did you do that to us?

Because I like metal and I like that song. Some of my friends who like metal also like that song. I shared it because I thought some here might enjoy it as well. Why else?
posted by munchingzombie at 1:31 PM on May 2, 2011


They must be, because the apparent lack of irony in most of the music I hear/see also bugs me.

Irony is to modern culture what mobs with torches were to the Library of Alexandria. Fuck irony. Sideways. With a rotting donkey pizzle.
posted by rodgerd at 1:32 PM on May 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


I am not sure why this turned into a thread that had to compare metal and rap

Because of a trollish derail at the start?
posted by rodgerd at 1:34 PM on May 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


munchingzombie, i was mostly kidding, man.
posted by rainperimeter at 2:27 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


lupus_yonderboy - very good question and I struggle with the answer. That probably means yes, it wouldn't make me happy if everyone liked it.

Why is that?
posted by kmartino at 2:39 PM on May 2, 2011


Metal has always been for ridiculous white people. I abandoned it during my salad days in favor of the far more socially conscious, mature work of Kayne West and the wry irony of Soulja Boy Tell Em, hmmmm yes
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:41 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metal has always been for ridiculous white people.

Hi. Me and some other people would like to have a word with you.

I'll cop to ridiculous, though.
posted by Errant at 3:14 PM on May 2, 2011


@Errant

I was actually being very sarcastic. As for "ridiculous", that is a moral judgment I do not have the authority to make. Also, I like Kings Destroy.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 3:29 PM on May 2, 2011


Nah, you can say ridiculous. Like I said above: longboat. With dragon. Sometimes it breathes fire.

I mean, seriously, look at these idiots. The more awesome something is, the more ridiculous it is also.
posted by Errant at 3:40 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Preach it, brother.

Oh and just to make it clear I'm not a satanist. I was just supporting the metalness of that statement. And I don't approve church burning. Churches are not for burning, they are for performing guitar solos in front of.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:36 PM on May 2, 2011




As a rule I enjoy "metal" but what I hate is when there's some wicked music happening and some asshole starts bellowing all "BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!"
posted by tumid dahlia at 11:30 PM on May 2, 2011


"How is music that makes you believe those things about yourself not music that lies to you about the world?"

Because depression is a mother fucker. It lies to you about who you are. The world lies to you about who you are, to sell you things.

"I've read the words of philosophers, the words of liars
Who say that underneath, I'm worthless, incomplete"
  –Queensryche, The Art of Life

Metal, like its cousin prog rock, tells different stories. It tells different sides of the same old stories. Like punk, it offers different viewpoints from the mainstream. Some call these things subversive. Some people call them a relief. When you grow up in a society, in a religion, that says who you are is wrong, right out of the gate and before you've done anything at all, it's hard not to internalize that lesson. So when something comes along that says, hey, man, there's nothing wrong with who you are. That society that tells you you're ill? Look at how diseased it is.

Turns out, that's kind of empowering. It doesn't have to be absolute truth so long as it encourages you to look at things from different sides. Before there was MeFi, I had Metal for that. Metal reminds me that I have just as much ability to fuck shit up as anyone else, for good or for bad. Metal is the reason why, despite a lifetime of suffering from (largely undiagnosed) depression, I'll never commit suicide. Not outright. I'll never wither and die; I'd much rather take the system down with me. And while when I'm 14, that might mean blowing up the government, as I grow older, it means standing up to injustice even if it kills me, it means helping the less fortunate, even if it kills me. It means my life is my own to do with as I please, and that I need not give a fuck what anyone tells me I should or should not be doing with it. Metal reminds me to stand up for myself, and that it's better to die on my feet than live on my knees.

Maybe the idea that I could be some kind of revolutionary is a huge lie. But maybe, just maybe, the part of the lie, the kernel of truth, that pushes me just a bit towards that lie is enough. Maybe the difference it makes is all the difference it takes to change the world, one person at a time.
posted by Eideteker at 3:57 AM on May 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Also, I fucking hate love songs. Or rather, I hate music that's nothing but love songs. Human experience is so much wider than that. Again, it's part of trying to sell you something, and trying to tell you you're incomplete (in this case, without another person—or persons, in the case of rap songs about hos, which I include in the same tired category).
posted by Eideteker at 4:03 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


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