Earlier this year, we were minding our own business over on Twitter when we notice Dale Butler from Malefice kicking up a rage over the attitudes of certain quarters of the UK metal scene. Never ones to turn down the opportunity for some good ol’ fashioned shit-stirring, we dropped Dale an email and asked him whether he fancied writing about what had got him so angry with a few more words than 140 characters would allow. Take it away, Dale….
“What is metal?” Such a bizarre question, but a question that surfaces every day in our industry. Whether you are a fan of the industry or work within it, your credibility is questioned every day by people that don’t understand the history and the concept of this genre.
It’s quite simple. “Metal” is more than just a genre of music; it’s a sense of community.
This sense of community has been lost over the past ten years due to a civil war among us. Elitist views, and an intolerance from some, when boundaries are pushed out of their comfort zone, the very thing our beloved form of music spawned from. Now I’m not tarring everyone with the same brush. There are people out there that are the epitome of what I consider to be metal. People that support their local scenes, that strive for new music and that are open minded enough to give anything a listen before comparing it to Slayer. However these days, those people are rare breed of animal.
Let me put it to you this way: the United Kingdom is fucking owning the world when it comes to new music right now. That strike a nerve? Well, let me explain. We as a nation have always been pushing the boundaries and straying away from the norm when it comes to music. Now we’re never gonna have another Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden or the Sex Pistols because illegal downloads have changed how the industry works. There’s a certain British band, for instance, that we should be fucking proud of and get behind as a nation as one of our new breed of exports. But a lot of the metal community won’t welcome them because of how they look – regardless of how well they’re doing. Now I understand the initial “fashion has no place in metal” shite that most people spout, but it’s been there since the 80s, and if you actually got past the way someone looks and listened to what they had to say, you might be into it.
All my life I’ve been judged on how I looked, and I guarantee most of you are the same, THAT is where the sense of community comes from, we’re all equal and it’s hypocrisy to think otherwise. I cut my hair 6 months ago and was told I had “sold out”. This is the attitude I’m talking about.
Watch Malefice recording a track with Marcus Hahnemann, because why not?
This attitude is holding our bands back, and completely wrecking everything that generations before us worked for. We should be welcoming change, and encouraging our scene to grow. That doesn’t mean you have to like everything with a distorted guitar, as that’s daft. But it does mean everyone needs to become more tolerant. If we get a sense of community back in our scene, and start going to check out younger local bands, it’ll give us a stronger foundation to build from in years to come and keep our reputation for being the best fucking country in the world when it comes to live music. Knock down all these divides and subgenres and come together!
Guess what Mayhem fans? You’ve got Hatebreed and Machine Head playing above your favourite band at a festival this year. It sucks don’t it? No! Its fucking awesome, and it sums up how we should be! Accept that you’re not going to like everything, but don’t ever form an opinion on someone else that does just because you don’t understand it. Music is an art form, an expression, it’s subject to opinion, but this scene has confused opinion with fact over the years and it has to stop now.
Being “metal” is being the genre, and being the genre is supporting it in all its forms.
Is Dale bang on the money? Is Dale talking bollocks? We’d sure like to get your opinion. Drop us a comment down below and explain your take on Dale’s musings on the meaning of metal today.
Hopefully Dale will be back with another column for us at some point, but in the meantime, go follow him on Twitter, and more importantly, go check out Malefice, go buy their records and some merch, and get yourself down to one of the shows on the band’s Autumn UK tour.