Dissension In Metal? (October 2000)
This month we examine the VERY open ended topic of
"Dissension In Metal." Since it was so open ended, a variety
of topics and ideas were put forth making it all the more interesting to
United We Stand
Part 1 - Dissension and Disgruntlement
unite and fight for the justice.
Honour for all and never give in."
The Iron Force -
Yes is might sound corny, but one thing that many true metalheads
strongly believe in is that heavy metal is a brotherhood. It's not about
getting drunk or fried and showing up at a gig to knock people over or
trying to be Mr. Cool in your "evil" Cannibal Corpse t-shirt
when in reality you don't own any of their CD's. This kind of attitude
is displayed by many of of the mallcore fans who ARE NOT even
metalheads. You know the type - the ones with their pants crotch to
their knees, their short spikey hair (usually dyed yellow), their pointy
goatees and chains around their necks...these people look like gansta
rappers to me, NOT like metalheads. I'm an not suggesting that image is
everything, but if you dress up and portray yourself as a rapper then
I'll tell it like I see it! These mallcore pricks are the ones who know
nothing of the history of metal or metal beyond what some lame media
outlet run by a bunch of suits (not metalheads) decide to call metal.
You ask these mallcore kids about any band before 1990 and they say it
sux unless it's Ozzy and Sabbath because Ozzy's Shitfest for some reason
has brought out all these lame bands that all these mallcore freaks
love. To them a band like Iron Maiden is "old" and "80's
music." Well here's what I say to them FUCK YOU! Iron Maiden are
every bit as relevant today as ever. Ask a mallcore kid about a NEW (not
nu) band like Iced Earth, Steel Prophet, Nevermore, Stratovarius or even
heavier bands like The Crown or Testament and they don't know shit about
This kind of dissention is not really within the ranks of the true
metalheads. Real metalheads are in agreement that mallcore has
nothing to do with metal and is shit. We do need to stick together more
that ever when we are bombarded with media telling people that bands
like Shitnot, K**n and Limp DickShit are metal. They are not!!
Part 2 - The "I'm more metal than you" syndrome
The second piece of dissension in metal that I have experienced
regards fans who are actually true metalheads but who are very militant
in their narrow definition of what they consider metal to be. These
people look down on bands and fans of what they consider lesser metal
bands in order to put themselves on a pedestal as the keepers of all
true metal knowledge. For example (and this one pisses me off to no
end), some of these people call a true metal band like HammerFall or
Stratovarius "gay" or "women's metal." I don't know
what in the fuck is up with that?!?! Since when is "metal" JUST
about how heavy something is? Melody and high pitched vocals are as much
metal as growling and blast beats. I do not understand fans of one
sub-genre of metal trashing fans of another. For example the death metal
people saying all other metal is wimpy and "gay", or the power
metal fans calling all death metal senseless noise. Open your ears,
every sub-genre of metal has something to offer!! I happen to have an
appreciation for many bands from the power, death, thrash, black and the
traditional metal genres. For some reason, not many people can handle
putting on Motley Crue followed by Iced Earth followed by Morbid Angel
followed by Dimmu Borgir. I know everyone has there personal tastes, and
that's perfectly fine, but metalheads should at least have an
appreciation for the other styles of metal. If you want to bash
something bash the mallcore bands, bash the plastic shit that is on the
radio and bash the bands that sell out but please don't bash bands and
fans that are true to metal but just don't happen to represent the
sub-genre you like the best. There are greater evils to focus your
So why do we need to "stick together"? It's simple. The old
motto of "united we stand, divided we fall" is very true. If
we want metal to continue and to survive as a genre we have to stick
together, to support one another and the scene.
Breaking Away from the PRIEST: The Unforgivable Sin By Jesse
The topic is "dissension in metal" and I'm sure a few of my
Metal-Rules.com compatriots are going to go off in completely different
directions, but I interpret this as the "breaking away" from
the rules and/or guidelines that metal bands follow (so that they keep
true to PURE METAL!!!).
Anyway, I have a little bit of latitude when it comes to what I'll
accept as metal, but FOR ME real metal is the good ol' fashioned,
home-brewed metal of the 70's-80's variety. I know, I know, I'm a
nostalgic bastard and, as long as I write for METAL RULES, I ain't a
I'll make the history of METAL brief, cause I know that many people
have contrary opinions and/or they've heard the "history" so
many times it makes 'em wanna puke!!! Basically, I think most of
you will agree that the "big bang" of metal was Black Sabbath
and it was Judas Priest that perfected the look, the sound and the
fury!!! Until Judas Priest came along, heavy bands were parading
around in hippie gear (long flowing, satiny, monstrosities that one
might find at a garage sale). Just check out the cover of Black
Sabbath's, Sabotage (check out what Ozzy's wearing!!!)...you'll get the
Rob Halford and Co. even adopted this particular style of dress for
most of the 70¹s, but it was only a matter of time before the LEATHER
reared it's ugly head!!! Now some of you might say that Rob
Halford merely pulled from the gay bar/S&M scene and to that I say,
maybe...but it's a bit more complicated than that. The
aforementioned look actually can be traced to the motorcycle gang look
that originated in the 1950's. This "look" is obviously
a highly masculine one due to the fact that the human body is basically
being draped in dead animal skin (and I suppose this might provide us
male members of the species with a glimpse back at our primitive
selves). Anyway, the highly-charged, masculine overtones in
question obviously appealed to the gay underground scene and they, in
turn, stole it from the bikers!!! Besides, the biker look has a
definite universal appeal and many film and music icons have used the
leather look to their advantage. Marlon Brando's use of it in the
1950's biker film, The Wild One catapulted him into superstar status and
Elvis' cool-as-hell, black leather ensemble played a huge part in making
his famous '69 comeback so successful!!! So whatever you want to
think...go ahead and think it, just know the history of the leather
clad, alpha-male before you start making assumptions!!! Anyway, to
tie this shit together, Judas Priest perfected the look that became PURE
The METAL SOUND is quite another thing and god grant me the reserve
to make this brief!!! Sabbath brought us the almighty riff (a big
chunk 'o destruction that destroyed all in it's path) and, let us not
forget, the godly solo. Some say this pattern of heavy riffing
broken apart by an extended guitar solo started out with heavy hippie
bands (for example, Cream and Hendrix) and that's partially true.
However, Black Sabbath (and other heavy greats like the proto-METAL, Led
Zeppelin) solidified this pattern and made it a permanent part of the
metal sound!!! So, you might be askin' yourself, what was Judas
Priest's contribution to the "metal sound" you speak of???
Well, for starters, THEY SPED IT UP TO A LEVEL OF INTENSITY THAT COULD
ONLY BE DESCRIBED AS BRUTAL!!! All jumps forward in levels of
sonic assault (Metallica, Slayer, etc.), in my opinion, have been just
minor blips on metal's radar screen as opposed to the giant leap made by
PRIEST!!! And so it was written, Judas Priest established a
pattern of "upping the ante" that metal bands followed
throughout much of the 80's and 90's!!!
Now, metal brothers, we flash forward to the year 2000 and METAL is
still a beast to be reckoned with, but a group of dissenters have taken
with them one or two ingredients found within our beloved music.
Most importantly, this group has abandoned the "rules" put in
place by the PRIEST!!! No, this is not just a minor infraction
like the great wave of hair cutting that took place in the mid 1990's (I
myself am guilty of that crime). This is a much more serious
matter!!! The metal look, within this group, has been dropped for
that of other genres and the sound has been watered down with elements
of pop, rap and 90's alternative. What we are basically left with
is a hybrid that lacks the full force of pure metal (the metal genre
being the MOST POWERFUL of all genres!!!). The real crux of the
situation is that the actual label stamped onto this new mixture of
styles was christened "new metal" by the media and ("to
add insult to injury") the name has stuck!!! The name (which
obviously includes the word METAL), essentially, is the problem
true-blooded metalheads have had with the "new" style.
We don't like to see the two genres being confused!!! This
"new" type of music may have loud, distorted guitars, but the
drums are often hip-hop beats, the vocals are either in the style of rap
and/or whiny alternative and the full drive and force of the
"pattern" we lovingly call METAL MUSIC has been completely
extracted from this "new" sound. WHAT WE ARE LEFT WITH
IS NOT METAL!!! The "nu kids" have dissented and that's
fine, let them do what they want (and we'll pray for their sins under
the guidance of our PRIEST), but they have no right to the use of the
word METAL!!! True, to some it is only a word, but I think that most of
us understand the power of words over man (and woman). We metalheads
have invested a great number of years into this one word and to us it is
much more than just a word...IT IS LIFE!!! We are and will always
"Can't We All Just Get Along???"
By Ice Maiden
When I first saw the topic for this month I thought it said
"Distension in Metal," so I got all set to write an article
about beer and its effects of the metalhead abdomen. Boy was I shocked
to look closer and realize that we were supposed to write about
dissension in Metal. I'm not sure what this means.
The most overt dissension I have noted in the Metal community is with
respect to nu-metal, also known by some as mallcore. I, however, fall
within the category of metalheads that does not view nu-metal as a form
of Metal at all. To me, it is just another fad form of music completely
unrelated to real metal. So does so called "nu-metal" lead to
dissension in the real Metal world? Nah. Real metalheads are united in
their dislike of that crap.
Then there is the dissension caused by differences in opinion about
various genres of Metal. Typically these are the thrash, black, or death
Metal freaks that do not believe that power metal fans are true
metalheads for one reason or another. Again, this is kind of a
"yawn" topic for me. I think that there are elements to
appreciate in virtually all genres of Metal, but that doesn't mean you
have to like all of it to be a true metalhead. To me, part of being a
true metalhead is following your own heart and not trends. Thus, if a
person just likes the way power metal sounds more than black metal, they
should listen to power. If they like the way death metal sounds more
than progressive, they should listen to death. I don't think you have to
like all genres of Metal to be a true metalhead, and I certainly don't
think a person should listen to something they don't like just to be
categorized as a metalhead. If you do the latter, you are being a
"poseur," just as much as a kid who wears a Slayer t-shirt
just to look bad ass, but wouldn't know Araya if Tom bit him in the ass.
Them's my two cents.
Of course over the years, there has been some
quarreling/feuding between bands and fans within the metal scene, and to
varying extents. You have the
death metalers that hate the black metalers, vice versa, and the old
timers that look down on the new comers.
Who knows what other battles are fought.
I myself tend to be biased when exploring new forms of metal (not
that new territory has been explored lately).
I am especially biased when it comes to hearing new bands.
I am always open to anything.
One has to be open-minded. But
upon listening, I know usually fairly quickly whether or not I like the
band. There are hundreds of
bands out there I’ve heard, but don’t listen to.
Many of these bands are good bands, but they just don’t do
anything for me to warrant their addition to my collection.
Let’s face it…I have around 1500 CDs…I just can’t buy
every decent CD I come across. So
I have to set some “standards”.
In order for me to really get into a new band, they must stick
out and grab my attention…they have to be different.
Or maybe just original, which is hard to do nowadays.
But anything technical automatically grabs my attention.
Because plainly and simply put, technical music rules!!
But then some bands emerge who aren’t necessarily doing
anything different, but their extreme talent and songwriting capability
is too convincing to ignore. Of
course any judgment calls I make are just my opinions.
But opinions lead to jokes, and jokes lead to putting down bands
and possibly even their fans. Usually
it’s all just fun and games. But
some people take things seriously and get offended if someone else puts
down a band he/she listens to. Sounds
ridiculous, doesn’t it? Well,
it happens. I would go so
far as to say that more feuding occurs amongst metal fans than between
metal bands! I think
musicians can see eye-to-eye a little better, knowing the hardships of
being in a metal band. But
overall, I see very little quarreling between bands and fans.
I only hear and read debates, which is just good fun,
really. I believe the
brotherhood and unity that exists between us, as metalheads, and the
mutual respect and acknowledgement we give and receive far outweighs
those of us that are narrow-minded.
Dissension in Metal by Rick Maloney
Dissension in metal. What an open ended topic. What are you doing to
me EvilG? What am I supposed to do with this? Dissension in metal.
Dissension def: Difference of Opinion: discord: strife. Ok. Now I am
getting somewhere. Difference of opinion. I can see that everyday in the
metal community. Metal is such a diverse genre that I can see where
there will be differences of opinion on its very definition and what
bands do and do not fall within its boundaries.
Many people include 80's bands such as Motley Crue and Fifth Angel
under the metal umbrella while other fans will argue just as
passionately that they are not metal. To some fans of more extreme metal
bands in the Death and Black metal genre, progressive bands such as
Dream Theater or Lana Lane would not be metal nor would the power metal
bands who are seen by some as all fluff and no substance.
One of the biggest dissensions that I see right now are whether or
not bands like Slipknot, Static X, Powerman 5000 and Dope are metal?
There are those who would say YES and many more who would say NO! I have
seen many a war of words between metal fans who passionately believe
that these bands have nothing to do with metal (me amongst them) and
other metal fans who feel that they are just another metal
"genre". To me this kind of music is nothing but noisy guitars
with rapped, whined and screamed vocals thrown over it. Just a fad that
is destined to disappear.
My whole philosophy on metal can be summed up pretty easily. I am
pretty open minded and I enjoy everything metal which to me includes
80's bands like Ratt and Lizzy Borden up to Morbid Angel and Cryptopsy.
If its metal I like it. I don't judge the band on the way it looks, what
they wear or where they come from. If they play real metal then they are
cool in my books.
Dissension in Metal
By Michael De Los Muertos
I’ll take a view which may
prove unpopular: I’m in
favor of dissension in metal.
If you read metal magazines or
Internet message boards long enough, you’ll eventually see it. It’s the inevitable “Metalheads of the World, Unite!”
speech. Some are more
skillful at delivering it than others, but the basic gist is always the
same: there’s so much carping and bellyaching amongst metalheads,
about this-band-is-true, this-band-is-not, you’re-a-poser,
no-I’m-not, So-And-So-sold-out, no-they-didn’t, etc.
This negative energy keeps us divided, so the speech goes, where
what we should really be doing
is burying our differences and turning our common energies toward the
enemies we can all agree on: mainstream music and popular culture.
So why don’t we all put our differences aside, forget the
infighting amongst each other and stand up for the common ground that
all metalheads can agree on? I may hate Korn and my neighbor may hate Manowar, but we both
hate Britney Spears, so why shouldn’t we capitalize on that
commonality instead of harping on the differences?
Wouldn’t metal be stronger, better, and healthier if we all did
Not exactly, say I.
I won’t go so far as to say
that the “Metalheads of the World, Unite!” speech is fundamentally
wrong in and of itself. Actually
it’s a very good message, but I do believe this is not the time for
it. It is dissension in
metal which keeps the metal subculture alive and well and thriving.
To squelch that dissension now would be to dampen the energy that
powers us in so many directions. Think
about it. There’s black
metal, thrash metal, power metal, and death metal.
All are uniquely different.
All have their share of vehement, dogmatic supporters who often
try to shout down and drown out those they view as untrue – posers,
for lack of a better word. All
of us know at least one dogmatist. Who
among us hasn’t been called a poser by someone who claims to be more metal
than you? What did you do
in response? If you’re
like most metalheads, you probably offered some kind of argument, but
then you went home and played your
kind of metal all the louder and all the more passionately, because you
were convinced you were right and that other person was a judgmental prick who
doesn’t get it. My
response to people who call me a poser for liking power metal is to
crank up some Edguy or Helloween. It’s
a reflex action, totally natural, and totally correct.
Your conviction in your music is sharpened by an occasional
attack on it, especially from
one who, by all rights, ought to respect your point of view, even if
they don’t agree with it.
Imagine two very different metalheads.
One is a die-hard fan of ice-cold, Satanic, evil Norwegian-style
black metal who thinks that power metal is “happy music” and Dimmu
Borgir are greedy, commercial backstabbers that deserve no more respect,
and possibly less, than the Backstreet Boys.
The other is a guy who has a Manowar album cover tattooed on his
back, thinks a short-haired metalhead is a traitor to the cause and who
takes sentiments like “Wimps And Posers Leave The Hall” and “Death
To False Metal” absolutely literally.
Both of them are in bands. The
black metal dogmatist, enraged that so much as one human being on the
planet could think HammerFall is real metal, doubles his efforts to be
more “evil,” to write more grinding, blistering hymns of Satanic
praise in order to smite the “false ones” who don’t appreciate
true evil. Meanwhile, the
other guy, who thinks black metallers are unforgivable posers who look
like Panda bears in their corpse paint and whose “evil” acts are a
cynical ploy to gain popularity, notoriety, or maybe just a record deal
with Century Black, writes some power metal riffs that make Thor and
Odin weep with joy. Despite their narrow-mindedness, their laughable rigidity,
and their cartoonish caricatures of themselves, both of these people
have the potential to substantially advance their own particular brands
Of course, not everybody can be
like this, and I’m not for a moment suggesting that everyone should.
The fact that metalheads like this are
a fringe minority is what makes the whole thing work.
Most metalheads are, and should be, generally tolerant of others,
cognizant of the merits of various types of metal they may not
personally like, and mindful of the fact that we do
have common ground and we do
all stand for something that unites us.
But the extremists probably do more to keep the majority of
“moderate” metalheads sane than we give them credit for, and in the
meantime it is the extremists
who form bands that truly go a step beyond – Mayhem and Manowar being
two obvious examples.
What would happen if you take
away this dissension? True,
we would be unified, but unfortunately I think we would become far more
homogenous. As the sense of
“metalness” became more concretely defined, the boundaries between
genres would begin to blur. Metal
would become very much like punk is today: a very unified, very
cohesive, very energetic scene – but sort of boring at the same time.
Is this an acceptable price to pay for unity, and for an end to
the infighting that plagues the metal scene?
Personally, I do not think so.
I’ll take the infighting, thank you.
As I said, it may not be that
the “Metalheads of the World, Unite!” speech is fundamentally wrong,
but it may just be the right idea at the wrong time.
It may come to pass, through some set of circumstances that we
can’t even imagine right now, that a threat (or threats) to the
continued existence of heavy metal as a musical form and as a lifestyle
may become so dire that we have no choice but to bury our differences
amongst each other and present a united front against the threat.
But such circumstances will be, in my opinion, so extreme and so
unmistakable that we sure as hell won’t need someone standing on a
soapbox shouting, “Metalheads of the World, Unite!” to get us to do
exactly that. It will be a reflex action, absolutely instinctive, human
nature. Nobody will give
speeches or talk about how we need to pull together, because the fact
that we do will be blatantly obvious to anyone with any
experience in metal and an IQ over five.
And when the threat has passed, what will happen?
We’ll all go right back to taking pot-shots at each other.
“That’s not metal!” “Your
band sold out!” “You poser!”
That, in my opinion, is as it
Is there dissension among the fans of Heavy Metal? Yes, there
probably is. But I think the same question can be asked of fans of any
genre of music. I’m sure there’s more than one fan of performers
like Garth Brooks / Backstreet Boys / Madonna / etc... who are just as
discriminating in their musical tastes as the average Metal fan. But is
the music really the source of this dissension? I don’t think so...
For the most part, Metal fans tend to get along pretty well (from
what I’ve witnessed, at least). Despite having different opinions on
particular sub-genres and bands, most fans still respect their fellow
Metalheads. (I think the annual Wacken Open Air festival is a good
example of this.) Of course, there are always a few who tend to believe
that their way of thinking is the only one. From my personal experience,
these folks are often fans of more extreme forms of Metal and they
consider the more melodic sub-genres to be "wussy" or
"gay" to be "real" Metal. But these are just
extremely stubborn people who would probably argue that oranges are
better than grapefruit (Grapefruit RULE, dammit!!! Haha...). Yeah,
they’re a pain in the ass sometimes... But as the old saying goes,
"It takes all kinds to make the world go ‘round." The only
solution is to ignore them.
The biggest source of dissension, however, comes from fans of genres
outside of Heavy Metal. When was the last time a ‘N Sync fan said
"Metal? That’s interesting..." or "That’s cool.
Whatever floats your boat..." when they found out what you like to
listen to. And even though Metal fans know that these people’s
opinions of the music we hold dear are based solely on biased media
information (therefore making them unfounded and totally false), we
still tend to react in a defensive manner. And while getting angry and
defensive toward an obviously ignorant person might be a perfectly
natural reaction, especially after all the years of negative media
attention Metal has received (DAMN YOU, TIPPER GORE!!!), it’s not
necessarily the best course of action. Hostile reactions will only
reinforce that person’s already low opinion of Heavy Metal and the
people who listen to it.
So the next time a Korn fan gives you crap about your taste in music,
be the better man/woman and take the higher road by simply not paying
them any attention. Trust me, it isn’t worth it. But if they ever
insult Judas Priest, then you have my permission to pound them into
Just to touch briefly on our rant this month, what bothers me a lot
is the dissention amongst metal fans. There’s all types of metal:
speed, doom thrash, power...I could go on all day. I mean, why can’t a
fan of Motley Crue be a Slayer fan??? Why can’t someone like AC/DC and
like The Haunted??? Unfortunately, people tend to segregate others
because of what “type” of metal band they like. I’ve encountered
this bullshit many times when the topic of favorite bands comes up in
conversation. My own collection spans from a range of Metal bands: Thin
Lizzy, Mercyful Fate, Slayer, Kiss, Hammerfall, Overkill, etc. Maybe
I’m not a big Deicide fan, but that shouldn't make me any less of a
metalhead than somebody else. Stay metal!