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From Hell's Heart

"From Hell's Heart..." is an editorial column written by the team. Every other month or so we pick a metal-related topic and share our thoughts, feelings and ideas on it.

Check out past editorials

What has the Internet Meant To Metal? (March 2001)

What has the introduction of the Internet meant for METAL???
By Skyklad

It has meant that if it weren't here you wouldn't be sitting reading this rant of mine right now !! *g* I believe the internet has been absolutely instrumental in effectively spreading Metal information on both a national and international level.

Before having access to the internet I spent a lot of time listening to a select number of bands that I learned about through word of mouth and the various mags out at the time. I "thought" I had a decent realm of knowledge concerning bands/styles. What I really had was such a tiny, microscopic corner of the metal world and upon hooking up to the WWW I realized there was A LOT more out there than I had ever imagined. There was a whole community that existed and bands that spanned the entire globe. That is when I suddenly went bankrupt trying to keep up with all these new and exciting bands !! *g*

And who could forget that the internet has provided us metalheads with something that has been vital in the exploration of metal: the MP3 ! As much as the record industry wants to bitch about the advent of the MP3 I think it's one of the greatest things to happen, particularly with Metal since it's not something that is spoken of frequently in the mainstream world. Within only a few months my collection swelled with over a hundred new bands just by going to places that provided MP3 downloads. To hear the music before deciding is very important and the internet is behind that ability to do so. 

What can I say, the internet has definitely been a positive thing for the Metal scene. There's no doubt about that. It has provided easy access to information, a much cheaper method of information spreading, it's universal, even the smallest of bands can make a little informative page thereby getting the word out about them and lastly if you live in an area that doesn't have many metal listeners around the internet is a great way to meet others that have similar interests as you (and even brought together the one who completes me and makes me whole). I know this is true for me and I'm willing to bet it's true for thousands of other metallers across the continents.


What has the introduction of the Internet meant for METAL?
By Rick

First I would like to thank Skyclad for coming up with this topic. The internet and metal. The internet has to be one of the best things that has happened to metal ever. Firstly. would not be here if not for the internet. The internet is what gives us the medium to spread the word of metal to all our friends in the metal world. personally I have to say that the internet is one of the best things that ever happened to me in terms of being a metal fan and for metal fans in general. Metal fans no have a way to hear about the littlest underground band from Denmark by way of the internet. The 80s were great in that you could turn on the Tv at any time and see a metal video. Testament, Forbidden, Exodus, Kreator, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Motley Crue, Savatage and many more had great videos that were played on our cable video network. With the dawning of the 90s and the supposed death of metal these video were not played. The radio stations that did play some metal on specialty shows cancelled these time slots and filled them with the whiny strains of the grunge explosion. All that was left was the university radio station which played a variety of metal. One of our own writers, Pete Healey, was instrumental in keeping my head above water during these times. I still listened to metal but it was much harder to come across bands that I liked. During this time I found new bands to listen to such as Cathedral, Varga, The Obsessed, Pride and Glory, Entombed, Fear Factory, Afterforever, sHeavy and many many more. I also relied on the old standbys such as Slayer, Megadeth, Savatage, Priest, Queensryche etc. I was in the metal netherworld. I started to despair that metal was actually dying a slow death.

Then I got my first computer.. Ah. The darkness lifts.. there really is a metal community! I have been missing out. This was around 95 and 96 when the internet was just exploding in popularity. I only had a crappy 486 computer but I could read about many new bands (new to me anyway). Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray, and Deicide all were given a rudimentary reading on the webpages that I found. I still couldn't find them in my local record store and had never heard their music so they were still a mystery to me. I managed to pick up some CDs from these readings including the mighty HEARTWORK by Carcass but many of the European bands still eluded me. Jump to 1999 when I got highspeed internet access. The world of metal was opened to me. I could download song clips from all of these formerly mysterious bands which forced me to spend a fortune on CDs. This was great for me but also great for these bands.

This leads me to why the internet is great for the bands themselves. Since the early 90s, metal has been forced underground. Outlets for listening to metal and even reading about metal disappeared. The internet changed that and gave new and old bands alike a place to get their music heard. Back in the days of tape trading , the small bands depended on word of mouth to get their music out there. they made demos and traded them. These demos could make it all over the world but it always depended on how many people got the actual tape in their hands. Today with the internet, a band can have a webpage with sound clips that can be viewed by millions of people all over the world. That means that their music is out there to be heard by millions of metal fans. Word of mouth still gets the bands name out but the net opens the possibilities that their music can be heard by a staggering amount of people. When bands finally did get signed to labels they could not make a video and get it played on MTV so again it is the internet that they use for promotion. The bands use webzines like to get their CDs reviewed to gain exposure. They also do interviews and have their concerts reviewed etc which helps promote their music and get it to the biggest audience possible!!

I know that I have been rambling but to me the internet is one of the biggest things to happen to metal in its history. Where else could bands from all over the world have the opportunity to put their music out there so that every metal fan with a computer in on the whole planet might actually hear that music and buy their CD? Nowhere. The internet has had an impact on the metal community like nothing else in its history. It has brought an underground genre of music to the people who most want to hear it!!

Metal Rules!!!!


How has the Internet changed metal?
By Michael De Los Muertos

I think generally the Internet has had a very positive influence on metal.  However, the key to the metal scene's adaptation to the Internet is that, long before the Web came along, the metal scene functioned in a very similar way.

I generally don't agree with the people, so common in our day and age, that go around predicting how the Internet will "revolutionize" our lives.  A few years ago it was fashionable to claim that the Internet would soon dominate commerce, politics and entertainment.  I never agreed with that and I still don't.  Metal provides a quintessential example.  Yes, the Internet has made metalheads more communicative, more informed, and much more aware of new bands that they might never have heard of before.  But the basis of the scene is, and always will be, going to shows and listening to new albums, and finding commonalities with other metalheads. 

The metal underground, before the Internet, functioned in a very similar way to the way the Internet functions today.  The rest of the mainstream world is just getting used to ideas like Napster where users share sound files.  However, in the early 80s, the popularity of Metallica was entirely based on a network of metal fans duping cassette tapes of demos and sharing them amongst each other.  On Napster you do it with a modem and can do it much faster, but is it really that different than mailing a tape to your buddy in an envelope?  Mainstreamers find the idea of Metallica attacking Napster ironic because Metallica are rich rock stars, but metalheads find it insulting because it was essentially a low-tech Napster that built Metallica in the first place.  The same dynamic still goes on today.  While few metal fans used Napster, small-scale MP3 farms offering metal songs are quite prevalent.  One exists on this very site.  Qualitatively different than tape trading?  Not to me.

Or, take zines.  Again, the metal scene had a decentralized, ramshackle but efficient way of spreading information and commentary, through fan zines.  Today, printed-word zines are augmented with web zines and fan sites devoted to bands or particular aspects of metal.  The Internet has greatly increased the efficiency and reach of this communication system, but it's still the same system.  The fortunes of great bands still rise and fall on zine coverage and exposure to the underground fans.  We still consult zines for advice on what albums to buy, whether we page through the reviews or click them on.  The dynamic of how metal works -- put out some good music and make sure the fans who are into it know about it -- is still the same.

The one innovation to metal with which I will credit the Internet is the message board.  This is purely an "Internet thing," and perhaps I'm biased from hanging out on our own Disgruntled Metalheads board, but I think the history of metal may credit message boards for bringing a lot of metalheads together.  Through my participation on message boards I've gotten to know a great many metalheads on a personal basis, not just those who live far away, but many in my own community.  It's a great tool to get to know people, to spread information about bands or shows, or, as most frequently happens, to express opinions.  It will be very interesting to see if message boards as they exist now will continue to be a factor in the metal scene of the future.  I predict they will.

The best thing the Internet has done for us is to greatly expand the cohesion of the metal scene.  A metalhead who lives in a metal-free town or some remote part of the earth, who might fear that he or she will never happen upon someone who shares their love of heavy music, today need only log on to the Internet to find a worldwide community of metalheads.  By improving speed, efficiency and ease of communication, the Internet has strengthened the bonds tying together a worldwide community once united by word-of-mouth and snail mail.  With the Internet, our survival is assured.  Long live metal!


Where do you want to metalize today?
By EvilG

Many of us live in areas where metal seems dead. Without the Internet if I had to look around locally for metal or a metal scene what would I find? No gigs, no bands (anymore), hardly any CD's at the local stores......I'd think there was no such thing as metal! In the early 90's the music I loved was forced underground. No more music videos and no more magazines (or at least they became much harder to find) meant that casual fair weather fans went away and those dedicated had to look a lot harder. Jumping ahead to 1995, the year I was first online, I immediately went looking for metal. At that time there was not so much of it to be found online. So as a statement to that fact that metal was NOT dead I put up the beginnings of what is For me personally, and I'm sure for many of you, having the internet at our disposal has become our key to the world of metal. We have the power to check out bands ourselves and not rely on a money hungry corporation who has no spine or mi$$ion other than to bring to the sheep the latest trend. Metal is not a trend or a fad, it's something I'm committed to for life. Without the internet there are dozens and dozens of bands I would of never heard about. The internet is not the ONLY bastion of hope, props must go to Promethean Crusade and to BW&BK as being the two print magazines that in my opinion are not covering the latest fad but are backed by people like us here at - METALHEADS. The internet makes it easier for someone to get into metal and of course to sample new bands. 

The MP3 file format in my opinion is the best thing to come along in a since the web itself was established on the internet. As long as people have an open mind with regards to checking out new bands rather than blindly accept what is shoved down their throat from the mainstream, then the internet is there just for that. I don't think the internet is going to replace record companies any time soon like some people have suggested. Sure, the net does one hell of a PR job and it's awesome that a smalltime band can have their demo online for all to check out. However, throwing up a webpage is not going to mean millions will download your sound clips then order the CD. Having a net presence will usually mean that when someone hears something good about a band from a review, interview, word of mouth, an ad, etc...that they can now listen to and read more about it and order the CD without having to spend countless weeks or months looking for something that you are not even positive you would like.

I can only foresee the internet becoming more and more important to metal and to fans. It's not going to replace the "real" world where you get to see live bands and be amongst metalheads who love the music you love. It's just going to continue to make the music we love available. As the technology improves we will have even higher quality live steaming metal radio and higher quality videos to watch. We won't have to bitch out the top 40 drivel on the local dial or the crap that MTV or MuchMusic plays. Right now it's not a replacement for the TV or a real FM station, but it's getting closer. This replacement has happened to some extent with magazines. Zines like Hit Parader, or even Guitar Player for that matter, have turned to shit. But with quality online webzines we have an alternate and hey, you don't have to pay for (plug plug).  No more will the dry period of the early 90's happen. As long as there is a band out there playing real metal we can find out about them and relate to others who share our interests. METAL WILL NEVER DIE!


Waspman's Rant

This is an appropriate topic, what with the number of debates going on these days about music piracy over the Internet. Sure, the Internet has brought many problems, like music piracy, into the metal world, but what else has it done? Well, for starters, it has helped create a much more cohesive community where metalheads can gather and trade CD's, or discuss any topic they want. Just look at the sheer number of message boards and webpages about heavy metal (just like our beloved Metal-Rules! And Disgruntled Metalheads) that have sprung up in the years since the Internet has become truly viable. More than ever, metalheads worldwide can share their views with each other, thus making heavy metal's world presence even stronger. Yeah, we may not all get along, but WTF, difference is what makes us stronger. Plus, it gives us all a place to go and bitch to each other about mallcore! J Sounds pretty good so far!

The Internet has also made it much easier to find information on just about any metal band in any genre that you want, thus making metalheads in general a more knowledgeable fanbase. Hell, I know that there are a ton of bands out there that I never would have caught on to if not for the Internet. In a related manner, it's also made it much easier for bands to keep in touch with their fans. Whereas before all a band could do was reply to snail mail or talk to fans at shows, now a band can talk to fans directly via email and webpage updates. Hell, bands are beginning to sell their CD's online now, making it easier for fans to hear their music (legally). Hmm, still sounds pretty cool!

Now for the opposite sideÖThe Internet has also taken some of the fun out heavy metal. Remember when you had to go and really SEARCH for that one album that was missing from your Exciter collection? Remember talking to other metalheads and sharing your search? Remember how satisfying it was when you finally found it? Now you can just go and buy it online, no fuss, no muss. What I'm getting at here is that the Internet has taken some of the personal touch out of the heavy metal scene. Now, unless your friends are metalheads (and I know that there are a lot of us who are not so fortunate!) the only time you'll ever see another metalhead is at a concert. The metalhead "hangout" has fallen by the wayside.

Overall though, I'd say that the Internet has been a great addition into the metal world. I for one wouldn't want to go back to the "old days". The Internet has made heavy metal a stronger entity and I for one wouldn't change that for the world.


Joe's Rant

Having lived through the most recent Metal "Dark Age" (the early 1990's), I think the introduction of the internet has done wonders for Heavy Metal, especially from a North American perspective. Over here trends reign supreme, so when the music-buying public had finished gorging itself on all the corporate-designed "hair bands" and their subsequent clones from the 1980's, new fodder was sought out and the ever-greedy record companies were only happy to oblige. Seemingly overnight, record labels dropped all the Metal bands from their rosters (including the ones with actual talent) in favor of a bunch of greasy looking, no-talent Grunge rockers. And as the general public blindly accepted these new bands with open arms that the labels threw at them in what can only be described as a mass act of musical coprophagy, fans of the quality bands from the previous few years were suddenly out in the cold. Music television stations and magazines that once provided valuable information on their favorite musicians were now covering the new wave of Grunge acts that now glutted the mainstream media, so there was nowhere left to turn to. For quite some time, even the most dedicated of fans believed Heavy Metal to be dead.

But then a little over five years ago a wonderful new medium was introduced to the general public called the Internet.  It allowed computer users worldwide to communicate with ease and allowed easy access to vast amounts of information. And as it grew in popularity, Metal fans soon discovered that their beloved music had not died in the Grunge explosion of 1991. No longer did we (Metal fans) have to depend on the popular media to give us the information and sounds that we desired. If the media canít (or wonít) allow us access to what we want to hear, then we can just find it ourselves on the net. And on the other side of the coin, bands that would get absolutely no attention in the media because of the current "anti-Metal" trends, can now promote themselves online and find an audience with some of the people who have been alienated by the corporations in the quest for the almighty dollar.

Because the internet is a medium that is practically impossible to monitor and regulate, Metal fans and bands (and anyone else who might find themselves outside the "acceptable limits" of Pop culture) finally have a safe haven to go to where they can find/promote their music of choice. And without the once-necessary dependency upon major label and media support, Metal bands can now reach their desired audiences more quickly, easily, and (more likely than not) cheaply. So thanks to the development of the internet, the Metal community is free to exist outside of the mainstream media and itís negative influence upon Heavy Metal and itís image. Weíve all seen how the corporate world bastardizes and manipulates everything in itís control, so the effects of the internet on Heavy Metal can only be viewed as positive.


What has the introduction of the internet meant for metal?

I believe the internet has had a large impact on metal music. It is so much easier to find information on bands using the internet than by any other means. News, album and tour information, discussion groups, promotions, merchandising, song sampling, and online ordering has made the act of discovering new bands and keeping track of your favorite bands much more convenient. I couldnít even begin to tell you how many bands Iíve discovered, and how many CDs, tapes, vinyl albums, etc., Iíve found with the help of the internet. And letís not forget email and the ease of that tool! And the fact of the matter is that at least 95% of my time spent online is related to metal music.


What has the introduction of the Internet meant for METAL?

Well, for me personally, it's turned me on to a lot of bands I wouldn't have heard before. By going to a bands site and being able to download a soundclip, I've been able to get into some pretty cool bands. By using the Internet, I've gotten access to websites that enable me to order CD's I can't find at my local record store. Hey, if it wasn't for the Internet, there would be no METAL RULES. I believe the introduction of the Internet has been very successful for Metal.


Keith's Rant

As we all know by now, the Internet has helped in every field of business. Now with Metal, that still holds true. It helps metal bands, labels and metal sites/magazines. Signed bands can have websites that can promote their new releases, sell merchandise (shirts, hats, posters, etc.), download MP3s and interact with fans in chat rooms getting very important feedback. Fans can check out tour dates, read interviews and CD reviews and other cool stuff. The band may elect to do an Internet-only  contest/giveaway (ala Iron Maiden). The possibilities are endless.

As for metal labels (Century Media, Metal Blade, Relapse, etc.) a website can only help them to sell records. Fans can find out what new bands are coming out, see tour schedules, download MP3s, contact people at the label, enter contests and buy merchandise. Very similar to what bands do with their own sites, labels usually have more revenue to build a better site and will get more hits.

For the up and coming metal band without a deal, the Internet gives them endless possibilities. They can promote the name, their music and local shows. They can sell merchandise and CDs to help keep them afloat. Shop demos to metal labels via their website and learn about the music business by reading interviews and listening to MP3s by signed bands.

With websites and magazines (Internet magazines) it's a great outlet for the fans to read and get information about their favorite music. Interviews, CD reviews, news, MP3s, chat rooms, CD giveaways, etc., can only help promote metal. And with the Internet all of these sites are accessible via search engines and can be done from the comfort of your own home. You don't have to get in your car and drive down to your local "Mom & Pop" music store and pluck down your hard earned cash for a new magazine that get the latest gossip.

There's so much more that can be done via the Internet to help support metal and help it grow. How great is that?


Jesse's View

I believe that the internet has been an extremely positive force...a force that has helped to push metal into the 21st century and onward, forever. Metal websites (like our very own METAL RULES!!!) have been a beacon of metal-communication, floating in the oceans of the world wide web. Metal sites have helped to inform and convert the planet and the bulletin boards (usually found within these sites) have put the metalheads of the world in contact with each other. Ideas are exchanged and friendships are created...friendships cemented into the firm foundation of metal brotherhood.

Metal websites started out as a refuge for metalheads pushed to the edge of extinction. A large underground metal community, extremely dissatisfied with the state of contemporary music, helped to fuel and enhance the entity known as the metal website. Through an act of sheer collective will, metal came back (back for the attack!!!), thanks in large part to the internet. We can only keep growing...


What has the introduction of the Internet meant for METAL?

The Internet has done a world of good because it has provided a wealth of information about metal that has never existed before. Sure, there have been metal mags that try to keep the flame alive, but a monthly publication can only cover so much ground. And, of course, there aren't any radio stations that play true metal. Even the bands I worshiped during my high school days in the 80s seemed to lose their touch in the early 90s. I was left to wearing out my collection of 80s Dio, Maiden, RATT, Priest and the like. As a result, I fell away from the fold for much of the 90s.

Then, while attending graduate school in the latter part of the 90s, the flame ignited again. One day at the computer lab I saw a classmate scanning some pictures. When I inquired, he showed me some pictures he was putting up on his website. There he was arm in arm with the boys from Savatage. I said, "Dude, I know those guys!" All of a sudden, after years of toiling in obscurity, I learned that metal was far from dead. I spent countless hours over the next several months surfing the web and discovering how much metal was out there. Oh yeah, and I spent money I didn't have at the time buying CDs. Haha. Since then I have not only returned to the fold, but am now an even more dedicated disciple.

The Internet is single-handedly responsible for bringing me back. Were it not for all the great websites out there I would never have discovered my two favorite bands: Iced Earth and Symphony X. Now if only I can talk the programming director at a local radio station into letting me host a two hour weekly metal show. Sadly, the last time I asked him about it, his response was, "Dude, we're the only station in the area that plays Metallica and Ozzy, isn't that enough?" Metallica and Ozzy? Man, have I got my work cut out for me!

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