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On Idol Worship in Metal
by Noctir (Dec. 2012)

Among the various irritating things that are found in the underground is a sort of idol worship that has gotten increasingly worse in the last few years. This is not something only limited to Metal, by any means. All forms of celebrities are placed on a pedestal and treated as being somehow better than they really are. People often blindly follow whatever their idols show any interest in, wanting to dress like their favourite celebrities or to shop at the same stores and so on. This is largely the mentality behind celebrity endorsements, because the capitalist pigs know that most people are sheep and will follow their manufactured line-leaders, whether actors, models, pop singers, athletes, etc. Despite the supposed rebellious stance of Metal sub-culture, one that is supposed to reject mainstream culture, many of the same behaviours can be found. While most are not inspiring the extreme fanaticism of an Elvis or The Beatles, it is true that a large number of fans have an unrealistic impression of the musicians that they support and one that may end up being somewhat damaging.

Through their art, musicians speak to others in a way that few others can. Often, when someone finds that they really relate to something on what they feel to be a deep level, they may imagine that this connection runs deeper and that the artist much be just like them, if they are thinking or feeling similar things. However, this is already based on superficial information, as there is no real way to know if these are even genuine sentiments being expressed through the music. It very well could be that the message being espoused is metaphorical or that the band in question is simply creating an image for themselves. And even still, it may be that the listeners are taking the art much more seriously than the actual creator. This is the case in many instances, as the true meaning behind this musical expression may not be as clear-cut as people think. In the case of Venom, Cronos has stated that the Norwegian Black Metallers took the message too literally and did not even support the burning of churches. Not even a decade earlier, this same guy was singing, "Light the fires now... we're going to burn this place to the ground" and "I am possessed by all that is evil... the death of your god I demand". Clearly, there is a lot of room for different interpretations. There is also the possibility that most people are incredibly fake, musicians included. This is not to say that all musicians are scum. Of course, that would be an unfair generalization. However, they are merely human and most people are foul creatures. This would seem to indicate that more of them are attention-seeking, self-serving pieces of garbage than we would like to acknowledge. A large number of them have incredibly bad attitudes, for one. Or they have no reason to be civil toward someone unless it suits their purposes. They eagerly welcome all the support they can get, early on in their careers and then quickly forget those people once they have reached the next level and no longer need them.

In the past several years, sites like Myspace and Facebook have made it increasingly easy to get into contact with various musicians, beyond concert venues and often in an even more personal manner. As a result, a lot of people have been able to connect with those that have created something that they find to be meaningful. At the same time, many have also been incredibly disappointed when their favourite artist turns out to be a self-centered scumbag, or is only interested in the typical pursuit of sex and drugs. Sometimes, it isn't even a matter of bad attitudes, huge egos or skewed priorities. It could simply be the realization that they do not take what they do seriously. This has a way of ruining the illusion for many, and may even kill the music for them.

The important thing to remember is that the individuals behind the music are not important. As humans, they are afflicted with the same failings as most of the rest, and will probably disappoint you just like most of your friends, family and significant others have done, throughout the years. Just because they made something that touches you on a deeper level does not mean that they are any better than you or the next person. Putting them on a pedestal is likely a bad thing to do (unless it's Fenriz, because he's bloody awesome). To avoid this feeling of disappointment, the key thing is to separate the artist from the art, in a way. Look at the individuals as mere tools that are being used for this art to manifest itself into our world. The flesh is not important, for the flesh will always submit to decay, in one form or another. But the spirit that lurks behind is what matters most.
















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