Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It's all rock 'n roll to me

Let the nu-black metal which has taken over from greater minds, instead of being celebrated as of the same caliber as they were, burn so something can take its place -- no one can take the pretense anymore:


Once upon a time, black metal had a mystical component. Its bands tried to write songs about an idea, and shied away from writing songs that were variations on a known form.

This is a split as big as the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning for rock music, which got popular because it's easy for anyone to make a variant on a template. That way, everyone could participate.

People now like to act as if black metal is still a mystical genre. They take themselves seriously, use ancient and blasphemous language, and claim grand importance for CDs that sell to 50 people who can't tell them apart from any of their other CDs.

There is no unity in the genre, just a lot of people using it for their own ends, namely to have something to do and some reason to claim they're important. "But I am Gezagorath of Impietorturous Blasphemic Anal Mayehm!"

I think it's time to just declare it rock 'n roll. It's no longer far from rock music in structure or theory; it's variations on the pop song format with pentatonic solos, minor/major shifting, and three-chord riffs about the same handful of tired symbols. Not even grandmothers are frightened by Satan and corpsepaint anymore.

It's also changed in outlook. It used to be the genre of the frontier, of singing about that which was both lawless and a terrifying confrontation with mortality, but also permitted exploration outside the narrow-minded humanist herd mentality. Now people say blatantly humanistic things to keep their music safe, and wonder why we're all bored.

Yep, it's just all rock 'n roll to me now. I don't see the point pretending the post-1994 black metal is anything more than another variation on hardcore punk, a genre which also lost its mystique and got really normal only a few years after blossoming.

Everyone can participate, and so there is nothing mysterious or unusual about black metal now. We need to start treating it like any other rock or punk music, and stop posturing and pretending we're true to some ideal that ended long ago. Burn all the idols, not just the convenient ones.

FMP


These people, just like the punk hardcore people, are narcissists. They take themselves so seriously, yet they make music which is basically the same as everything else. They want to be different, but they're afraid to leave behind the comforting lies everyone tells each other, and so hobbled, they cannot do anything but churn out more of the same. It's time to tear down any illusions of their special status or importance, or artistic relevance at all.

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Subvert the dominant paradigm, don't be a solipsist.

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