Look, it’s pretty damn obvious that we love Bandcamp. We include links to an album hosted on the site in somewhere around 90% of our posts, I’d wager, and we’ve pointed time and again to how it views itself as a part of the underground music community, not merely a detached facilitator for music, merch, and money exchanging hands between artist and fan. It’s where we find our new music, it’s where the people we know find their new music, it’s where we host some music of our own. Bandcamp is inextricably tangled up in the lives of everybody here at Heavy Blog; its existence has more or less enabled the site to operate in the way it has, and for all of our lives to operate in the ways they do.
The thing that binds us as much as it does music here, though, is the profound commitment we all share towards causes of social justice and equality in our world. If you’ve read some of our longform pieces or have listened to episodes of our podcast, this is something that comes up time and again. We have written plenty of articles about the need to discuss racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. in spaces devoted to heavy music, planting our feet firmly in league with the marginalized in the world we live in. I want to explain in brief why this love of music that connects us and our desire to make the world a safer, better space for marginalized people go hand-in-hand.
Heavy music, be it traditional punk, power metal, grindcore, what-have-you, has always been about rebellion and marginalization. This is a sword often wielded by shitty people trying to pass off the shitty things they say as radical in some form, but though they are using this truth towards the wrong ends, it is a truth nonetheless. At its core, people come to forms of music outside the mainstream, and heavy music specifically, because they feel as though they are separated from culture at large; they have examined the zeitgeist and found no place in it for themselves. Look at how many metal and punk bands label themselves as lone wolves, as rebels, as outcasts from the world at large, and you’ll instantly see what I mean: heavy music is where people go when they feel spurned by the world they live in.
Being a loner, someone disenchanted with and disconnected from society doesn’t invoke an oppression on its own terms, but the two go hand-in-hand. I know many stories – I am one such story myself – of a young member of a marginalized group finding a seemingly never-ending solace in metal and punk. As a young queer teen, struggling to find where I belonged in a world where people like me are denied jobs, denied dignity, and violently attacked for aspects of who we are that we have no hope or desire to change, finding myself among other such dregs from the system meant the world to me. I don’t think it saved my life on its own, but it was certainly an integral part of it and one that helped me make through awful day after awful day.
Heavy music – and music in general – plays an enormous part in all of our lives in a way that is so powerfully linked to our commitment to social justice that to try and unpack this fully would require a series of posts in its own right, which is why when bandcamp announced that they would be doing a second day of donation, this time to the Transgender Law Center, we were overjoyed. Transgender individuals live in a world of constant denial of their identity, constant belittlement at the hands of their peers, random other citizens, and the systems of government in which they operate. The right of trans people to engage in the simplest of tasks, like using a public restroom, has been turned into a political battleground by people who want to whip up fear and bigotry. Just the other day, the President of the United States declared trans people serving in the military to be “a burden.” Trans people live as targets.
This isn’t to engage in an oppression olympics of any sort or to say trans people have no ability to live wholesome lives regardless of the systemic oppression they face, but to say that donating to a place that helps trans people to live more comfortably in this world is a really fucking good thing to do with your money. I’ve waxed philosophical here about the need for social equality and the struggles that heavy music helps people face and why we should all be willing and ready to help other outcasts from society, but at the end of the day, it’s pretty simple: giving money to this cause is a good thing to do, because it helps people who need help, people who are oppressed in a systemic manner. Bandcamp giving money to the Transgender Law Center is not going to be an immediate panacea that eliminates every issue trans people face, and to be frank, just donating money is more helpful than going through this middleman, but today is a good start. It’s a good way to help a good organization while also helping artists you enjoy.
To that end, we’ve compiled a list of albums on bandcamp we think are worth your time to buy today. Browse through, see what you like and what you don’t, pick up some stuff you dig. Some of it we’ve covered; some of it we haven’t. Some of it is metal; some of it isn’t. Either way, go out there and spend some money, help some people, play it fucking loud and proud. Let the good feeling you get from donating today be the catalyst to you helping even more in the future. Donate more, and donate directly. Go to protests. Help those you personally know. Do whatever you can. Just be committed, because we’re all outcasts, all rebels in our own ways, and we need to stand together.
*Note: some labels and artists are donating all of their proceeds as well to the Transgender Law Center. For a full list of those labels, of which there are 200+, click here.
Afterbirth – The Time Traveler’s Dilemma (brutal death metal, math metal)
Tchornobog – Tchornobog (experimental death metal)
Dvne – Asheran (progressive stoner/death)
Sarin – ᴅ ᴀ ʀ ᴋ ᴇ ʀ ʟ ᴀ ᴋ ᴇ s
Ancestors – In Dreams and Time (progressive doom)
Fractal Cypher – The Human Paradox (progressive metal)
Contrarian – To Perceive is To Suffer (old school tech-death, progressive death)
Fred Thomas – Changer (indie folk, punk)
Green Druid – Ashen Blood (Doom, stoner metal)
Primitive Man – Home is Where the Hatred Is (apocalypse doom, drone)
Droid – Terrestrial Mutations (Vektor-ass metal)
Spaceslug – Time Travel Dilemma (slick ass psych metal)
crashPREZ – more perfect (hip-hop)
Arctos – A Spire Silent (extreme/ambient/black metal)
Inscapes – s/t (post-rock)
NYN – Entropy: Of Chaos and Salt (tech-death)
Mutoid Man – War Moans (hold my beer)
Damsel Trash – Wasted $ Broke (garage rock/punk)
Meat Wave – The Incessant (post-punk)
No Hoax – s/t (punk)
Aziza – Council of Straightjackets (sludge/hardcore)
Bron Sage – Ferali (alt-rock/horny rock)
Ethereal Delusions – Ascension (synthwave)
Skeleton Beach – Being There (ambient/darkwave)
LVX – Interstellar (synthwave)
Big Lich – Rock It From The Crypt (chiptune/synthwave)
Leifendeth – Derelict Underground (industrial/darkwave)
Mono Memory – Living the Dream (synthwave)
Arvo Party – Arvo Party (electronic/ambient)
DREDDD – The Heavy Album (darkwave)
Sekond Prime – Arrival EP (spacewave)
Taylor Shift – Void City (synthwave)
Neon Shudder – OMENS III (ambient/darkwave)
Hexenkraft – The Infernal Schism (industrial/darkwave)
Carbon Killer – Tempest (darkwave)
Lightfrequency – Skyline Splitter (chiptune/synthwave)
Atom Force – 1988 (synthwave)
Gregorio Franco – The Dark Beyond (darkwave)
Vampire Step-Dad – Love Bites (synthwave)
Airospace – Nocturne (underground hip hop)
Temple of Void – Lords of Death (death-doom)
Art Far Away – Verisimilitude & the Second Estate (progressive death/post-hardcore)
Polaris – The Guilt & the Grief (Metalcore/djent)
Act of Worship – Dominate Eradicate (death metal)
Yliaster – Soliloquy (progressive black/groove)
Cursed Earth – Enslaved by the Insignificant (grindcore/hardcore)
Slugdge – The Cosmic Cornucopia (sludge/death)
Iapetus – The Long Road Home (progressive death)