Think metal is dead? That's your fault

Like any other music writer with too much time on his hands, I spend too much of my time staring into the dark abyss that is the Internet Music Community, a place where trolls run free in pixel meadows and elitists parade around with their big, digital dicks swinging with wild abandon. A place that people like you call home. A place that you find solace with likeminded individuals who find nothing more hysterical than calling every band under the age of 40 ‘fags’.

C’mon. That’s what you do.

On the Metal Hammer website we cover pretty much everything considered metal – from Babymetal to Burzum – but 90% of the time the younger bands are being slaughtered in the comments section for daring to have a haircut not approved by the High Priests Of Metaldom or for not recreating Rust In Peace. The bastards. Like, how dare a band in 2016 have the tenacity, no the ignorance, to sound like something other than Megadeth?

You haven’t thought this through, have you. The problem that you’ve created for yourself – for no fucking reason whatsoever – is that metal died when you were 14. According to you, everything that has happened since is just a pale imitation and should be derided in as many Facebook comments and poorly-spelled rants as possible. There’s no point looking for new music because you’ve declared metal as dead as MySpace. It’s lucky you’re around to point out when non-physical entities have died, you should go work for NASA or something.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not your fault, it’s the way you’ve been engineered. The internet in general has a fetish with the past – and not just musically. Have a quick search around some of the biggest websites – Buzzfeed, Tumblr, Reddit – and you’ll see countless posts about how mindbogglingly fantastic the 1990s were: ‘You know you were born in 1990 if you remember literally anything’, or .gifs of Johnny Bravo, or 10,000 word dissertations on the beauty of the Sega Mega Drive.

The nostalgic wet dream the internet has become is the reason you’re are struggling to comprehend the future, despite living in it.

Remember when the internet was a threat to the music industry? Remember Napster completely shitting down the neck of record labels and allowing you to download all those rarities and B-sides for free? We know you didn’t pay for St Anger, but we bet you nicked it from Kazaa. That was in 2003. We’re now in 2016 and perhaps the greatest invention by humankind* is full of people reminiscing about how good life was before such an invention existed. And as such, this long drawn-out deathwank over the ‘90s is leaking into reality.

You’ve become scared of what’s new, scared of what’s changing, scared of what’s around the corner unless it’s something you’ve encountered a hundred times before and know exactly how to deal with it. This is why the world is inundated with countless bands playing their debut albums in full – because you don’t want to hear the new stuff, this is why bands once regarded as laughing stocks and industry whipping boys are now playing 1000-capacity rooms for a lolzy night out, this is why bands pushing boundaries in the underground are treated by music ‘fans’ as something they’ve trodden in. You don’t want to see a bunch of plucky 20-somethings topping the bill at the Electric Ballroom do you? No, you want to see Alien Ant Farm in the year TWO THOUSAND AND SIXTEEN. Last year the capital city of England and the cultural hub of the United Kingdom played host to Hoobastank, POD and Spineshank for little reason other than for those aged 25-35 to have a beer and remember the good old days of MTV2 and P-Rock like they’re watching the Pistols at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall.

So how do we fix this? How do we re-programme people like you who are living in a world where anything is musically possible, and yet prefer to listen to the same albums over and over again while giving no thought to the band playing in the club down the street? I propose a cut off point. A point where music is no longer an option and bands need to move on. A retirement plan for bands that really aren’t producing their best material any more and are just going through the motions with all the enthusiasm of your parents in bed. Like an old footballer, we give them a testimonial dinner and a slap on the back and leave them to go off and run a hotel in Manchester. Send the legends to a big farm in the country to reminisce about the good ol’ days of actually making money from albums and swap groupie anecdotes. They’d love that, wouldn’t they? We could all go visit and listen to their stories and pretend that the entire building doesn’t have that old people smell. School choirs would pay a visit every Christmas to sing some carols and then Papa Het could join in with some Yeaaheahs. What fun. It’s an extreme measure but at least it means that the new breed will be given a chance.

Ok, that’s a shit idea. You wouldn’t let it happen anyway, would you? Too much effort. Why bother going to that free gig down the street when you can sit on Facebook and listen to Reign In Blood for the 400th time. All new bands are shit and faggots and emo, right mate? If Metallica tried to break in the days of Facebook, those long-locked guys in their early 20s would be laughed at by the internet for not looking the part and their Bandcamp would go unlistened. “No point listening to these new guys ‘cause they won’t go anywhere, I’m going back to my Styx records,” you’d say. “Kill ‘Em All is a stupid name for an album, give me Virgin Killer any day,” you’d snort. That’s what you’d say, because you, like the vast majority of the internet are afraid to take risks and yet complain that metal is dead. Metal isn’t dead, your passion is. You are the problem. You are the internet. You are the future. Unfuck the system!

*Fuck the wheel, electricity and penicillin. Are any of them as life affirming as THIS?

Please note: the space below is where you write that I’m an emo faggot with shit hair.

Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.