On a superficial reading, the last post might seem like an ode to gatekeeping: “let’s keep our passions among ourselves,” in short. It wasn’t. It was an ode to the pursuit of the spirit of things and an invitation to eschew everything that is proposed by the masses. It was an invitation to search for the magic that was inherent in the activities we love and that united generations dispersed around the world before they became public knowledge. It is not about hiding, but placing, contextualizing and not watering down.
Those who know me know that I have no interest in hiding anything of what little I know and have collected. If that were the case, I wouldn’t even be writing in this blogzine. If someone shows enthusiasm for something on which I believe I have some expertise I am pleased to help swell the ranks of this legion. As I daily discover new things that interest me and thank the disseminators for sharing their knowledge. I am getting interested in cocktails and historical fonts right now, to say, and it is wonderful that there are thousands of more or less technical or informative papers on these topics.
The sick gatekeeping is that of insecure people who think that having bought a Sepultura CD in 1996 grants them some form of authority in the genre. These are people who have always been in the shadow of those who were really active and have suddenly found themselves with a lot less hair (I would say by the way that I am not wrong if I assume they are 100% male) and 25 years of militancy in the genre that for some reason should qualify them as veterans (“tell me three song names of the band you have on your T-shirt”) which they are NOT. They are not even now that they have jobs, a few hundred CDs and can browse Discogs from their smartphones, let alone back in the day. They were lucky that in 1993-1994 when the Black Metal phenomenon exploded and most of the extreme metal bands were under 30, the gatekeepers back in the day were still lost in Hard Rock, because if they weren’t, recruit training course bullying would have passed them by too.
I genuinely don’t conceive stupid gatekeeping, it doesn’t really emphasize anybody. Making people think you were tapetrading when you know full well it wasn’t true (and how many I hear today who betray themselves in the details-“a scovà gli infami’ so na spada”, cit.) I can even understand if you can’t find recognition as an old man, but leveraging the younger generation to inflate your ego, that doesn’t serve shit.
At the end of the day, those who do this kind of operation are driven by the frustration of not being in their twenties anymore, of seeing new generations (and a lot of pussy NONE of us had foreseen) enjoy endless technologies and availability of documentation, and in the past few years even several essays on the subject that help to bring razor-level clarity to the most minute details of any corner of the underground. Masking all this with a spirit of altruism is just an exercise in style. If you didn’t do your homework when you were supposed to, you’ve missed the train, and no 5-figure collection will make up for the fact that even today you have nothing to say. The world is progressing, technologies are expanding, and even extreme metal has come to the crossroads of interdisciplinarity just as has happened in so many other disciplines. If one knows how to adapt, the challenges of the new era can expand what has been before on fronts never imagined.
There are, indeed, big problems inherent in the new model, in my view primarily that perverse and demented desire to insert moral and progressive lessons inside of everything, but the opportunities that open up are immense and exciting. Fortunately, music remains an intimate concept of personal enjoyment; no fad can really undermine it at its root.