The social stigma attached to Metal...

StickIt

Senior Member
There are more than a few posts that have struck me as being very direct in attacking/disregarding metal music as a step-child of musical culture. Likewise, there are many posts that advocate it quite strongly. I bet that there is a definite connection to age and musical 'era' there.

I am not an advocate of metal per se', but I do find that there are plenty of songs and some complete albums that are absolutely terrific within the genre. (I'm 31 yo btw)

I am just wondering if anyone cares to share any specific reasons/examples of why they abhor metal music in general...and too, if we might have a debate (using links to songs as an example?) as to the relevance of this music within our musical society in general.

FYI - I do not mean to attempt to 'divide' the forum in any way. Just looking for some mature debate/opinion.
 

PQleyR

Platinum Member
I really think the community aspect is the thing that you have to understand to properly evaluate the music. In mainstream popular music the 'community' is the media circus where artists' wares are displayed, apart from at the fringes where you get the more dedicated fans who'll pick over stuff and analyse it or just spend ages talking to one another about why they love it so much. Metal is one giant fringe, on the whole. I hypothesise that one day metal might be viewed in a similar way to the way jazz is viewed now. Both place high demand on technical expertise and a deep involvement in the music, both have their moments of high drama and theatrics, both are regarded as unlistenable non-music by their detractors, both were originally thought of as being highly dangerous to the fabric of society...etc. And both give drummers lots to do!
 

StickIt

Senior Member
Yeah...I read through some of the drumming debate threads, and I see both sides of the issue in that respect. I was kinda sensing some negativity toward the genre as a whole, and that's what I am trying to get a feel for.

Is it a dislike for 'heavy' music, an anxious feeling toward the non-musicality, or...?

lol, I agree that a lot of it can have a cheesy feel, but some of it really is good music!
 

jeff_r0x

Member
Here's some old threads that debate this, but more about metal drumming than the genre itself.

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=90471
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=88894

I love me some metal, but I can see how it seems cheesy to an outsider. It can have kind of a "pro-wrestling" vibe to it. Not all of it of course, but an outsider would probably lump them all together.
I was going to say something similar to Fuo's comment. The problem is when the image/culture/posturing of a genre screams louder than its content. I recognize that there are many amazing drummers that are playing metal. I've included one below as an example. He's a very versatile studio drummer, but his regular gig is a metal band. I would challenge a drummer of ANY genre to pull off what this guy does.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5q5muDbf8Mo
 
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DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I'm the opposite.

I was never into metal as a young teenager. The older I get the more into I get. I've bought albums at age 40 I don't think the 20 year old me would have listened to.

But it's an easy genre to dislike because there are a lot of bad metal bands that all sound like out there.

I find particularly with modem american metal bands, it's all about trying to be faster and more brutal that the next guy, without much regard to dynamics, or melody.

But if you sift through the layers of cookie monster sound a-likes, there is some great metal coming out of Europe and such where dynamics, melody and actually singing can be found.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
I listened to a LOT of metal when I was younger. It was great because it was reckless and aggressive. For the last 10 years, though, I've been seeking out other music with more melody and more feel. I still enjoy metal, and there's something to be said for the "blistering 32nd note" chops as well as the heaviness of the "chun chun chun, chun chun chun" variety, but it's not the kind of music that I actively seek out nowadays. I guess you can say that I went through my metal phase, and now I'm done with it.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I would also posit that it's a generational and genre gap thing. Because speed and endurance and double bass are emphasized by metal drummers and their followers, and obsessed over by aspiring metal drummers, those who don't hold that those are the key values in drumming (say, jazz, pop, or fusion drummers) are turned off by it.

Another perception (one I personally share) is that many younger and newer drummers focus on the physical, mechanical aspects of drumming with no appreciation of the musical aspects of what they are doing. If you don't know what an eighth, sixteenth, or thirty-second note is or what it means or how it relates to the music, it is much harder to mesh with the rest of the band, and the music becomes a "how fast can you hit things" drill. Since metal is a popular genre with certain segments of the population, metal has a very large proportion of these types of aspiring drummers.

I agree that there is good and bad metal, just as there's good and bad of all kinds of music. And there's always going to be music that's so experimental or outside our personal tastes that it is unapproachable. Add to that the imagery and lifestyle that many metal adherents espouse, many of which emphasize shock value, nonconformity, and running counter to conventional tastes in and of themselves, and it's not hard to see why metal has many more, and more vocal, detractors than, say, freeform jazz or polka.
 
A

Anthony Amodeo

Guest
from the ages of 12 to 18 metal was my savior

I will always love and respect metal and metal drumming for the important part it played in my development as a musician

metal from that era (mid 80s to early 90s) will always have my heart
 

Wavelength

Platinum Member
The sole reason for my dislike is that I just can't (under)stand it. I've tried listening to the extreme metal countless times, and I always get exhausted before the first song is over. It's almost as pleasant as listening to a chainsaw. On the other hand, rock bands with a slight lean towards metal genres such as Opeth and Pain Of Salvation (and even... dare I say it.... Dream Theater!) manage to tickle my funny bones in a good way.
 

ohiodrummer1964

Senior Member
from the ages of 12 to 18 metal was my savior

I will always love and respect metal and metal drumming for the important part it played in my development as a musician

metal from that era (mid 80s to early 90s) will always have my heart
I bet I can guess some of the bands you listened to, because those were my big metal years, too. Up the Irons!

I have a theory that every sound and musical phrase already exists out in the cosmos, and is therefore available to use and valid if utilized in a musically appropriate way. Obviously some are more appropriate for a lot more situations than others, and mankind has yet to discover the correct situation for some others, but they are all out there to be used nonetheless. That's kind of hypothetical, and probably doesn't really work in day-to-day playing, but the general idea makes sense to me. Of course, I've had two brain surgeries, so you can take that with a grain of salt, lol.

Putting that theory into practice, if you're still with me, the sound of a Gibson Les Paul with humbuckers played through a 100 watt Marshall plexi has an in-your-face power to it makes it a great way for expressing emotions like rage, anger, paranoia, etc. Since those are all universal human emotions, by my definition exploring them in music is artistically valid, and metal does so very well.

Part of metal's problem might be the bands that overdo it to such extremes it sounds cheesy, as someone else already pointed out. I don't think you should put down an entire genre just because some people in it aren't as good as others. I'm sure there were other players around at the same time as Mozart and early Miles that history doesn't remember because they weren't up to the same level.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I'm sure we all have our definition of what music really means but to me it has always been somethng that is melodic, pleasant to listen too and understandable. I don't find this in metal music. And before you jump I am lumping all metal together which may be my loss. But just the names of some of the genres turn me off. Why would I want to listen to Death metal. I enjoy living. And this growling thing thing. Who decided that this was a musical syle. Seams to me he who has no voice growls. Maybe I'm closed minded but I have an opinion of metal, and in Gerneral, none of it is pleasingwhich to me music should be.
 

StickIt

Senior Member
Part of metal's problem might be the bands that overdo it to such extremes it sounds cheesy, as someone else already pointed out. I don't think you should put down an entire genre just because some people in it aren't as good as others.
That's how I feel about it.

On the other hand, rock bands with a slight lean towards metal genres such as Opeth and Pain Of Salvation (and even... dare I say it.... Dream Theater!) manage to tickle my funny bones in a good way.
This is another thing, IMO, that distracts listeners and other musicians...genre. Is Sabbath metal or rock? I consider them within the metal genre because of their dark themes and use of distorted guitars. While others consider only super-extreme bands to be within the metal genre....I've heard Opeth, and although they aren't extreme, I consider them metal, because that's just how my brain compartmentalizes them...
 

ohiodrummer1964

Senior Member
The sole reason for my dislike is that I just can't (under)stand it. I've tried listening to the extreme metal countless times, and I always get exhausted before the first song is over. It's almost as pleasant as listening to a chainsaw. On the other hand, rock bands with a slight lean towards metal genres such as Opeth and Pain Of Salvation (and even... dare I say it.... Dream Theater!) manage to tickle my funny bones in a good way.
You've just completely changed my perception of you built on three years of reading your posts in one fell swoop, LOL.

I completely agree with you about the chainsaw part though. Some of the extreme stuff seems to stay on one rhythm, chord change and volume level for ridiculous amounts of time. To each his own, and I try not to judge, but I prefer music that has movement and dynamics.

"On the other hand, rock bands with a slight lean towards metal genres..." I agree with this as well. I might be older than you. For me it's music like Judas Priest on Stained Glass and Sad Wings of Destiny. It has the tension and driving force of good, heavy music, but has some actual melody lines and release to counter the tension.

Edit: Hey GRUNTERSDAD: You were posting at the same time I wrote this post. I would suggest either of the two Judas Priest albums I listed as an example of metal that has the characteristics you mentioned liking in music. Some people might argue those albums are more hard rock than metal, I think they qualify as early metal. The kind they made before the death stuff, which I don't care for either.
 
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Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I remember when "metal" meant more than just strings of double-bass notes in slightly different sub-divisions. That's really the only thing I can't stand, and unfortunately, it seems to be expected for the genre. I don't like listening to that any more than I like listening to a guitar player wank off with as many notes as possible into a given space.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
This is another thing, IMO, that distracts listeners and other musicians...genre. Is Sabbath metal or rock? I consider them within the metal genre because of their dark themes and use of distorted guitars. While others consider only super-extreme bands to be within the metal genre....I've heard Opeth, and although they aren't extreme, I consider them metal, because that's just how my brain compartmentalizes them...
This debate has come up before.

Of course Sabbath is metal. One of the first metal bands and few disagree.

Yet, others do only think of metal as only the extreme variety. There was a thread a few years back where a younger poster said something along the lines of "why do people consider Black Sabbath metal? There is noting metal about them!"

If there is any "negative social stigma" (for lack of a better term) it derives from the thought that only the extreme variety is metal, and ignores the much wider variety that falls under the metal umbrella. And that some bands (like Dream Theater) write both metal and non metal songs.
 

Fuo

Platinum Member
I'm sure we all have our definition of what music really means but to me it has always been somethng that is melodic, pleasant to listen too and understandable. I don't find this in metal music. And before you jump I am lumping all metal together which may be my loss. But just the names of some of the genres turn me off. Why would I want to listen to Death metal. I enjoy living. And this growling thing thing. Who decided that this was a musical syle. Seams to me he who has no voice growls. Maybe I'm closed minded but I have an opinion of metal, and in Gerneral, none of it is pleasingwhich to me music should be.
For the growling thing... Yea I'm sure some people do it because they can't really sing, but for others it can be used for effect, a tension/release kinda thing. Like a distorted guitar.

All the same singer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfslLWySZYg (and if you're going to close the window when the growling starts, at least skip to 7:45 first for some of the best tension/release ever)

And the "understandability" argument doesn't really work either... That writes off opera and anything that's in a different language.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Ohio I agree with that. However where do we draw the line between Hard Rock and Metal.? I think the overall genre has changed over the years and much of what was originally Metal would not fit todays description And again I have lumped a lot of music together that may not belong together because to me it is all just loud noise.
 

Fuo

Platinum Member
I've heard Opeth, and although they aren't extreme, I consider them metal, because that's just how my brain compartmentalizes them...
Opeth are DEFINITIVELY metal. Maybe not their latest (Heritage), and Watershed... And they usually have 1-2 songs/album that are barely-metal, but still, the vast majority of their work is in-arguably metal.
 

StickIt

Senior Member
I guess the huge gray area in some people's (mine) minds between hard rock and metal has quite a bit to do with it.

I think that Tool are a very creative and melodic metal band, yet they don't pound 32nd notes down your throat, nor do they growl constantly. But, in my mind, they're definitely a metal band.

I consider Soundgarden's first couple of albums to be metal. I also love Stanton Moore's drumming with COC, and the band as a whole.
 
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