I stopped buying music magazines quite a number of years ago. Aside from the odd issue of Metal Hammer (usually a couple of times a year to get a handle on upcoming tours), I don't buy music magazines. Since I got a bit better at reading blogs, I thought I'd seek out some blogs about the metal world to fulfil my need for news and information about metal bands. I don't really care about reviews. They are too subjective, so I tend to try and ignore them.
I am tempted to take all the metal blogs off my feed except the one that just provides information rather than opinion. I'm not sure why I can cope with reading political opinions from all perspectives without wanting to stab my screen, but the minute someone writes something disparaging about music I want to rip the author's fingers off.
So why do I still get wound up when I see pieces on blogs that belittle particular bands as not being metal enough? I know that the metal world is highly elitest, snobby and purist. If you don't meet up to its high standards of the precise powerchords and drum beats, then I'm sorry, you failed. Woe betide you as a consumer of music if you should even like those bands that fail the metal test.
The metal fans seem to be largely grouped into 3 camps: the kids, the middle aged and the old school.
First the kids. The kids are the young generation who are into the latest metal fad. At the time of writing we're talking metalcore bands with stupid names, that make music that makes your ears bleed in a not so good way (OK, I'm a little snobby about this). They like skinny genes, dyed black mullets and eyeliner. And that is just the guys. If you don't like the bands they are into, they will probably do a really good Kevin the Teenager routine.
Second, the middle aged. Actually, this is kinda where I sit. I'm not really middle aged, I'm only in my late 20s, but the age range in this group is so vast and we appreciate such a wide range of music that this is best description I could think of. We're the generation that fell in love with Rammstein and Korn, and eyed Limp Bizkit with suspicion whilst spending our alone time with bands like Metallica and Iron Maiden. We appreciate the old school but are critical of the kids.
Finally there is the Old School. They are old enough to remember when Iron Maiden were still playing in pubs, they rocked out to The Cult and The Damned, and were probably Goth before it was even invented. They might have mullets, but they have had them for 30 years. They long for the old days.
Needless to say, all these groups are equally snobby and derisory about anything they don't consider to be 'true metal'. I'm sure there is some definition somewhere about what 'true metal' is, but you know what, I don't really care. The thing I see is an industry that is eventually doomed to failure through collapse. From the things I read and see on the internet, metal bands are not allowed to evolve and grow their sound. If they step outside of the prescribed boundaries of what metal is supposed to be about, then they are derided and laughed at. If they create the same stuff over and over, they are either applauded (for the ones that have captured the hearts, but that can turn quickly), or they are accused of being samey and boring.
It seems like noone can win.
Female fronted bands are particularly vulnerable to this level of criticism, because if there is one more thing that all 'true metal' fans hate, its a lady with a belting voice. But that is best left for another rant.