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Should any form of Metal be restricted by rules?


SMRT
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This is something that has been a recurring thought for me for a long time. Growing up I adopted the belief that metal was a way to remove the grip of any type of boundary - both figuratively and literally. I'm not talking about classifications of metal or the free merging of them. I understand having sub-genres helps us all tune into what makes us happy. It's the aesthetic perspective that gets me. For example, with black metal you HAVE to: wear corpse paint, worship Satan, and spend your hard earned cash to intentionally make your recording sound horrible. And regardless of how one writes, if they don't adhere to the unwritten rules they're not true (insert genre). 

Thoughts?

 

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3 hours ago, SMRT said:

...with black metal you HAVE to: wear corpse paint, worship Satan, and spend your hard earned cash to intentionally make your recording sound horrible. And regardless of how one writes, if they don't adhere to the unwritten rules they're not true (insert genre). 

Thoughts?

None of that is true, no black metal bands or musicians are under any obligation to do any of that stuff, and lots of them don't. Where did you get these notions?

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I mean there have to be some kind of "rules" for a subgenre to mean anything as far as how the music sounds, but there's plenty of leeway especially within black metal as the sub-genre has grown so much in the last 30 years. Black metal is not just one thing. It might seem that way at first to noobs and outsiders but if you look a little deeper into black metal you'll see there is much variation in how the bands look and sound and their themes.

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31 minutes ago, GoatmasterGeneral said:

I mean there have to be some kind of "rules" for a subgenre to mean anything as far as how the music sounds, but there's plenty of leeway especially within black metal as the sub-genre has grown so much in the last 30 years. Black metal is not just one thing. It might seem that way at first to noobs and outsiders but if you look a little deeper into black metal you'll see there is much variation in how the bands look and sound and their themes.

i agree with a lot of what goatmaster has to say. there is a lot of versatility within black metal which is probably why it is my favorite of all the metal genres. from my listening perspective, the commonality between many of the different types of black metal bands i have listened to is obscure time signatures, fairly dirty guitar tones and atmospheric elements. i'd say a great example of this is sodom's "in the sign of evil" since black metal originated from thrash. witchhunter's drumming on that record had a uniqueness that set the band apart from a lot of the other thrash metal bands of the time in my opinion. but, i don't consider myself an expert by any means. so, i acknowledge i could possibly be wrong on this 

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4 hours ago, SMRT said:

Growing up I adopted the belief that metal was a way to remove the grip of any type of boundary

 

Like any alternative subculture, metal only believes in those outside metal needing to remove boundaries and adopt a non conformist stance.  Yet once inside the subculture there's almost a fanatical requirement to conform to subculture standards.

And within metal some subgenres display more fanaticism than others.  But I've encountered fans of virtually any metal subgenre that had their own fanatics who thought they knew what was true and what wasn't.  

 

Metal's not the only one that does this - hardcore, punk, hippies, grunge all are like it.   I actually remember Dan Liker (Anthrax, Nuclear Assault, Brutal Truth) saying he hated the hardcore punk crowds because they regarded you as a sell out if you tried to make money off music and regarded you as a sell out if you got a real job!

 

I will admit I like metal's exclusivity and I certainly think metal means some specific things.  Not saying you can't like non-metal or whatever but metal certainly means a certain aesthetic and certain musical form.

 

Eg people crap on about trapmetal ala Ghostmane.  It's not metal it's hip hop.  Nothing about the music has anything to do with metal.

Fine if he wants to play hip hop.  But don't call it metal.

 

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22 hours ago, KillaKukumba said:

Do what you like, like what you want, don't care what others think

Exactly!!!

19 hours ago, GoatmasterGeneral said:

None of that is true, no black metal bands or musicians are under any obligation to do any of that stuff, and lots of them don't. Where did you get these notions?

Just quoting some extreme purists that I've bumped elbows with in the past. I'm currently in a black metal band and we adhere to none of those. We are quite the opposite. 

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The majority of my listening time is devoted to black metal. I am to some extent a purist (although not strictly) and I've always thought corpsepaint was fucking stupid. If I could play an instrument and started a black metal band I would never even consider going the corpsepaint route. I think Satan worshiping is stupid, and although I definitely prefer my black metal to sound dark, angry, hateful and 'evil' (have no time for soft pretty sounding metal be it black or otherwise) but I can't take any of that Satan shit seriously. I have a really hard time believing that so many of these bands who might claim to be 'orthodox' and praise Satan actually believe any of this shit either. Some may disagree but I honestly think that with the vast majority of these bands it's mostly for show. I look at the whole prevailing Satan thing in black metal as basically like an occult/horror movie that one can freely enjoy without feeling obligated to buy into the premise that any of it's real. Just like all those gore based death metal bands and their fans or even the more violent thrash metal bands don't actually kill people, chop them up or eviscerate them, it's pure escapism.

That said, I do still feel there are limits to how far you can push or bend or transform or corrupt the black metal sound and have the result still qualify as black metal. But that's just my opinion for whatever it might be worth.

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6 hours ago, GoatmasterGeneral said:

That said, I do still feel there are limits to how far you can push or bend or transform or corrupt the black metal sound and have the result still qualify as black metal. But that's just my opinion for whatever it might be worth.

I agree. And while this discussion have been up before it's worth having again.

I think Ulver is a good example of is it x/is it y. Nattens madrigal and Bergtatt are undoubtedly BM as we know it. Kveldsanger, sandwiched in between them most certainly is not. But some might argue that the "vibe" or some thing, was so dark it's essentially BM. Which is wrong. But on the other hand, Kveldsanger for sure influenced a lot of the nature-worshipping hippie BM bands we see now. Anyways, when they started doing avantgarde trip hop jazz music with distorted guitars and screams on Themes from William Blake it got more tricky. Is it (very forward thinking) BM, is it not? IMO they had stretched the limits of what could constitute the BM sound too far, even though some of the instrumentation and most certainly the topic and lyrics, would be considered black metal/LHP.

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2 hours ago, Sheol said:

I think Ulver is a good example of is it x/is it y. 

Off topic, but got me thinking I have not listened to Ulver in years. I got on board with William Blake, went back to discover the wolf black metal one, but the last CD I bought was Perdition City. 22 years ago. Gulp. Saw them live a few times. 

They have a massive catalog on bandcamp...but it does not seem to include the early pure black metal. Intentionally creating distance? 

EDIT: I must have still been listening circa 2008 because I took my then girlfriend to see them live twice. Ulver was what I deemed gateway chick metal. Like Anathema.

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Might be that CM still has the rights to the early BM stuff. Ulver are all over the place since Perdition City. From very ambient, minimalistic sounds (Silence teaches you to sing, Lyckantropen Themes) to more pop-like stuff like Assassination of Julius Ceasar and Flowers of Evil (both very good btw). Basically, Ulver is art-music made palatable for the masses.

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On 3/29/2022 at 12:06 AM, Balor said:

My experience on other forums has led me to believe that many black metal bands (especially older underground ones) should probably not join forums/give interviews.

The classic, drunk Necrobutcher interview is a prime example....

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14 hours ago, Sheol said:

I agree. And while this discussion have been up before it's worth having again.

I think Ulver is a good example of is it x/is it y. Nattens madrigal and Bergtatt are undoubtedly BM as we know it. Kveldsanger, sandwiched in between them most certainly is not. But some might argue that the "vibe" or some thing, was so dark it's essentially BM. Which is wrong. But on the other hand, Kveldsanger for sure influenced a lot of the nature-worshipping hippie BM bands we see now. Anyways, when they started doing avantgarde trip hop jazz music with distorted guitars and screams on Themes from William Blake it got more tricky. Is it (very forward thinking) BM, is it not? IMO they had stretched the limits of what could constitute the BM sound too far, even though some of the instrumentation and most certainly the topic and lyrics, would be considered black metal/LHP.

Nothing remotely tricky about it as I see it Johan. It's most definitely not black metal. So sick of people insisting that if you add distorted guitars and/or shrieky/screechy vocals to something that's enough to make it black metal. It's not. Or that if a band makes an album or two in a certain genre then that somehow means everything they will ever do for the rest of their careers will also be part of that genre. Doesn't work that way. 

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10 hours ago, GoatmasterGeneral said:

Nothing remotely tricky about it as I see it Johan. It's most definitely not black metal. So sick of people insisting that if you add distorted guitars and/or shrieky/screechy vocals to something that's enough to make it black metal. It's not. Or that if a band makes an album or two in a certain genre then that somehow means everything they will ever do for the rest of their careers will also be part of that genre. Doesn't work that way. 

Yes, but then you have the group that claims that if the essence and spirit of Satan is in the music is black metal. That's why so many latched on to The Devil's Blood and Ghost.

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On 3/29/2022 at 5:06 AM, Balor said:

My experience on other forums has led me to believe that many black metal bands (especially older underground ones) should probably not join forums/give interviews.

I think everyone is entitled to there view but I'm not necessarily going to agree with them. When gaal was asked about church burnings he said he agreed 100% with doing this and he wanted more of it. This kind of response just puts me off listening to his music. Chainsawkikimbo(think that's name) said on previous thread on this forum said all the burning of buildings puts him off listening to some black metal bands. I'm with him on that. 

 

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On 3/31/2022 at 11:58 AM, Megatokyo said:

There are no rules for subgenre's. If you give a shit about somebody thinking you "HAVE" to wear corpse paint and you "HAVE" to worship satan to play black metal, tell 'em to fuck off.

Agree with that Tokyo. Alot of the metal I listen to pushes the boundaries mixing music and metal which are quite surprising at times.  From my experience just confinement to certain rules gets boring quickly for music. Normally the ones who say metal is boring are the ones from my experience who see metal as set in stone. Well it's my interpretation anyway. They say I don't listen to  metal much because I'm bored of it. Metal from my experience is anything but boring. Loads of choice out there. Is that how you see it? 

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On 3/31/2022 at 6:58 AM, Megatokyo said:

There are no rules for subgenre's. If you give a shit about somebody thinking you "HAVE" to wear corpse paint and you "HAVE" to worship satan to play black metal, tell 'em to fuck off.

There are no set rules for music...there are absolutely rules for sub-genres. That's where all these arguments come from in the first place. That doesn't mean artists can't bend those rules, but at the same time how far can you bend something before it becomes something else entirely?

 

On 3/31/2022 at 6:09 AM, Sheol said:

That's why so many latched on to The Devil's Blood and Ghost

Opus Eponymous was getting a lot of buzz by the trve and grim because it was unique at the time...that's it. It had nothing to do with the essence of Satan or whatever stupid definition Euronymous and his army of dweebs used to define first wave black metal. Even The Devils Blood was always regarded as an occult rock band. Anyone saying otherwise, is either some Portland neckbeard who doesn't actually like black metal, or it's some kvlt Morlock too embarrassed to admit they just like the poppy hooks

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