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Metal?

Estimated reading time: 5 minute(s)

I was listening to the new Haunted Shores EP today, and fact-checking myself on whether it was the side project of two members of Periphery. So I took a side trip to the excellent Encyclopaedia Metallum… and suddenly found myself reading a thread about the age-old question: are they metal?

This comes up a lot for me, the question of how to classify a lot of the loud music that I listen to. Now, I can’t speak for anyone else’s judgment, but for me this feels more arbitrary and pragmatic than actually important. This makes personal sense, since my life’s musical path has been a weird one: that of a sheltered childhood dominated exclusively by baroque and classical music, until I discovered progressive rock, and was subsequently drawn to the dark side of metal (thanks, Zig). With a path like that, I’m not surprised that I’m not too hung up on the breed of music that I choose to hear, as long as I can connect with it. And at least 80% of the time, the music I feel like listening to nowadays is generally described as “metal,” but that’s not like a goal of mine. And I struggle with what to do about some of the other 20%.

Take Battles, for example. This is not a metal band by any stretch, and yet the band have a math rock and hard core pedigree.Their latest album is one of the most fun records of 2015, but I hesitate before mentioning it to anyone who self-identifies as metal.

And so I struggle with a definition for our genre, one that doesn’t lead to false positives (inclusion of Saliva) or false negatives (exclusion of Opeth).

What do you think?

This post has responses:
November 6, 2015 Re: Metal? avatar
The age old question: what makes something metal? It has come up for me lately a bit because my daughter has been enjoying AC/DC lately (started with hearing Highway to...
November 8, 2015 Re: Metal? avatar
Although I suppose we could come up with a definition of metal based on some combination of objective musical criteria (e.g. double-bass drumming, de-tuning, distortion, etc.) or some common sense...
November 22, 2015 Re: Re: Metal? avatar
I've been thinking a lot about your answers to my question. I agree with both of you on some points. In particular, I can think of plenty of examples of...