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Metal Related and Non-Metal Guide

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    Posted: 30 Nov 2019 at 3:28am
Metal Related and Non-Metal Guide

Part 1: What is Metal Related and How is it Different From Non-Metal?

Metal Related is a term we use for the 'near misses' of the metal sub-genres on MMA, meaning releases that still have a reasonable metal component, but can't justifiably be called half metal, half not (the 50% rule). By this we mean that the release must still have a reasonable amount of unambiguous metal content, not vague/borderline riffs or a few heavy riffs here and there that ultimately don't have much bearing on the impression of the release. 

Non-Metal, by contrast, is completely devoid of metal elements, or may have so few that a release doesn't pass for Metal Related, even if other releases by the same artist do. Artists added solely to Non-Metal typically still hold some kind of relevance to the metal scene that makes them of interest to the metal community. For example there is an entire sub-scene, mostly tied to black metal, of various ambient, neoclassical darkwave and even electronic/industrial acts, which we capture the most major of on our database. 

The terms can be applied to other releases by artists who are otherwise acceptable on MMA and to additions made solely to one or both of these sub-genres. They are not places for rejects from Hard Rock, Hardcore Punk or any of their sub-genres, unless they genuinely have some relevance to the site even though their main sound wasn't correct for the aforementioned sub-genres. In which case, the artist will usually be referred to the admins at the time of rejection by the respective collaborator team. 

Above all other considerations that we can write down as hard rules for these artists that we allow to be on MMA only in Metal Related and/or Non-Metal, the artist must simply 'feel right' on a metal website. Feeling right is decided by the admins in a manner that may not always seem consistent to other users, a fact that we acknowledge but at the same time can't do anything about. There is no hard rule that we can write down that works for every case. We do not work on an 'if this is here then that should be too' basis. Every artist/release is treated on a case by case basis. 

Metallic hard rock or hardcore punk will always be placed in their respective sub-genres, not Metal Related. 

Part 2: Tagging Artists Who Have Releases in Other Sub-Genres

All Collaborators may use the Metal Related and Non-Metal tags freely and as appropriate when an artist has been otherwise accepted to any of MMA's sub-genres. All that must be considered is that Metal Related must have a reasonable presence of actual metal music contained on the release, otherwise Non-Metal must be used. Metal Related has never been interested in releases that may have one heavy riff (as an extreme example and an album that would fall under this example is Transatlantic's Bridge Across Forever) and this is true whether or not it's being evaluated for having a place on the site at all or being used on an otherwise acceptable artist, including if that artist has other releases that are acceptable for Metal Related. It's not uncommon on any profile that uses the Metal Related tag that Non-Metal will also have to be used somewhere. 

Part 3: Adding Artists Whose Only Tag Will be Metal Related at Most

Only MMA administrators are permitted to approve the inclusion of new artists to Metal Related and Non-Metal, when they won't otherwise use another MMA tag (any Metal, Hard Rock or Hardcore Punk), except perhaps on applicable singles (for example, Porcupine Tree). Admins may grant other users permission to add a new artist on a per case basis, but are usually the only members of the site permitted to add artists solely to these sub-genres. There is a zero tolerance policy on Metal Related/Non-Metal additions made without consent. 

Naturally, one shouldn't add an artist to any other sub-genre if they are clearly documented elsewhere as being only applicable for Metal Related at best (for example, a progressive rock act that draws on metal, like Magic Pie). This would be seen as circumventing the rules of the site and seen as a serious infraction of collaborator privileges if we determine that any individual makes of a habit of it, however well intentioned. 

While we acknowledge that you personally may consider such an act to be metal enough to pass our 50% rule, for MMA to be useful to actual users of the site we must file artists and releases where the average user would most expect to find them. To do otherwise would undermine the credibility of the site. Exceptions are made, but only after heavy debate, typically involving both collaborators and admins and should never be the say so of just one person, and that is still true if that person is one of the admins. Furthermore, we have the Metal Related and Non-Metal categories in the first place in acknowledgement that such artists are still relevant to the metal scene, so it would also undermine the site itself to not use them. 

While we don't outright forbid it, for the most part the admins discourage suggestions for these sub-genres from other users. This is not because we do not value your input and opinion, but because the site still has a lot of on-going ground work still to be done, without worrying too much about the most peripheral of acts. Furthermore the admins can't just drop their own projects to accommodate a continual input of Metal Related and Non-Metal suggestions. These are also not the kind of artists that we go looking for ourselves, but don't shun in the event that we do come across them by chance. The MMA admin team trusts each other to make the right call in these cases without having to call upon each other for second opinions and drawing out the process of deciding whether such an act should be included on MMA. MMA will only add any act that passes our criteria for a full-length studio album. 

If you feel that you must suggest an artist to these sub-genres, we expect the following from you and ideally you must already be a collaborator:
  • A detailed suggestion thread, explaining the artist's relevance and why you think they should be included.
  • Some form of online documentation that backs up that others unaffiliated with MMA call out a metal element (for Metal Related) or connection to the metal scene (for Non-Metal). This could be in the form of professional reviews or other music databases that list the artist. A good one for this is often Rate Your Music, which is user driven with a system to call out secondary/influence genres. Just make sure the voting numbers are reasonable. Sites like this aren't infallible, so some interpretation of the genre votes is often required. In general, more than a couple of users calling out metal can be considered a good sign, even if others have disagreed and the genre is currently greyed out. Any comments on the genre voting pages (RYM account required) can actually be more indicative of the genre than the actual votes. 
  • Samples! YouTube, Spotify and Bandcamp are the best sources. Make sure you direct us to the most relevant releases and tracks. A Metal Related artist doesn't always pass for every release they have. Typically the evaluation will consider the whole release, but it's best to show us some evidence that there is metal straight away, so we can decide whether it's worth taking further. 
  • Your patience. Not only the bigger the discography the longer it will take, but again: the admins will not just drop their on-going projects to accommodate a suggestion to Metal Related/Non-Metal. If one of the team has acknowledged the suggestion by posting in it, you can be assured that it is being considered. Bumping the thread and pressing us for an answer will not speed up the process. 
  • Your willingness to add the artist, when and if approved (if you're not already a collaborator, you'll need to become one). This is the only time that the admin team will allow a non-admin to make an addition to Metal Related and/or Non-Metal.

Suggestions that don't do this will NOT be considered by the MMA admin team. 
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