There was a time when I actually enjoyed being part of the online metal community. I don’t have a lot of metalhead friends in “real life,” so it was fun to finally be able to discuss the music I love with like minded people. For a long time it was a total blast.
But at some point, things changed drastically. Various websites/blogs that I once considered to be colleagues turned into vile dens of clickbait, revisionist history and articles better suited to tabloids than metal sites. The Twitter and Facebook metal contingents became PC cesspools, more concerned with bands’ alleged ideologies and conducting guilty until proven innocent style witch hunts than with the damn music.
I tried pretty damn hard to put up with it in the hopes that it was just a passing phase, but unfortunately it has seemingly reached the point of no return. This year I was told on social media that Marduk are “shock rock posers,” this coming from an ex-member of a band that can best be described as like Neurosis but more boring and with fewer riffs (how is that even possible?). I can understand not liking a band, but to call a band with the longevity and influence that Marduk has had posers is completely ridiculous, especially if it’s only because of the fact that they have songs about World War II gets you bent out of shape.
Also within the past year via social media, a person affiliated with a prominent metal website that shall remain nameless recently told me that Mayhem, a band that means a lot to me personally, “is not a good band.” Said person then proceeded to trash talk them, as opposed to making any attempt at having a legitimate discussion or debate. Everyone’s entitled to their opinions (awful as those opinions may be, in this person’s case), but between these remarks and the aforementioned clickbait and revisionist history pieces that have been published under this person’s stewardship, I decided enough was enough and deleted all traces of said person and their site from my web browser and social media accounts.
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t just the younger generation that’s fucking up though. On the other side you’ve got bitter, out of touch old men claiming the metal scene is dead at every turn. I recently came across an article published this year claiming that Deafheaven have ushered in the downfall of metal. At this point Deafheaven are seven years and three albums deep into their career, isn’t it a bit late for a “hot take?” For an encore, the same writer once again fired up the Clickbait Wayback Machine and wrote a piece based on the PMRC, a song from five years ago that absolutely no one remembers and something Euronymous said over twenty years ago. Way to keep it relevant, Grandpa. The grumpy old metal dudes shuffling around shouting “Get off my lawn!” (when they aren’t too busy shouting “The demo was better!” in regard to the recorded output of every metal band ever) aren’t any better.
I haven’t even touched on comments sections yet, and at this point I’m not going to because I think we can all agree that they’re the online equivalent of a kaibo at a festival, such is the mass amount of shit they’re typically filled with. The less said about them, the better.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve written some pretty damn curmudgeonly stuff in the past, and there are a few pieces I’ve done that some might consider clickbait. I’ll even go so far as to admit that I’ve said some things in comments sections that I thoroughly regret. I also don’t understand why some more recent bands get the hype that they do, or why kids like deathcore, or why people think the term “edgelord” is so clever.
But, it has never been my intention to take the enjoyment out of listening to metal and all the great things that come with it, whereas I can’t help but feel like these people are out to turn metal into a total drag for themselves and everyone around them. To what end, I’m not sure, but the intent is quite clear and it makes me sad to think that someone would want to suck the life out of something that has meant so much to me for the past two and a half decades.
I’m also not sure how one goes about combating it. I was recently talking to a friend who stated that he felt much better since distancing himself from the online metal community. In recent months I’ve started to decrease my metal related social media interactions and I must admit I’m inclined to agree with him. Perhaps the best thing to do is work as hard as possible to make your own little corner of the metalverse as awesome as it can be (which isn’t hard because metal is fucking awesome) and forget about the burning cesspit that exists outside it.
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