It’s Time to Stop Making Metal Music
Greetings, metal artists. You don’t know me, but I know you. Or at least I want to know you — all of you — all at the same time. But I can’t. I can’t, you see, because there are too goddamn many of you. So any metal musicians out there who come across this message, do me a teeny tiny personal solid here and stop making any more music. No more bands, please. There are officially too many bands, there is officially too much metal.
It’s safe to say based on most of the peons I’ve come across in the scene, I am easily metal music’s best and biggest fan. Back in 2016, in an effort to resolve my underground music scene FOMO, I founded Burning Upon This Ivory Tower, a no-apologies extreme metal blog highlighting my exclusion from the genre as a Suburban American White Man, as well as covering other socially oppressed artists in the new minority much like myself. It started off simply enough; reviewing my favorite records, reviewing my friend’s bands and reviewing objectively good albums that were popular in the community as totally overrated based on very little to make myself look smart. Most posts were in-depth coverage of ANTIFA’s unabashed genocidal acts against open riff freedoms making them worse than any Nazis I ever knew about (or bought music from).
Then came the promotional emails. Just a few at first, but as the days went on, I was subscribed to more mailing lists without my knowledge or consent. My email was passed onto labels, to PR reps, to DIY acts all around as though it were herpes of the mouth; I was receiving review request after review request, offered pre-release downloads of some of the latest upcoming releases in underground music from all over the globe in exchange for my efforts. They treated my blog as if it were a source of genuine exposure, as though it actually had more than a dozen or so hits any given day. (We celebrated the milestone of our 666th click last week! I was gonna screenshot it but when I visited the site to do it, the counter said 667…)
At first, I couldn’t have been happier! Brand new music, all day all the time?! It’s a metal fan’s cream dream! But once the emails started coming, they never stopped. I thought at first maybe there were roughly 10-12,000 active metal bands in all of existence at any given time. That’s roughly how many emails I get a day. It’s never the same act twice. Worse yet, I listen to and review all of them. I must, it is compulsory. I have no time for my wife or my children and you should all consider yourselves lucky I never had either of those things. The Mail icon on my iPhone taunts me with that ever growing number highlighted in a blood red glow. I no longer know peace or sleep. Please stop making metal albums. We have enough of them, thank you. It’s time to stop.
I know playing guitar, starting a band with your friends, playing shows; that all can be a lot of fun, but think briefly for a moment about the pain you are causing. Since you are a new metal band, I have to know everything about you. Even if you’re nobodies, I can’t take the chance. What if I ran into another metal fan and he started talking about you guys and I didn’t know who you were yet? Do you know how humiliated I would be to have to admit that? What should I do instead? Lie? Fib out some irredeemable trash like “Yeah I’ve heard OF them, but I haven’t heard a lot of their stuff.” I gagged just for writing it.
As if it were not enough to listen to metal all day every day, I need to spend every free dime I come across and all the debt I’m accruing supporting it. This means once I’m aware of a metal album’s objective reality, I purchase it. No, I don’t really need to buy albums anymore to hear them; Spotify and Bandcamp ensure that I can freely enjoy all the music I could ever comfortably (or uncomfortably) listen to. But I do it anyway, and I do it exactly how I want it. The novelty of buying older analog formats like vinyl and cassette tape makes some sense as they color the sound of the music’s output each in their own unique way. CDs don’t. CD’s came from a time when the internet wasn’t fast enough and they were the most efficient way to distribute digital audio files to paying listeners. They now are not. They are a deservedly dead digital format much in the same way as floppy discs. They have zero use or role in our modern technological era and were rightfully phased out.
Guess what my music format of choice is anyway?
Jewel cases… jewel cases fucking everywhere. And shelves upon shelves built or purchased to accommodate these jewel cases. I’m not getting a CD book, fuck you. They’re trashy, barely protective and most notably, you can’t buy one anymore. Do you remember what happened when the back of a CD got scratched? Probably not, because you left CDs in 2006 with everybody else who knew better. I need to own metal. Buying digital downloads is like buying air, it makes no sense! People assure me the sound of music on its own is the product and has value, but to me it’s just some kind of alterdimensional thought experiment crap that’s not even part of real science like the grandfather paradox or a woman’s orgasm (I’m pretty sure). I’m not gonna pay for that nonsense. I need to touch metal, I need metal to be in my hands as an object, to smell like plastic, to take up space in some non-biodegradable fashion. Most importantly, above all, I need to pay shipping for my metal.
I’m making myself destitute not only trying to physically acquire all of the metal music I come across, but trying to store it all as well. I would be homeless if I wasn’t living with my parents. You have no idea how pissed my dad is about how me and my mess of metal are taking over his finished basement. You should have seen how steamed he got when I packed away all of my mom’s Tom Clancy novels and snuck my late grandmother’s antique mahogany bookcase downstairs because I thought it would be large enough to house all my Brazilian Crossover Thrash bands A-D (it wasn’t). Boy, was he ever cross!
Don’t you see you how you’re destroying my family…
Please, you really don’t have to do this anymore. I assure you, every possible guitar riff and song arrangement within the realm of metal’s many sub-genres has already been done. If you don’t believe me, invite me to your next band practice, show me your best song ideas that you’re currently working on. I will tell you precisely what song you are trying to play and how it’s already been written, performed and recorded not once, not twice, but the same number of times as the number of emails I receive from Europe overnight whenever exhaustion sets in and sleep spares me from another waking moment of basement drum recordings clipping into oblivion.
Your selfish need for validation through music production is fucking killing me.
It’s sad to say, but it still must be said: there is too much metal. There are too many bands! There is a nearly unlimited supply and variety of incredible new metal music to be heard every single day and this is a problem to me only because of my attitude and my approach to music. But that’s a problem where your concern is still owed to me. Imagine if somebody gave you a lifetime supply of free ice cream, all the ice cream you could ever want, new amazing flavors every day! However, your freezer and your stomach were only so large and could only accommodate so much ice cream, limiting your ice cream consumption within the confines of physical reality. Does it sound so great now?!
As an aside, that wasn’t just an analogy. My mom and I argue regularly about what I ask her to bring back from the grocery store and there’s a lot of ice cream on that list.
I don’t care about the problems market oversaturation is causing for musicians. I don’t care that you’re burying each other in the race for the biggest stage and squashing each other’s potential for success. I don’t care that there’s so many bands willing to gig for nothing that you morons are now paying scumbag promoters to get on stage to work for free as entertainment for paying bar customers. That’s not really the problem here. The real problem is that my inbox, my iPhone and my CD shelves are full. That’s the tragedy. The news of bands breaking up puts me in a state of jubilee! No matter who it is, I feel only delight at the loss of metal talent. It is a minor, but welcome relief from the immense crushing weight all of this lays on my soul. So keep pushing each other out, please. It’s one less thing I have to review, it’s one less PR email I have to read, it’s one less jewel case occupying my home, or landfill if you ask my father. Try to go out to get some Sonic just once and your fucking dad pitches your entire alphabetically organized stock of Russian NSBM! I know what you’re thinking and yes, there’s lots of it. Don’t worry, I know better now than to trying keeping CDs in the garage – or to go out again.
My dad is an asshole, but it’s your fault he’s worse.
I know you love your new fuzz pedal. I’m sure the $300 you paid for it from some online boutique makes it sound that much infinitely better than some EHX Big Muff you could have gotten used on the street for $40. I’m sure it inspires you to start making some really gnarly stoner doom metal. I’m telling you now: don’t bother. Every doom riff you could possibly compose? There’s a band that did it better. Way better. A band with more talent, more money, better gear and a bigger audience than you. Bands that have musicians from Berkeley, from Juilliard, from the Art Institute, from fucking Full Sail at least. A band with all of these advantages over you but is about to break up or already broke up anyhow, because no one’s listening or no one’s paying for it despite it being way better than you’re ever gonna be. What with your LTD and your Peavey combo you got sixth-hand at Guitar Center. You don’t have anything to contribute, I’m being sincere here. Stop.
I’m really not kidding at all. Stop. We have enough stoner doom; good, medicore, and bad– to choose from for all of time to listen to. We really actually do. There are only so many words in the languages of the world you can put before the word “Witch” as a band name. Please stop accepting that challenge.
Because of the over-saturation of bands out there, people like to say we’ll never have another Metallica. This isn’t true. I am emailed at least 6 or 7 fresh new Metallicas a day and they’re all from Brazil. So for the final time, show some fucking empathy and spare us. I am gorged on metal and I can’t possibly stand another bite. Your personal existence on your side of the universe and how you want to spend your time creatively means absolutely nothing in the face of the sort of grumpy sentiment you are driving me to share regularly on Twitter. Don’t blame me when I openly mock your dumb band name to everyone and refuse to honor your artistic efforts with a listen because of that very reason. When I tell everyone “I’m not listening to band called ‘Butthole Witch’” that is just actually now the only way I get to take breaks from the unending onslaught of new heavy music. Don’t take it personal… even though all my problems are your fault and I hate you.
Enough is enough. Every single heavy music listener residing on Earth is backlogged to oblivion with better music than you could ever make in a million years for a million years. There’s no possibility any of us will ever catch up now, we can only listen here on forever more, hollow husks with jaws agape to mindlessly devour and digest an infinite supply of metal music of varying quality; not a shred of humanity left to enjoy it, despise it, or hardly even notice as it crosses our numbed, calloused palates.
Please take pity on me, on all of us. I implore you, I beseech you, on bended knee; no longer add on to our eternity of torment. Stop making metal music.
By the way guys while I got your attention: check out my latest Noise project on Bandcamp. Album is name your price, every little bit helps. Thanks!