Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Heavy Metal Snobbery? (Europe vs. Everyone Else)

I apologize for the lack of posts-I haven't been on the Internet for a while but I really wanted to bring this to your attention. (I'll continue the Dating In The Metal Scene pt. 2 after this)

Recently, I've noticed a bit of a...debate going on in the metal scene that I think has been there for a while now. I sometimes look over the comments on YouTube for different metal bands with blacks in them just to read the support or lack thereof for the band.


More than anything, it seems that a lot of European metal heads are emphatic that European metal is the best kind of metal and any other type of attempt at metal is considered less or even perhaps bizarre and futile.

And even on this blog I've noticed that the comments I get from the Europeans (specifically around the Baltic region or Scandinavian) all sort of revolve around the same issue. It's not even so much race as it there is an emphasis on 'culture'. The main argument being that metal music in general (now correct me Scandinavian readers if I'm wrong)-is for a certain 'culture'. Now let me stress culture. It seems to perplex them the most not that a black person would be into metal per se but the fact that black culture as a whole is the complete antithesis of metal culture...if that makes sense? I'm not pointing fingers at anyone-it's just an observation. But it's not just the whole black thing.



I believe that American metal bands just aren't taken as seriously as European metal bands...at least in Europe. Now, you may ask me, but BGIHM-what's wrong with that? Absolutely nothing. It's this elitist attitude that I dislike.


Granted, metal sort of was molded/perfected in Europe with bands like Cream, Black Sabbath, and Led Zeppelin I think we can all attribute its roots to blues and American Rock n Roll. I think different forms of metal were obviously created in different areas. Thrash metal is so purely American with bands like Metallica and Anthrax while Black metal is purely a European and specifically Norwegian form of metal. I'm not saying that there are no bands from either Europe or America that aren't either-but the base of where that brand of metal comes from is there. Now I'm not going to go into the semantics and hierarchy of the different types of metal because its just too damn much to get into. I guess what I'm mainly miffed about is the unwillingness, hell-on both sides, to admit that Heavy Metal at best was and is a joint effort on all fronts. There are some AMAZING South American metal bands, as well as Japanese (well truthfully, I only like Gallhammer), and the sparse but good metal that's being released out of Africa.



This didn't come out as eloquently as I had hoped but the basis of what I'm trying to say is that Metal music is such a minority in music that there should be no snobbery of who's balls are bigger than the other. Europe has amazing metal bands such as Gorgoroth, Iron Maiden, Opeth, Carcass, etc. America has amazing metal bands such as Death, Slayer, Iron Butterfly, Dream Theater,etc (Yes, I like Dream Theater, so what). And there are so many more.
I dunno, maybe I'm still ignorant on the topic. Please comment, I want your ever intriguing thoughts.
Who cares, its good music right?




14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Luke Sez:
Totally agree, but metal is more cultural in Europe because Europe has more culture, and yeah I pretty much agree that Europe is kicking ass in a big way as far as metal goes, but the US has good stuff too, check out Absu - (self titled) that came out this year, it's pure black metal, and it rapes anything that has come from Scandinavia recently.

Another place that has a very rich culture is China, and after seeing Global Metal, I'm patiently waiting for the new wave of Chinese Heavy Metal to blow up, particularly Chinese folk metal, it's still in it's fetal phase, and I've heard some Chinese metal that hints towards it already, and to say the least it's going to be fucking brilliant.

I'm Australian, the only bands we have here are Be'lakor and Psycroptic, so foreign metal is about the only choice we have.

Anonymous said...

Luke sez:
No European metal band has ever made an album as relevant to these times as Endgame by Megadeth by the way, I mean Vikings are great and everything, but forces are gathering right now to enslave the world and no one is paying attention.

Dare Devil said...

Maybe this article helps to explain a couple of differences between US and European Heavy Metal:

http://www.rageage.com/?p=57

Anonymous said...

Many black people listen and play RandB. It’s a reality.
Why ? It’s probably cultural. I don’t say that black people can’t be interested by folk metal. You are the proof of the opposite. I just say that the environment of black metal or folk metal is particular and typically European. It’s the main reason for me who explain why the auditors or the actors of this music are mainly white and european... And i think it’s the same thing for european people who play african music... It’s rare.
Listen these bands to understand what i say...
Immortal : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOEIZiTXduE
Moonsorrow : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flKpXBteDQs
Ensiferum : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovdmkfxzmNY
Arckanum : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dn7Ag2A88Ok
Isengard (with Fenriz of Darkthrone...) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ou3-KZo9AkQ
Storm : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMCvgDLH0yc
Nordavind : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPhib_E2kQI
Forefather : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeGuDQ5gq-c
Galar : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnK30c-xRao
Windir : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEJLOGW8tC8
Etc...

The Black Girl into Heavy Metal said...

@Anon-I understand what your saying. The bottomline is that its rare for both sides to play eachothers music not as a race issue but as a cultural issue. I was just trying to bring to light the...ah...opinions of some/many. Thanks for your comment.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for my English but I am not English. Do you think it is easy for a person of African descent to play music that is influenced and assimilated to European culture. For my part, I think it will be easier for a person of African descent to play nu metal or hard rock because the subjects covered and instruments used will be more within their reach.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for my english but i am not english. Do you think it's easy for a person of african origin to play music that is influenced and assimilated to European culture ? For my part, i think it will be easier for a person of african origin to play nu metal or hard rock, thrash metal because the subjects and instruments used will be more at their reach.

The Black Girl into Heavy Metal said...

@Anon-Hmm, African American or pure African origin?
I think it would be easier for an AA to play metal (there are more famous AA in metal than pure African metal bands). That being because AA's have more exposure to the European style of metal and instruments-thus duplicating it.
I think it's harder for an ALL African metal band to even be taken seriously in metal as a genre versus a white European or hell-even white African (South African) playing African music or 'African American' music. It would be taken more seriously, probably seen as something new and interesting. Atleast in my opinion.
Can I ask the same of you? Do you think that it is easier for a white person to play African music (which there are so many different types from traditional tribal to Afropop/Carribean to Highlife)?

Anonymous said...

I don’t see the things like that. This isn’t a competition. Maybe that the whites are more individualistic and less dependent of their community. Maybe the social class is important ? It seems to me evident that more we are rich, less our community has an influence on us.
And you, your parents are rich ?
Personally, i think that the cause of the culture of people is essentially environmental. Have you grown in an environment mainly white or black?
Indeed, i think that a white who has grew in an environment mainly black, has more luck to be influenced by black culture. I think that the opposite is also true.
For me, white people will have more difficulties to play black music if they have never evolved in a black community.
It’s consequently, also a problem of inheritance and educational. The children are more able to reproduce what their parents have taught them.
It’s not illogical to find metal inspired by the Scandinavian traditional music for example in Norway as it’s logical to find other forms of metal in Asia for exemple.

Viagra said...

It's not a matter of who's better, or who's worst... The thing is that we are all used to a "type" of Metal. Europeans are used to their way of playing Metal, as Americans are used to theirs, but to some point we have to be clear that in a way European Metal has a bit of the upper hand, in production and in development and specially in the way it is spread.

generic viagra said...

I don't like to much metal music but I have friends that they do and they dress like that and everything, when I'm with them I'm the the only one "normal" dressed but I don't even care, they are they and they are my friend and the girls are very hot haha
Thanks, nice post.

Seance said...

Sadly the metalheads from Europe that has that snobbery attitude have an inferiority complex against US metal.

There are great metal bands from Europe but if I look at my record collection there are more US metalbands and I think the most of the new exciting metalbands that has come the last years are from US and Skandinavia.

Rowan said...

As a European myself (I come from the Netherlands) it is common to hear about the supposed superiority of European heavy metal (the whole 'subjective taste' argument aside). However, before I continue I would first like to say that this whole distinction between Europe vs. the United States (or even the world) might not be as simple as some people might think it is.

What a lot of people interpret as European is actually an amalgam of very different cultures: Scandinavian, Celtic, Germanic, Slavic, Latin, etc. The US is a huge country with a lot of racial/ethnic diversity, but as a culture it is still in its infancy when comparing it with African, Southern American, European, Asian countries.

Furthermore, if you take Europe as a whole (not just Western Europe) you get Greek, Dutch, German, Polish, Norwegian, British, French, Belgian, Ukrainian, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Swiss, Austrian, Albanian, Croatian, Georgian, Irish, Scottish, Lithuanian, Russian, Romanian and Icelandic bands all coming together as one huge group, each with their different style, sound and instruments. There is no real 'European' sound, just as there is no real 'American' sound.

Now regarding your article: a lot of Europeans consider America to be the sick bastards responsible for such appalling glam metal/deathcore/metalcore/nu-metal garbage like Cinderella, Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot, Bullet for My Valentine and whatnot. Though the majority only makes these remarks as a light-hearted jokes, rather than attempting to ignore the huge impact and influence US heavy metal has had over the years and continues to have. Unfortunately you'll always have those people who truly believe that they're superior to anyone else simply because they're from a certain country. This does not, however, represent the huge amount of European metalheads that practically revere American bands such as Morbid Angel, Death, Slayer, maudlin of the Well and many, many other bands.

Also, a lot of European metalheads that I personally know are broadening their horizons. They're practically scouring the earth for metal bands. Indonesia is well-known for vomiting forth some of the most brutal and vile death metal/grindcore bands on the planet and the most depraved black metal often hails from Japan. Botswana is also getting more and more popular thanks to bands like Wrust and Skinflint in certain circles.

The unwillingness to join hands and unite under the banner of metal is actually diminishing from my point of view.

Rowan said...

Bands like Liturgy, however, are making it harder to join hands. By the All-Father, how I hate that band and their frontman's pretentious drivel! It is really annoying to see someone write a manifesto in which this bloke is saying that Scandinavian/European black metal ("Hyperborean Metal" as he calls it) has been doing it wrong for all these years. Stand aside how the Exceptional Spirit of America will show us ignorant Scandinavians/Europeans how it's done. Enter "Transcendental" black metal!!!

Seriously? Adding an adjective does not a (sub)genre make! Apart from the transcendental element, which I believe has always been in black metal since day one, Hunter Hunt-Hendrix's comparisons of 'what is tr00 black metal?' are incredibly bigoted. He's only comparing America and Scandinavia/Western-Europe. What happened to the rest of Europe? What happened to the entire South-American continent? Why ignore countries like Japan, Indonesia and Australia for crying out loud?

Also, his music is as unoriginal and run-of-the-mill as it gets. Extremely boring and forgettable. Except for the drummer - fuck, he's a beast!