Monday, January 19, 2009

"METALCORE" = HAIR METAL



Above: Dude, I just bought, like, TEN of these.

So just after Thanksgiving last year, I was preparing for the long ride back to S.F. after a brief stint in my hometown of Eureka. My son Calvyn and I would be carpooling back with my 13(14?)-year-old cousin, who had been vacationing with my mom and stepdad up in E-Town, and whose parents would be driving down from Stockton to pick her up upon our arrival in the city. My mom had told me that she (my cousin) was now "into metal", so naturally, wanting to be the "cool older cousin", I offered up the iPod jack in the car. "What kind of wonderful music passes for "metal" in the world of a junior high schooler?" I wondered, morbid curiosity getting the better of me.
Well, for the next 4 hours or so, I was treated to a healthy dose of what the kids call "metalcore" (aka mall metal, aka mallcore, aka screamo). For those of you fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with "metalcore", here's the basic idea: Much as it did in the early-to-mid 80's, the music industry recognized the growing popularity of underground metal with the youth of the world. To cash in on the trend, they started signing bubblegum pop versions of metal bands, with major appeal to teenagers (especially girls), and over the top imagery to "shock" parents. As records began to sell, bands appealing to a lower and lower common denominator were brought to the forefront, and as THEY succeeded financially, a horrible new genre was born. Picture The Jonas Brothers with double bass and distortion and you start getting the picture.
"Metalcore" is definitely more about an image than about any sort of musical ideology. Bands are dressed up in tight jeans, slathered with mascara and given silly Myspace haircuts, marketed as a fashion to be bought and sold at Hot Topic. Which is fine. They're getting paid to be musicians, right? Good for them.
Anyhow, I got to thinking on that long, long drive home. What is "metalcore" if not a sad rehash of the "hair metal" movement of the 1980's? Feather-light pop music, sold as "metal", played by makeup-wearing pretty boys with bad hair and worse tattoos. The cycle has completed, and here we are 20 years later, facing the same onslaught of Z-grade metal commodification. The music's a little different, but the packaging is pretty much the same.
Observe:



Above: Androgynous pop-metallers Poison. Below: Androgynous pop-metallers Escape The Fate.





Above: Street-smart Orange County, CA "metalcore" band Bleeding Through, featuring female fashion template and primadonna Marta Peterson on keyboards. Below: Ocean County, NJ hair metal band Skid Row, featuring female fashion template and primadonna Sebastian Bach on vocals.



Below: A typical American "metalcore" fan.





Above: The heavily made-up "bad boys" of hair metal band L.A. Guns. Below: The heavily made-up "bad boys" of "metalcore" band Avenged Sevenfold.



"Hey, did you notice I'm wearing BLACK NAIL POLISH!? Look! Hey! HEY LOOK!!! BLACK NAIL POLISH! Awesome, right? Right!?"

In conclusion, a cryptic warning to purveyors of false metal everywhere:



BRUJERIA JUDGES YOU!!!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Avenged Sevenfold is my least favorite band in history. I swear they were in Idiocracy.

str8ev said...

i definitely agree...you really summed up the watering down process nicely, ala punk and new wave. and i think the worst part is that most of those bands would even list motley crue or skid row as influences instead of slayer or some other actual heavy band. kids...

Anonymous said...

This is the biggest piece of bullshit I think I've ever read. You go on about how it's watered down metal and it's not real. I'd like to know your definition of real metal, heavy metal, death metal , the beatles? You seem to not know even what you are talking about most of those bands aren't even metalcore , they are subdivisions of a subdivision, metalcore , deathcore, and sreamcore, and btw last time I checked avenged sevenfold was heavymetal for pussies. Then you talk shit on the girl from bleeding throught for being attractive and have some hair dye? Really? This was even worstend by the obivously malicious and scarcastic picture of a slipknot fan... Way to be a dick. But I'll give to you band photos look pretenious , but show me one that doesn't, or one band that media doesn't try to sell to us. Metalcore became popular because people like it, because some of it is very technical and beautiful and powerful . There are all types of shitty bands out there in every genre. But I won't hold your ignorance against you. I'll help you , if you want true metalcore bands , check out All That Remains &/or As I Lay Dying.

Anonymous said...

yeah wo ever wrote this is clearly an ignorant bastard who has no appreciation for "good" music. you are clearly biased and plain retarded.

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Anonymous said...

The metalcore movement is seriously none of the above pics. First of all fuck glam/sleaze rock, and real metalcore is never played on the radio so these commercial bro bands are the worst examples you could pick.
i blame this on ignorance not idiocracy. Metalcore is a title we use to group together the sub-genres that music has split into now that we have progressed without the commercial media. Youtube is the only commercial site that supports real metalcore and that simply because of the fans. We are not glam, we are not payed for looks, and we are not commercial. If you really knew what metalcore was then you would know that were starting to branch into other amazing genres such as Mathcore & Djent, Mostly because music moves forward it's not something that is thought up by executive dicks and pretty boy figure heads. i have been a musician for 12 years and im only 20, i've studied blues,classical,rock,funk,jazz,& metal. you just sound like a pissed off fan of some unrecognized band that is always trying to prove themselves as brutal. Listen to The Devil Wears Prada, The Human Abstract, Miss may I, Between the buried and me, Arsonists get all the girls, Iwrestledabearonce, Of mice and Men, Or at least some Fucking suicide silence. As music evolves the closed minded are left to drown in what little they bring themselves to comprehend. Im fine with other band that im sure you don't like such as Chiodos,
Scarlett O'hara, Motionless in White, Etc. Some people aren't trying to be brutal some people just play music i wasn't aware that we aren't allowed to be catchy sometimes haha. Seriously though i do love how you and str8ev come on the internet and make fools of yourself btw slayer is the influence of alot of bands i listen to even though kerry king clearly has little dick syndrome, "look at me i raise snakes and wear sleeveless shirts!" Metalcore has nothing to prove to a bunch of old men haha but for the fun of it go listen to Chelsea Grin or Born of Osiris and come back on this site with what you've learned.

Rafael Gutierrez said...

That's not metalcore, I'd rather call it either "fashioncore", "scenecore" or "pop punk with screamy vocals and Melodeath riffs".
Real metalcore would be more like Earth Crisis(I disagree with the Straight Edge ideology, but their music is good), Converge, Rorschach, Botch, Every Time I Die, Buried Alive, (my personal reccomendation) Kid Gorgeous, and heck, even Dillinger Escape Plan.

Rafael Gutierrez said...

That's not metalcore, I'd rather call it either "fashioncore", "scenecore" or "pop punk with screamy vocals and Melodeath riffs".
Real metalcore would be more like Earth Crisis(I disagree with the Straight Edge ideology, but their music is good), Converge, Rorschach, Botch, Every Time I Die, Buried Alive, (my personal reccomendation) Kid Gorgeous, and heck, even Dillinger Escape Plan.