This week has seen a great many releases from artists in the metal world. None have been more of a talking point than the “controversial” cover of Sacred Son’s debut black metal album. Featuring well, you can look for yourself.
The cover has been met with praise and more importantly scorn. Derided as nothing more than “hipster trash” by those pundits who it appears only want heavy metal to remain in some neatly defined box. But let’s be honest with each other, heavy metal should have never been defined in a box. The genre itself was founded on doing the exact opposite. Black Sabbath and all those other bands you love only exist for breaking the mold of what was acceptable at the time.
But really, we already have Black Sabbath, Metallica and all these other great bands. We really don’t need them again. They already pushed the genre forward, so it’s time for someone else to take up the reigns. So why do we see this continual rebellion against anything forwardly creative in this genre? Why do the gatekeepers of this almighty genre, react like Donald Trump on a twitter rant when anyone even slightly outside of the box appears? When did heavy metal become the very thing it rebelled against.
I would argue heavy metal is stagnating right now, there are far too many bands painting within the lines of this genre and not enough thinking outside of it. We should be praising the works of bands such as Code Orange, King Woman, Myrkur, Deafheaven and whoever else wants to think outside the box to the world. Not expecting them to conform to the tropes of the heavy metal genre.
You don’t even have to like the above mentioned bands. But you should appreciate their creative risks, because risk is the underlying theme of heavy metal. A fuck off attitude no one else can take from us. Come on people, we’re already a genre on the fringe of society. We’re already hated by the mainstream, blamed for school shootings and for corrupting the morality of our precious youth. We already spend so much time fighting these external forces. Do we really need to be marginalizing the groups within our subculture?
I want the future of metal to be whatever it wants to be. I want people to wear pink and spew glitter onstage, collaborate with Kanye West, take pictures of themselves and slap them on the cover of their black metal album. Heavy metal is a way of life and no real definition belongs to anyone. We need to stop letting these basement trolls act as if they own the definition of what our genre is.
Remember that the next time you think about pulling out your pitchfork and shitting on a band because they don’t sound like another low-rent version of Slayer.
Written by Kaydan Howison