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'Authentic' metal? help with research wanted...

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TheCroust View Drop Down
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    Posted: 06 Apr 2011 at 6:57am
Hello, I'm currently doing some research for a MA music course and wondered if anyone
would be up for contributing?

All I need people to do is talk about what they consider to be 'authentic', 'true', 'proper', 'real' metal, you get what I mean, then say a few words about why.
It could be because you think it's not commercial, or it's a minority music, whatever, just some ideas about what
you think makes it 'authentic'.

I've been a drummer for about 20 years and at the moment play in a grindcore band. I have my own ideas about metal, but I know there are many with other ideas, so let me know..

I'll also be talking about techno in the same piece of work (I'm also a DJ), doing some comparisons etc, so if
anyone wants to say anything about that, or any other forms of music that they might consider
'authentic' (or 'inauthentic'), please feel free. The more, the merrier.

Lastly, I may need to quote what (if anything) has been said, so if you have any objection to
your words appearing in the work, please say so.

Thanks, looking forward to an interesting discussion...Star
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote UMUR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2011 at 8:15am
I consider music to be "authentic" if I feel the artist/artists have put their heart and soul into creating the music. Blood, sweat and tears in other words. I often find that itīs the early releases by struggling musicians that meet that criteria, but I guess thatīs old news. Starving and struggling artists have always made the greatest art Big smile. While later releases by more established artists can also be really great, the nerve and attitude of youth is often missing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Time Signature Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2011 at 8:52am
I don't believe in the concepts "true metal" and "false metal" - I consider them social constructs which are as much part of the establishment of the individual's identity as they are of the actual stylistic features of the music in question. Identity construction is at play throughout one's entire life, but it's most prominent in the teens and early twenties, which is why I think that there is a correlation between focus on "authentic"/"true" metal and age. [and I certainly think that you should somehow operationalize age as a factor in your study]

To me, metal has always been evolving, and part of the metal evolution has always been influences from other genres, so I think that the dichotomy between "true" and "false" metal is a false dichotomy. If we differentiate between "true" and "authentic", then I pretty much agree with UMUR's definition of authentic metal.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote UMUR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2011 at 8:59am
I most certainly differentiate between the so-called "true" metal term ( Like Kim I donīt appreciate that term) and the term authentic.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Time Signature Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2011 at 9:59am
Yeah, we're getting too old for that sort of shit ;-)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote UMUR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2011 at 10:20am
^Big smileYep
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FusionKing Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2011 at 1:25pm
I know this is going to get my butt kicked for all eternity...Unhappy
But you want my opinion.
So here it is...
Authentic Metal to me is essentially the classic metal genres combined.
Heavy Metal/ N.W.O.B.H.M
Power Metal
Glam Metal (and for that you shall all hunt me down...I know!)
Doom Metal
Prog Metal
Thrash Metal
They all have in a very obvious respect the feeling and ambience generated by classic rock.
Metal is a subgenre of classic rock, thus if a metal band does not give off that vibe it is not authentic, it is not metal in and of itself, it is an entirely new genre evolved FROM metal.
The same way that indie, new wave and punk are derived in part from rock but are not subgenres by any means. For example, an authentic metal band is one whom you can also call Classic Rock. It would sound and feel right to call Metallica, or Iron Maiden, Dream Theater or Ratt etc. 'Classic Rock, but not really, Lacuna Coil, or Slipknot, or Rammstein...
Too much about the music feels unrelated to what came before to seem authentic. The feeling required to make a band authentic metal is the feeling of the connection to Classic Rock, the mother genre, if you will. If that is not present I don't believe it to be metal.
BUT THAT'S JUST MY OPINION... Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheCroust Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2011 at 2:54pm
Thanks people, we're getting going here, just what I was hoping for.

Time Signature, you are, of course, correct about 'authenticity' being a constructed device created by people in order to validate their own tastes/opinions/identities etc (however I'm not sure many people realise this, judging from what I've found so far). It should go without saying that all music is 'authentic' or 'true' or whatever, to someone, somewhere, proving the 'real/fake' dichotomy to be false, but the arguments still rage nonetheless.
It does seem to be the younger age groups that argue the most about this kind of thing, (I typed 'why do so many people hate metalcore?' into google - man, was there some bitching there. Youtube comments are another great one for that kind of thing).  I reckon I will be including that idea. As you say, this is when identity construction is at its most active, there is definitely a correlation there.

FusionKing - where do you stand on the various forms of extreme metal, then? They have, after all, lost many of the characteristics of classic rock - the traces of blues, for example, are virtually non-existent in much of it - one guy on youtube even dismissed completely that blues was ever an influence on metal (I think he was justifying a very racist position, though it was still pretty weird to actually read it).  I'm not disagreeing with you here, just wondered where you would place death metal, black metal etc?

Anyway, thanks for your replies, keep 'em coming!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stooge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2011 at 2:56pm
^^^
Interesting view, FusionKing.  

I actually don't care for the term "true metal" or "Authentic metal" either, especially since I no longer strive to be an all-out metalhead and my musical horizons have expanded.  There's basically metal I like and metal I dislike.  

To differ from FusionKing's post, it seems that these days that several metalheads want to put more extreme forms of metal (black and death metal mainly) as what is "true/authentic".  Even more traditional/proto metal bands like Sabbath or Rainbow are  often labeled as not really metal because it isn't as "heavy" or "extreme" as many bands of today.  "False metal", which would be the opposite I guess, seems to be applied to the bands that have been accepted by the mainstream and/or have taken on more pop sensibilities.  Groups such as Avenged Sevenfold, Metallica since 1991, and Korn (and with them most nu-metal/alt-metal bands) spring to mind.

Some people see "authentic" metal as bands that stick to their guns in spite of trends, and who for the most part, maintain the same sound throughout their careers.  Groups like Motorhead, Iron Maiden and Slayer could be among this lot.

An interesting thing to consider is artists that change their sound from album to album who never want to repeat themselves.  When done the right way, this could be met with fan/critical praise and legend status.  A constantly evolving band could also be heavily criticized too, depending on the direction taken.  Hard to tell whether such artists could be considered "authentic" metal artists or not.  I guess it depends on whther or not they make a "sell-out" (another term I hate) album in the process LOL.

Best to not worry about it. Wink


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Block Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2011 at 3:20pm
Authentic metal in my opinion would be the first metal bands, mostly because they were the ones who so called "created the genre". For me those would include the likes of Black Sabbath, and other bands of the sort. Also, bands that were pioneers in their specific genre, take Iron Maiden for example, I think should be included as "Authentic" because they didn't copy other bands, they created their own unique style.

Originally posted by FusionKing FusionKing wrote:

Glam Metal (and for that you shall all hunt me down...I know!)

And on this topic, if a certain Glam Metal band, such as Kiss, were a pioneer in the world of metal, which they were, then of course I think they should be added under the quite broad topic of "authentic metal".

Most bands that occur to me when I think of "authentic" are the already mentioned Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Kiss- and also Metallica, Van Halen, Dream Theater, Savatage, and most other traditional heavy metal bands. To go along with a common theme here, I truly don't like the term "true metal" either, just for the fact that if it's metal it's metal, there's no "well it's not real metal". That last sentence was a rant of sorts, but whateverLOL.

Originally posted by Stooge Stooge wrote:

I guess it depends on whther or not they make a "sell-out" (another term I hate) album in the process LOL.

Same here...

Any way hope I was of some help...






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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Time Signature Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2011 at 3:38pm
Originally posted by TheCroust TheCroust wrote:


Time Signature, you are, of course, correct about 'authenticity' being a constructed device created by people in order to validate their own tastes/opinions/identities etc (however I'm not sure many people realise this, judging from what I've found so far). It should go without saying that all music is 'authentic' or 'true' or whatever, to someone, somewhere, proving the 'real/fake' dichotomy to be false, but the arguments still rage nonetheless.


You are right that people don't seem to realize that it's just a social construction, but that's because social constructions very much form reality as we experience it. To to people it's real, and to different people different things are real, and that's probably why there are so many versions of what's 'true' metal and what isn't. I wasn't aware of this till I started studying cognitive linguistics and discourse analysis and got acquainted with the theories of social constructivism.

The arguments still rage, and that's where things get interesting. A lot of social constructs are created and maintained in discourse, and I guess we can agree that arguments/discussions about music are discourses. So it's in the arguments that the concepts of 'false' and 'true' metal are created, maintained and changed. That's why I think that it's very important to look at people's discourse about genres of music when doing music genre studies. I actually think that we can learn a lot about identity construction and genres by looking at those arguments.

Originally posted by TheCroust TheCroust wrote:

It does seem to be the younger age groups that argue the most about this kind of thing, (I typed 'why do so many people hate metalcore?' into google - man, was there some bitching there. Youtube comments are another great one for that kind of thing).  I reckon I will be including that idea. As you say, this is when identity construction is at its most active, there is definitely a correlation there.


I think so. But it's difficult to operationalize age on the basis of YouTube comments, because, well, we don't know how old people are. Age is easier to take into account in ethnographic interviews and questionnaire studies, but real uncontrolled discourse like flaming wars on YouTube etc. that's where you can really see the concepts of what's 'true' or 'false' being negotiated in discourse.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote J-Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2011 at 3:38pm
I don't care a lot about the "true metal" and "false metal" stuff... lots of metal is crap and lots of metal is awesome. I listen to way too many genres of music to confine myself to the whole "real metal" concept.

With that said, there are a few things that make for a good (or great) metal album IMO. The music should be passionate, aggressive, and have a "balls out" attitude - if a metal album is only about making money and not quality music, then that takes away the spirit of heavy metal. This was a genre formed by people who (as Jonas said) put their blood, sweat, and tears into their art and made some of the heaviest music out there - although I don't think metal needs to be particularly heavy to be "true metal", taking away that energetic attitude in favor of a commercialized sound isn't at all what metal (or most good music) is about.

Just my opinion. Big smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote J-Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2011 at 3:44pm
Originally posted by Time Signature Time Signature wrote:

Originally posted by TheCroust TheCroust wrote:

It does seem to be the younger age groups that argue the most about this kind of thing, (I typed 'why do so many people hate metalcore?' into google - man, was there some bitching there. Youtube comments are another great one for that kind of thing).  I reckon I will be including that idea. As you say, this is when identity construction is at its most active, there is definitely a correlation there.


I think so. But it's difficult to operationalize age on the basis of YouTube comments, because, well, we don't know how old people are. Age is easier to take into account in ethnographic interviews and questionnaire studies, but real uncontrolled discourse like flaming wars on YouTube etc. that's where you can really see the concepts of what's 'true' or 'false' being negotiated in discourse.


I'm one of the people who doesn't hate metalcore on principle.... there is a good amount of really kick-ass metalcore out there (even though it's not my favorite genre). My issue is mainly related to my earlier post - too many of the bands in that genre are about making money and not actually about creating quality music. There are exceptions (hell, I love Avenged Sevenfold! Clap), but that tends to be my general experience with that type of music. It's a shame people generalize the entire genre of metalcore based on a few bands they dislike.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheCroust Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2011 at 4:08pm
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I think so. But it's difficult to operationalize age on the basis of YouTube comments, because, well, we don't know how old people are. Age is easier to take into account in ethnographic interviews and questionnaire studies, but real uncontrolled discourse like flaming wars on YouTube etc. that's where you can really see the concepts of what's 'true' or 'false' being negotiated in discourse.


Oops, I just meant there's a lot of bitching on youtube - my mistake, didn't read quite the way I wanted it to. But yes, the youtube 'wars' are going to be one of my main ports of call for this piece. Part of it involves looking at how the internet has enabled fans to take control of authenticating work, which previously would have been in the hands of, say, critics and the like. It's fascinating watching the discourse develop (or degenerate), and personally I think if you're going to write about a music, it's fan discourse which is where you have to look for meanings. It seems to me that too much literature is based on theorising on the part of academics.

I noticed the dreaded phrase 'sellout' has already put in an appearance - I know it hasn't been used unreflexively but I would say, from what I've seen so far, it's the most common way people differentiate 'good' from 'bad' / 'real' from 'fake' musics, whatever the genre it seems to be a universal marker of authenticity. Probably the most awkward to discuss as well.. anyone fancy it?

The Block - just out of interest, would you include Venom in that list? I only ask because they're going to form one of the main points of my dissertation (I'll hopefully be interviewing some of them soon, they live here in Newcastle). I've noticed that they don't seem to get quite the same acknowledgment as some other bands, despite their undeniable influence (I'm talking mainly about academic literature).
Summer's going to be great - 16,000 words about the Newcastle metal scene....Dead


Edited by Time Signature - 06 Apr 2011 at 4:43pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FusionKing Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2011 at 5:19pm

I believe you wished for my stance on the more extreme forms of metal, (excluding thrash for the reasons in my above post).

In accordance with my previous post, my feelings on grindcore, death and black metal are as such...
I consider them as genres created with metal as a great influence but not metal subgenres in themselves because as you have correctly stated, the genres in question are so different that they no longer resemble the pure/original/precursor genre that is classic rock. In all honesty I feel that the seriously extreme metal is an entirely stand alone genre (or at least should be for the reasons I have stated) In saying that, I don't mean 'this metal is false! hate it now!' LOL , what I actually mean is it should be classed as something totally different because it only takes a quick listen to know for a fact that it is. Death, Black and Grindcore together should really be under it's own personalised category entirely as I said, like indie or new wave, also the more commercial modern metal (Nu, Gothic, Metalcore, Industrial etc.) should be in yet another entirely different genre also. Until this is done, classic rock will continue to appear bitty and messy in regards to its makeup as musical forms which do not resemble classic rock are put under the banner of one of its main subgenres which we know as metal.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Triceratopsoil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2011 at 11:52pm
Originally posted by UMUR UMUR wrote:

I consider music to be "authentic" if I feel the artist/artists have put their heart and soul into creating the music. Blood, sweat and tears in other words. I often find that itīs the early releases by struggling musicians that meet that criteria, but I guess thatīs old news. Starving and struggling artists have always made the greatest art Big smile. While later releases by more established artists can also be really great, the nerve and attitude of youth is often missing.


I like his perspective
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Balthamel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2011 at 2:53am
Mastodon is Authentic metal IMO
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Angry Scotsman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2011 at 3:35am
It is authentic if the musicians are so.

For me, it is that simple.
A lot of people consider nu metal and metalcore as not "true" metal. While I am not a fan of those genres (especially the former) if the band set out with honest intentions and doing what they want, it is 100% "true".

If a metalcore band goes out to solely to make it big and be famous by playing something they think will be popular, than no it's not authentic. But that could be said for any genre of metal and music in general. Hell, it can be said for any form of art!

If the musician is making what they want and truly believe in what they do, regardless of style...then it is true/authentic/real

Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer and Testament. The real Big Four of thrash metal!



Listen to doom metal, worship Satan
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheCroust Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2011 at 5:58am
Originally posted by Stooge Stooge wrote:


To differ from FusionKing's post, it seems that these days that several metalheads want to put more extreme forms of metal (black and death metal mainly) as what is "true/authentic".  Even more traditional/proto metal bands like Sabbath or Rainbow are  often labeled as not really metal because it isn't as "heavy" or "extreme" as many bands of today.  "False metal", which would be the opposite I guess, seems to be applied to the bands that have been accepted by the mainstream and/or have taken on more pop sensibilities.  Groups such as Avenged Sevenfold, Metallica since 1991, and Korn (and with them most nu-metal/alt-metal bands) spring to mind.

Some people see "authentic" metal as bands that stick to their guns in spite of trends, and who for the most part, maintain the same sound throughout their careers.  Groups like Motorhead, Iron Maiden and Slayer could be among this lot.

An interesting thing to consider is artists that change their sound from album to album who never want to repeat themselves.  When done the right way, this could be met with fan/critical praise and legend status.  A constantly evolving band could also be heavily criticized too, depending on the direction taken.  Hard to tell whether such artists could be considered "authentic" metal artists or not.  I guess it depends on whther or not they make a "sell-out" (another term I hate) album in the process LOL.

Best to not worry about it. Wink




Good points. Do you think maybe the reason people might consider the more extreme forms to be more 'authentic' (sorry I have to keep using that term), could be to do with minority status? A common way in which people seem to validate their music is through scale, i.e. smaller = more authentic. I can't remember where I read it, which is annoying, but somewhere it said 'as music grows in popularity, the piece of ourselves that we have invested in it, or that bit of the music we feel 'belongs to us' in some way', shrinks'. It becomes less personal, and maybe one way of dealing with what feels like a loss is to attack it with charges of (uh-oh) 'selling out', or such like.

It's funny how definintions change over time, relative to new sounds. As you've said, Rainbow etc. not being considered metal any more. If you told some kid today that Van Halen were a metal band, I think they'd just laugh at you. Historical context needs to be borne in mind, unfortunately people don't seem to see this.

Also know what you mean about those that change their sound, it's interesting how some can pull it off whilst others just get shot down for it. It's that 'original vs. evolved' argument; detractors of the new, changed version will say things like, 'they've lost touch with their roots', defenders counter with 'music is always evolving'.As you say, it depends on which direction has been taken. I would imagine it's very tempting to go with 'broadening your audience' and writing something more 'accessible', if you've had a taste of the big time.

Also the longer a style's been around, the harder it must be to break away and create something new and unique, and many bands appear not to have the inclination anyway. On the other hand, I suppose there's nothing wrong with playing a generic style if that's what you like. Star


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote J-Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2011 at 2:30pm
Originally posted by The Angry Scotsman The Angry Scotsman wrote:

It is authentic if the musicians are so.

For me, it is that simple.
A lot of people consider nu metal and metalcore as not "true" metal. While I am not a fan of those genres (especially the former) if the band set out with honest intentions and doing what they want, it is 100% "true".

If a metalcore band goes out to solely to make it big and be famous by playing something they think will be popular, than no it's not authentic. But that could be said for any genre of metal and music in general. Hell, it can be said for any form of art!

If the musician is making what they want and truly believe in what they do, regardless of style...then it is true/authentic/real



I agree with everything you've said there!  Thumbs Up
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