Musings on metal and its evolving demography

Posts tagged “extreme metal

Does the underground metal scene really have a social justice warrior problem?

So, yesterday, Decibel magazine published an article called “Does the underground metal scene really have a social justice warrior problem?” Its a guest-piece from Jeffrey Podoshen, a Ph.D. from Franklin and Marshall College. In the article, Podoshen writes about the black metal film documentary Until the Light Takes Us, which the wife & I saw at least a few years ago. He highlights a scene in the film in which Frost (Satyricon, 1349) demolishes a set and cuts himself, finally revealing to the audience, “I have no problems being self-destructive if the whole thing is something that I like.” Podoshen uses this scene in a course that he teaches called “Evil, Death and Dystopia”, as it sparks discussion.

Frost cutting himself



2016 EMP Pop Conference

I have so much stuff to post about, but I’ve been really negligent in updating my blogs for months. Apologies!

Anyway, here’s one item. Three weeks ago, wifey & I flew to Seattle so she could speak at a panel at the EMP Pop Conference. This year’s title was From a Whisper to a Scream: The Voice in Music. She sat on a panel called Noise Breeding Silence – Heavy Metal Voices.


Panel participants, moderated by Steve Waksman

Here’s the description from their website:

The EMP Pop Conference returns with its biggest roster of presentations yet, looking at the ways music lets us hear voices: singers, to be sure, whether virtuosos or idiosyncratic originals, but also other types of vocalizing. How do instrumentalists insert their selves into their music? When the dominant voices in our songs change, what changes with that, from personal identity to collective messages? A switch in voice—from croon to rasp to rap to Auto-Tune—alters everything it reaches. 

In dozens of panels, all free to the public (though we strongly recommend advance registration), we’ll explore musical voices across genre and time period: soul singers and rock singers, singers of exotica and Mexi-Cajun blues. Panels on goth-punk wailer Siouxsie Sioux, warbling rapper Future, and pop-rock duo Hall & Oates. Synthetic “vocaloids” and challenges to female decorum. Singing across lines of color. Good bad singing and bad good singing. Vocal coaching. Southern accents.

And here’s the description for the panel wifey was on:

Metal remains fixed as a quintessentially white male hetero form in its most visible artists and presumed demographic. The emergent field of “metal studies” has begun to document metal’s appeal to women, non-white, and LGBTQ audiences, and to millions in the developing world. This panel considers to and for whom metal seems most to be speaking. Do metal’s various subgenres (death, black, doom, grindcore, etc.) all draw on the same underlying voice? Are different strains more or less inclusive? How do questions concerning metal’s inclusivity look different from a global vantage? What can we learn from participants who occupy non-dominant positions relative to core constituencies?


The Grindmother

Happy 2016. I’m a few weeks late and I’ve got a backlog of stuff that I want to share on this blog. Some of it is lighthearted and some not-so-much. Here’s one of the fun ones.

There’s a 67-year old Canadian woman calling herself The Grindmother who has started her own grindcore band with the same name after contributing backup vocals to her son’s grind band, Corrupt Leaders. She’s been covered in a bunch of other metal-oriented websites and even made an appearance on the Maury Povich Show. Here are some videos of her in action:

I think this is the first video that was shared of her screaming into the mike for her son’s band. A comment from her indicates that it was her idea to contribute vocals to her son’s band, initially, and it grew into a band of her own somewhere down the road:


I love that she actually gets what the release in the music is about and not only encourages and supports her son, but started her own band. I wonder where she places with regard to older people in metal – and I wonder what she listens to at home when not screaming out her lungs. She was also formerly a social worker.

Here’s “Any Cost“, a politically-driven song about Stephen Harper, the former Prime Minister of Canada, who resigned last year. Its sounds like something Napalm Death could support:


The Beast in the East: Exploring China’s Black Metal Scene


Its been a while since I last posted. Sorry about that. Other things have really been consuming all of my waking hours – particularly work and the baby. But, I came across this interesting article on Metal Hammer about Chinese black metal that I’m sure many of you would find interesting.

For those who want to explore bands like this more, here’s the list of Chinese metal bands from Encyclopaedia Metallum:

Misogny & Bigotry are not Metal


Brett Stevens is an asshole. He wants to legalize rape in the USA and he’s a racist. I’ve never met the guy, but the wife showed me some stuff the other night that’s just idiotic. Apparently, he writes for Death Metal Underground, which I’ve been to, now and again, over the years. Its a decent site, with reviews, interviews and some other metal-centric material. However, Brett also runs, with a backwards “k”. Its a hate site. That’s where he published the following, lovely piece of trash:

The idea behind his one-man movement is simple. Women are sluts. Men should be allowed to violate them and get off (in both senses of the phrase) with a ticket. He has this stupid notion in his head that rape isn’t a violent crime. Its theft. He said that the problem isn’t that a woman had sex with a man. Its that she had sex with the wrong man and now wants revenge. I’d love to see how he feels about ticketing if he gets forced from behind by the “wrong man”. Would he look at it as violation then, or would he simply go to court and try to collect his $5.00?