Hello, This Is a Play By Play Rebuttal Of David Hall’s Terrible Article And Also A Rebuttal to A Rebuttal by Clrvynt’s Editor And Some Thoughts About The Metal Community

Note: it’s 1:30 AM here and I really don’t want to write this rebuttal and I wouldn’t if Clrvynt (whom I am usually fond of) hadn’

7 years ago

Note: it’s 1:30 AM here and I really don’t want to write this rebuttal and I wouldn’t if Clrvynt (whom I am usually fond of) hadn’t posted their own pretty bad rebuttal to David Hall’s nonsense. This is for a few reasons: 1) I was really hoping that we as a community could ignore the rantings of Mr. Hall and move on with our lives but 2) now that another publication has responded poorly, I have to face the monster because 3) both the article itself and the poor rebuttal expose interesting and worrying trends about our community. What follows is a literal play by play response to David Hall’s original article, followed by some analysis of Clrvynt’s rebuttal. So, pretty much what the title says. Marketing!

Please forward any and all complaints directly into the center of the Sun.

Let’s state facts: Clrvynt’s preface to “The Director of ‘Maryland Deathfest: The Movie’:’Metal is the Fucking Worst'” (this is literally how the post’s title was formatted by the way, I didn’t change it) is bullshit. Running an article filled with borderline/not-really-borderline-at-all misogyny, homophobia, and very palpable hatred for a huge swath of the community you’re part of is a terrible thing to do. However, if you’ve already decided to do that, don’t cop out by writing a six-line preface nominally denouncing the opinions contained therein. At least own the fact that you’re giving shitty opinions a stage and have some honesty.

Instead of doing that, Clrvynt (whom, again, I am usually fond of) opened by hand-waving their involvement with this utter nonsense, going on to weirdly list Hall’s history within the scene, hinting that his veteran status somehow lends credence to his words (spoiler: it doesn’t). Thus begins a train-wreck so wholly redundant and repugnant that I must now wade knee deep into its quagmire in order to salvage some sort of sense from it for me to take apart. Hold on to your waist high, waterproof pants folks; here we go. I’ll be copy-pasting quotes from the original article and then analyzing them, responding to them, ranting to them. Please enjoy?

“Is there any other genre of music that is so self-absorbed, so desperate for validation, so pathetically obsessed with itself, so childish and image-conscious, so accepting of conformity and mediocrity as metal? No. There isn’t. Because metal is the fucking worst, at least in North America, and it needs to get right or go away forever”.

Yes, there is. It’s called “every genre out there”. Genres (and the communities which they represent) are by definition pathetically obsessed with themselves, childish, and image-conscious. You’ve just described genres. While it might be argued (as we have done, at length, several times) that metal suffers especially from this grand mal of “classification illness” it can’t be done in a call and response with yourself, over two lines. Metal’s obsession with genre and self-image has deep and interesting roots and waving those facts away is just a waste of time. 90% of the rest of the article could have been sacrificed in favor of an interesting discussion with Hall on why he feels this is the case, what trends he’s seen in his time with the scene and so forth and nothing of value would have been lost. Instead, this is what the article spends its letters on:

Metal is a petulant little child that is wrought with an Oedipus complex, an oral fixation and a collective transference of identity issues (somehow stemming from a lack of identity) that causes it to be constantly screaming for attention. Metal ALWAYS needs a great big dick in its mouth to calm it down and stroke its melodramatic ego. Metal wants to be heard and seen. It wants to rebel; yet, if you look at it, it ironically shuns your gaze because you are not credible enough to soothe its aching teats.”

I HAD TO SPLIT THIS PARAGRAPH INTO SO MANY PARTS. There’s just too much nonsense in it for a continuous analysis. OK, let’s start unpacking: you can’t be wrought with an Oedipus complex. You’re thinking of fraught and even that’s wrong. In addition, the next three terms are just “term dropping”; Hall never once explains how metal has an Oedipus complex (who is the father and mother?), what any of this has to do with an oral fixation (which, by the way, doesn’t actually mean putting things in your mouth) or what the FUCK “collective transference of identity” means and what transference has to do with a lack of identity. Transference in psychology is when a patient “dumps” emotions felt/repressed in childhood on to a proxy, usually the therapist not “a random word David Hall needs in order to get his point across, something which it doesn’t really do anyway even if he had used it correctly”.

Then, we come to the first iteration of Hall’s ever-so-charming misogyny/homophobia in this article. You see, the phrase “Metal ALWAYS needs a great big dick in its mouth to calm it down” can be taken two ways: either metal is a woman in the image or a man, in Hall’s “if I had a cent for every gender there is, I’d have two cents” world perpsective. If metal is a woman, then we find ourselves at the age old adage that “all women need to calm down is dick”. If metal is a man, we find ourselves with the age old image of the “penis hungry homosexual”. There is literally no other way to spin this. Of course, we quickly get our answer as to which version of the saying Hall was going for. Metal is naturally, for him, a woman, craving the sexual release that only authentic metal can provide (???). Hall could have used “needs to get laid” or no sexual imagery whatsoever but instead chose to conjure some of the ugliest sexual imagery around for absolutely not discernible reason. Cue people calling me “cuck” in the comments. As I said, direct it to the Sun please. Oh and by the way, WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT METAL AS IF IT’S AN ACTOR? Metal is a genre, a dress code, a sound, an aesthetic, a cultural group. It does not look, shun gazes (that’s not what he means there by the by but I’m already weary) or do any of that. It’s made up of disparate cliques, sub-movements, and ideas. Which Hall lumps all into one to make his argument more palatable in its non-nuanced form, of course.

Metal wants to be different, but only within a strict set of guidelines. Metal is a tireless masochist. It suffers, it moans, it whines, it annoys;  Metal is weak, ill-formed, small-minded, an accident. Metal is modern man in search of a soul”

Yes, that’s once again called every single genre in the history of humanity. Every single rebel out there who has ever existed, save for some very, very specific and unhinged people, rebelled within a strict set of guidelines. That’s just the way human politics and brains work; we can’t really exist without a schema and groups are very convenient ways in which to agree on such schema. Like any freedom fighter has an ideology, like any artist forms their own school once they’ve become famous enough, so too metal had to replace the void which comes with rebellion with new schema of its own making. Show me one single fucking genre out there that hasn’t done the same. You can’t because that’s not how things work. Moving on (remember that this is the SAME paragraph as above, good god) we find yet more contradictions. Metal, we are told, is a masochist. Out of the traits then listed, only the first (“it suffers”) is related in any way to masochism and even that is only by association. Moaning, whining, and especially annoying, have nothing to do with being a masochist. There follows all sorts of traits that Hall’s “metal as actor” is and then the extremely redundant  saying that metal is an accident. Of course it is; it’s a genre. I’m not even going to touch the incredible bullshit that is “metal is modern man in search of a soul”. Hall describes it below (“third-grade intellectualism”) better than I ever could.

it is a culture of emasculation, castration, penis envy, communism, capitalism and third-grade intellectualism.”

OK, this has to be the weirdest line in this article, right? What the fuck. First off, metal is one of the most masculinity obsessed genres out there (Judas Priest. Iron Maiden. Metallica. Pantera. Blind Guardian. Even “proto bands” like Led Zeppelin. Watch their shows and their aesthetic) so I don’t see how it’s either emasculating or castrating. Penis envy??? Google it dude; it doesn’t mean what you think it means. Communism and capitalism? Oh boy, oh golly, I put in a contradiction so that everyone will think I’m smart! I said a thing and also the opposite of the thing! This means absolutely nothing. Surprisingly, the last point is the first one I agree with in this article and also a very astute self-observation. Well done, Mr. Hall.

yet it looks not to the heavens for answers — instead it stares in awe up its own gaping asshole, whispering with quivered lips, “You go, girl.” Yes. YES. Metal is a cliche, a reproduction, derivative and fucking lame. Metal is an echo chamber.”

It took literally one line for my “weirdest line in this article” statement to turn out to be false. I’m not even going to analyze this one. What the fuck? What in the actual fuck is going here? Who is…what? Who’s whispering to whom? Who’s the girl? “Yes. YES”? Who is Hall agreeing with so fervently? Himself? A cliche, a reproduction and a derivative are very different things. Metal is an echo chamber, yes, but again, it’s a genre.

Metal is in constant celebration of a victory it has never achieved.”

OK, I’m lifting the “center of the Sun” directive. Someone PLEASE message me with what this means.

Despite what people may say, metal was made real (not invented) by Black Sabbath on Friday the 13th, 1970, when the seminal “proto” metal band released its self-titled debut. Yes, various other bands and entities messed with elements of metal music and played heavy music, but the album Black Sabbath is metal articulated. Pressed onto wax and delivered promptly to the world via Apollo. Sleek, digestible, and the pinnacle of a musical movement”.

OK, first things first: you can’t be “proto” something and the pinnacle of that thing. That’s a literal contradiction (add it to the tally). Second thing, metal was indeed invented by a large number of bands which operated in the late 60’s and 70’s. It was not “made real”, because that implies that metal existed before hand in some Platonic realm of ideals and honestly, I don’t think Hall has a fucking clue what I’m talking about right now. Metal, like all forms of artistic expression, was invented. Art is a technology, a set of codes and ideas that organize human expression. It involves the technical and often scientific (in the sense of an organized system of knowledge) manipulation of contemporary tools and instruments. It doesn’t exist divorced from human ingenuity and is thus an invention and one of the first inventions to boot. I don’t really have the space to go into that idea here but suffice it to say that if you think that musical genres are “made real”, you’re going to have a very, very hard time explaining why things resurface, evolve, disappear, and then return again. Thirdly, is sleek really the adjective you want to describe Black Sabbath’s debut? It’s a great record but sleek is really one of the last words I’d use here. Have you listened to it lately?

Measurable. Accepted. Born. Not questioned. Arrived. Hello, metal … welcome to the world. See you in 40 years when something happens and your natural progression in the world has its chi blocked up something fierce and you become the worst. Failure to launch. Mid-life crisis. The last days of disco.”

Again with this platonic bullshit. How in fuck’s name is Black Sabbath‘s debut “measurable”? Or is Hall claiming here that commercial success is, which is the only “measurable” thing I can see about Black Sabbath, the true measure of an album’s worth? That would be an…interesting point to make in light of some of his later points. “Accepted. Born. Not questioned”. In reality, Black Sabbath’s debut received highly unfavorable reviews when it was released and was quite thoroughly rejected by the community at the time. Rolling Stone‘s Lester Bangs described the band as, “just like Cream! But worse”, and dismissed the album as “a shuck – despite the murky songtitles and some inane lyrics that sound like Vanilla Fudge paying doggerel tribute to Aleister Crowley, the album has nothing to do with spiritualism, the occult, or anything much except stiff recitations of Cream clichés”. Talk about savage! So no, Black Sabbath was not “born” or “arrived”; it was fucking made by people, people who worked really hard to gather success and, with support from many other bands (a community, something which Hall probably knows jack shit about), made it many years later. That whole “40 years later” thing is not even worth my time; we’ll address Hall’s regressive nature later on in the post.

“From the first spins of Black Sabbath, metal grew fast. As bands like Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple focused on songwriting, riffs and performance, other musicians crawled out of the swamp and started to take metal in new directions, effectively creating the first subgenres of metal that would lead us to our present state of affairs. Speed metal, black metal, death metal; which led to doom metal, glam metal and thrash; which led to grindcore, technical death metal and crossover; which led to a whole array of sub-sub-sub-subgenres; which ultimately led to “blackgaze,” which, in my opinion, was the death knell of metal, and it’s where we are now, and it really sucks and is shitty and it’s the fucking worst.”

Right, so now I’m going to be that guy, the Internet Metal Nerd, the history major, the fucking huge nitpicker who is going to say: holy SHIT, literally none of that is in any way correct. First off, all the bands listed above were experimental in their own right and didn’t “focus on songwriting, riffs and performance”. Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd changed music forever and made some of the most experimental and disturbing music out there. I’d go into detail on how Deep Purple were actually those those who invented metal, but now it’s time for the pièce de résistance, the crowning moment of bullshit on top of this immense mountain of WRONG which is Hall’s historical analysis of metal’s evolution. Let’s break it down: speed metal, glam metal, and thrash were all born right around the same time (give or take half decade) from heavy metal. Doom metal was arguably born with Black Sabbath but if we want to be non-controversial for a second, we can say it was born during the 80’s (you know, when Candlemass released an album fucking called “Epicus Doomicus Metallicus“). Black metal and death metal were born from thrash and heavy metal in the late 80’s and the early 90’s (you know, when a band literally called DEATH released their first album).

Now, this nitpicking actually serves a purpose since, on top of this erroneous history, Hall constructs what is essentially his main point: this continuing fracturing of the community into more and more sub-genres (you know, what we like to call progress) is the disease working at the roots of metal. Finally, this sick evolution, this base desire to make something new and interesting, lands us at the absolute worst thing in the world, blackgaze. Yep, blackgaze is “the fucking worst” thing in metal, not the close to exploding vinyl industry, not predatory contracts, not neo-Nazism, not violence or rape or anything like that. Blackgaze folks, a pretty niche genre (yes, even though Sunbather exists, blackgaze is still mostly niche) filled with people making cool albums, is “the fucking worst”. The death knell of metal! Metal isn’t dead by the way. You know how I know? Because if it was dead, we at least wouldn’t have to suffer people like David Hall and their idiotic mumblings.

So, what happened? When did it happen? How did it happen? How did a fertile, underground, credible, artistic and meaningful genre of music go unfettered for almost 40 years before it suddenly hit a wall? Well, like many journalists suggest, it wasn’t Nazism, misogyny, racism or elitism. It is a fallacy to assume that one genre of music is discriminatory — a) music is inanimate; it isn’t anything but sounds and words delivered on whatever medium is most profitable; b) music cannot “be” anything but music; any social and human behaviors attributed to music is transference and anthropomorphization; c) fuck off and put your personal politics into a medium or social construct where it belongs and works: social work, politics, medicine, engineering, volunteering — you can’t change a light bulb with a piece of cheese, and you can’t fix (or ruin) society with art.”

Wait, hold on, I’m sorry, I have to get something off my chest: hahhahahahahhahahahahahahahha. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Holy FUCK you literally just shot yourself in the foot what the hell. OK, let’s move on. First of all, metal has faced so many hardships in the past 40 years. By the way David, we’re not in the 00’s anymore; it’s 50 years. Tipper Gore, the Columbine shooting and its resulting stigma, the financial bog of the 90’s, and so many more. Get the fuck out of here with this Hegelian “progress” bullshit; metal’s story is not a linear incline but a complex story just like anything else out there. But oh boy, here comes the big one: you fucking imbeciles, music is inanimate! It can’t actually do anything you IDIOTS, it’s just sounds and words delivered on a profitable medium! It can’t want, and talk, and have sex, and have psychological traits and all that nonsense! Who the FUCK would write something like that, wow. Yeah. Music cannot “be” anything but music! It can’t be things like masochist or Oedipal or whiny or any of that stuff and if you say that it’s all those things, you’re just transferring traits you have on to it! If you say metal is weak and an accident it’s only because you’re weak and an accident! Point C is completely unintelligible to me; none of these things are mediums. They’re all social constructs but so is music so I don’t understand the distinction. And, lastly, I don’t think anyone said that you can fix or ruin a society with art but rather that art shouldn’t reflect the worst things in a society and thus give them a stage. Also, cheese?

No. Like most artistic movements, metal’s death blow was commercialization. And more importantly, the widespread acceptance of said commercialization. I can pinpoint the exact point in time when this happened: June 11, 2013. What happened on this date? An album called Sunbather by a band named Deafheaven was released. This was the apex of metal’s commercialization. 1999 – 2012 were creatively fertile, but financially lean times for underground labels. The vinyl boom was just starting to hit. Metal was not quite hip yet. Metal needed a kick-start. And thanks to commerce and cultural appropriation, it got one.”

God, I’m so tired of this. Please end my suffering. Metal was commercialized from day one. You know, people need to make money in order to buy food and all that stupid stuff. In order to do that they have to participate in commerce from which we get the word commercialization. For example, Ozzy Osbourne is worth approximately $220 million. Right?! David Gilmour’s Net Worth? $130 Million. James Hetfield? $175 Million. Bruce Dickinson? $115 Million. And yeah, I know these guys are all singers, that’s the first list that came up on Google, get off my back. But guys, Deafheaven was on an Apple presentation!

Metal’s 9/11, clearly.

Guys, these sellouts, these absolute worshipers of Mammon (may the Lord strike him down in his wisdom), they fucking ruined metal! Before that, metal was a veritable Saint Francis (I’ll stop with the religious imagery now), walking around like a pauper in the golden halls of music and asking for nothing in return for its music. The people flocked to the holy table of metal and fed there for free and ye, they saw that it was good and they said “never fucking charge money for your work or you fucking suck” (their verse work obviously needed more effort). Hall actually has a point with his analysis of the rough times for underground labels. It was just 1992-2006/7 or so and not until 2012 (by that time, there were several incredible underground labels in operation and they were doing quite well). Oh and, by the way, what the FUCK does cultural appropriation have to do with anything? In what way is Deafheaven, a band which has toured extensively as part of the black metal scene since their inception, an outsider “appropriating” metal’s culture? Unless you mean “this band I don’t like is cataloged in the same genres as bands I do like and I don’t like that”. I have news for you: that’s not what cultural appropriation means.

“Like Black Sabbath — who did not invent the genre of metal, but perfected it and made it real and signaled its arrival in a measurable, quantifiable, identifiable package”.

So, you mean they commercialized it, yes? They made it easy to digest and purchase and ascertain and monetize? Way before Deafheaven? Right? THEN HOW THE FUCK DOES ANY OF THIS MAKE ANY SENSE? Also, no they didn’t, see above.

“Deafheaven made real (did not invent) a subgenre of metal called “blackgaze,” a combination of black metal and the indie rock subgenre shoegaze. Yes, many other bands played this kind of music before Deafheaven. Yes, many bands in the parenting genres of black metal and shoegaze laid a fertile framework of music prior to Sunbather. But like Sabbath’s Sabbath, Sunbather was a signal post. This post said, “We are blackgaze; we are marking this territory for our own; there will never be a better blackgaze album than Sunbather; we are taking a stand, planting our feet firmly and announcing that from this point forward, WE are the progenitors of a new scene.”

Show me where Deafheaven said any of this. I fucking DARE you David Hall, find me a quote to where Deafheaven said any of this and I will issue a formal apology to you, good sir. In addition, if many other bands played this kind of music before Deafheaven, then how did Deafheaven make this genre real? Answer: they didn’t. Blackgaze existed way before Deafheaven and the only people who think otherwise are people like Hall who haven’t actually heard a single album from the genre besides Sunbather. You see, Hall thinks that Deafheaven dominated the scene because for him they really did! He hasn’t bothered to explore this genre (filled with many bands who have nothing to do with Deafheaven) so, for him, Sunbather really is the only album which exists within it, his “signal post” (where the fuck did this metaphor come from, by the way? You can’t just throw metaphors around dude, you’ll poke someone’s metaphorical eye out). Also, Deafheaven really were the progenitors of a new scene, with that I can agree. They were, inadvertently and through no blame of their own, the progenitors of the washed up, has been, old metalhead who, instead of trying to keep up with the times, writes inane articles lamenting a world which never even fucking existed. Scene. I need the word “scene” at the end of that sentence. Scene. Oh god, there are four more paragraphs.

“And people bought it. Thanks to a propaganda campaign led by Pitchfork, Sunbather became a cultural force in the “underground” world of metal. Except it wasn’t underground metal that was listening or buying. It was children, and those uninitiated and unaware.”

Merriam-Webster’s definition of propaganda: 1) capitalized : a congregation of the Roman curia having jurisdiction over missionary territories and related institutions. 2) the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person. 3) ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause; also : a public action having such an effect. Favorable reviews aren’t propaganda, unless the Roman curia is way more into blackgaze than I seem to recall. And “children” as you call them, that is the younger listeners of metal, are the bread and fucking blood of people like you. They’re the ones who motivate the scene, they’re the ones who spend money on the scene and keep it alive. They’re the ones going to shows and starting new bands and making great music. You are the past; they are the future. Just fade away in peace and let them enjoy what they like, they have no need for your “initiations” or “awareness”.

You know how Nirvana’s Nevermind “invented” grunge, even though those of us who were there can clearly remember an organic scene called “indie” or “alternative” that existed for years before Kurt and co., appropriated it and sold it out?”

Dude, Kurt literally fucking killed himself what the fuck are you talking about? Also yes, we understand that things exist before things and therefore the distinction between “made real” and “invented” is super fucking important to you. No one cares. Who the fuck thinks grunge’s biggest band, a band fronted by a man who was lamented by every single person in his community, was “appropriating” grunge? By appropriating do you literally just mean “was successful”? Because, again, that’s not how any of this works!

People at Dinosaur Jr shows weren’t listening to or buying Nirvana. People at Pixies and Meat Puppets shows weren’t listening to or buying Nirvana.”

Yes, they were.

Well, that is Deafheaven and Sunbather. Nobody I know was listening to that band or buying Sunbather. In fact, anyone in the know resented their blatant skip-the-line success. But suddenly everyone at the mall was wearing corpsepaint and praising Loveless by My Bloody Valentine”.

You know what that’s called? An echo chamber. That’s what you have there, buddy. You have an echo chamber in which you and your other old friends all gather around and circlejerk about how metal used to be so much better back in your day. By the way, neither Deafheaven nor My Bloody Valentine wear corpsepaint on a regular basis (one of them did, from time to time), nor is that one of the associated stereotypes of blackgaze. Also by the way, My Bloody Valentine was formed in 1983/4, were headlining shows in the late 80’s, released their best material not shortly after and have been heralded as one of the greatest bands of the recent decades long before Deafheaven learned to play instruments. Why the fuck did you have to drag such an amazing band (which released most of its works on independent labels way before the current vinyl craze) into this fucking mess?

No, the music on Sunbather isn’t terrible. That’s a personal call. Musical enjoyment is subjective. Whatever goes in your ears is for your ears only. But suddenly Deafheaven were everywhere, had the Breaking Bad of “metal” albums, and for a time, you know, it was fine. People wanted to buy their records. Sure. Cool. I mean, Pitchfork was guilty of selling an album as black metal that has no business being called black metal, but for the most part, the success of Sunbather was organic and fan-based: real, dedicated metal outlets pretty much ignored and/or scoffed at the band, and fans drove the album’s success. Hey, there’s no accounting for bad taste, right?”

What? Why was this not the opening paragraph, followed by complete and utter silence? What’s the point of writing any of this if you think that everyone is allowed to like what they like? By saying that music is subjective, you’re literally saying that liking a piece of music is its own justification; it doesn’t matter who I am, why I like said piece, whether I did it because I like how the band looks or I like the music or I just felt like it. That’s what subjective means! Under that assumption, which I somewhat disagree with but this is not the time nor the place, you have literally zero, absolutely zero, point. Pitchfork telling someone to listen to  a band is no different than a sunglass company telling someone to listen to a band (more on that soon) if music enjoyment is subjective. And if the success was “organic and fan-based”, for the most part, then how does that fit in with “propaganda campaign”? Holy shit, did anyone read this before it went live? Clrvynt? No? Guys?

What happened next, however, was not organic, was not fan-driven or relatively harmless cultural appropriation. What happened next is what killed the underground scene and brought us to the point we are at now: Deafheaven, too $uccessful to ignore, started to be given credibility by the metal press. And even worse, other underground labels — much like the “grunge” frenzy in the ’90s — started to look for more Deafheavens. Blackgaze, and other nonsensical subgenres that have no business being sold as metal, started to be sold as metal. And bands began to change their style to profit from this. Suddenly, a niche was making money. People were selling out. People were following their wallets. And the worst part is no one seemed to care. On August 4, 2016, eyewear conglomerate Luxottica, through its child company Ray-Ban, released an ad campaign featuring Deafheaven. It used their music, their images and their story. (Well, the campaign spun their story anyway.) Suddenly, Deafheaven were brave innovators who stood up to their critics, and against all odds, released an album. They had courage! #ittakescourage. That was the hashtag given to the Deafheaven campaign. Metal. Reduced to a fucking hashtag and a sunglasses commercial. And the worst part? Nobody said shit. People loved it! And any form of criticism was brushed off as “haters” or “Well, Deafheaven has always just been about seeing how far they can take it.” The band sold themselves out and sold out underground music, and people fucking loved them for it. They were heroes. And anyone who said otherwise was a misogynist, racist, homophobic “edge-lord.” That’s when underground metal died for me. Not the music — I love the music … well, not Deafheaven — but the spirit and ethos and individuality of metal. Sold to a fucking sunglasses company. It made me really depressed.”

I’m fucking DONE and by now, I think I’ve made my point so here’s Ozzy Osbourne in a commercial for Best Buy in 2011, here’s Metallica for Guitar Hero in 2009, here’s Warrant for a 1-900 number in the 80’s (probably), here’s one of the best ads ever made with Dokken for Norton Antivirus somewhere in the 00’s, here’s black metal being used to promote KFC somewhere in the 00’s, here’s Immortal in an interview for a commercial channel which explicitly uses interviews to sell merch in 2002. What the fuck are you on about, David Hall? Metal has ALWAYS been commercialized. Oh, and I also highly doubt that anyone called you misogynist, racist or homophobic for not liking Deafheaven since, to the best of my knowledge, none of them are women, PoC or homosexuals (with their guitarist even using pretty heinous language in the past on his Twitter account). Inventing fantasies in your head and then debating them is a really poor mental practice. Oh, also again, I thought blackgaze WASN’T underground metal (since it isn’t metal at all) so how did Deafheaven sell underground metal out?

I suddenly felt like I was in The Matrix or Inception”.

Those two movies depict two very different scenarios and neither of them are relevant here.

At metal shows, everyone looked the same and acted the same. Throw the “horns” up and party! Be blind to the conformity that surrounds us. Eyes wide shut, please. Buy. Conform. Don’t criticize. Go inside and eat supper with the pigs. Accept. Blame! Be inclusive for THE SAKE OF SOCIETY! WELCOME ALL CONSUMERS TO THE TABLE. MAKE METAL YOUR IDENTITY. CLICK. BAIT. CLICK. BAIT. MORAL SUPERIORITY THROUGH THINK PIECES!!!!!!! BUY TWO PAIRS OF RAY-BANS, THAT TAKES COURAGE”.

Has anyone checked that David Hall is OK? Can someone please check that he’s OK? I don’t think he’s OK. Guys? Seriously.

When any work of art is co-opted by capitalistic intentions, you know it’s dead. When underground bands start touring with “above ground” bands, you also know that band is dead. When bands are applauded for selling out, because “everyone has to make a living” and “artists deserve to get paid” — yeah, you know that shit is dead, too. No, the artist does not deserve to get paid. The artist deserves fair compensation from anything they make and sell, but anything the artist makes TO sell is not art”.

some bullshit art by that sellout Michelangelo

By that standard, every single work of art ever accepted into the mainstream is dead. Including the entirety of metal because see figures above and sold out shows and merch and CDs cost money and contracts and record deals and royalties and oh boy just about everything that’s part of any music genre or any art form! Guys, art is dead! David Hall is the post modern messiah we have been yearning for. Michelangelo was commissioned to paint the Sistine Chapel; that’s not art, fucking sell out! Diego Velázquez was commissioned to paint Las Meninas; what a piece of shit, he shouldn’t have made it TO sell he should have made it for the sake of the art itself because people can never have more than one motivation for doing something, especially not something as complex as art. By the way, how do you know Deafheaven made Sunbather TO sell? What the hell is that distinction even? Every single album ever made was made to sell; that’s what you do with albums. You sell them. You also enjoy them, and love them, and hate them and a bunch of other stuff and there’s a whole plethora of reasons to make albums but, when it comes to it, they’re ALL made TO sell. Just like any and all art. There’s a really interesting discussion to be had here about what money does to art and how we sell art and why but Mr. David fucking Hall is not the person we want in charge of this conversation.

It’s content. Branded content. And sadly, that’s what most metal has become: a brand. As meaningful as the anarchy symbol. Metal is no longer just music. It’s a social status. And that’s why it has become the fucking worst. And I hope the bands and fans that really only care about the music keep it up. To quote one of the few fiercely independent and underground bands still going, Total Fucking Destruction, “the Revolution will not be televised, because the Revolution will not be.”

Honestly Clrvynt, I’m going to close this piece off (oh god, sweet release) by reiterating how disappointed I am with you. I consider you to be one of the better blogs out there and then you go and print this piece of crap. You made money off of this; you got a fair good bit of clicks from this piece of filth and your “rebuttal” which you so hypocritically published completely ignored the worst parts of David Hall’s article. This is not primarily about a man not willing to discover the great new music that’s out there; this is about power, regression, traditionalism, and an elite (which, make no mistake, Hall is 100% a part of) that have a vested interest in keeping things they way they are. This is about giving a stage to opinions which make discourse toxic, which force poor Editors in Chief like myself to stay up at night rebutting because they can’t in good conscience go to sleep when they know such bullshit is so weakly answered by the same people who ran it.

I don’t mean to make you feel bad or to call you out, friends at Clrvynt. I mean to demand of you a better form of discourse. Don’t publish such inane and completely mistaken ramblings like this article. What does it contribute except for a few more clicks for your site? I know that pain, I know the need for content and the desire for visits in this day and age; it’s not worth it guys. It’s not worth debasing the community which we so love (and I know you love it) with this nonsense. Let’s engage in interesting and incising conversation about the bands we hate and, more importantly, about the bands we love instead of letting Luddites like David Hall on to another stage for his nonsense. We can all do better.

Good night everyone. Clrvynt and Deafheaven fans and those who are not so much fans, good night. Good night people who make money off of art, good night bloggers, good night metalheads. Good night people who listen to rap and country, good night queers and straights and anything in between. Good night men, women, genderfluids, non-binary folks, transfolk, and all the beautiful, ever unfolding forms of ways to be a person out there, good night to you all.

Good night to everyone except for David Hall.

Eden Kupermintz

Published 7 years ago