I recently picked up a physical copy of
the only good
my favorite metal album of the year, Path of Totality
. I did an audio review here
, for the curious.
The album has an insert in the back of the cover from the record label. It's mostly a list of bands with album titles and covers, but it also does a nice job of boiling down the issues I have with metal as a genre into a digestible, easily referenced format.
Let's start with the band names. We have such charming gems as Necrophagist, Suffocation, Pig Destroyer, Haemorrhage, Exhumed, Rotten Sound, Death, Neurosis, Repulsion, Kingdom of Sorrow, and Abysmal Dawn. And I can only imagine the depth of insight that must surely spew from the brain of the minds behind Dying Fetus and Cephalic Carnage. Then there's my personal favorite, Devourment.
The album titles practically write themselves at this point, but for the sake of completion I'm going to list a few of them too: Intestinal Incubation, Entrails of You, Your Funeral My Feast, The Engine of Death, Beaten into Submission, Full of Hell, Descend into Depravity, Behind the Blackest Tears, Taste the Sin, Leveling the Plane of Existence, Existence is Futile, and the Fragile Art of Existence. No, those last three are not the products of the same band.
And I can't really paste a bunch of covers here (well I could, but it would be annoying) but to paint a general picture: Imagine a black box, 500 x 500 pixels. In the middle of this box, put white text. Now distort the text beyond legibility by stretching it height-wise and compressing it lengthwise. If you're not feeling too creatively drained at this point, consider replacing the black box with a hardcore picture like a crow eating eyeballs or corpses piled on each other, or a corpse eating eyeballs from a pile of corpses piled on each other.
If you're still invested at this point, you might suspect that my issue with metal is that it's comically "dark" to the point of self parody.
This is only part
of my issue. The broader problem is that it takes itself way too seriously for otherwise being comically "dark" to the point of self parody. Everything about the genre is played straight, and it doesn't deal in small, day to day issues that lesser genres make into the subjects of their songs, no. Metal is built on the monumental backs of such topics as existentialism, religion, mythology, war, violence, and depravity. The juxtaposition between the seriousness it attempts and the ridiculousness of its image is really just too much for me to handle. You're going to call yourself Dying Fetus and then you're going to wear a black robe and hood onstage while growling at 3 words a minute and riffing a twelve-minute guitar solo followed by a description of Ragnarok--and you expect me to appreciate this in any kind of unironic way?
Also I happen to have it on good authority that 95% of "metalheads" spend more time downvoting Justin Bieber music on YouTube than they do listening to actual metal. Stay classy.
(there might be a "why I can't take hip hop seriously" in the near future)