Is Metal Fading Into Obscurity

Sure metal is great and there are plenty of cool things unique to the genre. But if you look back into the early nineties couldn't you say the same thing about rap?

Ultimate Guitar

I don't know how apparent this is to any of the other metal enthusiasts but I feel that the relevance that metal once had is slowly diminishing. Before any of you jump on your high horses and blame the "main stream media" for pushing mediocre pop down our mouths, though they can be responsible for a lot of the damage, you might want to look at your selves and ask what are you doing to make it cool again?

Remember when metal was metal and not the over 30 sub-genres(according to Wikipedia)that it has become in order not to offend anyone? Yes there are clear differences between Nu-metal and Thrash but if the differences are not apparent without having to analyze the songs structure and elements at great depths you're just nit picking. It's fairly apparent to anyone who takes an objective view at metal that this over saturation of genres has led to some pretty bad things.

It pains me to say this but metal is slowly becoming pretensions. Metal fans pride themselves on being the masters of self expression. Hell the genera started on the idea of self expression. But today there's a right way and a wrong way to express themselves. It's ignorant and narrow minded to bash others music because it is not "BR00TAL" enough. What is wrong with MU-metal or metal-core? Yes there are mediocre bands in those genres but to label the whole genre as "poser metal" and judge anyone who thinks differently hampers metals ability to expand because who wants to start listening metal if there going to get bashed for listening to blackened death-core as opposed to blackened death-metal. Furthermore it goes against the ideology that started metal. Self expression. To make problems worse "true metal heads" have a nasty tenancy to bash any and all genres of music. You think pop is all the same? Metal can sound the same too. There have been many times were I have listen to some genre of metal and not been able to tell the difference between it and other forms of metal.

Unfortunately the problems stem much further than this. Unfortunately bands that truly do deserve popularity either sellout or are so afraid to sellout that they end up resorting to self parody.

Metal is a fantastic genre that does deserve your time and energy but there are far too many sub-genres that make it over whelming for people getting started. This saturation leads to discrimination as "true metal heads" won't listen to that band because their posers. I am tired of metal fans being labeled as "emos" and then finding out that they to label people as "fags" or "posses" because they don't like the sub-genre that they do. It's bizarre and doesn't make sense. Metal has been close to dying many times and I'm afraid this might be it's last straw.

63 comments sorted by best / new / date

    What a terrible, terrible article, and that's ignoring the fact that this guy clearly just wrote down whatever came to his mind without even reading it over to make sure it makes sense. Actually, no, let's not ignore that, because it's really embarrassing. "There have been many times were I have listen," "MU-metal," "genera," "because their posers," "this might be it's last straw." I was going to say that this article sounds like some 7th grader's free-topic English essay, but even then it would be more polished. I'd really like to know what makes sub-genres a bad thing, because there's clearly a difference in all of them and they serve an incredible purpose. For example, I like stoner, traditional and epic doom, but funeral and death-doom make me cringe. All of these are incredibly different genres. If you limit these to "doom," or worse, "metal," there's no way in hell you're going to find bands you like. -Core genres are very different from their metal counterparts. They rely endlessly on awful screaming, breakdowns, and generic drop-tuned riffing; if they didn't have those they would be classified as, say, death metal, not deathcore. People are going to hate music they hate. Genres aren't the problem there. It just makes it easier to avoid the music you know there's absolutely no chance you'll like. Sure, metal fans endlessly bash metalcore and nu-metal, and there's hate within other metal genres, but you know what? Smart people don't care; they'll just keep listening to what they want - and they do. This is why nu-metal and metalcore are two of the biggest genres in rock, despite also being the most hated among metal fans. Further, bands don't sell out. That's just the way immature people say "this band changed, and I don't like it." It's a phrase you only see applied to the most popular of metal bands, such as Metallica. However, you know people don't like "sell-outs?" Because they don't like the music they created. You're saying that's not a valid thing to do, and it's one of the stupidest things I've ever seen.
    1. Metal is arguably getting bigger and bigger. With the internet, home studios and cheap musical production, everyone and their dog is getting their music out there today. This wasn't the case 25-35 years ago, when you needed a record deal to get your music out of your home state/province/etc. 2. You're about 7 years to late for the metalcore bashing and roughly 10-12 years late for the nu-metal bashing. 3. To think metal will die because it doesn't have the mainstream success of pop, country or rap, is just ignorant. Metal won't die, because regardless of subgenres, it's a unique genre unto itself and it has tens of MILLIONS of devoted fans around the world. 4. As much as I hate to say it, dubstep is actually helping bring heavier music into the mainstream again. Sure, it's not metal itself, but it's helping make mainstream music fans accustom to heavy music and thus leads them to new musical horizons (ala metal).
    Saying metal is dying is like saying classical music is dying. Sure, it's not what it was many years ago and not as popular but it's still there and still has many fans. The point is everything grows up and changes. Metal is no different and that's exactly what it did grow up, because if it stayed the same it would get boring and then it would die. So, all the sub-genres are keeping Metal alive despite what you are saying.
    Personally, I think genre's and subgenres are fine... people give too much weight and power to them and they become these band defining labels. They are just ways to describe a style of sound... nothing more. They do not become a box if you don't let them.
    Emenius Sleepus
    Opinion piece without any real arguments to back it. One thing that is hurting metal (and is present in most music genres in some quantities) is stagnation; a lot of bands form because they want to play "just like Darkthrone" or "be the next Metallica". Instead of worrying about writing good, interesting music. While there is plenty of diversity, most of it has been attained by a few unique bands, rather than the entire subgenres they spawned later on. If your article addressed that, for example, it would hold far more water. Secondly, heavy music has been fading in and out of popularity since its existence, this has been fairly well documented. For every person that, for example, whined how "something killed guitar playing in that era or this era", there has been a sizeable underground community that never relied on mass publicity.
    I don't know about y'all, but I could really care less about how relevant or cool metal is to the general population. As Yuke mentioned, a wise man once said "You can't kill the metal" and as long as it's alive we'll be listening to it.
    Most_Triumphant wrote: Metal dying? Hell I can't find a guitarist under 20 who doesn't play the BROOTALZ or wannabe blues. Rock is the one that's dying.
    This, too. I've never actually been interested in playing metal, but from everyone I know and other people I've seen I'd say it's one of the most common styles played on a guitar still.
    Metal will not 'die'. There will always be people who like Metal, in every one of its forms. Same with every genre. My personal view is that people are expanding on Metal in many different ways due to its versatility, in the sense that it has a lot of features that can be mixed with many different elements. However, a lot of these expansions are very refined and tailored to a taste of which a specific group of people will like, that which many call 'posers'. The part that irritates me is how people will often judge the whole genre on one form of Metal that they have heard, most noticeably much more modern sub-genres like grindcore, goregrind etc. My opinion on these genres is much, MUCH lower than that of earlier Metal music.
    vIsIbleNoIsE wrote: what happened to the quality control on the featured articles?
    They rubbed their feces all over it like cheap toilet paper and flushed it down a rusty shitter called mediocrity
    Metal dying? Hell I can't find a guitarist under 20 who doesn't play the BROOTALZ or wannabe blues. Rock is the one that's dying. Like The Who said nearly 30 years ago: "Rock is Dead."
    If metal is dying, why are there so many good metal albums this year? The Sun of Moloch by Wrathprayer? Into the Lair of the Sun God by Dawnbringer? Phoenix by Summoner? Bury the Light by Pharaoh? Stone Tools by Young Hunter? Nether Tombs of Abaddon by Proclamation? Deathwomb Catechesis by Pseudogod? Possession by Christian Mistress? Atra Mors by Evoken? No Absolutes in Human Suffering by Gaza? (A metalcore album, no less!) II by Black Pyramid? A Shadowplay for Yesterdays by A Forest of Stars? Dodecahedron's self-titled? Sorrow and Extinction by Pallbearer? The Chills by Horrendous? Metal is very much alive.
    Tenacious D has proven this article wrong long before it was even written
    You can't kill the metal The metal will live on Punk-Rock tried to kill the metal But they failed, as they were smite to the ground New-wave tried to kill the metal But they failed, as they were striken down to the ground Grunge tried to kill the metal Ha,hahahahaha They failed, as they were thrown to the ground No-one can destroy the metal The metal will strike you down with a vicious blow We are the vanquished foes of the metal We tried to win for why we do not know New-wave tried to destroy the metal, but the metal had its way Grunge then tried to dethrone the metal, but metal was in the way Punk-rock tried to destroy the metal, but metal was much too strong Techno tried to defile the metal, but techno was proven wrong
    Metal has done nothing but grow in the past years. Whether it has spawned multiple side-genres or not, metal is still rising in popularity. Also, I refuse to take an article with grammar this horrible seriously.
    Did some one say prog metal, oh no no one said that. The only genre where people stop giving a **** and it is even promoted to listen to jazz, electronic music and death metal. I am kind of dissapointed in my fellow ultimate guitar users.
    I like where the author is comming from, for the most part; Metal won't die, but people take things too seriously these days. Lemmy himself put it quite nicely, actually: "It's only rock'n'roll, you know, it's ok." We need to stop sitting around on computers complaining about it and do what everyone used to do: go outside and create a real music scene, and not leave it to the suits in the companies speciallizing the genre into the damn ground. Metal may be stagnating, but it really never will die.
    people said metal was dead in the late 70s. but look at the 80s. METAL WILL NEVER DIE!!!! after all this pop and rap shit is gone metal will be back. we'll have something better than MTV. after downloading, after lady gaga, after shitty reality tv, there will still be metal. and most is shit now but one day a band will come along that is just as good as they used to be. just wait.
    Metal won't die as long as people are listening to it. Why care about what others say about metal or metalfans? I like metal, and besides metal lots of other kinds of music. My friends do too... That's actually all that matters to me.
    Metal is not dying, it's on the rise imo, but he does make some good points. The first is the ridiculous subgenre bullshit. Ok, maybe mathcore uses a different style of time signatures and rhythms and shit, but to the average listener, they're not going to be able to tell the difference between that and any of the other thousand -cores. Hell, I always labeled The Bled as hardcore (watch someone bitch about me calling them that)until I looked at their review and for an album and I see the genre "mathcore". Ok when I think "mathcore" I think of a dude screaming "1 PLUS 1 IS TWOOOOO" The other point he made is the bashing. I see a lot of "BMTH sucks cuz they're puuuuussssieees!" or insert any band in any subgenre of metal you can think of. They have no rational reason to say this. They just don't like the music, which is fine, but they don't have to be intolerant asses about it. /rant (sorry 'bout wall of text)
    misanthrope240 wrote on 08/08/2012 - 06:11 am / quote | metal dies when no humans are left Not true. See some metal albums are indestructible, like reign in blood, and one day some alien will find it floating in space and pop it in his radio.
    link no1
    The article is wrong, metal is not dying. If we could find the first ever comment that 'metal is dying' it would probably date back to the same day that Sabbath wrote their first metal song. However. I agree that metal as a whole is filled with fans that are just elitist a**holes that refuse to let anybody have an opinion that isn't the same as their own. Constantly voicing their opinion (or as they call it, fact) that certain bands/genres aren't metal whilst singling out and discriminating those who like said bands. I'm not saying that all metal fans are like this, I am a massive metal fan myself and listen to nothing but metal, it's just that a large majority of fans ARE like this and it's a large enough amount to impact the entire metal community at least a little. I also agree with the sub-genre thing. There are just way too many sub-genres in metal. Mathcore, crabcore, Djent...the list is pretty much endless and as far as I can tell, unnecessary. Any of the bands that I listen to of these pointless sub-sub-sub genres I can put into an already existing genre without thinking about it. If you can't put them in an already existing genre then you are either being way too picky about it or they really are an entirely new sound, which is highly unlikely as there seems to be at least one new genre a month. For some of the genres I can't even find more than 2-3 bands that are classed as *insert stupid genre* and if you can't find it on the internet well...enough said. Metal falling into the mainstream isn't killing it either. That is the most idiotic thing a person can say. It's called mainstream for a reason. When metal does leak into the mainstream (which happens alot, nu-metal, glam, metalcore) it is a great thing. It brings metal to a new audience, no matter how much the 'real' metal fans dislike the genres that are in the limelight. People get into metal as a whole via these more mainstream bands, even if they pretend they always liked metal and their first ever album was Reign in Blood they know themselves that their first metal album was Iowa by Slipknot. If metal was never in the mainstream then it would have never remained as popular as it is today. Just think the next time you are calling Black Veil Brides awful, untalented and in no way metal that in 10 years alot of their fans will be listening to Testament and Kreator. Bullying is another big thing wrong with metal. It isn't necessarily killing metal but it is something massively wrong with the fanbase. Metal is known for it's fans being bullied and finding the genre as an escape. Many fans who find metal hope to gain friends that are like-minded and won't give them hassle (I know a few) but they get here and are greeted with "oh, you like this band? You're a poser, they aren't real metal, GTFO noob and listen to Death Metal because it's more br00talz". It's a stupid state of mind to have and something that shouldn't exist within the fanbase, or at least not happen with a large majority of the fanbase. If somebody wants to listen to Miseration then kewl, kudos on being awesome. If somebody wants to listen to Bullet for my Valentine then that's fine aswell, if they enjoy it then leave them to it and just be happy they are listening to metal rather than pop. Anyway, rant over. Metal will never die as long as there are people that want to listen to it (even if some of them are a**hats) and I highly doubt metal will even become a pretty small market like country music (is country music small? I never hear it anywhere)
    80s-style power metal is pretty much dead, almost all the power metal nowadays is symphonic stuff. Metal itself, however, ESPECIALLY extreme metal, technical metal and boy band metal, is huge and getting huger by the day. Still waiting on some good 80s-style power though, not much of a Rhapsody Of Fire or Blind Guardian fan(I can *listen* to them, sure, but nothing impresses me much, Pride Of The Tyrant's the only Rhapsody song I've been able to listen to alone and not get bored).
    I don't think it's fading, I think it's just going back from popularity. Metal had its big boom a few decades ago and since then other genres have slowly replaced it to popularity (it happens, music cycles and all that). So now I'd say it's just resting a little more comfortably in a less popular intensive spot than it used to be. It's still one of the biggest genres out there, with one of the biggest communities out there. Obscurity is a massive overexaggeration. It's not like the genre's only popular within indie circles, there's a huge listening fanbase. And just to clear what some might think, fading genres doesn't mean dying. Some have mentioned stuff like classical. It's not dead, but the audience is very very small now. Some day that will probably happen to metal and rock, but well, who cares? Whether it's known by a million people or ten people shouldn't change how you enjoy it. Listen to what you like.
    Agree with you about the Nu-metal and Metalcore/Deathcore bashing, and of course, allot of deathcore can get monotonous, although I do enjoy Deathcore's "more innovative" bands
    I listen to death metal. I listen to Jack White. I listen to ABBA. I listen to Queen. Your argument is invalid.
    Most_Triumphant wrote: Metal dying? Hell I can't find a guitarist under 20 who doesn't play the BROOTALZ or wannabe blues. Rock is the one that's dying. Like The Who said nearly 30 years ago: "Rock is Dead."
    Isn't metal a form of rock, with its guitar, bass and drums format with riffs and solos, not to mention the rebellious nature of it. Metal is the natural evolution of rock in the same way as rock stems from blues, also most guitarist under 20 that I know think they're doing greenday and blink 182 covers.
    First off, I don't believe in all the sub genre's for metal. Plus I don't know the majority of them... But the whole emo vs. faggot thing, I think that it's just reactionary because a humans first reaction to an insult is to try and retaliate with another insult. (the sad thing is my boyfriend in the past, now my ex, he called me emo. Sweet right?) Also, I think that there are to many people in this world that like metal too much to let it die. I should know I'm one of them... Metal will live on. You just need to believe that, and do whatever you can do to save it...!
    lamb of dog
    Couldn't agree more....great article...its the same with guitar playing these days...
    I feel like the person that wrote this article doesn't actually listen to metal all that much.
    This guy does make one good point. I have heard a LOT of bashing of people who listen to certain brands of... well, of music, forget about metal. And let's not forget that a lot of converts to the metal world are people who have been picked on, sometimes mercilessly, by their peers. And now they think they've got a shot with a new set of peers, and they decide Skrillex is awesome, and they catch crap from all the thrash and classic metal fans. For a bunch of people who demand acceptance, metal fans are giving it out less and less.
    Metal isn't dying, nor is it fading into obscurity, but I must admit that it has toned down on controversy a little bit, especially if you follow bands like dimmu borgir, but sooner or later a new metal band will pop up and stir some sh..t
    Metal is dying!? Holy shit, again? Congratulations, you are now one of the other retarded metalheads simply by taking everything too seriously. inb4 someone accuses me of taking something seriously
    This article has a valid point, I have been listening for the last 10 years, I have watched in the last 3-5 years metal become an elitist kind of thing.. there is too much self pride in metal. For example, within the group, metalheads fight with each other to say who is more metal and the old school guys think they are better than the new guys. if you listen to the black dahlia murder you can not listen to obituary. outside of the group people can see this behavior and are pointed away because music isn't about who is more correct its about who can have more fun.. just something to think about. The authors point is to "bury the hatchet " not to save metal but to make it big again.
    I agree with him. Metal fans are super pretentious sometimes. Too much pride. I'm more into punk rock or alternative music because there's less arguing and more music to be heard.
    Let me start by saying I'm no metal fan. I don't think metal will ever die though. The author is right that those of us who don't care about metal can't tell the difference between one genre an another. It's all a bunch of f***ing noise to us.
    Hit the nail on the head, when the writer called out people who bash bands based on genre. Metal became from being the fun crazy genre to the elitist purist genre. The fact that many metalheads are very vocal about their elitist views, caused a lot of people to view metal as a sub-genre of angry and hateful members. Unfortunately, 'metalheads' are the reason for metal's fall, if not for their standoffish attitude, metal would not be held back from flourishing further. And I don't know how someone can honestly think that metal is bigger than ever. I've yet to meet anyone that like metal in my University. If you want metal to get big again, make it fun again.
    Although I agree with bashing Nu-Metal, Metalcore (which isn't really Metal), and Dubstep (which is another ridiculous fad); everything else in your premise is just wrong. Metal doesn't have to be "popular". In fact, it never really was. Besides, I like the idea of Black Metal, Doom Metal, Thrash, and all the other genres. (Yes, some of the "genres" aren't really genres, like there's actually no such thing as Medieval Metal. The reason why isn't because there's no bands who write about medieval themes, but rather because "Medieval Metal" is Folk Metal. It doesn't need a further classification, just because they write about things from the Middle Ages.) Point is, the basic genres of Black Metal, Death Metal, Doom Metal, Thrash, Folk Metal, Groove Metal, Power Metal, Progressive Metal, and Traditional Heavy Metal all are good genre labels that each lead the listener to expect a basic certain sound. There's very little reason to believe that Metal isn't popular worldwide either.
    Metal will never die. Sure, there have been times when 'Classic' Metal was overshadowed by different spinoff genres like Nu-Metal and what have you, but it always survived AS the other fads tailed off. There is no end to it, it grows more and more with the passage of time, and it will continue to be passed on from generation to generation.
    The only real problem that you wrote about was all the sub-genres and that`s just annoying if your not picky. Metal is getting bigger, and not many non-douchebag metalheads go around bashing non-metal and different kinds of metal.