Being simultaneously an ardent fan of metal music and a hybrid of East and West, I have long wanted to explore how local cultures receive and shape metal music. I believe that culture affects both our perception of the world and our attempts to interact with. It is the framework for all the input and the output that we process during our lives. It gives meaning to an otherwise incomprehensible world, as without any sort of filter our mind would be completely overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data to process. In this, metal is no exception.
One needs a particular mindset to “accept” metal, to make sense of it rather than dismissing it as unnecessary data. To understand this factor, one only needs to envision the incomprehension that would have been opposed to a metal band playing several centuries ago at, say, Versailles, at the court of Louis XIV, King of France. Indeed, metal is not received everywhere in the same way. Different cultures tend to pay attention to different aspects of music. For this reason, metal may have difficulty penetrating in certain cultures, as hinted to by its different levels of popularity in France and Germany. Also, for non-Western countries, the diffusion of metal is also to a certain degree dependent on the diffusion of Euroamerican musical culture, a factor that brings into the debate the notion of globalization. In fact, by exploring the way in which different cultures see metal amounts, I hope to better understand how these cultures actually see the world as a whole.
Metal is not made everywhere in the same way either. Though there is everywhere a certain number of metal bands that slavishly stick to well-tread paths, the choice of the music they choose to reproduce already shows certain preferences that may be culturally motivated. Where it gets really interesting, however, is when bands consciously weave together elements of their own culture with metal as a music style. The whole palette of musical choices may be affected, from the general tone of the instruments, to the choice of lyrics, or even the stage costumes. Perhaps one of the most complete expression of culture in metal occurs in the genre of so-called “folk metal“, which started with metal bands adopting Celtic elements in their playing. However, one must look beyond classifications, as shows the example of visual kei, a rock/metal style that, despite not being classified as folk metal, is unmistakably inspired from Japanese culture. In the end, by exploring the way in which different cultures make metal, I hope to have a glimpse of what makes people like me and you enjoy metal so much.
This is enough talking for now. The project, as I just presented it, sounds exceedingly serious. It is not in the least. When I started this blog I actually just wanted to have some good time hearing home-grown metal from different countries and share it with the readers of this blog. But when I saw the empty “About” section, I felt like I had to fill it up in some way. Anyway, I hope you will enjoy browsing on this blog.
PS: I forgot to say something about the header picture and now I don’t know where to put it, so I’ll just say where it comes from here. The picture represents the band members of Saruin, a (now disbanded) visual kei Japanese metal band. I’ll just throw in a song in here as a teaser for the rest of the blog: