Thrash Hits

July 22nd, 2009

There’s STILL no Metal in the Mercury Prize

The 2009 Nationwide Mercury Music prize shortlist has been announced, and once again Hugh Platt finds himself screaming at the sky, shaking his fist like an ineffectual caveman cursing the Gods for making it rain.

No Metal Mercury Prize 2009 Barclaycard Thrash Hits

Once again, the great and the good of the UK music media are hunched over, hands clasped around their critical appendages, and are furiously word-wanking their opinions onto betting slips. That’s right: the shortlist of albums fighting for the 2009 Mercury Prize have be announced, and yet again – for the 18th year running – metal has been denied a presence on the final shortlist.

When you stop to consider how popular a ‘niche’ metal is – one that has several yearly festivals, national magazines dedicated to it, and a history stretching back all the way to the late 60’s – then this long-standing lack of recognition of anything even approaching metal is pretty galling. Are we to believe that since 1992, there hasn’t really been any metal albums of British or Irish origin that could be considered to be amongst the 12 Best Albums of any given year? Or could it be that this competition supposedly intended to highlight the best albums produced by British or Irish acts is more full of shit than a herd of constipated pot-bellied pigs?

Even if we stretch the Thrash Hits remit as thin and tight as Steel Panther’s spandex jockstraps, the number of ‘our’ albums that have ever made the shortlist is despicably miniscule. Permission To Land by The Darkness? Surely that’s seen as a laughable nomination by just about everyone now, rather than just by people who actually, y’know, actually like heavy music. The Fat Of The Land by The Prodigy isn’t a metal album, no matter what you might try to argue down the pub. The OTT progishness of Muse‘s Black Holes & Revelations? Still very much on the ‘safe’ side of heavy – Matt Bellamy hardly terrifies daytime Radio 1, after all. Past that, you’ve got to roll all the way back to 1994 for Therapy?’s Troublegum for the anything with even a smidgen of heaviness to it.

Watch the video to ‘Screamager’ by Therapy?

It’s not even as if metal gets thrown a tokenistic entry now and again. Even jazz, classical and “world” music gets that much. Sure, there’s as much chance as an album from those genres winning as Kerry King has of growing a full head of hair back, but at least they get a nod of consideration.

What about Gallows? The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster? Biffy Clyro? earthtone 9? Napalm Death? Funeral For A Friend? Rolo Tomassi? Post-Blaze Bailey Iron Maiden? Or even Enter Shikari? That’s just a tiny, tiny sample of the dozens and dozens of bands producing incredible, interesting, worthy heavy British records over the last decade. Yet the most talked-about music prize in the entire of Britain and Ireland continues to see fit in sidelining anything that even suggests .

Is it because metal is still seen by mainstream culture commentators as some kind of childish genre, one that really shouldn’t be indulged beyond adolescence? That somehow metal is less “worthy” than indie music? They seem to forget the technical skill, the constant musical innovation and evolution present – nay, necessary in metal, and instead get hung up on the fact that metal can be LOUD and SHOUTY and ANGRY and other phrases that they only think of as existing in permanent capital letters and precious little else besides.

Should we even care? Metal has always styled itself as an outlaw genre – should it really give a flying toss what a panel of chirruping media gormflakes think about it? Do we really want to see Lauren Laverne et al, sniggering behind their hands throughtout the award ceremony, as some tokenistic metal entry struggles to perform a live song thanks to a woefully inadequate PA? Or even worse, do we want to have to stomach Jo Whiley-esque declarations of false lifelong fanhood to metal from careerist lip-flappers, who’d gladly spout any hollow opinion you cared to feed them if it guaranteed them a spot in front of a TV camera?

Of course, this is all somewhat meaningless conjecture – the submissions cost (yes, you have to pay to submit your album to the Mercury) puts the pipe-dream of the Mercury Prize outside the budget of most metal bands. Consider that the vast, vast majority of British metal bands exist on tiny, next-to-no-budget indie labels, and the likelihood of those labels finding a spare £500 lying about to blow on a ridiculous competition which will have a guaranteed ZERO return on investment. There’s no metal in the Mercury because, well, metal bands have the business sense not to throw money away chasing something they’ll never even have a chance of making the shortlist for, let along grabbing the top prize.

Why should we even be concerned about obtaining validation from these chumps? Maybe it’s a good thing metal gets ignored by the Mercury judging panel – at least it spares it from the indignity of being manhandled by a mainstream media that mocks what it can’t hope to understand.

—–

In celebration of The Mercury Music Prize being so fucking shit, we’ve decided to launch the annual-ish COROT-3b “Music” Prize for best British Rock Album of the last few months. Some of these were probably released over a year ago, but we don’t care.

COROT-3b is the most heavy metal planet in the universe. Actually – it’s twice as dense as lead. That puts shitty little Mercury to shame.

*** We’re investigating “voting irregularities” – stay tuned for the result ***


Comments

  • http://theonlythingiknowforsure.wordpress.com/ Michael

    Haha, good article. Raised a chuckle out of me, but I do wonder why you’re so incensed by it all. I mean, the Mercury Music Prize has been pretty much disregarded by anyone with any common sense.

    Having said that, Eurovision embraced metal with open arms…so why can’t we? Perhaps it’s an anti-euro thing eh?

  • http://theonlythingiknowforsure.wordpress.com Michael

    Haha, good article. Raised a chuckle out of me, but I do wonder why you’re so incensed by it all. I mean, the Mercury Music Prize has been pretty much disregarded by anyone with any common sense.

    Having said that, Eurovision embraced metal with open arms…so why can’t we? Perhaps it’s an anti-euro thing eh?

  • http://www.thrashhits.com/ Raz

    Imagine what £22,000 would do for a band like The Ghost Of A Thousand or Architects.

    That’s what I care about. They work just as hard and write albums just as ambitious and strong in depth but I think the shouting puts ‘normal’ people off a bit.

  • http://www.thrashhits.com Raz

    Imagine what £22,000 would do for a band like The Ghost Of A Thousand or Architects.

    That’s what I care about. They work just as hard and write albums just as ambitious and strong in depth but I think the shouting puts ‘normal’ people off a bit.

  • C

    You missed Fucked Up. Them winning the prize would have been far funnier.

    • http://www.thrashhits.com/ Raz

      Fucked Up are about as British as…

  • C

    You missed Fucked Up. Them winning the prize would have been far funnier.

    • http://www.thrashhits.com Raz

      Fucked Up are about as British as…

  • Peter

    Fucked Up are Canadian, so they’re ineligible. That aside, the only album that’s truly made my jaw drop this year is Heaven & Hell’s ‘The Devil You Know’. Not a bad song on it.

    I thought Architects – Hollow Crown was pretty good as well.

    But meh, I don’t care much for the Mercury Music Prize. And even if I did, I wouldn’t be nominating half the tripe (e.g. Gallows, Rolo Tomassi, Enter Shikari) suggested by yourselves for the Corot-3b prize.

  • Peter

    Fucked Up are Canadian, so they’re ineligible. That aside, the only album that’s truly made my jaw drop this year is Heaven & Hell’s ‘The Devil You Know’. Not a bad song on it.

    I thought Architects – Hollow Crown was pretty good as well.

    But meh, I don’t care much for the Mercury Music Prize. And even if I did, I wouldn’t be nominating half the tripe (e.g. Gallows, Rolo Tomassi, Enter Shikari) suggested by yourselves for the Corot-3b prize.

  • http://www.theinevitablenose.com/ The Inevitable Nose

    We don’t need no stinkin’ awards. Also, it would be worse to be considered as a concession every year but ignored as usually happens to classical/folk/jazz for the Mercury – how patronising! Indie award for indie bands.

  • http://www.theinevitablenose.com/ The Inevitable Nose

    We don’t need no stinkin’ awards. Also, it would be worse to be considered as a concession every year but ignored as usually happens to classical/folk/jazz for the Mercury – how patronising! Indie award for indie bands.

  • http://heavy-metal-gamer.blogspot.com/ Hairyman

    Good article. Like you’ve said, even though getting your arse licked by a bunch of industry cocks isn’t good for anyone’s career, £22,000 is. I would have loved to see that money go towards metal bands who I thought we life-changing who then broke up. Like Sikth. Sikth winning the Mercury Prize would have been amazing. I may have jizzed in my pints just thinking about it.

    In regards to your poll, then yeah; TGOAT would get my vote. I haven’t heard everything on that list but my top 2 would be TGOAT and Sacred Mother Tongue with TGOAT just coming ahead for writing an album a bit more diverse than Sacred’s effort. No offence to either as they both rock like a mother fucker.

  • http://heavy-metal-gamer.blogspot.com Hairyman

    Good article. Like you’ve said, even though getting your arse licked by a bunch of industry cocks isn’t good for anyone’s career, £22,000 is. I would have loved to see that money go towards metal bands who I thought we life-changing who then broke up. Like Sikth. Sikth winning the Mercury Prize would have been amazing. I may have jizzed in my pints just thinking about it.

    In regards to your poll, then yeah; TGOAT would get my vote. I haven’t heard everything on that list but my top 2 would be TGOAT and Sacred Mother Tongue with TGOAT just coming ahead for writing an album a bit more diverse than Sacred’s effort. No offence to either as they both rock like a mother fucker.

  • El Grebo

    ha ha nice rant. good to see TEMBLD get yet another mention, wouldn’t say they’re really metal either but anyone who saw them last week will agree how truely amazing they are right now

  • El Grebo

    ha ha nice rant. good to see TEMBLD get yet another mention, wouldn’t say they’re really metal either but anyone who saw them last week will agree how truely amazing they are right now

  • http://www.thrashhits.com/ Raz

    I heard great things about TEMBLD last week. I need to see them again! Last time was in a field in Oxford whilst wearing a banana hat – I know, I’m sooooo crazy.

  • http://www.thrashhits.com Raz

    I heard great things about TEMBLD last week. I need to see them again! Last time was in a field in Oxford whilst wearing a banana hat – I know, I’m sooooo crazy.

  • http://typebasedtees.co.cc/ edSW

    At least Iron Maiden won a brit.
    My choice was between either SMT, Sylosis or Architects. I chose Sylosis’,Conclusion of an Age. It’s a brilliant album and i’m yet to hear a bad word about the band. I can’t wait to see them at Knebworth in just over a week.

  • http://typebasedtees.co.cc edSW

    At least Iron Maiden won a brit.
    My choice was between either SMT, Sylosis or Architects. I chose Sylosis’,Conclusion of an Age. It’s a brilliant album and i’m yet to hear a bad word about the band. I can’t wait to see them at Knebworth in just over a week.

  • Steve

    Amen to that! Really good read.

    Mercury list this year is bloody awful. Rolo Tomassi would be, in my eyes at least, much more worthy of a nomination than The Horrors or La Roux. At least they do something we haven’t all heard before. If Metal and such being “shouty” were to be their defence, how can they then include Florence and the Machine? It’s simple snobbery.

  • Steve

    Amen to that! Really good read.

    Mercury list this year is bloody awful. Rolo Tomassi would be, in my eyes at least, much more worthy of a nomination than The Horrors or La Roux. At least they do something we haven’t all heard before. If Metal and such being “shouty” were to be their defence, how can they then include Florence and the Machine? It’s simple snobbery.

  • robflyd

    Also Sylosis would be nice.

  • robflyd

    Also Sylosis would be nice.

  • casper

    Great read, and the bit about how people see metal as something simple and not worthy is so true. I keep trying to tell my stupid friends metal is far better than their R&B shit and requires so much more talent, but they can’t see past loud noises.

  • casper

    Great read, and the bit about how people see metal as something simple and not worthy is so true. I keep trying to tell my stupid friends metal is far better than their R&B shit and requires so much more talent, but they can’t see past loud noises.

  • http://www.thrashhits.com/ Raz

    Anyone can play guitar ;)

  • http://www.thrashhits.com Raz

    Anyone can play guitar ;)

  • http://www.adam.com/ Adam G

    Basically your average punter is thick as fuck, they have the attention span of a brain damaged goldfish and zero musical knowledge. This is why only songs that make good ringtones become popular these days…People don’t understand how to evaluate forms of music that don’t have a ‘killer hook’…I know someone who said the new Architects record is “OK but there are no good songs on it”. What this person meant was “there’s no repetitive shitty part that I can easily remember”.
    Rockers are almost as bad though, thinking that they’re into something different, but listening to Disturbed/post 84 Metallica/whatever…I think a lot of rockers just like the illusion of being “different”, when actually it’s just a slight variation on a theme.

    Rant over.

    Ghost Of A Thousand rule by the way.

  • http://www.adam.com Adam G

    Basically your average punter is thick as fuck, they have the attention span of a brain damaged goldfish and zero musical knowledge. This is why only songs that make good ringtones become popular these days…People don’t understand how to evaluate forms of music that don’t have a ‘killer hook’…I know someone who said the new Architects record is “OK but there are no good songs on it”. What this person meant was “there’s no repetitive shitty part that I can easily remember”.
    Rockers are almost as bad though, thinking that they’re into something different, but listening to Disturbed/post 84 Metallica/whatever…I think a lot of rockers just like the illusion of being “different”, when actually it’s just a slight variation on a theme.

    Rant over.

    Ghost Of A Thousand rule by the way.

  • Jack

    British metal is shit. The best we’ve got to offer is Bullet For My Fucking Valentine. Great.

  • Jack

    British metal is shit. The best we’ve got to offer is Bullet For My Fucking Valentine. Great.

  • http://www.thrashhits.com/ Hugh

    If you think that, Jack, then I pity you.

  • http://www.thrashhits.com Hugh

    If you think that, Jack, then I pity you.

Keep up with Thrash Hits. Click like and follow.
X