Everything starts at point zero. Over time, if it is liked by a great number of people – and specific “higher up” people – that something accelerates towards the sky and is no longer at point zero. Eventually, that something becomes popular, abandons the underground and enters the mainstream. All of its previous aesthetics, ideologies and mind state are lost because, well, there’s money, right? Popularity is a tricky and controversial term in heavy metal; along with the terms “mainstream”, “underground”, “elitist”, “kvlt” and so on. I am neither a strict underground elitist nor a blind mainstream follower. However, I do like to think that I try to stick to the main “commandments” of heavy metal throughout my life. These commandments – in my humble opinion – are:
- Stay true to yourself
- Never be afraid to speak your opinion
- Don’t follow blindly (and yes, this means even the metal scene)
- Accept others’ opinions
- Be open to new things
So, why am I writing all of this? Over the years of getting more and more sucked into the metal scene; following all the news, all the blogs and zines, listening to as many bands as possible, I have developed these “commandments” subconsciously but I have also grown sick of some of the aspects of this “brotherly” scene. I could write a book about all the things that repulse me; however, I will mention the most recent disgusting aspect of our (un)holy scene. And that aspect is: tabloid journalism.
There has been a sudden increase in sensationalist journalism in the metal media. I notice more and more half-assed “articles” being written about stupid rumours, what a band member may have eaten, what a band member has slept in or with whom a band member has slept with and even, most recently, a band member’s penis (Randy Blythe of Lamb of God). There are more examples. Dave Mustaine’s most recent performance with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra was all around the web. However, the articles were not about the fact that Mustaine was performing classical pieces on guitar with an orchestra but because he was apparently bad. Of course, everyone can have their opinion and if someone believes that he did not perform well then by all means, write whatever you thought of it. But what is the point of writing a review of a concert which you have seen through a few very low quality fan videos taken on some phone? And so what if the guy made one or two mistakes on stage? BANDS MAKE MISTAKES ALL THE TIME WHEN THEY PERFORM. Seriously, I am sick of seeing blog posts taking the piss out of Mustaine. Who’s your next victim, “metal journalists”?
Oh, here we go, I found the next most recent victim: Iron Maiden and Bruce Dickinson. In a recent interview with The Guardian (take a look at their website “metal journalists”, they actually write decent articles, most of their writers at least), Dickinson slammed punk as “rubbish”. However, let’s be honest here, this is not news; Iron Maiden have always been anti-punk and in every interview I’ve seen they claimed to hate it, with passion. Anyway, a certain metal website now starts a rumour that Dickinson said what he said about punk in order to “send out a verbal kick in the balls to [Dickinson’s] predecessor, Paul Di’Anno” because Di’Anno claimed to be a punk singer. Seriously? Why? How? Who pays you to write this shit?
The reason I mentioned the metal “commandments” at the beginning of this article is because I believe that this kind of tabloid journalism is being super un-metal. On the contrary, this kind of journalism is literally destroying everything heavy metal is all about and copying the mainstream. Do we really need metal versions of “newspapers” like The Sun or Daily Mail? Do we really need to gossip about every single fucking detail we find amusing? Is this all we are able to do with our lives at the moment: stare at someone tripping over – and, perhaps, burning their penis as Randy Blythe – pointing at that person, laugh and invite others to laugh with us?
Where is the respect that heavy metal is all about? Obviously, there have to be some limits and these “journalists” have seriously lost any sense of morals. And don’t start preaching some Nergal (Behemoth) “I don’t believe in morality” bullshit now.
I say, stay away from those tabloids. There are so many good magazines, websites and blogs out there. Here are some of my favourites: No Clean Singing, Zero Tolerance Magazine, Codex Obscurum Zine, Metal Underground, Musick Magazine (Polish) and yes, even Blabbermouth is a good source for news because they are basically a source of facts and press releases.
Stop acting like a spoiled bunch of children.
This is how some metal websites look to me nowadays:
A quote from the great, George Orwell. I guess, some of us misunderstood “printing what someone else does not want printed”.