Category Archives: Op-Ed

Attack On Paris: An Act Of Cowardice

After taking some time to fully digest the attacks on Paris, France that occurred on Friday November the 13th, I have decided to release my thoughts. The following is an open letter to the people of France, the music community, the World, and ISIS.

 

Let me begin by paying my respects to the people of France and those that lost their lives in Friday’s senseless attacks. You have suffered a true tragedy and my words will never reflect how powerfully and completely my heart goes out to you all, nor will it take away any of the pain and sorrow I imagine you are feeling at this time. I, along with the rest of the world, watched in horror as the events unfolded in complete astonishment and disbelief. While in the aftermath I may not be able to lessen your pain, I offer you my hand, my love, and my boots on the ground should such a day come as you require them. I am eternally sorry.

 

To the musical community as a whole and the fans attending the Eagles of Death Metal show at the Bataclan on that tragic night I offer this:

Music is and has always been therapy to us. It is a release and an escape from the cold realities of the outside world. Those attending the show expected nothing more than exactly that and instead they were ambushed by cowards wielding assault rifles and suicide vests, ready to kill and die for something as trivial an interpretation of words scribbled down in a book thousands of years ago. Those we’ve lost will always be missed and the memories of these events will never fade. However, in the wake of all the atrocities, something beautiful has come about that I for one have never seen before. The typical genre bashing, the elitism, the style VS style and genre VS genre, the vile words and pointless arguments that litter online forums and pit fan against fan have ceased and in its place a sense of community and brotherhood has risen. To music fans of any genre in any country, thank you for this.

 

To the World:

 

When Paris went dark, we turned on our lights to show her that we were there. We overlaid our profile pictures with the French flag and held a moment of silence at all major sporting events to honor France and show our solidarity. These acts do in fact show our support and make us feel as though we have done some good on that day, but what tangible benefit does this have for the victims and future victims? Does that profile picture console a grieving mother that just lost her child? Does your moment of silence fall upon the ears of the child that lost their parent and assure them that things will be okay and that we will never allow this to happen again? The world grieved and fell silent on 9/11 and yet acts just like it are continuing over 14 years later. Your showings of empathy are beautiful and reflect the worlds sense of humanity, but the world needs to stand together as one with action to change this culture of hate. For Islamic, Christian, Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Atheist, Scientologist, Agnostic, Black, White, Brown, Red, Yellow, Purple, Silver, Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Bi, Transgender, Gender Neutral, Socialist, Communist, Capitalist, Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Conservative, Men, Women, Children, Foreign, Domestic, and Alien people all over this planet, we must stand together not for personal gain nor revenge, but for a future of peace by way of tangible actions today.

 

Finally, to ISIS:

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  I want you to carefully read over everything you have just read and reassure yourselves of the lack of two very key words throughout this entire letter: Terror & Fear. Your mission was to commit a terrorist attack on the the people of France and in turn, the World. In absolutely beautiful fashion, you have failed miserably. The people of France are not terrified and in fact are now stronger and more profoundly bounded as a people than they were before. During the attack, the people of Paris opened their doors to complete strangers out of love and compassion instead of locking them shut from fear and terror. The police starred death in the face and their courage never faltered as they struck down the mangy dogs you sent after their countrymen. Now, instead of sending the world hiding from your hate, you have united a world and made its people stronger and more determined than ever to eradicate the hate that fills your hearts. This was not an act of terrorism. This was an act of cowardice by a group of people terrified themselves of a people and a culture different from themselves. With each threat we shall grow stronger, for you are but a few cowards and we are many with hearts filled with overflowing love.

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Vive la France, Vive la Musique, Vive L’amour,

\m/That Metal Fan\m/

Staying True VS Being Trendy

As a member of MANY online Metal forums, I’ve come across a number of threads discussing the need as a musician to stay true to your roots. While the majority of these threads are overrun with Elitists and “Old School” cats simply venting at what they view as the worst auditory atrocities committed against all things Metal, a few pose a viable and logical consensus that bands are only playing into the latest trends as a means to actually, “make it”. On the flip side of this argument you’ll find seemingly  more open minded people that accept this fresh sound as a moving forward of the genre that simply builds on the foundations laid down before them. This faction of our community is not without its extremists however and they believe that staying in the past with dad bands is a cardinal sin punishable by death via social media. With either side growing further and further apart each day, which side will find themselves on the winning side of history, and who will claim undisputed internet victory?

For the sake of keeping things as clean as possible in this rumble, I’m going to use two very well known bands to make my case that both have releases this year while leaving out bands that are no longer together and new bands that anyone over 21 will tilt their head at. (i.e. Pantera VS Black Veil Brides).

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  First up, we have the Thrash giants Slayer. Here, you have a band that has been around for 30+ years that has somehow survived the gauntlet of challenges including but not limited to: Glam Rock and other trends, several line-up changes, and most recently the passing of a founding member. Everyone on the trendy side will argue that Slayer is a dads band with an out played and stale sound. Slayer fans on the other hand will argue, “FUCKIN’ SLAYER!!!!“, while kicking the living piss out of you. To avoid all of this, here are the facts: Slayer helped mold and influence the genre into what we all know it as today and without them things would be different. In more recent history however, the band has lost something that once made them special. The 2000’s were very unkind to Slayer and their music seemed to become almost radio friendly or, dare I say, TRENDY. Am I saying they went from Thrash royalty to radio novelty? Not in the slightest but their sound most certainly changed. Enter 2015 and the title track from their highly anticipated release, “Repentless“. The majority of the community lost their minds over this track saying, “Thrash at last, Thrash at last, Satan all mighty they’re Thrash at last”. The band returned to their dad band roots and the fans ate it up.

True-1, Trend-0

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  There is another huge American made metal band that has made some musical waves lately by completely changing their sound. In fact, Lamb Of God committed what is by Elitist standards, an all out act of treason by going “Radio Friendly” with clean singing on the third track “Overlord“, off their 2015 album, “‘Strum Und Drang“. Singer Randy Blythe has been questioned as to the motive behind this controversial move with the otherwise growl dominated band and he has made it very clear it’s a direction the band wants to explore more of. Does this mean in the next few years we can expect to have a commercially acceptable adaptation of the once great Lamb Of God? Well, even the most hardcore of fans showing their support for the band and that movement probably wont bring that about but that’s not the point here. The band didnt want to produce the exact same album for the 3rd or 4th time. In the face of going stale, the band pushed the boundaries and introduced a growing trend among musicians today that completely modernized their sound.

True-1, Trend-1

  Don’t worry kids, this isn’t soccer (Futbol for the international readers) and I refuse to let this end in a draw.  There is one common denominator between the moves that both bands made and they should absolutely be admired for it. Slayer wanted to get back to their roots and the fans loved them for it. Lamb Of God wanted to experiment and push boundaries and the fans loved them for it. Can you start to see the lesson I’m getting at here? Play what you love and love what you play. Forget the Elitists that tell you to stay in the stone age, and forget the commercialism telling you to play the trend. Hell, while you’re at it forget this metal fan giving you his own opinion. If you play what is in your heart the fans will respect you for it because they can smell a fake a mile away. If you do this, you have god given talent and practice aloud skill coupled with a pinch of luck, I promise you that you will in fact “make it”. In the battle of staying true or being trendy, metal wins.

Feel we got it wrong? Want to yell at us about our band choices? Just bored?  Let us hear it in the comment section below.

KEEP IT METAL,

\m/That Metal Fan\m/

“FAG”- The Virus Killing Metal

There is a quickly spreading disease killing off the next generation of Metalheads. Never before has our style of music been so threatened as it is now, and few seem to be doing anything to prevent it. In a world that is widely dominated by Hip Hop, Rap, and now EDM by an almost hysterically strong stranglehold, our only hope for our music to not only thrive but just barely squeak by with its diminished prowess is to get the younger generation to follow us down the rabbit hole, and into the pits. Unfortunately, we are the ones chasing them away.

All the sub-genres being represented equally. Notice how CORE is in there?
All the sub-genres being represented equally. Notice how CORE is in there?

Like many of you, I am associated with a number of Metal groups and pages on the internet and this is especially true for Facebook. Scrolling through my feed the other day, I happened across a post in one of these groups from a gentleman, (name will be withheld for obvious reasons), that is common in today’s world, but it caught my eye none the less. Here’s what the post read: “Does anybody else hate when bitchy emo kids consider metal-core heavy? I for one think we should nuke them”. As I read through the post, which was riddled with statements like, “We should kill ’em all…”, …”little fags…”, “What really irritates me is when I see a 16- year old kid wearing an old school metal/thrash/punk t-shirt and they cannot name one damn song from said band” etc., I found myself getting increasingly more angry.

Now, there are two clear and finite issues being discussed here and they should be discussed as stand alone issues so as not to confuse anyone and open myself up for (even more than normal) hate mail. The first, the problem the original poster and many supporters have with Emo kids. Yes, they do like to shop at Hot Topic and be trendy. Yes, for whatever god awful reason people have decided that Metal is now trendy. My question to you: Why the hell do you concern yourself with Emo fashion trends in the first place? Furthermore, you’re a Metalhead. You are the outcast of society that has found a home among other outcasts that do not judge you. We don’t care what you wear or listen to, so why should you care what someone outside of our circle dresses like and listens to? If anything, you think your comically big head would find this imitation flattering. Get over it and focus on you and you alone.

Its not you, its the music you listen that makes me inclined to hate you.
Its not you, its the music you listen that makes me inclined to hate you.

The other, and definitely more problematic issue this brings up, is the trending hate a lot of us Metalheads seem to have on Core Music. Yes, Mr. Elitist, we get it. You were born in a different time and anything not from your time is garbage and not “True Metal”. The problem with this way of thinking is that you have that next generation looking up to you and you are infecting them with this hatred and closed mindedness. Have your opinions. But when you spew vile, when you call a kid a “Fag” for liking a different sub-genre of metal (Note: To be a sub-genre of metal, you have to play a form of METAL), you are effectively giving them every reason to walk away from our world completely. How is a kid interested in metal supposed to get into the heavier stuff when you, the person representing that genre, are a complete ass, all because the kid is wading into the water slowly instead of jumping straight in. “Well maybe by me calling him a “Fag” he will stop listening to that Core garbage and listen to the good stuff…” Great. Congratulations. You helped gain another fan for Slayer, Pantera, and the likes. Where does that leave room for innovation and experimentation? If everyone is stuck inside the Elitist box out of fear of being hated and bullied, our genre will never grow and as Charles Darwin has pointed out, evolution is the key to survival. So yes, congratulations asshole. Take a bow. You are effectively killing that thing you are trying so incredibly hard to, “defend”. Don’t believe me? The original poster I mentioned earlier has a public profile where you can view his music likes. So, what does he have listed? We Are Harlot and Within the Ruins, not once but twice. We Are Harlot features the now ex-vocalist for Asking Alexandria. That’s not scene right? Within the Ruins? They classify THEMSELVES as a MetalCORE band.  We are raising a society that accepts bigotry and detests change and any difference. This is a formula that spells the certain demise of an already on the ropes style of music. No more “Fags” being thrown out, no more worrying about what someone else is doing, no more discouraging the younger generation from joining our ranks. We need to stand together and say something. Educate, don’t discriminate. Take time to talk to that “poser” about the band shirt he is wearing and turn him into a real fan. #formetal  I encourage you to comment, discuss, share, and tell everyone about what you just read here. We cannot rid the world of this disease without you.

KEEP IT METAL,

\m/That Metal Fan\m/