Ansichten eines Heavy Metal Fans
Ab und zu ist es ja ganz gut, mal etwas von „außen“ zu hören, daher wollte ich euch diesen Text meines amerikanischen Freundes Raphael Tehan, seines Zeichens Autor, klassischer Cembalist, Experte für Renaissance und Frühbarock-Musik sowie fanatischer Heavy Metal Fan nicht vorenthalten, einfach weil diese Kombination so selten vorkommt.
Raphael und ich befinden uns schon seit einiger Zeit in einer fortdauernden Diskussion über verschiedenste musikkulturelle Aspekte, heute hat er mir eine „kurze Geschichte des Heavy Metals“ geschickt, in der er beschreibt, wie sich diese Gattung aufgrund vergleichbarer Entwicklungen wie bei uns in der Neuen Musik in unzählige Subgenres aufgesplittet hat, nicht immer mit einhergehender Verbesserung der künstlerischen Qualität. Aus seinem Text spricht auch die Sehnsucht nach einer Zeit, in der es noch so etwas wie einen „allgemeinen Kanon“ gab, eine Sehnsucht, die ich teile, weil sich dann die potentielle Relevanz erhöht und man nicht allein zu einer kleinen eingeschworenen Spezialistengemeinde spricht.
Diese Sehnsucht meinte ich auch leicht aus euren schönen Berichten über gute Erfahrungen mit „szenefernen“ Aufführungen herauszuhören.
Der Text ist leider auf Englisch, mir fehlte die Zeit ihn zu übersetzen, wer des Englischen nicht mächtig ist, mag diesen Eintrag ignorieren oder ihn mit „Babelfish“ übersetzen, dann gibt es wenigstens was zu lachen. Ich finde den Text persönlich sehr konzis und gut!
Hier ist der Auszug:
To answer a comment you had made a while back, which is how I felt at
one time too: it’s easy to lapse into being either a snob, or becoming
intentionally narrow-minded. People generally like to label themselves,
to choose sides, to project a settled personality, and oftentimes I
think this leads people to selecting a musical genre that they think
projects the type of person they are (or want to be) and then closing
their minds to other types of music. Sometimes this is absolutely
contrived, for instance with people who are not particularly
musically-inclined, but decide to label themselves as „classical
listeners“, for instance, because it fits the image they want to project
of themselves, even if they don’t even really know what that style of
music means. But even in the case of people who have more of an ear or
appreciation of music, sometimes they withdraw into a particular genre
that suits them and then shut their minds to other styles of music as a
kind of defense mechanism.
I actually believe that this is one of the problems with the music
business today. The record labels have adapted themselves to almost
encourage this type of self-inflicted musical labelling, so that now you
have boutique labels which specialize in very narrow, particular types
of music catering to a prebuilt audience whose choice of musical genre
is almost a lifestyle decision, whilst the major labels limit themselves
to mega-bands who have a high chance of going platinum and selling lots
of units in non-musical environments like Walmart. There’s a real
problem with this kind of hyper-specialization to me — the risk is that
music becomes increasingly segregated, and the vitality of fresh blood
and new audiences is killed off.
This is extremely prevalent in the metal genre. Let me tell you a little
story about metal:
THE HISTORY OF METAL 101: CLIFF NOTES EDITION
In the beginning, there was acid rock. Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix,
Cream. Then came Black Sabbath, who played acid rock just like everyone
else but added one critical ingredient to the mix: they added horror and
occult themes to their music. Heavy metal was accidentally born, but it
sounded just like acid rock.
By the late 70s, as heavy rock matured and took on new qualities, heavy
metal started to coalesce as just a bit distinct from other types of
heavy rock, usually because of the musical themes or the song structures
(which were more Baroque). When punk rock hit, a new generation of heavy
rock fans imitated many of the new approaches that punk rock had
introduced, and in so doing gave birth to the New Wave of British Heavy
Metal, which crystallized heavy metal as a distinct type of hard/heavy
rock. Judas Priest and Motorhead were first, then Iron Maiden and all
the rest. The successful NWOBHM bands like Iron Maiden went on world
tours, and young people in Europe and America were inspired and ran with
the new sound, and heavy metal became the distinctly-recognizable sound
it is today.
Then the major record labels caught wind of this new fad, and
corporatized it, repackaged it, and made glam-pop-metal a big deal,
putting millions of dollars behind fru-fru bands with huge hair that
would appeal (bizarrely) to teenage girls. Bon Jovi, Poison, and Motley
Crue are the best representatives of this.
By the late 80s, anti-pop metal groups became more and more aggressive
and technical in opposition to this, and metal achieved its second
mainstream spurt of popularity during the thrash movement, led by
Metallica and Megadeth, before the second wave was overwhelmed by the
Seattle Rock movement, and Nirvana, etc.
That’s about when heavy metal as a genre ceased to exist, the tentpole
term „metal“ was coined, and all the metal bands either fled underground
or evolved into a different musical style. At that point, Metal
shattered into increasingly more and more specific, narrow, even
incompatible styles. The trend continued, getting more and more
complicated, till today. Now, we have tons of different boutique „metal“
record labels with very specific rosters of bands doing very specific
types of metal, and catering to a very specific audience. Death metal,
black metal, gothic metal, power metal, true metal, alt-metal,
progressive metal — on and on.
This is what I meant in an earlier email that Gentle Giant would never
be allowed to exist in the current climate; because they would be buried
beneath an avalanche of labels (stylistic labels, not record label
companies). All these labels are so narrow and so stultifying that
there’s no more freedom of expression. Heavy metal and what it has
become is, I think, a peculiarly extreme example of this. There’s no
such thing as a „heavy metal“ band anymore. Now it’s all politicized
somehow. And the record labels that release metal only strengthen this
odd politicized segregation. People who try to do plain old-fashioned
heavy metal are usually thought of as a nostalgia band, which is a kiss
The only exception to this rule are the mega-bands who established their
reputations in the early days and have somehow become timeless, like
Iron Maiden for instance. But they would never have been allowed to form
in the musical climate that has come since the 1990s — they have merely
survived it. It’s a sad fact that I nearly never listen to new metal
bands. I’m not into the whole „scene“ — I usually listen to the classic
days when the music was fresher and bands were discovering something
new, and it wasn’t so much of a glorified lifestyle.
(aus einem Mail von Raphael Tehan, unser Heavy Metal Experte Peter Köszeghy mag hier noch einiges hinzufügen, wenn er will!)