Sunday, April 27, 2014

Death Metal Underground Website Doesn't Want You Supporting Your Scene

A friend posted this article earlier from the website Death Metal Underground, and as tired as I am I simply have to waste breath in retort to this piece.

In the article, the author claims that following the rise of death and black metal, a "cry rang out" for others to "support the scene". He goes on to say:

"After death metal and black metal had made their meaningful contributions, a cry rang out: support the scene!

By that it was meant that you should go to local shows, buy records, and otherwise give monetary subsistence and publicity to local bands.

They left off a key detail: which local bands?

Actually, they don’t want you to ask that question. All local bands, they hope. That way, even if their bands are talentless, they’ll be able to sell merch and music because, y’know be cool man, support the scene!

In fact, what “support the scene” really means is “abolish quality control.” Forget trying to have good metal bands, let’s just have a lot. That way everyone can play at this neat game called being as cool as Euronymous or Azagthoth.

I'm sorry, but since when has supporting one's scene ever been about just supporting every-fucking-body, regardless of talent or quality?

It's pretty much commonly accepted that you are within your power to discern whether or not you like a band. It is also commonly known (or at least, should be) that tastes vary from person to person, sometimes quite widely. It takes all kinds to make a world, therefore it is up to each and every one of us to decide what is good for ourselves.

That said, I believe there is a pre-set line drawn between the sound of a band with potential and the sound of a band who's not really making music for the right reasons. I try to be forgiving when it comes down to the band just not having the money to keep better equipment yet or something like that, but you can tell when something has had real effort put into it and that is what matters most.

No band starting out is going to get it perfect the first time. If that's what the author and many of the commenters are going by to determine a "quality" band, or citing it as reason why metal "sucks" nowadays as opposed to a mere ten years ago, they're in for a world of hurt and disappointment and will probably be waiting a long, long time for that next great local act.

Bands that click with you are bands you should wholeheartedly support - it doesn't fucking matter why or who else likes it or tells you to like it. That, as I understood it, was already a common practice among metalheads and everyone else with a passion for music. The band sounded phenomenal but had no special lighting or effects for their show just because they don't have the resources to provide it? So what? That means you can't support them until they go broke to give you the "full package"? You like the band because even though the band isn't spectacular, you know the guitarist or bassist and know how much talent and potential they have, so you support what they do? That's fine! Who gives a fuck if a band sounds slightly similar to so-and-so? Quoth Trent Reznor, we're all just "a copy of a copy of a..." (you get where that's going).

I think the exchange between a Greek orator and a guard at the beginning of the BBC miniseries I, Claudius told the most accurate truth ever about art:

Guard: "The theatre isn't what it was."
Orator: "No, and I'll tell you something else... it never was what is was."

It's all been done before yet it's never been done before. Who the hell cares? You like what you like for the reasons you like it, and it just follows naturally that you support what you like. The author writing up a blog like this, though entitled to his opinion, is essentially perpetuating that which he claims to abhor - a follow-the-leader mentality, or people otherwise liking things they haven't bothered to look into themselves.

Basically, my thing is this; there has been and will always be bands that will get support of recognition unworthily. There are bands that are out there somehow booking shows when their only fans are their mothers or a few friends and play music not well. However, the support for them will be fleeting. Nothing is concrete in this ever-eroding sandpit we call Earth, and all things will ebb and flow with time itself. People with short enough attention spans to like boring bands for the sake of "well, everybody else likes them" will become just as quickly disillusioned with them as they became fans of them, and move on to the next band MTV or Hot Topic tells them to like. The smarter and more exacting of us will continue to do as we have always done - seek our next favorite bands and kindred spirits and determine their impact on our lives without regard for what anyone else thinks their criterion for a "quality" band should be. It works itself out.

The point in promoting "your scene" is to let others know that good bands can be found on the local level when many people start out in life thinking that the only music out there is what's on the radio and on TV. We were all that person at one point or another, even if you were lucky enough to be enlightened very early in life. You would be surprised at how many people still think that's the only place music comes from.

It's a little sad to see that there is so great a lack of common sense about things like this (metal, music in general) where varying tastes come into play and an endless amount of factors influence everyone in different ways. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so let's not harp on what everyone should like and how we should like them. Instead, perhaps we should focus on bringing attention to the fact that good art can quite literally be found everywhere by those willing enough to delve a little deeper. Keep supporting your scene by letting everyone know that it, in fact, exists, and to come out one day to judge for themselves.

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