Can We Stop Making Up New Metal Subgenres?

Categories: Metal Mondays

metallica-1.JPG
Caleb Haley
Metallica at the 2013 Golden Gods Awards.
Am I the only one who is sick to death of the ever-growing list of metal subgenres? It seems to evolve and pulsate and throw out even more obscure genres on a daily basis.

Honestly, if there's one thing metalheads should be able to have faith in when it comes to their music, it's that metal veers as far away from commercialization as possible. But this hasn't been the case for decades, and it's only getting worse as the market for mainstream metal expands. Actually, the industry calls this "mainstream metal" -- I call it watered-down rock.

One of the main ways that the industry has helped sell out metal is the categorization of genres, subgenres, and so forth. Why do we have to categorize bands in genres just for marketing purposes from the labels? Even as a music journalist, I detest having to write such titles as "Nu Metallers Korn Talk New Music" and "Thrash Titans Anthrax Release Covers EP."

And the reason I have to write titles like those? Readers feel the need to categorize everything, because that's what the industry tells them to do.

Death, black, symphonic, power, thrash, grindcore, ballad, extreme doom, folk, speed, punk, gothic, Gothenburg, progressive, glam, unblack, Christian, Pagan, doom, sludge, stoner, drone, alternative, post-metal, rap, industrial, nu, classic -- it's never ending.

in this moment
Caleb Haley
In This Moment at the 2013 Golden Gods Awards.
Each of these subgenres may have a distinct sound, but they still all employ all the key components of heavy metal: distorted and chunky-sounding guitars, blistering guitar solos and riffs; pummeling double-bass percussion; melodic screamed or shouted vocals.

Separating bands into so many genres does more damage than good. Imagine all of metalheads who scoff at something because it's categorized as glam metal, nu metal or Christian metal. And all these different subgenres can be quite confusing for a newbie who is trying to learn and discover what they love in heavy music.

So, I make a plea to the music industry gods, who will never answer from thrones that barely accommodate their fat asses, where they count the cash in overstuffed envelopes from festivals, music sales, and merch that most bands never see. But it's a safe bet that at least other metalheads will join me in my quest for simplicity.

Can we just have three genres and be done with it?


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1 comments
ub8658
ub8658

"Each of these subgenres may have a distinct sound, but they still all employ all the key components of heavy metal: distorted and chunky-sounding guitars, blistering guitar solos and riffs; pummeling double-bass percussion; melodic screamed or shouted vocals."

Well actually, no they don't all have these elements, which is the point.  All the subgenres you list have distinct elements.   I understand that from an outsiders perspective  you may not understand the elements of these genres   I also understand that for the music journalists, broad trends that are beyond a single persons control are easy targets for complaining  but the fact that you make the statement above just proves you don't know what you are talking about.  How about getting someone who actually understands what is happening in metal these days to write an article like this?

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