I recently (in 2014 when I wrote this draft) read two blog posts by two very different guys who are both complaining about the general lack of professionalism around today. You know how it goes, complaining is always a win-win strategy, you will always find somebody that is going to agree with you. I’ll skip on the fact that some other counter-complainers love so much to ask first instance complainers to propose real solutions to the perceived problem. Me, I personally enjoy the freedom to complain destructively without necessarily having to propose a solution. I might not like one thing, but that doesn’t mean I am an expert on the topic nor that I believe I should be one to show my disappointment.
That brings me to one of the main mysteries of this huge mashup that we could call “scene” – and with the term “scene” I am not referring just to the Isten-defined “scene” of band pictures first and “music-comes-second” attitude. I am referring to the whole world of people that, in some way or another, have ever had something to do with extreme Metal, Punk, Grindcore and so on (I have my own theory on how total 1-click availability to most human production spoiled what once was a fairly elitist environment but I might add that this imagery of a golden age is mostly inflated by so-called veterans, believe me, most of our days in the ’90s were just hours upon hours of plain boredom).
I am referring to the fact that apparently there seems to be a hierarchy in this sort of monstrosity called “scene”. There are presumed experts and veterans that believe they can talk and silence people just by the mere fact that they bought “Reek Of Putrefaction” in a store when they were teenagers. And then there are people that instead “can’t talk” because they’re like 14 today, and open their own blogs or Youtube channels and just give their own personal opinion of the stuff being released 20 or more years ago. Obviously, sometimes (well, OFTEN) I cringe when I hear some of these guys talking about stuff they definitely have no clue about, but I personally have no problem with non-experts expressing their opinions.
On the contrary, this is all music fan “journalism” in 2022 is supposed to bring to the table.
If someone is born in 1999 and has a passion for this music in my book he deserves to talk about it even more than 45-year-old guys that pretend to be veterans of the Black Metal scene because they were listening to Emperor and all that (shitty) stuff at the time of the infamous stabbings and church burnings. I know SEVERAL of these, and personally, I feel absolutely no respect for their attitude (not to mention, they are probably – not to say basically always – not experts in the field as they pretend to be, but that’s another matter).
Just to clarify my thoughts a little better I’d like to get back to the very core of this problem: what the hell is a “veteran” or an “expert” of grindcore, or death metal or black metal, or what have you? What makes you one?
For some reason, I reckon I could be called an, albeit minor, “expert” on the field of Death/Black Metal or a particular kind of grindcore that I very rarely recognize today (my concept of what grindcore is supposed to sound like is probably lost today since the boundaries that defined it back then do not exist anymore). Probably not on a planetary level, but I cut my niche in that list a long time ago, at least in my country. I have several thousand records, did my homework during the tapetrading days, and when the stunt still had meaning I could describe and talk about thousands of bands, quote whole segments of interviews, and so on.
Do you know what I did to deserve this? Nothing.
It was only by a complete coincidence that I managed to see records like “In The Sign Of Evil”, “Under The Sign Of The Black Mark”, “Pleasure To Kill”, and so on when they were released in the shops and mailorders. Having an older brother that brings in records lent by other friends is the way most of the guys my age managed to be introduced to metal and punk. Not only there was obviously no Internet around, not only glossy mags were still talking only about Black Sabbath and other big bands, but the greatest problem was that even back then, people cared relatively about extreme music.
I grabbed the records, stared at them, and went through the thanklists, but when my curiosity brought me to talk about these bands with people who were supposed to be “real” punks and metalheads, I recognized that none of them cared about this passion as much as I did. That was until 1994, but I’ll talk about that year in the future. Those kids were the equivalent of today’s Youtube kids that talk about Hellhammer, with the main difference being that these kids actually listened to Hellhammer. Only when I realized that my curiosity could not be sated by the people around me I had to grab a pen and managed to enter the world of xeroxed zines and tape traders. But that’s another story.
So what is this post about? It’s about recognizing that there is no hierarchy and no “respect due” to the so-called veterans that just had the luck of being born at the right time.
Having said all that, that period at the turn of the 1990s (before and after about three to four years) was really something to remember, not so much for the quality of the music being produced as for the fact that we were all very young and everything was forming. I’ve read a few books and accounts from those years and I’ve noticed that it’s never quite clear enough that we didn’t have any money, that it was difficult to get around, and that scams were around every corner. But even less clear is the fact that there were very, very few of us in those days. There was punk to talk about punk with, and that metalhead who, apart from a handful of classic records, would occasionally put on something heavy, but until 92-93 basically in Italy nobody knew shit about extreme metal and we were all sailing by sight. The next time some fat, balding guy talks about his tapetrading days, look him in the eye because 95% of the time he’s bullshitting you.
#1990 #osdm #deathmental #blackmetal #grindcore #scenepoints