Monday, March 26, 2007

Breaking the chains

Metal at its core is a patent rejection of what the world expects of us. It is a world we have created for ourselves, for better or for worse. This is not unusual when one considers the number of insular subcultures that exist, but the difference is that Metal is consistently successful in reaching beyond itself and leaving a nasty scar upon the face of the society it chooses to defy. I am reminded of this in small ways when I look at Goatwhore's awesomely huge "I don't have a day job" beards, but more so in my recent conversation with Ravn of 1349. We were discussing how in the US people are quick to discard the band pseudonyms with one another and how this leads to indecision on how to introduce oneself to new people. The European Black Metal contingent does not suffer from this as they are quick to acknowledge one another by their chosen names and thereby keep the mystique intact. I offered to Ravn that part of this may be because Americans are so obsessed with the self and the ego that we cannot look past ourselves to embrace a transcendent persona. I also observed that Americans are fixated on egalitarianism so the idea of some people having titles for themselves is perceived as pretentious and as such most are eager to dismantle it in the interest of "feeling equal". Ravn countered by asking me why I don't just change my legal name to Wrath. I was surprised at this suggestion, and asked if this is what he did. He said, "It's on my passport. When I show it to people I say 'Yes, Ravn. Fuck off!'"

I truly believe that by definition being American means being a slave, be it socially or otherwise. Being Metal in America means you wish to break those chains. We still have a long way to go.