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Caught In A Mosh: March 2012

| February 29, 2012

In an analogy that might only otherwise work for Long Island’s hockey community or the blue half of Merseyside, metal fans are the sports equivalent of White Sox fans. There’s an inferiority complex that transcends their so-called rivalry with regional — or, in this case, cultural — opposition, coupled with a stilted pride about doing things the right way. I should know: I am one of both.

Metal proudly chestbeats its outsider status, but then feels snubbed when the mainstream refuses it major Grammys or festivals like Lollapalooza. Its proponents rarely acknowledge that rejection of consumer products and lifestyles pretty much guarantees that there won’t be enough sponsors to fund commercial radio or TV support. Its subgenres are hyper-dogmatic, but then rail against conformity. And then there’s the misapprehension that metal is metal, and nothing else is like it.

The editors and authors of Metal Rules The Globe: Heavy Metal Music Around The World (Duke University Press) — including Deena Dasein, a regular IE contributor — unite behind several theses that could easily be applied to hip-hop or punk: “Frequently misunderstood and maligned in its countries of origin, heavy metal music has . . . become a potent source of meaning and identity for young and no-longer-so-young people across the planet. These fans have stayed loyal to the music despite societal disapproval, occasional moral panics, censorship, and even government harassment and violence.” The intro goes on to argue how the Internet has furthered the cause, as if metal is unique. “Heavy metal fandom serves as a viable cultural and affective alternative for disempowered youths, one that is often just as critical of globalization’s tendency to bring with it crass consumerism, class divisiveness, and uneven development.”

In its purview, Metal Rules The Globe takes ethnomusicological and socioeconomic focuses; don’t expect retread interviews with Tony Iommi, Bruce Dickinson, or Max Cavalera. The value in the book — which, it cannot be stressed enough, is academic in nature — isn’t necessarily that it’s about metal. One section that details the efforts and folly in marketing genre nuances to Japanese fans raises a larger issue with the book. Anyone with a vested interest in globalization and music’s butterfly effect will find a wealth of information here. The natives of Easter Island tie attitudes about Chilean colonists to metal. Islamists see the music as Western imperialism, while some Nepalis use it as an escape from Hinduism. The issue isn’t what makes metal so exceptional, it should be how it’ just like most other music styles.

• Mid March sees the arrival of Lord MantisPervertor on Candlelight. The band emerged as an offshoot of Avichi and Nachtmystium — you know, in that black-metal hub between the fringes of the western suburbs and DeKalb. But Mantis’ sophomore outing is a lot like its debut in that it pilfers what came before and spits out the bones. Pervertor is like opening a blast furnace: if you come away with minimal char, you’ll report back that you saw pieces of things — doom, black, death — but everything was on fire and you had to get out of the way.

• Everything about Nekromantheon seems doomed. The Norwegian trio sound exactly like Reign In Blood-era Slayer, so much that you can hear their blue jeans and denim jackets. I ranked 2010’s Divinity Of Death on my “Mosh” best-of, and I can’t ignore the new Rise, Vulcan Spectre (Indie Recordings), either. But, I thought, what chance would they have against real Slayer fans: the mongoloids who screech Slaaaaayer! at opening bands, brandish Third Reich tats, and carve the logo into their arms? A pretty good one, actually. You have to imagine, if there’s one band those guys would appreciate, it’s one who sound exactly like their heroes.

• IE immediately texted a marriage proposal to Vinnie Paul when he revealed that there will be a 20th-anniversary reissue of Pantera‘s Vulgar Display Of Power this year. The treatment Cowboys From Hell got was nice and all, but that was a band still shedding their hair-metal skin. Besides enshrining the awesomest metal album of the ’90s, the Vulgar remaster will also include “Piss,” which was finished but left off the original. Paul claims that Pantera rarely wrote more songs than they intended to record, and “Piss” was tracked but eventually deconstructed and sold to future albums for its riffs. Whatever you say, fat man. Just gimme gimme gimme gimme. (Because of this, we’ll cut the Hellyeah drummer some slack for ending nearly every Facebook post “HELLYEAH!” As in, “I JUST MET STEVE MOORE! HELLYEAH!” or “I JUST FOUND A WI-FI HOTSPOT! HELLYEAH!”)

• If you forgot or didn’t know, we host our own photo page at On it are all our live shots from gigs, and contributor John Affinito has been up in the metal. Check it for Gigantour, Sebastian Bach, Machine Head, Uli Jon Roth, and more.

Trevor Fisher is taking some time off.

— Steve Forstneger

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Category: Caught In A Mosh, Columns, Monthly

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