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Metal Stuff

The title pretty much sums it up. This is where you can read about metal stuff. Woo.

I noticed that the internet seems to be severely lacking in anything even resembling a dialogue about metal culture.

I also have a lot of free time.

Thus, Metal Stuff was born.

And I saw that it was good.

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Featured post

Grulog’s Essential Appalachian Black Metal

The People of the Appalachians (A mountain range stretching from Southern New York to Alabama) have been subject to some pretty nasty stereotypes for hundreds of years. The terms “redneck”, “hillbilly”, and “hick” were all coined to cast the people living in the area in a negative light.

A good example of the acceptable prejudices levied against the people of the area would be the 1972 film “Deliverance” (set and filmed in Appalachian Georgia), which portrays Appalachians as backwards, uneducated, inbred, and dangerous.

While these things aren’t true, the movie does display the poverty of the region rather accurately. Many families in the area live on less than $5,000 per year before taxes (which sets their food budgets slightly lower than $1 per day). Another term from the area is “dirt poor” – a lot of people don’t realize the term literally means you’re not rich enough to own a floor. One of my neighbors growing up was raising children in an old trailer with no floor, no running water, and no electricity. The county of my birth, Delaware, is the poorest in the state of New York, and has an economy that (last I checked) was 10 years behind the rest of the country.

This sort of absolute poverty can certainly make for an interesting culture. One of the most distinctive variants of American folk music comes from the area. Combine a strong folk/music and culture with nature, isolation, and mountains – and you’ve got the perfect formula for black metal.

While the region is too large (and difficult to travel) for there to be a scene with a distinctive sound – the Appalachians are home to one of the best kept secrets in USBM. Possibly, due to bands like Panopticon gaining popularity, not quite as well kept as it used to be – but still rather obscure even to the seasoned metalhead.

~~~~~

Panopticon

Label: Bindrune Recordings
Years Active: 2007 – Present
State of Origin: Kentucky (early), Minnesota (later)
Official Site: https://thetruepanopticon.bandcamp.com/

>———-<

2018’s “The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness (I and II)” is a delight. Panopticon reminds me of an Eastern-American version of Saor, the incorperation of American folk music into the black metal style is seamless and tastefully done. Panopticon has managed to take Black Metal’s fixation on nature and give it a very Appalachian slant.

After an hour of fantastic blues-oriented atmospheric black metal, you’re treated with another hour of melancholy infused American folk music.

Certainly a contender for my album of the year.

>———–<

Recommended Listening:

En hvit ravns død

~~~~~~~~~~

Slaves BC

Label: The Fear and the Void Recordings
Years Active: 2010 – Present
State of Origin: Pennsylvania
Official Site: https://slavesbc.bandcamp.com/

>———-<

Another Appalchian BM band with a 2018 release – these guys weave elements of doom and death metal into a dischordant web of excellence.

“Lo, I am Burning” can be a difficult album to listen to all the way through at times, but it’s ultimately rewarding. I guess you could say it’s a grower more than it is a shower.

The album sounds like it was written as an emotional purge for band members who desperately needed it.

>———–<

Recommended Listening:

Lo

~~~~~~~~~~

Twilight Fauna

Label: Unsigned/Independent
Years Active: 2011 – Present
State of Origin: Tennessee
Official Site: https://twilightfauna.bandcamp.com/

>———-<

Another Appalachian Black Metal project that focuses on fusing American folk music with Atmospheric Black Metal, Kentucky’s Twilight Fauna is a bit more raw. There’s a distinct focus on the stories/history of the region I find refreshing.

Twilight Fauna is not easy listening. It’s thought provoking, challenging, and possesses the power to transport the listener to a different place and time.

>———–<

Recommended Listening

The Last Ember

~~~~~~~~~~

Falls of Rauros

Label: Bindrune Recordings
Years Active: 2005 – Present
State of Origin: Maine
Official Site: https://fallsofrauros.bandcamp.com/

>———-<

There’s a wonderful use of atmosphere and a good positive feeling to it – but it’s still unquestionably Black Metal. They juxtapose elements of darkness and light – it’s black metal, but it’s something else as well.

>———–<

Recommended Listening

Falls of Rauros – Silence (Lyric Video Fanmade)

~~~~~~~~~~

Nechochwen

Label: Nordvis Produktion
Years Active: 2005 – Present
State of Origin: West Virginia
Official Site: https://nechochwen.bandcamp.com/

>———-<

When you’re talking about Appalachian Folk Music, there’s a very heavy influence from the Native Americans who lived side by side with the original settlers of the area.

West Virginia’s Nechochwen include traditional Native American melodies and themes into an otherwise intense black metal assault. There’s an element of prog in there (real prog), and the unexpected transitions from melody to dissonance are expertly executed.

>———–<

Recommended Listening:

The Serpent Tradition

~~~~~~~~~~

Appalachian Winter

Label: Nine Gates Records
Years Active: 2008 – Present
State of Origin: Pennsylvania
Official Site: https://appalachianwinter.bandcamp.com/

>———-<

Besides the occasional dulcimer or banjo on albums – AW doesn’t really incorporate a lot of folk music into their style. Instead, it’s a synth heavy symphonic Black Metal onslaught with cultural/folk themes in the lyrics. A bit cheesy at times, it almost draws from power metal in terms of the “epic quality” of the symphonic end of things.

>———–<

Recommended Listening:

Appalachian Winter – Deep Within the Mountain Forest

~~~~~~~~~~

Order of Leviathan

Label: Unsigned/Independent
Years Active: 2012 – Present
State of Origin: Kentucky
Official Site: https://www.facebook.com/OrderOfLeviathan

>———-<

A very polished, very heavy sort of black metal – OoL sound like a fucking Scandinavian band to me. Very, very good Melodic Black Metal – it should sate the musical thirst of the trvest of the trve.

>———–<

Recommended Listening:

Order Of Leviathan – An Endless Dusk (2013)

~~~~~~~~~~

Merkaba (Kentucky)

Label: Unsigned/Independent
Years Active: 2010 – Present
State of Origin: Kentucky
Official Site: https://merkaba.bandcamp.com/

>———-<

An atmospheric/ambient black metal project from Kentucky – the best way I can describe these guys is this: Imagine if Bell Witch took shrooms, and then decided to play Black Metal instead of Funeral Doom. It’s very stripped down, pretty raw, and very good.

>———–<

Recommended Listening:

Merkaba – Eyes Lose Focus

~~~~~~~~~~

So, there’s a preview of the black metal musicians who are embracing their Appalachian heritage and dispelling some of the stereotypes about people from the area.

And kicking out some pretty killer American Black Metal. Fuck yeah.

– Grulog

Grulog’s Essential Funeral Doom: Slow

Every once in a while, you stumble across a musical act that transcends artistic boundaries. To call people like this musicians alone wouldn’t be fair or accurate – they’re artists in the real sense of the word.

I listen to a fuck-ton (actual measurement) of metal – a bare minimum of 8 hours a day while I’m at work (and then, to mix things up, I listen to metal when I go home) – and I’ll tell you, I can count the number of metal bands who fall into the “artist” category on one hand.

32804673_2102985469988210_2959725941506441216_n

Slow is one of those bands. I’m not here to review any albums – anything worth saying in terms of album reviews has already been done by minds much greater then my own (minds such as Cody motherfuckin Davis of “Metal Injection” and Master of Muppets from “Angry Metal Guy”).

In fact, unless a band approaches me I prefer to focus on the artist and how/why they do what they do. The reader can decide for themselves whether or not to check it out, and enter into the experience without any pre-existing bias.

And for a band like Slow, I feel like anything less would be doing my readers a disservice. This isn’t a “singles” band, this is a “listen to the whole album in one sitting and then contemplate your life” band.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Basics:

3540375410_logo

Band Name: SLOW (Silence Lives Out/Over Whirlpool)
Country of Origin: Belgium
Years Active: 2007-Present
Metal Archives Entry: https://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Slow/3540375410
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/slowdooom
Myspace: https://myspace.com/slowonline
Bandcamp: https://slowdooom.bandcamp.com/
Members: Déhà (Instruments, Vocals), Lore (Lyrics, Concepts, Bass)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Interview:

What is the significance of “Silence Lives Out/Over Whirlpool” (SLOW)

(Déhà) : When I started this project twelve years ago, it was a counter-project for Yhdarl (my other very dark, suicidal-theme band). I wanted something which was metaphorical for what I wanted : a complete drone soundscape (Whirlpool), that is not violent (Silence). Out/Over is the meaning of “it goes everywhere”, if you will. I must admit I was very young at the time, but it still makes sense to me nowadays.

~~~~~~

What made you choose Funeral Doom as the artistic medium for your work in Slow?

(Déhà) : I chose funeral doom because I wanted a way to express feelings that are a bit ‘trippy’, without necessarily being depressive (like album I and II). Starting from III, I was getting a little more influences from death/doom, but I stuck with funeral doom because I simply love this kind of music. There’s nothing more than this.

~~~~~~

Lore did a phenomenal job capturing the essence of the music lyrically with Oceans (enough so that I had difficulty believing more than one person was privy to the project). Even the cadence of the words is perfect. What made you approach her specifically to write lyrics to Oceans?

(Lore) : Thank you.

(Déhà) : Lore did the most perfect job for Oceans. In the beginning, she was just ‘for help’, but after the amount of emotions she put into this album, as well as time and focus, there was no way I could not propose her to join the band. It became so evident to me. Obvious even.
She got it all right at first listen. That’s quite a sign, isn’t it?

~~~~~~

Listening to your work in Slow from Gaia forward there’s definitely a progression in sound, with everything from guitar tone to the application and use of synth. Would you consider that to be due to growth as a musician, access to more and different equipment, a combination of these things, or something else?

(Déhà) : I believe yes, but mainly simply by going further in the music. I & II are, for me, the first “period” of the band (being instrumental and more drone-ish), III & IV are the second period, and starting from V, we have something else. I can’t stress enough the time spent to control my studio (hence production). It’s, I believe, a normal evolution.

~~~~~~

All of your albums with Slow seem to take grand (and universal) archetypes and weave a story into and through them. 

-With Gaia, the synth kind of carried the narritive in place of vocals. 
-With Mythologiæ there’s a progression using mythological (greek, if i’m not mistaken) archetypes to give subconscious form to the journey of an individual.
-With Oceans, the journey/struggle of the individual is at the forefront and the ocean seems to be the metaphor.

My question is: Do you purposefully approach an album from the position of taking a larger theme and weaving a narrative throughout?

(Lore): I can’t speak for the previous albums as I wasn’t involved with the making of them, but with Oceans it was definitely the goal. Music is both very personal and universal – I find it important to find the right balance in that. We both want to express our thoughts and emotions, we want to tell our story, but in a way that the listener is able to understand everything and project these feelings onto himself. Making an awesome album has become almost easy nowadays, but making an album that truly touches people with its story and lingers in the mind is a far greater challenge.

~~~~~~

One constant I’ve noticed on every Slow album is this – there seems to be a thread of hope in all the doom. It manifests itself differently on different albums – on Gaia it was purely the synth, on Mythologiæ it kind of traded back and forth between the guitars and the synth, and on Oceans (interestingly enough) the guitars themselves seemed to carry it.

A lot of Funeral/Death Doom bands seem to focus purely on despair/darkness (which is fucking awesome), and the ones who do try to add that contrast end up sounding cheesy and almost campy. If your albums were a slow moving storm, there’s always a ray of sunlight in the eye. I have to ask, do you add these aesthetic qualities to your music purposefully?

(Déhà) : I believe yes. I like to believe that Slow is mostly narrative, whereas other bands are a simple, crushing smash of despair in the face. Everyone can interpret it in his or her own way. I find Gaïa being insanely positive, for example.

(Lore) : I don’t know… I think it comes naturally rather than we spend a lot of time thinking about and perfecting aesthetics. It is what makes Slow Slow in the first place. Everything is very sincere, it is not merely an image we are trying to create of ourselves. We feel very deeply, both positive and negative feelings, and try to express this in our music. There’s always a spark of light somewhere in the darkness, if you choose to look for it hard enough.

~~~~~~

It seems like, with the advent of the internet, a lot of artists simply write songs until they have enough to fill an album, and then release it. I’m certainly not the first person to notice it, but the “full album” is a disappearing art-form.

With Slow, it seems like your focus is more on writing the album as a whole (musically and conceptually) – where each of the individual pieces is part of a greater narrative and the albums are meant to be listened to in their entirety. Am I imagining this, or is that the case? 


(Déhà)
: This is the case indeed. Every album for Slow, as stated, is narrative and brings forth a story. Gaïa… Well I believe it speaks for itself, as well as Mythologiae and the (definitely greek) content, while Oceans….

(Lore)
: I agree with Deha. We aim to create ‘a whole package’ rather than ‘just an album’ because it gives everyone so much more satisfaction. The songs on Oceans are indeed meant to be listened to as one full song – that way you will truly hear how the story unfolds.

~~~~~~

Is there anything else you’d like readers/listeners to know or to keep in mind in regards to Slow?


(Déhà)
: We are working on album VI right now, which is going to be a little different, but will contain the same crushing doom music. I would dare say that it is be a bit more ‘experimental’.

(Lore)
: That we are very thankful for all the reactions and support we receive from them. Furthermore, what Deha said. We are constructing a small monument as we speak, so keep your eyes and ears wide open.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

So, VI is being recorded as you read this, and Lore is taking over bass duties and arrangements. Fuck yes.

Lorebass

The Bloggers Who Cried Nazi

If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.
– Joseph Goebbels (an actual Nazi)

So, yeah. The “Metal Bubble” of 2016-2017 has popped. We’re over-saturated with mediocre metal by numbers. As such, there’s been a decrease in metal-related news.

Enter Metalsucks.

Due largely to a massive decrease in traffic over the last year or so (see below), Metalsucks seems to have latched onto this new formula where they cry “Nazi” anytime someone from ANTIFA digs something up to stir shit.

metalsucks stats

I think this is also largely due to a bit of a confirmation complex – somewhere along the line in Vince and Axl’s social circles, they associate with a section of the metal community (and probably people outside the metal community) who subscribe to the ideology of the American political left.

After a quick glance at their own words (and their actions) I think it’s safe to say it’s a mildly radicalized faction of the middle to upper class that self identifies as the radical left.

Which is totally cool. I love people who subscribe to extreme ideologies too, I totally get it.

(There’s also the argument that I’ve touched on in other articles, where the large influx of scene tourists from a social class not typically associated with heavy metal have been slowly trying to co-opt black metal (entryism).They’re relatively easy to identify, look for an American “black metal” band that uses the term “post metal” to describe themselves.

Slightly less cool.)

On the bright side – my prediction that 2018 would be the year of black metal was correct. Silver Linings.

I do think they’re victims of a phenomenon we’re all familiar with – an oft-repeated lie becomes the truth in the minds of both the listeners and the speaker.

1

Continue reading “The Bloggers Who Cried Nazi”

Lost in Vegas: The Music Critics Metal Didn’t Know it Needed

First, I need to get something out of the way.

HOLY FUCK LOST IN VEGAS READ MY BLOG, AND TWEETED A LINK TO IT!

Ok, I’m good.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Seriously though, I’ve been a fan since they reacted to Megadeth’s “Holy Wars”

Their excitement is infectious, you can see they “get it” right away.

I’m pretty sure every metalhead, to some degree or another, gets a thrill seeing someone who isn’t a fan of the genre experience that level of excitement (as of today that video has over 1 million views).

They’re more of a phenomenon than just a channel, and their incredible popularity in the metal community has spawned some copy-cats in the metal industry (like this entire new segment called “metal reacts only” from Metalsucks) and elsewhere trying to soak up a bit of the limelight. I think there’s even a youtube channel with 2 metalhead dudes reacting to non-metal videos.

Often imitated, never duplicated.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ll probably never get a chance like this again, so I’d like to take a second to recommend a few songs I think Ryan and George might like. Trying to go by genre here, maybe make a poll?

  • Thrash: Testament – “The Pale King” (fan favorites aren’t always the best example of what an artist is capable of, their new album has the production quality you guys seem to prefer) v.s. Metal Church – “Needle and Suture”
  • Power Metal: Unleash the Archers – “Tonight We Ride” or “Awakening” v.s. Blind Guardian – Voice in the Dark”
  • Melodic Death Metal: Soilwork – “Stabbing the Drama” v.s. In Flames – “Trigger” v.s. Solution .45 – “Gravitational Lensing”
  • Black Metal: Immortal – “Sons of Northern Darkness” v.s. Cradle of Filth – “Nymphetamine” (If you guys like getting shit from so called elitists, simply mention Cradle of Filth)
  • Folk Metal: Eluveitie – “Call of the Mountains” or “Inis Mona” v.s. Cellar Darling – “Avalanche”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Make sure you check out more of their reaction videos here, and if you like what you see subscribe to their channel (and their twitter). They’re already over 300,000, and react to videos largely based on viewer recommendations.

Death to all but metal.

Metal Stuff’s 2017 Review: The Year in Metal

The Good

It was a good year for metal releases.

I think the metal community got spoiled after last year’s “metal bubble” and the Thrash revival. Compared to the incredible amount of good music that got dumped on us anything is going to seem lackluster, but 2017 was a good fucking year for heavy music (once you accept that 2016 was a happy fluke).

Metal Stuff Top 15 albums of 2017

15) Suffer in Paradise – Ephemere

Suffer in Paradise - Ephemere

Quality Funeral Doom from Russia, this album was my “October surprise” for 2017. The synth is a little weird at first, but the contrast lends to the overall atmosphere of the album.

 

14) Loss – Horizonless

Loss - Horizonless

I actually didn’t like this album the first time I listened to it. Glad I gave it another chance – guess it’s more of a grower than a shower. Not necessarily a bad thing, albums like that tend to stand the test of time.

 

13) Nortt – Endeligt

Nortt - Endeligt

Holy fuck. This solo Funeral Doom project from Denmark never disappoints. His last album (Galgenfrist) was released 10 years ago, and the decade long wait for the new album was more than worth it. Dark, gloomy, cold, and most importantly heavy as fuck.

 

12) Belphegor – Totenritual

Belphegor = Totenritual

I’ve been stoked for this album since Belphegor released the video for “Totenkult – Exegesis of Deterioration” 2 years ago. Another album that was well worth the wait.

 

 

11) Akercocke – Renaissance in Extremis

Akercocke - Renaissance in Extremis

A lot of people didn’t like the clean vocals on the album. I’ll admit, Jason isn’t getting any younger – and time has taken a bit of a toll on his vocal chords. But as a whole, that doesn’t really take away from the album for me. The band is as sharp as they’ve ever been, and while the cleans in some sections seem a bit strained, I almost wonder if that’s intentional – because if you listen to other tracks (like the one below), the cleans are pretty fucking good. I dunno, judge for yourself.

 

10) Tie (Cannibal Corpse – Red Before Black and Morbid Angel – Kingdoms Disdained)

I couldn’t choose, both bands released some quality material this year (in both cases, also significantly better than the previous release). Straightforward, in your face death metal with no bells or whistles.

 

9) Kreator – Gods of Violence

Kreator_-_Gods_of_Violence

Right on the tail end of the Thrash resurgence, Kreator dropped an excellentalbum that (like most albums released in the first half of the year) seems to have been left out of people’s top albums of the year. Why/How is beyond me, this album is quintessential thrash.

8) Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper

Bell Witch - Mirror Reaper

Probably the Funeral Doom release that received the most hype this year (for good fucking reason), the album has lived up to and surpassed any expectations I had. Mirror Reaper seemed to dance on that “invisible line” in the doom metal spectrum between Funeral Doom and Drone (not a bad thing)

 

7) Eluveitie – Evocation II

Eluveitie-Evocation-II-Pantheon

I know, I know. It’s a fucking acoustic album on a top metal albums of the year list. Since recruiting like 20 new members, it’s cool to see these guys bouncing back stronger than ever.

The band already has a full-on folk metal album in the works, and I’m as excited as a pig in shit. If the entire album holds up to the teaser single below, we’re in for a treat next year.

 

6) Mesmur – S

Mesmur-S

These guys need to cough up some merchandise so I can throw more money at them. This was another album that caught me completely off guard this year. Pure sonic embodiment of despair.

 

5) Funeris – Dismal Shapes

Funeris - Dismal Shapes

Argentinian Funeral Doom mastermind Alejandro Sabransky delivers another masterpiece. This guy just writes riffs that satisfy my addiction to heavy music. Punishingly heavy – this really is an album you need to lay down, turn off the lights, and let wash over you.

 

4) Frowning – Extinct

frowning - extinct

The sophomore release from German solo Funeral Doom act Frowning was one of the two albums I was most excited to hear this year. I’ll tell you something, Val doesn’t disappoint. This is pure Funeral Doom that doesn’t sacrifice the residual aggression and heaviness of Death Doom. I really can’t say enough good about this album, or this artist. This is what Funeral Doom is supposed to sound like.

 

3) Temple of Void – Lords of Death

Temple of Void - Lords of Death

This was the third album that caught me completely off guard and blew me out of the water this year. Dark, crushing riffs – if a “holy shit” level of heavy is what you’re looking for then look no further.

 

2) Dying Fetus – Wrong One to Fuck With

DF - Wrong one

This is another album that got a lot of beaming reviews, but failed to make most people’s end of year lists. Odd, considering the hype leading up to the album – and how well the band delivered.

1) Unleash the Archers – Apex

UTA - Apex

Favorite album of the year hands down. Hands fucking down. There’s literally nothing I can say about this album that hasn’t already been said. The musicianship is solid, and they’ve managed to capture that “American Metal” production delivering a crystal clear sonic assault directly to your ears. Brittney Slayes vocal chords are simply amazing, I’m a rather big fan of the layered harmonies on a lot of the songs. Even the concept of the album (yes, I’m a sucker for concept albums) is fucking awesome – a stone giant sleeping in a mountain is summoned by an evil sorceress to gather her sons from around the world so she can sacrifice them and gain immortality – told from the viewpoint of the stone giant. Catchy and fun while undeniably heavy and metallic, this is an album you shouldn’t miss.

Honorable Mentions:

Alestorm – No Grave but the Sea, Pallbearer – Heartless, Septicflesh – Codex Omega, Obituary – Self Titled, Myrkur – Mareridt, Electric Wizard – Wizard Bloody Wizard, Skyclad – Forward into the Past, Decapitated – Anticult, Suffocation – …of the Dark Light, Code Orange – Forever, Æther Realm – Tarot

The Year of OSDM

As predicted last year, metal moved forward from a year of thrash to a year of old-school death metal. It’s not some ground breaking revelation, that’s the order extreme metal evolved in organically.

Once you accept the fact that everything is cyclical, it makes perfect sense that the next phase of metal releases would include the original death metal pioneers.

I’d say releases by Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Obituary, Decapitated, Six Feet Under, Suffocation, and Autopsy certainly support my ongoing theory that extreme metal movements will mirror the original evolution of the sub-genres.

At this point I would like to predict a major swath of Black Metal releases next year. Dark Fortress, Isahn, Immortal, Shining, Watain, Dimmu Borgir, and Nachmystium all have material in the studio and are all expected to release albums next year – so we’ll see.

Other cool shit

There’s a new fucking Demons and Wizards album coming out next year. New Eluveitie as well.

Be excited.

Be very excited.

I don’t think there was a single bad Funeral Doom release this year. Obviously, the big story here was Bell Witch’s new album – I think there was better FD released this year, but I gotta hand it to these guys – Mirror Reaper was an excellent fucking album.

 

The Mediocre

There were bands that, by all rights, should have released some groundbreaking fucking material that just decided to coast this year.

Arch Enemy released “War Eternal Part II”, but decided to call it “Will to Power”. For fucks sake, they’ve got Jeff Loomis and this is the best thing they could come up with? Oh, and that thing when Amott said there’d never be clean vocals on an Arch Enemy album? Yeah, that’s gone. Goddamn it. I love every fucking member of this band, which is why I’m probably a little over critical, I just hate to see a super group of this magnitude cashing out so soon.

Empire of Sand by Mastodon was another one that really bugged me. “Show Yourself” was utter garbage.

Also disappointingly mediocre – TBDM, Dragonforce, GWAR, and Trivium.

 

The Bad, the Really Bad, and the Ugly

Shit went down when #rapegate hit heavy metal. Decapitated, Suicide Silence, Inanimate Existence, Twiggy (Marilyn Manson’s guitarist), Anthrax’s old guitarist Dan Spitz, Shining. I’m sure there was more. Oh yeah, Gene Simmons – that one caught me totally off guard.

Deaths:

  • 1/28 – Geoff Nicholls (Black Sabbath)
  • 2/13 – Trish Doan (Kittie)
  • 4/5 – Paul O’Neill (Trans-Siberian Orchestra)
  • 5/17 – Chris Cornell (Soundgarden)
  • 7/14 – David Zablidowsky (Trans-Siberian Orchestra)
  • 7/20 – Chester Bennington (Linkin Logs Park)
  • 9/22 – Eric Eycke (Corrosion of Conformity)
  • 10/21 – Martin Eric Ain (Celtic Frost)
  • 10/22 – Daisy Berkowitz (Marilyn Manson)
  • 11/1 – Scott Wily (Vital Remains)
  • 11/7 – Whitey Glan (Alice Cooper)
  • 11/9 – Chuck Mosley (Faith No More)
  • 12/13 – Warrel fucking Dane (Sanctuary, Nevermore)

 

Black Sabbath disbanded too.

So yeah, there’s all of that. I probably missed something.

Weird fucking year.

 

Warrel Dane (Nevermore/Sanctuary) Dies unexpectedly at 56

*update* apparently, the initial mistake in Dane’s age was made by BOL, who has corrected the error.

OS correction

The web address of the post shows the initial mistake. Apparently this is due to a conflict of information on Wikipedia, where his birth is listed both as 1969 and 1961, but only sourced for 1961

wikipedia48wikipedia61

 

The news broke out this morning (via Brazilian news outlet BOL) that legendary metal singer Warrel Dane died of a heart attack at the age of 56 (some sites are reporting he was 48, ). The singer passed in his sleep in a hotel room in Brazil, where he was recording his second solo album.

WD1

The guitarist for Sanctuary (Johnny Moraes) stated that Dane started feeling out of sorts around midnight (the singer’s health was already frail due to a combination of diabetes and alcoholism), and when the heart attack they began doing cardiac massage (guessing that’s a bad translation from Portuguese, and they were really doing CPR). Paramedics were called, but Dane was gone before they arrived.

Warrel-Dane-Curitiba-abr-2015-por-Clovis-Roman-DSC_0000-290x290

Admittedly, he wasn’t looking that good lately. I’m guessing Diabetes and alcoholism don’t mix well with staying in Brazil (an area famous for, among other things, it’s delicious sugarcane rum and wild parties).

Holy fuck.

This one hits pretty hard.

The guy had some strange combination of mercury and molten steel running through his veins. Seriously though, he wasn’t just a metalhead – he was a metalhead’s metalhead. That’s about the highest praise I can give someone.

I’d try to put together a greatest hits compilation, but for fucks sake it would include every goddamn song he ever put out. The guy left more excellence coiled in porcelain in the morning than most people exude in their entire lifetime. Seriously.

His vocal ability was eclipsed only by his ability to pen lyrics – the man was a poet.

Fuck, they had just finished the instrumentals for the new Sanctuary album and were getting ready to record vocals. Not to mention gearing up for a tour with Iced Earth to promote it.

Metal lost a legend today. He never compromised, never bowed to trends, and never sold out.

Rest in Peace, Voyager.

centurymediaofficial

Metal Stuff goes to the Pocono Folk Metal Fest

A few weeks ago (November 3rd-4th), my girlfriend and I had the pleasure of attending the third installment of North America’s Premier Folk Metal Festival, the Pocono Folk Metal Festival. .

The mastermind behind this event is none other than the legendary Jeff Addison of folk-metal.nl (who as I understand it pretty much single-handedly coordinates the whole shindig).

jeff addison

Situated in the Scenic Pocono Mountains, this two day event brings together some of the best Pagan/Viking/Folk Metal acts from around the country (and from overseas).

I’ll admit it, at first I was a little bit skeptical. I know Folk Metal is tearing up Europe right now (to the point where there are more new Folk Metal bands than even Black Metal or Melodic Death Metal) – but here in the States I hadn’t realized there was that big of a following. Plus, metal festivals in the US are kind of lackluster, right? Wrong.

I was way off. Holy shit.

I should have known when my friends went all “oldschool metal propaganda campaign” that this was the real deal.

I’m not sure what I expected, but here’s what I got:

  • Sixteen bands over two days (the headliners, Aether Realm, recently returned from a European tour with Alestorm if my memory serves me).
  • Seamless transitions between bands,
  • Excellent lighting and sound (courtesy of Prodigy Studios),
  • Discounted hotel rooms for attendees,
  • Pagan-friendly vendors (including some excellent tattoo artists).
  • Heathen music distributors selling vinyl I didn’t think I could get in the United States.
  • And a bar serving honey AND strawberry mead.mead

For the money, you’re not going to find anything close around here. The Poconos are a 2 hour drive away for millions of people in the Northeast. Long story short, it’s rural enough to be 100% appropriate for a Folk Metal festival (there are trees, enough to constitute a “forest”) and urban enough for indoor plumbing. 50 bucks for 16 bands is chump change, and after attending I feel like I got the better end of that deal.

Great atmosphere, great people, a plethora of kilts, multiple fiddles in a heavy metal context (very important), grog aplenty

(Event photos courtesy of Tigran Kapinos Photography)

 

 

The Bands:

WINDFAERER
BLACK FOLK METAL
NEW JERSEY
https://www.facebook.com/windfaerer/

LÖR
PROGRESSIVE POWER/FOLK METAL
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA
https://www.facebook.com/lorofficial/

BLOODEAGLE
VIKING THRASH
KINGSTON, PENNSYLVANIA
https://www.facebook.com/bloodeaglepa/

THE CONQUERING
BLACK FOLK METAL
COLUMBUS, OHIO
https://www.facebook.com/TheConquering/

ISENMOR
GEWYRDELIC FOLC METAL
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND
https://www.facebook.com/isenmor/

FERUS DIN
BLACK FOLK METAL
BUFFALO, NEW YORK
https://www.facebook.com/FerusDinBuffalo/

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 4TH DOORS OPEN AT 12PM

ÆTHER REALM
FOLK METAL/MELODEATH
NORTH CAROLINA
https://www.facebook.com/AetherRealm/

WILDERUN
PROGRESSIVE FOLK METAL
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS
https://www.facebook.com/OfficialWilderun/?ref=br_rs

GOBLIN HOVEL
METALLIC FOLK
CLARENCE, NEW YORK
https://www.facebook.com/GoblinHovel/

WINTER NIGHTS
MELODIC DEATH FOLK METAL
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
https://www.facebook.com/winternightsofficial/

SEKENGARD
WORLD FOLK METAL
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND
https://www.facebook.com/Sekengard/

WANDERING OAK
PROGRESSIVE FOLK METAL
WESTERN NEW YORK/MASSACHUSETTS
https://www.facebook.com/WanderingOakVinnland/

LAST LEGION
VIKING DEATH METAL
NEW YORK
https://www.facebook.com/LastLegionBand/

TURNCLOAK
FOLK METAL
PALMERTON, PENNSYLVANIA
https://www.facebook.com/turncloak/

FIAKRA
POWER/FOLK METAL
FREEHOLD, NEW JERSEY
https://www.facebook.com/fiakrametal/

WINTERS WAKE
VIKING METAL
STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK
https://www.facebook.com/WintersWakeMetal/

The Vendors:

SVINFYLKIN
HEATHEN WARES
https://www.facebook.com/Svinfylkin/

MOUNTAIN HEATHER CUSTOM CREATIONS
WALL ART, WEARABLE ART, WINDOW HANGINGS
https://www.facebook.com/ArtistAtLarge66/

THE MOUSOLEUM (SATURDAY ONLY)
ODDITIES, PRESERVED CREATURES, TAXIDERMY, SKULLS
https://www.facebook.com/The-Mousoleum-1303430103055715/

DODSON DESIGNS
LEATHER AND WOOD CREATIONS
https://www.facebook.com/drdodsondesigns/

TATTOOS BY JAKE
TATTOOS AND PIERCINGS
https://www.facebook.com/Freedom-Tattoo-Company-1909786679251369/

THE HEX FACTORY (SATURDAY ONLY)
HEX SIGNS
https://www.facebook.com/Hex-Factory-433137713561021/

SHIELD MAIDEN MAILLE
CHAIN MAILLE JEWELRY ACCESSORIES
https://www.facebook.com/shieldmaidenmaille/?ref=br_rs

ENCHANTED SANCTUARY MYSTICAL GIFTS
METAPHYSICAL ITEMS
https://www.facebook.com/pg/EnchantedSanctuaryMysticalGifts/about/?ref=page_internal

DRAGON SWAMP CURIOS
JEWELRY, ACCESSORIES, ARMOR AND LEATHER GOODS
https://www.facebook.com/DragonSwampCurios/

ODIN’S ANTIQUES
CELTIC, SLAVIC AND VIKING JEWELRY AND MORE!!
https://www.facebook.com/Odins.Antiques/

THE PAISLEY PATCH
UNIQUE GIFTS AND HANDMADE CREATIONS
https://www.facebook.com/paisleysandmore/

 

Metal Stuff Reviews: Theurgia – Transformation

logo solo bk

Artist: Theurgia
Album: “Transformation”
Released: August 16Th, 2017
Genre: Black Metal
Members: Daemonae (vox, rhythm guitar), Tevrastvs (bass, backing vocals), Hellbeats (skins), Mortuum P. (lead guitar)

The album was released in PRO-TAPE format by the labels WORSHIP TAPE (Ger) and ESFINGE DE LA CALAVERA (Spa) in DIGIPACK format too, by THROATS PROD. (Mex)

Transformation cover Art

Hailing from Venezuela, Theurgia is a 4-piece that’s been blasting blasphemous blackened symphonies since 2006.

I’ve been listening to black metal for longer than (I would assume) most of my readers have been alive, and I must say these guys are the real deal.

It’s been a while since I’ve heard new black metal I can really sink my teeth into. The album is raw, but still listenable.No frills, no fuss, no modern hipster garbage. Just pure, throat ripping black metal accented by the occasional melancholy overlay. The atmosphere is perfect, it gives you that black metal feeling.

Everything I look for in in black metal these guys have in spades. I particularly enjoyed track 6 (Monotonous Chant) and track 8 (Mea Spíritus in Opium), overall I’d give the album a solid 7.5 out of 10.

Listen to the new album in it’s entirety below and decide for yourself.

And make sure to check Theurgia out on Bandcamp and on Facebook.

The Monkey at the Metal Show

Disclaimer: I’m not pretending to be an expert in primate behavior (no matter how many times I watched the Harambe video), but it doesn’t take a fucking scientist to make these connections. 

“We admit that we are like apes, but we seldom realize that we are apes.”
-Richard Dawkins

Intro:

Whether they’re fans of heavy metal or not, people writing about the music and it’s adherents like to mention that the music taps into something primal.

I think that’s an accurate description, but I don’t think it goes far enough. My question is this – what are these primal things that metal taps into?

Primal like how our ancestors developed a love for fire (based on it’s importance in our survival) – and this translates into our love of a good light show/pyrotechnic display at a live show?

Or maybe primal like our admiration of musicianship, which boils down to admiration of mastery over tools?

These are certainly interesting subjects, and by pretty much any definition of the word they’re primal in nature.

In a sense, we (sort of) selectively bred these sorts of qualities into the human race – a love of fire and an appreciation for the mastery of tools are things that have allowed our species to advance to the pinnacle of the food chain. But they’re things that we don’t necessarily share with other primates.

What I want to talk about are things that we inherited before that (not that it’s a contest, but the things that are arguably more primal). Which poses the question, “Can the goings-on at a metal show, including the love of metal itself, be explained by comparing human behaviors with those of our primate cousins?”

Personally, I think that using primate behavior as a critical lens puts a lot of behaviors and staples of metal culture in a very interesting light. I’m going to break this down into two main sections – primate behavior among metalheads on an individual level, and on a group level.

(While reading this, you might notice that a lot of these things are not exclusive to metal. You’d be right, however this particular combination of things is pretty unique in my experience.)

Section 1 – Primate Behaviors Among Metalheads on an Individual Level

1a) Displays of Dominance and Aggression

One of the defining characteristics (arguably THE defining characteristic) of any alpha creature in nature is dominance. It can be expressed in different ways, but is inherently recognizable.

The Alpha Male

(it can be argued the desire to get on stage and beat your chest has primal origins)

In any group that’s been populated by male primates (almost to the point of exclusively) since it’s formation, you’re going to encounter a lot of very male-oriented behaviors and norms. Chimpanzees are a good example.

Being a large group of predominantly male primates (as I’ve mentioned in other articles) – heavy metal has developed what’s referred to as a Masculinist Culture. In a nutshell, what that means is that metalheads (by and large) tend to not only practice but celebrate codes of behavior that are (predominantly) attributed to males.

For example – in any given social situation, a group of animals will establish a pecking order. The animal at the top of that pecking order is the alpha. If it’s a group of males, the most dominant in the group will be what we like to refer to as the “alpha male”.

Among primates, there is a very distinctive set of behaviors that typify dominance ( and therefore are associated with the label alpha male). Humans, as primates, fall into this group. As such, an alpha male human (like any other primate) will display many of the characteristics associated with dominant primates – especially in the presence of other males.

Size Matters – Alpha Posturing and Stress

Being visual creatures – the first indication of alpha status among primates is size. Alpha males are big. Big males generally dominate. Among gorillas, for example, it’s rather easy to pick out the alpha male of the group due to their being significantly larger than the rest of the group.

Now, among our closest relatives in the primate world (chimpanzees), the alpha male is NOT always the largest. However, they compensate for this in a number of ways. One, that is common among all primates, is something referred to as the “alpha stance”.

It’s so common among humans that you might not give it much thought, but every time you see someone standing with their feet planted and spread, with their arms raised so the upper portion of their body resembles the letter “V” (sometimes called the victory pose or v-pose) – what you’re seeing is a simian dominance posture.

One of the main purposes of the alpha stance is that it makes you look visibly larger – but it also raises testosterone levels by 20% while lowering cortisol levels by up to 25% in all primates, male and female.

Cortisol is the stress hormone, and testosterone is the male sex hormone (high levels of testosterone are associated with a higher levels of confidence). So, primates instinctively know that in certain situations there’s a hormonal “oh shit” button that calms you down and makes you more confident.

You’ll see this sort of posturing anywhere you go, but I would argue it’s more exaggerated and pronounced at a metal show (largely due to the gender demographics). I’d argue the stress relief (on both a chemical and a mental level) combined with the effects of the music has an almost addictive quality to it.

If you’ve read my other blogs, you’ll know I make a distinction between metal fans and metal heads. I guess this is as good of an explanation of the difference between the two as any; real metalheads are absolutely addicted to the catharsis provided by the metal experience.

It’s certainly not a unique phenomenon in and of itself, I’m sure lifelong Grateful Dead fans can attribute to that. But the experiences are a tad different – and I think metal has a much more universal appeal.

And I’m not just pulling that out of my ass, metal is literally the beast that refuses to die. And somehow, magically, there are more metalheads now than there were last year.

Gratuitous discussion of how metal is superior to all other genres? Check.

Volume and Pitch

A dominant primate is, quite often, a loud primate (This can be exaggerated in certain primates, where loudness is often a form of evolutionary compensation). And I think you’d be hard pressed to find a style of music that is consistently louder than metal. The bands are loud, the fans are loud.

And not just loud, but loud with low tones. A deep voice is automatically perceived as more authoritative among humans, and there’s a good evolutionary explanation for that. Low voices are associated with large males who produce a lot of testosterone. It’s been argued that the lowed timbre voices of male primates (including humans) equate to a display of dominance. And it makes sense, big dudes usually have deep voices – and a deep voice can be intimidating.

If you want an example of how innate our association of deep voices and sounds with large, intimidating males is – think of the first time you saw the boxer Mike Tyson.

tyson

Now, think of the first time you heard his voice. The reason his appearance and his voice seem so incongruous is our evolutionary association of deep sounds with big, threatening creatures.

So, it’s not really that much of a surprise that Heavy Metal is loosely defined as a musical style that emphasizes instrumentation with deep, low frequency sounds (i.e. bass guitar, drums, rhythm guitar) played very loud.

Appearance as an Aggressive Display

It would be rather remiss of me not to mention stereotypical metalhead appearance as an act of aggressive display.

It’s also worth noting that to someone within metal culture, this style of dress and posturing is not threatening at all, quite the opposite – it’s appealing.

But to someone outside of the metal sphere, generally the consensus is that metalheads look intimidating. And I don’t think that’s by accident, but I don’t think it’s entirely a conscious act. Like, I don’t think a group of guys got together and said, “hey, let’s look as threatening as possible.”

All aggressive displays look threatening (that’s what makes them aggressive). It’s interesting to note that, contrary to common sense, the point of looking threatening in nature is to avoid conflict.

In other words, I think the “metalhead uniform” a manifestation of visually threatening/intimidating displays that can be directly traced to primate behavior.  Camouflage, denim and leather, spikes and studs, boots and blue collar t-shirts all have one thing in common – they’re all worn by predominantly male social groups, that all look (in some way or another) masculine, and can appear threatening.

Chances are, all that clothing was introduced to metal culture by the crossover in membership – and if enough heads thought it looked cool they picked it up as a new norm.

Note: Not all displays within metal are aggressive. Perfect example, watch any metalhead youtube channel and you’ll notice they have their entire music collection situated behind them. This isn’t an accident, this is an intentional display of subcultural capital in the form of a music collection meant to impart a sense of expertise to the viewers.

Controlling Space and Attention

When a gorilla moves to an elevated area and beats his chest, he’s not just doing it to make himself feel good. He wants everyone in the vicinity to watch him. This isn’t a random occurrence – one of the resources that an alpha primate controls is the attention of his peers. In a pack setting, this is a big deal. It’s a form of social control.

Humans aren’t that different – why do you think public speakers will stand on a stage or an elevated platform? Or artists prefer to perform on a stage? We’re hard wired to pay more attention to other primates who control the high ground for a reason.

And it’s not just the high ground that’s important – another resource prized by primates is space. My favorite manifestation of this concept is the lead singer who, once the band is on stage, uses the all of the space available to him for the entire show. The more space he uses and controls, the bigger the display of dominance. Likewise, the easier it is to maintain the attention of a large crowd.

Even the act of throwing objects into the crowd (water bottles, picks, band shirts, etc) is a display of expanding territory – and fans who pick these items up are openly submitting to the display of dominance..

1b) Music Soothes the Savage Beast

“Interestingly, bonobo percussionists prefer a tempo of 280 beats per minute, the syllabic rate at which most humans speak.”
― Dr Susan Block

I would like to  point out an article (originally published in The Daily Telegraph, a British Newspaper internationally renown for it’s quality) I found regarding a little science project.

Long story short, they were testing to see what kind of music (if any) a specific species of monkey preferred over any other. The results showed that the Cottontop Tamarins only responded positively to two things…

  1. Recordings of other Cottontop Tamarins
  2. The Metallica song “Of Wolf and Man”

Awesome. Fucking awesome.

Anyways, I feel like it was worth mentioning that on both an individual and a group level certain types of music have a calming effect that can be traced back to the same types of calls that later evolved into speech.

Strange that metal music could have roughly the same psychological effect as a lullaby, but humans are pretty strange creatures.

Section 2 – Primate Behaviors Among Metalheads on a Group Level

I’d like to start by saying a lot of this stuff will be a tad more obvious to the casual reader than the items in the previous section. Some, however, might surprise you.

2a) Dominance and Aggression

I know, I know, this was covered in the last section. But dominance, while it may be expressed individually, is inherently a group phenomenon. One of the most obvious displays of dominance can be seen in the crowd at pretty much any metal show.

Nowadays most mosh pits are a sad parody of what they used to be. But the idea of a display of aggressive dominance is still there, no matter how pathetic it gets.

“Wow, that hardcore dancing is super-fucking cool.”

-No one, ever

2b) Group-Think and Belonging

Almost all primates are pack animals, and being a pack animal is a package deal. Part of that package is group-think, or the ability to function with other members of the same species as a cohesive unit.

The intrinsic motivation behind group behavior is a need for a sense of belongingness  (apparently that’s an actual word). Human beings, by nature, have an internal need to feel like a part of something bigger then themselves. It might manifest itself in different ways (family unit, church group, football team, metalhead), but at the end of the day it all boils down to this inner drive to belong to a group.

This is the same motivation behind all pack behavior. Gorillas have it, chimps have it, dogs have it, cows have it. You get the idea.

One of the ways group think manifests itself (in humans) is the establishment of social norms (I’ll expand on this in the next section). When confronted with an unfamiliar situation, humans look to and follow unspoken social ques of their peers to continue to feel like they fit in.

An obvious example of this would be “the metalhead uniform” – besides being a passive display of aggression to those outside the group, it functions as a badge of solidarity within the group.

And it works – being surrounded by other metalheads, all in black band shirts (at a concert or otherwise) feels good. You’re surrounded by other members of the group, and you’re all visibly displaying membership. It’s no longer a matter of, “I’m doing this and you’re doing this” – it’s become a matter of, “we’re doing this.”

This is why, when a person is attending their first metal concert and asks you what they should wear – you should never tell them, “Whatever you want, metal has no rules.”

That friend isn’t asking you what they’re required to wear. Obviously, they can wear whatever the fuck they want. They’re asking if there are any social norms they can/should follow to feel like part of the group (and not stand out). You know, so they can experience that sense of belonging and – in turn – have a better overall experience.

2c) Transmission of Culture

When most people hear the word culture, they think of fancy learned human behaviors transmitted socially, both generationally and through multiple generations. But that’s the thing – all culture really boils down to is learned behaviors passed on to others. There’s actually a saying that covers this phenomenon – monkey see, monkey do. And while it’s always used to describe primate behavior, it’s rarely used to describe apes in the wild.

human see human do

Since the 1950’s the concept of culture in the animal kingdom has been a topic of research, and it’s been found that culture is not limited to humans. Quite the opposite – patterns of learned behavior transmitted between individuals within social groups is actually common in the animal kingdom, especially among primates.

“Being abroad makes you conscious of the whole imitative side of human behavior. The ape in man.”
-Mary McCarthy

So, what sorts of cultural behaviors do metalheads transmit?

Headbanging

One of the most universally recognized behaviors associated with metalheads is headbanging.dimebag

From an evolutionary perspective, it makes zero sense. Zero. There is literally nothing beneficial that can happen to you if you headbang.

Quite the opposite, neck and back pain and injury are common (there’s even a colloquial term for the neck pain that follows a day of headbanging – a “bangover”). Over the long term – spinal degeneration is almost a certainty. I know plenty of old dogs who have neck and back problems due to this – some that required surgery. And in extreme cases, brain damage can occur. But for some reason, the practice continues.

Not that I’m complaining – I’m just pointing out that this particular behavior seems to defy nature AND common sense.

Conformity through Non-Conformity

Oooh, the 500 pound gorilla in the room. This one goes out to all the people who say that metal has no rules (it does). When you’ve got a large group of people who practice and encourage non-conformity, guess what happens.

You, by definition, have conformed to non-conformity.

People who say metal has no rules seem to be missing the point – one of the rules of metal is that you don’t have to pay attention to all the rules. That’s why you can do whatever you want and still feel like part of the group. So even if you only follow that one stipulation – you’re still following the rules.

Just because metal celebrates a lack of conformity with mainstream ideals/etc doesn’t mean there are no rules. That’s fucking retarded – all social animals have rules.

Metalheads are humans, humans are social animals, therefore metalheads have rules. That’s what makes them social – when you’re in a group it restricts the number of acceptable individual behaviors.

mind blown

Metalhead Uniform as Social Norm

personal rant: I can’t tell you exactly who will say metal has no rules, but I can tell you what they look like.

Specifically, they’re a Caucasian male between the ages of 16 and 50, wearing a black band t-shirt (of a band they listen to, obviously). They’re wearing khaki shorts/ camouflage pants/jeans and probably boots.

metalheads for real

There’s a really good chance they’ve got multiple tattoos and/or piercings, and I’d be willing to wager they have either long hair or a beard (if not both). There’s also about a 25% chance they’re wearing (or own) a patch covered vest.

metalheads for real a

Bonus points if they’re rocking a mjolnir necklace, razor blade pendant, chains, dog tags, satanic jewelry, or some less than subtle combination of these things.

You know how I know this? Because the people who scream “metal has no rules” the loudest are the people who follow the social conventions of the culture the most strictly.

I don’t think they do it to be purposefully misleading, they honestly believe what they’re saying. The cognitive dissonance is real (bowing to social pressure and following group norms is something that’s been observed in chimpanzees, and humans are certainly not above it). Simply put, humans are wired to make and follow rules of behavior. What rules you choose to follow, however, is certainly up to you.

Exclusive Handshakes and Gestures

Believe it or not, individual groups of chimpanzees have their own versions of secret handshakes. Not all of them have it, but the ones that do have a very interesting shared characteristic – it differs between different groups (therefore a learned behavior) and seems to hold significance in the group.

What kind of significance, you ask?

Good fucking question. These secret handshakes actually signify and affirm membership in the corresponding group.

And while it’s not exactly a handshake, a learned hand gesture that signifies membership/participation in a group is nothing new to metalheads.

Throwing the horns is a logical progression of the original behavior – directly observable in primates in the wild.

Crazy, right? There’s a little conjecture there, but I really don’t think it’s a big leap.

“Hating on” the Younger Generation

I read somewhere that chimpanzees withdraw and stop making social connections with the younger generation after a certain point. This includes not learning new “social norms”, etc.

Yeah, male apes turn into grumpy old men. Kind of like how older metalheads (myself included) complain about modern metal and metalheads.

It’s perfectly natural social behavior when you put it into context. In fact, I’d be more worried if old metalheads didn’t complain.

Conclusion

We’re all just fucking apes. I’m an ape, you’re an ape, your mom’s a fucking ape. So technically all human behavior is primate behavior – and that includes the entire metal scene.

Afterward

I thought it’d be cool to look at some of our behaviors that have been around since before shit like fire, microwaves, and pizza delivery existed.

There’s no way on earth I covered everything, but I like to think I offered up a good chunk of thinking material for you guys.

I haven’t posted anything in a while, so I figured an article with a little more substance to it was in order.

Thanks for reading, keep it brutal.

-Grulog

 

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