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Metal Stuff Interviews Italian Death Metal Outfit LECTERN

“Death metal must be a shockwave,with its aftermaths as lyrical subliminality like a shellshock! No compromise, no mercy!”
-Fabio Bava

 

First and foremost, the staff at Metal Stuff are all fans of the extreme sub-genres of metal. In particular, Old School Death Metal.

Usually we have to seek it out (through the net, mutual friends, record labels, etc), so when the guys in Lectern got ahold of us and wanted to do an interview – saying we were thrilled might be a bit of an understatement.

These guys fucking rip.

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You can check out/grab a copy of the album here. Last I checked physical copies were sold out, but you can always snag a digital download for about 6 bucks.

I have nothing but good to say about the music these guys put out – so instead of an album review I’m going to say check out their bandcamp and decide for yourself.

‘Precept of Delator’
LECTERN
Via Nocturna

Metal Stuff: I have to say, I don’t hear about many metal bands from Italy. How is the metal scene there? And how difficult is it for an Italian death metal band to get a following compared to other places in Europe or the United States? Are there a lot of opportunities to play live shows at home, or do you have to travel?

Fabio: “We had and we have great bands here right now, if compared to thirty years ago. Italian outfits are well known if we speak about Lacuna Coil, Death Ss, Labyrinth and others. The scene is full in every genre, from hard rock to grind as we have also, quite good venues for the shows, but most of the bands prefer to throw shit one to the others. It is a very stupid attitude I think, as for the public, they prefer big names to the underground concerts. Mentality follows how the people is, and it is reflected also in the way musicians play and behave. Do you think is it allowable, that famous musicians struggle each other, through stupid comments on the web? If I would be the owner of a record company, I should fire them all in one instant! Music is not a fucking blog, I think! Am I wrong about that?”.

Marco: “I guess, as for every place you live, it gets easier to play time after time. It depends of course by your popularity. Italy has a great problem about metal music, not very much interesting by the public, especially for emerging bands. So it gets even harder. That’s why we prefer to play outside (of Italy)”.

MS: You guys have been around since 1999 now, and it looks like you’ve gone through a few lineup changes. How have your new members influenced your sound on the new album?

Fabio: “I am the main influence, leading the band into Florida old school death metal. We formed with the only aim, of playing that kind of music, with a brutal but not technical approach. Who comes and went off the band, before joining Lectern already knew the musical direction at first. I hate misunderstandings, you know! Lectern death metal must be a shockwave,with its aftermaths as lyrical subliminality like a shellshock! No compromise, no mercy!”.

MS: I really like the fact that you guys stick with an old school death metal sound on Precept of Delator. How would you say the new album compares to your previous work?

Fabio: “We have not to look backwards, to the previous records and songs we wrote. It is not a sort of challenge! It’s death metal, you cannot always label if old school or classic, it’s fucking death metal! Almost all bands, play in the same fucking way, brutal, splatter and slam, there are no recognizing sides, all is the same! Why? Old school is the only way, as I said before! The intent with the new album, was to surpass whatever we ever recorded
in the years. I thought that we needed the best and raw sound, first of all for the guitars. We returned detuning them down of four tones, got the right cabinet and the best studio to record! Essentially, the songs are more brutal, with grunts  and the right harsh attitude. It’s not easy to reach that point, and for the next works expect certainly more and better!”.

Marco: “This new album is for me, more calculated. Not rushed as the first. With this one, we wanted to focus much on the atmosphere than the technique, while in the first one we were a little show-off. I personally took care of the sound effects, introductions and middle sections”.

the-band

MS: I see you guys have played with some pretty big names (Angra, Sepultura, Incantation) is there any chance you will tour the United States in the future?

Fabio: “I hope so! We spoke about that many times, but we never found the real occasion to come along yet. You know, it’s very far from home, as we have to manage everything in all the aspects. Flights, stayings, coach, instrumentation and  amplification, wages, costs, venues, opening bands, merchandise, promotion and whatever. Playing in the United States will be the final leap into a sort of celebrity, and everything needs to be filled in all its forms. It is not just playing into another continent and Europe is different from North America! Yes, we hope to come one day, finally!”.

Marco: “If they call, we answer for sure, just keep that fake pizza away from me or I could kill someone! Anyway, it would be the perfect place for our music, the country where all began”.

MS: I hear a lot of old school death metal influence in your sound, what bands are you guys influenced by?

Fabio: “Sinister, Pestilence, Asphyx and Gorefest of the very beginnings, for the European side. Early bands of 1990’s Florida scene like Morbid Angel, Deicide and Monstrosity above all. Also the New York area is great with Immolation and Suffocation too, also from the American hinterland like Disincarnate, Incantation and Morta Skuld but without the necessity of being so  slow and doomish! I also appreciate some slam and gore bands, their ruthless approach is basic! I often listen to very old  bands like Cancer, Infernal Torment, Baphomet or Lemming Project. They were great combos with undeveloped ideas!
Not for their faults, but the reason was simply that labels begun not to be more so interested to death metal from the first half of the Nineties, from 1996 and on. I remember that Morgoth just the first name that comes into my mind, was another band in such period! If it is not death metal it is just fuck you!”.

Marco: “My drumming is based for the most on power metal of the 1990 and 2000, I got into death metal relatively later. Gamma Ray, Helloween and Rhapsody Of Fire for sure are bands I follow with attention, then some great inspirational drummers arrived later like Jordison, Mancino, Lombardo, Laureano and Kollias”.

MS:  What are your favorite songs on the new album and why?

Fabio: “As for myself, Palpation Of Sacramentarian kicks some Christian asses making me shitting in my pants alone, as for the first riff! Impressive, talented and fucking nasty as Satan!”.

Marco: “Fluent Bilocation is for me one of the most pleasant to be played, but I’m addicted to the final one, Discorporation With Feral. It gets a Slayer vibe that gets me every time!”.

MS: Is there anything else you want to tell us about the new album?

Fabio:
“It is a great record, buy it! Hush!”.

Lectern is:
Fabio Bava: vocals, bass
Pietro Sabato: guitar
Gabriele Cruz: guitar
Marco Valentine: drums

Contact Info:
www.lectern.in
www.facebook.com/lectern666
www.reverbnation.com/lectern
www.myspace.com/lecternband
www.metal-archives.com/bands/lectern
www.twitter.com/lectern666
www.instagram.com/lectern666
lectern@mail.com

Discography:
Bisbetical (1999)
Salvific Of Perhaps Lambent (2010)
Lectern (2013)
Fratricidal Concelebration (2015)
Precept Of Delator (2016)

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Should Someone Tell Lady Gaga Her “Metallica” Tattoo is Really a Death Angel Tattoo?

In the interest of full disclosure – I like Lady Gaga.

Not her music, that’s shit.

But she seems like a cool person. I’ve mentioned in other articles how cool it is that she’s a legit metal fan (Maiden and Metallica, at very least). That’s why I’m hoping an appropriate amount of time has passed to let her know that her Metallica tattoo isn’t really a Metallica tattoo.

It’s a fucking Death Angel tattoo.

From the album they released the same fucking year as Metallica’s new album (The Evil Divide).

Probably an innocent mistake. After all, Lady Gaga was performing “Moth into the Flames” with Metallica – so she presumably wanted to get a tattoo to commemorate the occasion. A moth is a natural selection to make – and she made it more “metal” by adding a skull.

Solid “E” for effort.

What I can’t believe is that nobody – fucking NOBODY – saw this and was like, “Hey, Lady Gaga, that’s a really cool tattoo idea. But that’s the symbol on Death Angel’s new album.”

Que Gratuitous Fantasy Montage

I like to picture it going down something like this. The tattoo artist was a disgruntled thrash-head from back in the day. He had a strong preference for Death Angel’s new album over Metallica’s. And when Lady Gaga went in to describe the tattoo she wanted, he had an epiphone.

haha
“She’ll thank me in the long run, ‘The Evil Divide’ was much better than Hardwired”

“I’m going to troll the fuck out of Metallica at the Grammy’s” the anonymous tattoo artist thought to himself. At one point he even whispered, “I’ve got your fucking Black album right here, Sell-outtica”

Lady Gaga (hypothetically) responded with a, “What? I couldn’t quite hear you.”

He responds, “Nothing”, and diligently goes back to work. The hilarity of Lady Gaga showing off a Death Angel tattoo to honor Metallica  gets him through the 4-7 hours of tattooing – in fact, he debated not charging her.

After all, virtue is it’s own reward.

Later that day, I like to picture said tattoo artist meeting up with his buddy for a few brews. The topic of conversation – how horrible every Metallica album after “Justice” was (the same conversation they’ve been having for roughly 30 years).

After said tattoo artist relays his work of creative genius to his friend, the response was appreciative but inquisitive. “Do you really think anyone watching will get the reference? I mean, it’s pure fucking genius. But unless they’re thrash fans, they might not get it. You have to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Like, a lot more people would understand if they played a Metallica song while Megadeth walked up to accept an award. Lowbrow – lowest common denominator stuff”

Reflectively, the tattoo artist responded, “I guess you’re right. But honestly, I don’t even think people would get the Megadeth/Metallica reference. That’s still a bit obscure for this audience. You’d have to have something really low-brow, like the announcer forgetting to even fucking mention Metallica. And even that slight might be overlooked unless something more urgent followed – for fuck’s sake they’d have to leave Hetfield’s mic off for like 1/3 to 1/2 the song.”

His friend responded, “That’s fucking brilliant. I bet that’s all they’d report on Metal Sucks and Metal Injection, they’d milk that fucking cow for like 3 days.”

Unbeknownst to them, a few select members of the Grammy planning committee were (presumably) listening in at a nearby table. They realize that this is the perfect way to keep people talking about the event for days.

Quick Aside

I like to picture them drinking something with an umbrella in it.

umbrella-drink-199x300

But I digress

Back to the Fantasy Montage

So, the night of the Grammy’s, the plan comes to fruition. Everything goes according to plan.

Meanwhile, the real hero of the night is overlooked.

3231-lady-gaga-displays-lots-of-skin-at-grammys

Back to Reality

We here at Metal Stuff salute you, (hypothetical) brave soul who offered up the real middle finger to Metallica for playing the very awards show that snubbed them in favor of fucking Jethro Tull for the very first metal award ever.

A Side Note to Lady Gaga

This is why we don’t get spontaneous tattoos. On the bright side, if you’re trying to get credibility in metal culture – a Death Angel tattoo goes a lot further than a Metallica tattoo nowadays.

 

Are Millennials to Blame for the rise of Organized Racism in Metal?

Introduction

As anyone familiar with the Metal scene knows, taboo/transgressive subject matter is a pretty routine topic in metal music. As a matter of fact, it’s par for course. These subjects, due to their transgressive nature, are inherently serious in nature and cause heated discussion. This includes, but is not limited to, discussions of race and racism.

It is also (almost) universally accepted that Metal is a culture of outsiders.

zombie

Now, you’ve got a collection of social outsiders (a fringe group) who routinely discuss taboo subject matter. By definition, racist groups and ideologies are fringe/outcast groups (at least in the United States) who routinely discuss taboo subject matter. They’re social outsiders, metal is outsider music. Therefore, it is logical to assume that certain parts of the metal community are racist – and by tolerating them metal culture as a whole is racist.

Due to historical fan demographics, there is a significant population overlap between white supremacists and metalheads (I’ve touched on the subject of heavy metal fringe groups in other posts). Both are cultures that are (historically) dominated by Caucasian working-class males.

But I believe this is, combined with the outsider status of the culture and penchant for transgressive subject matter (including “playful racism”, discussed below), is why a lot of people go on to make the assumption that Heavy Metal culture fosters racism, and in extreme cases it has been argued that metal culture is inherently racist.

However, there are large differences between the groups in relation to who is allowed to participate. For example, you don’t have to be a Caucasian or male to participate in the metal scene – and the diversification of the audience over the past few decades is a testament to this. In white power circles, however, members are Caucasian by definition.

Historic Treatment of Racist Fringe Groups (and Playful Racism) in Metal Culture

Historically, the metal community has policed itself against the normalization of racist groups within the community. The bands, the fans, the venues, and the metal media have all played a vital role in making sure that while racist groups are marginally acknowledged on the fringes (which, arguably, is better than full exclusion or inclusion) while not being tolerated or accepted into the main “body” of the culture.

However, there’s also always been a strain of what has been referred to by scholars as “playful racism” within the scene. It’s an odd concept, I know. People saying racist things for the pure purpose of reveling in the taboo nature of what is being said.

Example of “Playful Racism” in an excerpt of an episode of Metalocalypse:

By itself, it seems like it’s just racism covered with a thin veil to make it socially palatable by giving an aspect of deniability (in other words, you always have the outlet of saying “I was just joking”, or “I didn’t mean it seriously”).

However, taken in the context of the culture as a whole – it’s not just racism that’s thrown around casually. Pretty much any subject that’s “taboo” or “off limits” is fair game. Viewed in this context, faux racist jokes aren’t told because people think racism is good or funny – they’re told in the same context as a “dead baby” joke.

Example:
Q: How do you make a dead baby float?
A: 1 scoop ice cream, 2 scoops dead baby, and root beer.

Tasteless? Sure.

Hilarious? Yes.

Not because dead babies are funny, but because they’re not funny.

There are some flaws with this cultural mechanism, and I have no problem pointing that out. The argument can be made that it normalizes racism – which is a valid argument (until you put it in context). Because if it’s normalizing racism, it’s also normalizing dead babies.

Where Millennials Come Into the Equation

There seems to be this ongoing myth that the millennial generation is more tolerant when it comes to issues of race. And if you believe the SJW hype, they are. However, if you believe raw data and polls – millennials views on race (with the exception of interracial marriage) are almost exactly the same as their parent’s views, and the title of the first and most progressive/tolerant belongs to the gen-Xers.

Not only that, millennials have been incorrectly labeled as “post racial”, when it’s much more accurate to call them racially apathetic. The data behind such claims is based on polls that show the millennial generation (as a whole) is 93% ok with interracial marriages (as opposed to 92% of generation x – such progress!).

But when it comes to issues of institutional racism, their opinions tend to split based on what racial group they belong to. Fun fact, millennials are also slightly more likely to believe that Caucasians are genetically pre-disposed to be smarter than Africans (than the previous generation).

All in all, these things (while they aren’t good) shouldn’t be surprising. Generational racism is, well, generational – it’s nothing new. But when you combine the fact that millennials have been raised on a jargon of “colorblindness” without the ability to recognize or deal with racism in its various incarnations you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

We have an entire generation of people who believe that all people are created equal, and therefore every person has an equal opportunity to succeed. Concerns over the “reverse racism” of anti-discrimination laws has become a “thing”.

Couple that with “outrage journalism” (favored by people in all sorts of hipster media, I’m looking at you metalsucks), and suddenly anyone who is slightly outside of the virtue signaling culture is marginalized as a racist sympathizing conservative fascist outsider. Even if they have a predominantly liberal sociopolitical outlook, they’re labeled as an enemy of mainstream virtues and (by association) mainstream culture.

original

Pushing away people who might question mainstream virtues and motivations creates an ever-expanding fringe group. And populist conservative movements have a habit of evolving and adopting bits and pieces of social liberalism to appeal to white youth.

A borderline fascist movement that cloaks itself in easy-going permissiveness can make itself seem almost reasonable (arguably, this is something we saw at play during the 2016 American elections). And these sorts of movements are mirrored all across Europe.

So What Does All This Political Bullshit Have to do With Metal Culture?

I say this in pretty much every single cultural piece I write – Metal Culture does not exist in a vacuum. Every single political nuance on earth has the potential to effect it in a myriad number of ways. When you’re talking about population demographics, for example, this sort of thing becomes important.

Why? Because metal culture constantly replenishes itself with every successive generation of youth. With this particular generation you’ve got a group of people who:

  • were taught a failed lesson in colorblindness that has had some rather negative societal repercussions
  • exhibit a remarkable apathy towards racial issues
  • are slightly more racist than the previous generation
  • don’t know how to deal with real instances of racism (because they were taught to ignore it)
  • marginalize people who should be political allies based on trivial political differences
  • consider themselves more “racially tolerant” than previous generations (the opposite is true), which makes them statistically more likely to engage in or sympathize with racist behaviors

A Quick Recap 

So we’ve discussed the relationship between marginalized people/groups and metal and population demographic overlap between heavy metal and white supremacist cultures. We then (briefly) discussed the relationship between these two groups in the past (specifically in the area where they overlap), followed by a discussion of the newest generation to be recruited into these social spheres (and how their attitudes towards race relations differ from prior generations.

Now it’s time to connect the dots.

What This all Means

The new blood in both cultures is a group of people who have grown up in the digital age, with unprecedented access to information. I believe this, in part, is behind the rise in “gotcha journalism” – exaggerating news events, scandal mongering, and sensationalism.

And this isn’t without precedent – in the United States this style of news was referred to as “yellow journalism“, and rose in the 1890’s as a result of the printing press bringing (then) unprecedented access to information.

cropped-yellow-journalism

This pertains to the metal scene because most major digital metal news publications practice some form of yellow journalism. And they don’t exist in a vacuum – most (American) millennial news outlets do the same thing – so the guys at Metal Injection and Metal Sucks (among others) are just keeping up with the times.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been known to use some inflammatory headlines from time to time (hey, it does work) – the difference being that I generally try to avoid sensationalism for the sake of sensationalism.

Now, this (sensationalism/scandal/etc in news) in and of itself is not a bad thing. But nothing exists in a vacuum, and actions have consequences. If you continually write scandalous articles about racism in metal, create scandals about racism in metal, and exaggerate the scope and effects of racism in metal – then eventually your audience becomes desensitized to the subject. In other words, you’re putting racism on the path to normalization.

I honestly believe, in my heart of hearts, that most people believe they’re doing the right thing by constantly casting the spotlight on what they perceive as racism in metal. Granted, the motivation doesn’t come from a place of altruistic contribution to the metal scene – they’re virtue signaling and taking advantage of an easy “gotcha” story to further their own careers and agendas (accruing sub-cultural capital and the like).

But I do believe they feel like they can further their careers and social justice at the same time without some sort of social cost. But the thing about putting things under a spotlight is that they tend to cast a shadow – and in this (metaphorical) instance the shadow of sensationalist stories gives safe refuge to the really dangerous shit.

Example:

Phil Anselmo’s “White Power” incident.

anselmowhitepower

On the surface, it makes sense that major metal news sites would cover something like this. What he did was bad, and Nazi salutes are generally used as a universal gesture for white supremacist groups.

The problem here is figuring out if this action was inherently racist. Racism is prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

Was Phil Anselmo directing the Nazi salute at audience members because of their race? I would argue he wasn’t (this is an argument of fact, not opinion). But don’t take my word for it, watch the video that sites like Metal Injection and Metal Stuff weren’t showing you…

If you watch closely, he’s not reacting to people in the audience due to their race. He’s reacting because they’re constantly heckling him and calling him racist. So what does he do? He says the most offensive thing possible.

Was it right? No. Is it a defendable action? Absolutely not. Was it racist? Nope. Racially insensitive? Yup. Totally. But that was the point. I don’t agree with what he did, but I know why he did it.

Enter Robb Flynn, who was freshly annoyed by Phil Anselmo saying he hated the “ni**er” era of Machine Head. Robb misdirects this statement by saying Phil meant he hated their album “The Burning Red”. I would argue he (probably) meant the album “The Blackening”, which included a song with these lyrics

“I’m a redneck and a faggot
The asshole in the rubbers
A wetback and a nigga”

This video starts with a full redirection (Robb spun statements to make himself look like a victim taking a stand), and it makes him look like the good guy. Such a good guy, in fact, that he made Metal Suck’s 25 Most Important People in Metal list.

Direct quote, “I don’t get how this shit is tolerated. I don’t get how this shit is even blown off as acceptable. Brushed off as acceptable.”

robb-flynn-racist

Note from Yours Truly: “I don’t know Robb, you tell me – you’re the one posing in a photo of people throwing up the sig heil. In fact, it almost looks like you’re tolerating it and blowing it off as acceptable. You fuckhead.”

Hey, I’m just one guy and that’s just my opinion.

Just remember, this is the guy who made that video. This is the guy “taking a stand against racism”, in the right-hand corner of this photograph. This is Metalsucks’ 24th most important man in metal.

This isn’t to say that Flynn’s overall message of the tolerance of casual/playful racism in the metal community is wrong. I actually agree with that. The message is fine.

But you need to take a step back and look at the motivation behind it (just like with Phil Anselmo). I think to an extent he (Flynn) doesn’t care for racism, especially in the metal scene. Robb has a history of allowing for racism in his social circles without doing anything about it (see the photo above, and the song lyrics) – but when he has a chance to publicly throw a high-profile character (Anselmo) under the bus for fame and profit he does so shamelessly.

Robb Flynn tolerating racism until he can profit from it isn’t an opinion, it’s a fucking fact. Yes, you read that right, profit.

He wrote a single, then re-wrote it to include stuff about Phil Anselmo. And then had the guys on Metal Injection, Metal Sucks, and every goddamn mainstream metal news website link to places where they can purchase the single.

It taints the message, and kind of makes you wonder who’s the real bad guy here – the guy who said something while drunk (to purposely offend hecklers who had no right to be giving him shit at a memorial gig for Dimebag Darrell), or the guy who is conveniently now a Social Justice Warrior and takes up a mantle of social acceptability (with profit and fame as the ulterior motive)?

Social Justice Warriors love black and white, tar-baby style arguments. By virtue signaling, the second you disagree with them you’re instantly labeled as a bad person and anti-whatever it is they’re standing for. If you question Robb Flynn’s integrity on this issue, you get sucked into the tar-baby argument that you are somehow pro-racist the second you disagree with someone who speaks against racism.

Utter bullshit.

So, Why is This SJW Faux Racist Bashing a Bad Thing?

So, while Metal Sucks is writing about racism – this is what ends up happening

I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with people being fans of Mayhem or Burzum – but I do think it’s kind of strange that the same millennial/hipster groups that celebrate bands that promoted hatred for minority groups (be it racism, discriminating based on religion, homophobia, etc) for transgressive purposes are the first to hate on a guy who appropriated a symbol of hatred for minority groups for a one-off transgressive purpose.

Yes, I’m calling bullshit/hypocrisy here. I calls ’em like I sees ’em.

And while all this is unfolding, and metal artists and metal media are soaking up attention and profiting off of playing the racist card – there are real, legitimate, scary style fucking racist metal groups out there.

Including the new face of the National Socialist Movement: Neo Nazi Hipsters (Nipsters)

They’ve been brewing under the surface for decades, evolving their recruiting tactics and their messages to make their messages more appealing to the general public, who are becoming more and more marginalized by a stagnating liberal culture.

For example – environmentalism. Once a staple of the liberal diet, more and more of these conservative white supremacy groups are adopting a pro-planet stance.

This means that, in terms of environmentalism, I now have more in common with some white supremacist groups than I do with (for example) the mainstream American Democratic party. It also means that liberal metal sites like Metal Sucks have something in common with white supremacist groups, so there’s that.

Long story short – I think the rise of the really bad racist groups in the metal scene is a reflection of their rise all over the world.

Back to the Premise of the Article

So, to answer the question as to whether millennials are responsible for the rise of hate groups in the metal scene… the answer is “sort of”. A lot of the metal styles that are popular with the younger crowds – hardcore and black metal – have also been co-opted by white supremacist groups in the forms of “Hatecore” and “National Socialist Black Metal” (respectively).

I think it’s a myriad web of correlation and causality. The combination of apathy to racial issues and the trendiness of being a social justice warrior (in the current generation) is a causal element – white supremacist continually evolve to offer what they like to refer to as an alternative to the millennial/SJW elements in popular metal (and culture as a whole, this is how the “alt-right” gained a foothold in popular culture).

The styles they’re using, hardcore and black metal, as a vehicle for the supremacist message is more of a correlation thing – these two styles of heavy music just happen to be popular within both millennial and supremacist cultures.

Millennials are not responsible for what white supremacist groups do

But they (Millennials/Hipsters) are responsible for how they react within metal culture; and the inevitable backlash. That backlash/reaction can be seen as a direct cause of the rise of right wing, racist movements on metal culture (which mirror those in Western Culture in general).

When a metalhead professor released an article in Rolling Stone stating that there was a social justice warrior problem within the metal scene.  Metal Sucks and Metal Injection jumped all over the story. The professor was writing from personal experience (he was teargassed by a radical SJW at a GWAR show) about a recent, related event (macing at a Taake show, I believe).

Their reaction was to question the professor, and in so doing they were defending the radical fringe elements of social justice warrior culture. This implies that Social Justice Warrior Culture is beyond reproach. And by saying that all SJW’s are beyond reproach, they took a hard-line stance that, by the existence of the argument, says it’s ok to teargas or mace people at metal shows if someone is offended by what they say. I’ve written about the articles, and given my thoughts on the SJW ethos and it’s inherent hypocrisy.

 

Now, standing up for social justice in and of itself is a good thing. And Metalsucks in particular has been known to get that one right from time to time – like when they talk about censorship of metal across the globe. Or their evenhanded approach to the controversy surrounding Heri Joensen’s (Týr) participation in the Faroe Island’s traditional whale hunting.

However, when hipsters/millennials/SJW’s partake in crybaby, sensationalist yellow journalism that stands up for the tear gassing and macing of metal fans – they’re forcing any metalheads who disagree (for any reason) into the same corner as the white supremacists.

In other words, a big part of the reason people are sympathetic to these nationalist/supremacist groups is because the SJW’s have been painting themselves into a corner.

If metalheads are responsible for homophobia, racism, and the like within the culture – then millennials/hipsters need to own their shit and accept responsibility for the cancerous elements of their own sub-culture.

I think there’s an applicable analogy about people living in glass houses (or something to that effect).

No, Metalheads Aren’t All Supposed to Get Along

Introduction:

The Heavy Metal sub-culture is a patchwork tapestry of inter-related scenes and subcultures known as a bricolage culture. Viewed as a whole, it can be generalized that it’s dualistic in nature.

I’ve written articles detailing the inherent divide in heavy metal, as well as the current incarnation of that divide. Building on this body of work, the purpose of this article is to discuss the nature of the relationship between the mainstream and underground factions of the culture with the express intent of shedding some clarity on the nature of Heavy Metal Culture as a whole. Specifically, the nature of discourse between members of the culture in relation to the music.

Metal Culture is Inherently Populist

Due to societal reactions to metal since it’s inception, heavy metal culture at it’s core is inherently populist in nature.

What I mean by this is that heavy metal is a musical style that caters to the needs and desires of the fanbase – the consumers tell the artists what they want. This is exactly opposite to the business model of musical culture in general – where major labels and musical oriented media (from now on I will refer to it as the Pop Machine) tell people what to like.

Now, the standard musical model of “taste-makers” telling consumers what is good/popular has it’s benefits – mainly that musical boundaries are clear and concise. There is little to no room for discourse, because musical definitions and standards are pre-defined for the consumer. The consumer is free to take it or leave it, and discussion is set within certain parameters. However, the entire setup is contrary to what a lot of people understand art to be – a manifestation of individualistic expression that exists for personal interpretation.

One of the things that the pop machine has been pretty consistent about is it’s rejection of metal music. Since rock critics first started writing about Black Sabbath in the early 70’s, metal has been institutionally ignored, discarded, set to the side, and left to it’s own devices. Normally, this would mean the death of a musical movement – as a lack of radio play and media coverage by the pop machine is meant to squash out artistic movements that do not conform to the pop machine standard.

The Reactionary/Oppositional Component

A lot of the modern day prejudices against metal bands and fans are a direct result of the pop machine. The very survival of the musical style required a following that, in time, would become a culture. Critics touting the music as a low-brow art form that caters to the lowest common denominator since the 70’s literally set the tone for a key aspect of metal culture – it’s inherently oppositional nature.

This nature served it well in the decades that followed. In the 80’s metal become the moral panic of the day – it was used to scapegoat aspects of the culture that then (then) conservative majority disliked. This peaked in the now infamous PMRC campaign that led to a (partially successful) congressional hearing in the United States relating to the censorship of ALL music.

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Conservatives opposed heavy metal culture due to it’s inherent opposition to authority, and Liberals opposed it due to the admitted hedonistic nature and low-brow appeal. The church opposed metal culture because, well, metal culture opposed the church in most cases. The music and it’s culture were under constant scrutiny and assault for the better part of a decade. This is not an environment that breeds “happy go lucky” or “inclusive” cultural traits. And the 90’s weren’t much better for metal. The police were trained to target metal fans as criminal lowlifes. The pop machine declared metal dead (wishful thinking?). When a few sick kids in Columbine got together and planned a horrible school shooting, heavy metal was the scapegoat. And so on, and so forth.

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A Quick Recap

So, we can see that for (at least) the better part of 30 years heavy metal culture continued to exist specifically because of it’s oppositional nature. And the nature of that culture is reflected in it’s membership. Metalheads, by and large, have a confrontational and aggressive component to their personalities. It’s not up for debate, it’s just a fact. This may seem contrary to scientific studies that state exactly the opposite (that metal fans are creative, easy going, introverts with high self esteem – closer to the profile of a classical music fan) – but it all makes sense in context, so please bear with me as I stumble through an explanation.

I think metalheads, in large part, are attracted to metal because it offers a healthy outlet for negative emotion (i.e. the aforementioned aggressive/confrontational proclivities). Without all those pent up, negative emotions an individual is better able to function – so the personality traits displayed in scientific studies are expressed.

So, while metalheads may be more well adjusted than your average person – they still retain an inherent combative/oppositional nature. The culture reinforces this, and the attitudes then reinforce the cultural position – it’s cyclical.

Back to the Present Day

Applying this to the present state of heavy metal gives a little context and clarity to the situation. As noted by Sam Dunn in one of his Banger segments (I believe it was the one discussing metal in popular fashion) – heavy metal has lost a lot of it’s “outsider” status. It’s not as culturally threatening as it was even a decade ago. As such, major opposition to heavy metal has virtually disappeared – but that confrontational nature still exists. The most common expression of this is through infighting.

Some people might scratch their heads at this, but it makes perfect sense. I’ve heard metal culture referred to as a “big family”, “friends you’ve never met”, and a bunch of similar pseudo-hippy garbage terms. A more accurate description would be that metalheads constitute a “neo-tribal culture” based around a common appreciation for an art form.

So, tribe/clan/family unit are all pretty much synonymous – but there’s an inherent flaw in the way that most people view these terms. The problem is that they’re using a romantically charged view of a family unit or tribe. We’re conditioned as individuals to view families as some lovey-dovey unit that never disagrees. The reality of the situation, whether you like to admit it or not, is muuuuuch different.

Reality v.s Expectation

So, however you want to frame it, the reality of the situation is that the “metalheads are a family” comparison is very accurate. Anyone who feigns surprise that metalheads are going to argue is only kidding themselves (and clinging to a romanticized false notion of a family). It’s as natural as tribal warfare, sibling rivalry, or family feuds (those colloquialisms weren’t just plucked out of thin air).

The thing is, there’s another side to this. Besides all the bickering and feuding – there’s an unwritten rule that applies to both family members and metalheads. I’ll give an example – I’m the only person allowed to talk shit about my family. If anyone else does it, they get the business end of my entire fucking family.

It’s very similar with metal – and this isn’t just theory. Remember the PMRC hearings? Death metal and Thrash weren’t the direct target of that scandal – it was (predominantly) hair metal. Was Dee Snider left to fend for himself? Fuck no he wasn’t – because the only people who can bash hair metal are metalheads.

The same principle stands true today – if there was a large entity attacking heavy metal (using a metalcore or deathcore band as a scapegoat), they would meet with a much larger resistance than originally anticipated – because that’s how the metal machine operates (note – blackgaze isn’t metal so, assuming they managed to offend anyone, I personally would totally throw them to the wolves).

Conclusion

The infighting within metal culture is a good thing, and it’s totally natural. Granted, some of the bigger sites (that started as independent but have since become part of the pop machine) might egg it on for money and website traffic – but they’re not pulling conflict out of nowhere. It’s a natural expression of metal culture, and an acceptable form of participation that (among other things) creates an environment where competition is encouraged.

Competition in the metal scene creates better music.

Last I checked, that’s called winning.

I guess the message here is that newcomers to the metal community need take a step back so they can see the forest for the trees. Because Metal Culture fucking rules, infighting and all.

Does Hating on “Metal Elitists” Make You a Hypocrite?

The global metal community is a strange thing. Seeing a global “bricolage” culture come together in a single shared subcultural space is, to say the least, interesting.

In my opinion, one of the most interesting aspects of the online metal community is watching the divide between two opposing factions (that exactly mirror the divide I laid out in a previous article entitled “The Two Faces of Metal“) – mainstream v.s. underground. Essentially, both sides have the same argument – it’s “us” versus a vague/undefined “them”.

Before the internet, it was “real” metal fans v.s. posers (Thrash v.s. Hair Metal, etc). The modern incarnation of the argument pits “elitists” versus a vaguely defined “the rest of us”.

 

The Fundamental Problem:

The main problem I have with this incarnation of the old “true metalhead” argument is that “metal elitist” is so loosely defined. Arguing about music is kind of ingrained into metal culture – and there’s nothing wrong with that. If everyone agreed and liked the same things, we wouldn’t have the incredible amount of diversity in the genre.

But nowadays “metal elitist” can be defined as anyone who disagrees with your personal opinion or taste in music. I would argue that’s a bad thing.

Example 1: Bring me the Horizon performed at an awards show, and made a point of stepping on the table of a rock band (Coldplay, I believe).

the-horizon-jump-on-coldplays-table

Totally fucking lame. But if I say something about how fucking stupid it was, I’m labeled an elitist.

Example 2: I made the mistake of telling someone that Lynyrd Skynyrd aren’t metal (which they aren’t). Instant butthurt shitstorm. “I hate metal elitists, how dare you tell me Skynyrd isn’t metal! Free Bird is my favorite metal song!” Puke.

Example 3: This one was a social experiment in one of the facebook groups I participate in. The rules of the group expressly forbid name calling or bashing of members. So I took the position that all “core” genres are not metal, as they all share a common ancestry in punk. I was civil, and simply stated that in song structure and culture deathcore and metalcore have more in common with punk than they do with metal. Instant shit-storm. I expected the immature name-calling and the elitist label, what I didn’t expect was that a moderator would follow the entire conversation, ignore the fact that I was getting trashed for engaging in civil discussion, and delete any of my comments he disliked as the conversation unfolded.

The guy never really figured out that I agreed with him the entire time, and that I was mildly trolling to prove a point. Even after I told him. Multiple times.

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Example 4: Criticizing “Hardcore Dancing” at metal shows makes you an instant metal elitist.

The list goes on. My point is that hating on metal elitists makes you a metal elitist. Literally, when you label someone as an elitist – you’re suddenly granted the ability to shit on a person who disagrees with you with zero social repercussion. And instead of participating in the culture by discussing a tangible, relevant aspect you’re participating in a PC pseudo witch-hunt.

Let’s take a second to illustrate the concept.

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Replace “metal elitist” with “deathcore”

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Suddenly it’s not socially acceptable. Strange.

The difference, essentially, is that in the first example the author is conjuring the “invisible boogieman” in an act we commonly call “virtue signaling”. He’s taking a popular stance in part of the metal community and posting it for social recognition. The social purpose of an act like this is pretty obvious – you’re garnering social support from your peers. He’s perfectly capable of hating on “metal elitists” without posting about it, he just wants people to see him as an elitist hater. Other examples of virtue signaling include phrases such as, “RIP Dimebag”, “Metal Will Never Die”, “Fuck the Mainstream”, etc.

The act itself is meant to garner what is referred to as “mundane sub-cultural capital”. In this case, that capital takes the form of credibility. The next time he makes a post about metal, people who also hate this shapeless entity known as a “metal elitist” are more likely to take him seriously.

“Oh, the Irony” or “The Rise of Faux Poser Bashing”

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that 90% of people who bash metal elitism got butthurt when someone insulted their taste in metal. Which is a totally legitimate gripe, that shit fucking sucks.

I’ll take that assumption one further – the insult to their metal taste was centered around what are commonly referred to as “gateway bands”. I’m not going to go into detail on the definition of “gateway metal bands” here, if you’re not sure what I’m referring to please read this.

At this point you might be asking yourself things like, “Could there be an entity (or group) that is adding “gateway elitism” to the gateway metal fanbase? Is said entity perpetuating this divide? Why would they do that? Who could benefit from splitting a community in two?”

I could tell you, but first I’d like to show you.

Metalsucks, Metal Hammer, Rock Feed, Loudwire, Metal Injection, Blabbermouth, Metal Insider – literally the entire “mainstream” for metal news on the internet has their hands in this. I know this seems counter intuitive at first glance – why would they try to divide a culture they supposedly represent?

The answer, of course, is money. Controversy sells. They get web traffic, sponsors pay them.

The irony is that they speak out of both sides of their mouths. Don’t believe me?

Exhibit 1: What would be considered an “elitist” stance/article
rosenburg-elitist

 

Exhibit 2: Same Author takes a stance against his own writing style.rosenburg-elitist2

The point (and the inherent irony) here is that most of the people who speak against “metal elitism” are, in fact, metal elitists. All they’re doing is adding training wheels to the “elitist train” to teach up-and-coming metalheads how to discriminate, while profiting off both sides.

In terms of a cultural pendulum – it’s safe to say we’ve seen a complete shift from “poser bashing” to “fuax poser bashing”.

You might be saying to yourself, “But Grulog – this doesn’t point to conspiracy. They’d have to be working in tandem for something like that.”

To which I would respond, “Add all of these sites on Facebook. Then wait for one of them to publish an article. Within 3 hours, all of the rest of these sites will publish the exact same fucking article, expressing the same opinion, with slightly different wording. Without fail. If that’s not working in tandem, I’m not sure what is.

initforthemoney

I’m not saying don’t read these sites – they have a lot of good news, and they’re pretty reliable. I, personally, subscribe to all of them. I’m saying don’t take their critiques of metal culture too seriously, because they only reflect a small slice of the pie. And they’re the first to admit they’re biased.

The Hipster Incursion

A lot of these writers are part of the “Hipster Media”, which branches out to less popular sites/blogs as well. If you’re having trouble pinpointing where the metalheads end and the hipsters begin, I have a handy list to show you what to look for.

Hipsters always make a point of “proving” they aren’t hipsters.
– Hipsters are obsessed with Blackgaze and eliminating metal elitists
– The first rule of Hipster club is that Hipster club doesn’t exist. (if you say otherwise you’re just an elitist)
They use the terms “Indie Metal” and “Indie Metal Fans” to describe themselves
– Oftentimes they can be found heavily criticizing an aspect of metal culture they know little to nothing about.

So…What Does All This Mean?

Essentially, what I’m saying with this piece is that by jumping on the “elitist hater” bandwagon all you’re doing is participating in mindless group think from people who want to pretend metalheads are hippies.

hippies

The problem is, we’re not hippies. Hippy culture lacked what is commonly referred to as “defense against entryism” – and they were infiltrated by some undesirables who ended up killing off the movement and the culture (cough Charles Manson cough). This also happened to punk and rap culture.

Poser bashing served a cultural purpose by preventing entry to outside sources which could affect the culture negatively. Hating on elitists, however, serves exactly the opposite purpose. It encourages any Joe Schmoe to join ranks and get a metalhead participation trophy. But you know the thing about clubs anyone can join? They all fucking suck.

So, if you have a problem with aspects of metal culture, maybe it’s time to stop asking metalheads to change and take a good look inward. Do you really like metal culture? Or should you label yourself as a metal fan (like most people), and not partake in metal culture?

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Terminology:

Virtue Signaling – Expressing/promoting a viewpoint or stance that is valued within a social group for the express purpose of elevating social status within that group. Generally implies Moral Authority. Interchangeable with “Moral Posturing”.

Darkthrone Releases First Single From New Album “Arctic Thunder”

So, Fenriz just posted the first single from the new Darkthrone album Arctic Thunder. It’s fucking excellent, check it out!

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