Forum Home Forum Home > Progressive Music Lounges > Prog Blogs
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - The cultural legitimacy of prog, metal and punk
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

The cultural legitimacy of prog, metal and punk

 Post Reply Post Reply Page  123>
Author
Message
Toaster Mantis View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: April 12 2008
Location: Denmark
Status: Offline
Points: 5898
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Toaster Mantis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The cultural legitimacy of prog, metal and punk
    Posted: January 08 2014 at 08:58
This is a very long post, but I've been building up some thoughts over the last year or two about whether progressive and psychedelic music really are higher artforms than "non-progressive/psychedelic" metal, not to mention the extent to which either has succeeded as cultural movements and not just genres of music esp. when compared to punk.

A couple discussions I've had a while ago on Facebook with several black metal musicians, revolved around the issue of how psychedelic/progressive rock and punk have gone down in history as important cultural movements that had a lasting impact on Western society be it for better or worse... whereas almost the entirety of metal is seen as a footnote in rock history and a cultural dead end. This extends down to people who can't stand the genres: Those who intensely dislike psychedelia or punk have to accuse them of "ruining rock music forever" if not blame the associated subcultures for perceived social problems in the present day, whereas at least in my own country I have to go back to the 1990s to find comparable indignation over metal bands that aren't either openly Fascist or pretend to be. Consider how either of the three genres are covered by magazines like Mojo or Record Collector or Sound Venue, how many academic studies have been made of them as artistic movements with a significant sociological impact et cetera, how they're described by the people who write about music for the "arts and culture" sections of upscale newspapers. (not to mention how positive/negative their assessments are)

Here's where it gets weird: Not only would an argument that any of the three genres is objectively sillier than the others be one hell of an uphill battle, there's also been a significant degree of mutual influence between all three since at least the late 1970s. (as much as the more genre-chauvinist elements of both metal and punk subcultures would deny that)

Now, I can actually understand why psychedelic and progressive rock is in general considered "higher culture" than metal... to the point that those metal groups who are most respected by the people deciding that usually have one foot planted in prog/psych or post-rock:


    Its main ideological inspirations came from the Beat Generation and the hippie movement, subcultures that would both go on to replace the cultural elites they originally reacted against.

    Psychedelic rock being musically defined by its attempt to expand the stylistic vocabulary of a genre originally considered superficial entertainment, its spawning progressive rock when it begun incorporating more and more influence from "art music" styles like jazz and classical.

    There's also a sociological element in that many of the influential progressive and psychedelic rock groups like Genesis and Pink Floyd met at art school or university whereas Black Sabbath and Judas Priest both came from the industrial slums of Birmingham.


As far as punk goes, while it's obviously on average less outwardly complex and intellectual than heavy metal or prog rock, it's obvious why it's perceived as more serious: It's by far the most realistic and least escapist of the three genres. This becomes even clearer if you compare grindcore to regular death metal and sludge to traditional doom metal: Both genres approach specific metal subgenres but from the "outside" perspective of punk, the resulting music as a consequence being way more abrasive and intense than its original form. Whether that makes it inherently better is a completely different issue, though, and something I frankly consider mostly subjective - the entire "true art is realistic" ideology has only enjoyed its present level of popularity since the mid-19th century after all.

Thing is, how much of the described status hierarchy is actually warranted and based more in the music's content as opposed to more superficial factors if not the plain old cultural snobbery I mentioned when comparing the demographics of prog/psych and metal?


    This article by the metal webzine Black Ivory Tower points out how often which black metal groups are accepted as artistically legitimate and which don't comes down to more a matter of image than with music. People who know more about music theory than I do have pointed out something similar with how categorizations like "progressive metal" are applied. For instance, I've been told that Sepultura's Beneath the Remains actually is more structurally complex than Coroner's No More Color despite not being categorized as progressive.

    The conception of punk as more artistically valid than metal also bears revision in light of the amount of punk groups who either became more metallic later in their career (e. g. Black Flag, Killing Joke) or jumped ship completely (e. g. The Exploited, Napalm Death). By the same token, the idea of punk being more serious than prog/psych should be taken with a grain of salt considering The Boredoms' career trajectory or the recent phenomenon of sludge metal groups (read: punks playing doom metal) turning to progressive rock for inspiration after Mastodon became popular.

    Finally, there is the issue of how often the musical cultures in question actually reach their self-proclaimed ideals when it comes to the genres' thematic content. While a common criticism of metal's inspiration from both classical mythologies and 19th century Romanticism, the genre's main claim to "cultural legitimacy", is that the vast majority of metal lyricists reduce those rich traditions to escapist fantasy on the same level of pulp genre novels... these very boards have seen quite a few threads about the lack of insightful lyrics in progressive rock, and I've met plenty of musicians from classical and jazz backgrounds who find progressive rock's approximation of either awkward and superficial. As for the extent of punk adhering to its own virtues, that's been pored over by fanzine editorials ever since the late 1970s.


What are your thoughts on this? Is it even a desirable thing for music genres to also aspire towards doubling as "cultural movements" in the first place? The entire "putting ideology ahead of music" thing is not just by far my least favourite aspect of punk, it's also the main reason I find 95% of the more national-romantic type of black metal an absolute chore to listen to.

It might also be relevant that one of the black metal guys had no idea that prog/psych-rock was a considered "higher" form of cultural expression than metal to begin with.

Edited by Toaster Mantis - January 08 2014 at 12:46
"The past is not some static being, it is not a previous present, nor a present that has passed away; the past has its own dynamic being which is constantly renewed and renewing." - Claire Colebrook
Back to Top
HolyMoly View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Retired Admin

Joined: April 01 2009
Location: Atlanta
Status: Offline
Points: 23112
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HolyMoly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 08 2014 at 09:21
That's a pretty good question, if I understand you correctly.   I think I understand what you mean by "cultural legitimacy" - and believe it's just a fabricated idea put forth by the media.  But since the media do define what is remembered (and how) and what is forgotten (or dismissed as unimportant), then being "just" a fabrication actually does carry more ongoing meaning than most of us are willing to admit.  The question is, why?  Why is metal "unimportant" and punk "important"?  I'll get back to you on this, but I think I have an idea.
My other avatar is a Porsche

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle if it is lightly greased.

-Kehlog Albran
Back to Top
Dean View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Retired Admin and Amateur Layabout

Joined: May 13 2007
Location: Europe
Status: Offline
Points: 37331
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 08 2014 at 09:23
Ah... no. As strange as this may at first appear, it is nothing to do with the music. The music was at best a by-product of the cultural change and predominantly the change in youth culture that was happening at the time. The music was a result of the change not a driver for it, therefore the cultural movements that we now associate with the music, to the point where it is impossible to separate them, were a product of the environment they developed in and developed in parallel with the music (and for the benefit of Pedro: the art, the literature, the cinema, the theatre, etc. if, and only if, it is applicable). As I have argued on several occasions, Prog Rock has never been a cultural movement, a subculture or an all embracing artistic movement, there was no fashion or literary subgenre attached to it, no cinema, no theatre. And the same is true for metal (in the main) - loose biker-imagery of leather, studs and denim is the best you'll get - jeans and a band t-shirt doth not a uniform make.
"You know what uranium is, right?
It’s this thing called nuclear weapons.
And other things.
Like lots of things are done with uranium.
Including some bad things.
But nobody talks about that."
Back to Top
Toaster Mantis View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: April 12 2008
Location: Denmark
Status: Offline
Points: 5898
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Toaster Mantis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 08 2014 at 09:31
As someone who majored in philosophy and minored in art history, I've always been fascinated by exactly where the lines between "high" and "low" culture are drawn not to mention the hows and whys behind that. As the blog post I linked to mentions, it's often basically a matter of marketing.

The editor of that webzine also posits elsewhere that punk is long past its expiration date, and the best thing to come out of it is its recently increased influence on black metal. (using the specific example of Peste Noire)
"The past is not some static being, it is not a previous present, nor a present that has passed away; the past has its own dynamic being which is constantly renewed and renewing." - Claire Colebrook
Back to Top
moshkito View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: January 04 2007
Location: Grok City
Status: Offline
Points: 7207
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 08 2014 at 10:19
Originally posted by Dean Dean wrote:

...
 Prog Rock has never been a cultural movement, a subculture or an all embracing artistic movement, there was no fashion or literary subgenre attached to it, no cinema, no theatre. And the same is true for metal (in the main) - loose biker-imagery of leather, studs and denim is the best you'll get - jeans and a band t-shirt doth not a uniform make.
 
AGREED.
 
However, what I have suggested is NOT that it is a sub-culture, or a subgenre of anything. What I have suggested was that in many ways, what happened in many of the bands and works that became known as "progressive" (or any scene for that matter), was that they had similar threads and ideals that also created other cultural and historic events.
 
I'm not the only one, for example, that has discussed "krautrock", but even that one special calls it an environmental response. Those responses, are ALL valid. And YES, many of them are just pop music, but the media (recording and otherwise) have helped make a lot of other things a bit more valuable and sometimes way more valid in their ideas and points than most artistic discussions and history of such. And by the time that you get the anti-anti anybody, the whole thing in "progressive" becomes extremely difficult to discuss.
 
In the end, I am almost ready to agree with you, when so much of this is popular music and most of it has very little meaning or valid anything to help define it as anything else but just another song. It's like sitting down and write a book on the history of a ... stove! Might make for more entertaining reading!
 
Also remember that a lot of these things are MEDIA CREATIONS, that sometimes I can not help think that they are there strictly to make you think that you should buy the album/music. However, I believe that there are more "media creations" TODAY, than in 1968. In fact, the media in those days was dead set on hiding a lot of things, which helped a lot of the lyrics in the early days. I mean, Bob Dylan was not exactly about nothing!


Edited by moshkito - January 08 2014 at 10:49
... none of the hits, none of the time ... now you know what the inner art is all about!
www.pedrosena.com
Back to Top
Dean View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Retired Admin and Amateur Layabout

Joined: May 13 2007
Location: Europe
Status: Offline
Points: 37331
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 08 2014 at 10:40
My work here is done mwwahahahahahaha!
"You know what uranium is, right?
It’s this thing called nuclear weapons.
And other things.
Like lots of things are done with uranium.
Including some bad things.
But nobody talks about that."
Back to Top
Toaster Mantis View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: April 12 2008
Location: Denmark
Status: Offline
Points: 5898
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Toaster Mantis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 08 2014 at 16:07
There's a red thread running through all of this I can't believe I haven't noticed until now:

It appears that the people most concerned with which types of rock music are most "culturally legitimate" are usually reviewers and scholars rather than musicians and songwriters.

Somehow, I don't think this is a coincidence.
"The past is not some static being, it is not a previous present, nor a present that has passed away; the past has its own dynamic being which is constantly renewed and renewing." - Claire Colebrook
Back to Top
ExittheLemming View Drop Down
Prog Reviewer
Prog Reviewer
Avatar

Joined: October 19 2007
Location: A Land Mass
Status: Offline
Points: 8996
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ExittheLemming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 09 2014 at 06:12
[QUOTE=Toaster Mantis]

    Its main ideological inspirations came from the Beat Generation and the hippie movement, subcultures that would both go on to replace the cultural elites they originally reacted against.


    There's also a sociological element in that many of the influential progressive and psychedelic rock groups like Genesis and Pink Floyd met at art school or university whereas Black Sabbath and Judas Priest both came from the industrial slums of Birmingham.


/QUOTE]

I think Dean is probably correct, after all, art is a product of history, not vice versa.

You sure that the hippies got to rule the cultural roost with their cosmiche w.a.n.k.e.r.y vindicated? Wink
This strikes me as (mercifully) untrue. Pacifistic/Communal altruism is now but a quaint anachronism while the poisons of capitalism as foretold by the 'love generation' are now so ingrained in the west that most of us cannot even remember the inoculation shots they gave us for socialism. (Although the Tate/La Bianca Murders would have qualified) However, I don't think you mean political or economic control.

Although I do recognise the working class/middle class divide, the examples anyone might cite can be made to look a tad glib e.g. Geezer Butler was purportedly white collar middle class trainee accountant material. John Lennon was considered considerably 'posher' than his fellow Beatles, Greg Lake was of very impoverished working class origins, The rabidly left wing anarcho punks Crass contained English Public schoolboys while Joe Strummer was the son of a diplomat etc (the list goes on)
That's not to say anyone's demographic origins necessarily invalidate the legitimacy of their work but it's a dangerous distinction to make

BTW Pete Townshend, Ray Davies and Keith Richard went to UK art schools and such were certainly not the preserve of a gifted cultural elite in the late 50's early 60's. Art School was very often somewhere the educational establishments would put unfocused but basically bright and harmless youths that just didn't fit anyplace else.

I've also long held the belief that the rudimentary musical style of punk (in the UK) was simply a nihilistic knee-jerk reaction against hippy aesthetics which was never intended to stand up to the scrutiny of longevity (No Future etc)
Music that is principally political in intent has NEVER stood the test of time (write a book or stand for election, don't make us sit through another humorless polemical album man)

Music that will be remembered and cherished will be so by virtue of its aesthetic qualities alone ( the medium is the message) and yes you are right, the remainder is best left to those lonely furrowed brows ploughed by sociologists, post modern revisionists and academics etc

What is cultural legitimacy anyway? Is this when someone deemed to be qualified as an arbiter of value confers a pass mark against the music we profess to enjoy (for its own sake)?
Who amongst us requires such validation unless they might belong to that very elite for whom the device of culture was manufactured to protect:  those who are either unable or unwilling to express their own ideas.



Edited by ExittheLemming - January 09 2014 at 07:16
Back to Top
Guldbamsen View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Retired Admin

Joined: January 22 2009
Location: Dolly Parton
Status: Offline
Points: 19882
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guldbamsen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 09 2014 at 06:52
LOL
Sorry Iain - your reply is as profound as always, but even when you're right on the money, you're still a sarcastic bugger that makes me laugh myself silly.
Very nice observation from the rodent 'down under'.
“The Guide says there is an art to flying or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”

- Douglas Adams
Back to Top
Toaster Mantis View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: April 12 2008
Location: Denmark
Status: Offline
Points: 5898
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Toaster Mantis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 09 2014 at 06:58
That's another thing about the question I asked in the whether music genres/scenes should even aspire towards also being cultural/ideological "movements": Neither psychedelic, punk or metal culture have had anywhere as radical a social impact as their more outspoken members have aimed for... and could they ever have succeeded in the first place? I'm far from certain.

Your other point is the second reason I question the utility of musicians politicizing their work: My experience with punk has taught me that the music very often suffers as a result. Not that ideology does not belong in music, in fact I enjoy quite a bit of music with political or religious themes, but when a project's entire "band concept" revolves around some kind of obvious agenda the musically creative side of the equation almost always ends up taking a back seat.

As for the demographics of the three genres, I'm of course generalizing but it's clear progressive rock strives more openly towards virtues of high culture than the vast majority of heavy metal. On the subject of punk, I think it depends on which regional scenes and specific substyles you're talking about because its "Do It Yourself" business ethic decentralizes it much more... but you might find this essay on why professional reviewers were quicker to embrace punk than metal interesting. (as much as its perspective is informed by what you could call "vulgar Marxism")

I'll finish the post right now with a quote from the Black Ivory Tower guy:

Quote In a way I'm glad that (black) metal encountered the considerably softer fate of being turned into a bandwagon for retarded commercialism, instead of being 'lifted' to the platform of pseudo-idealist PC crap at the hands of bored, third-rate college professors. Although the latter is starting to happen now thanks to cringeworthy sh*t such as Liturgy, Deafheaven and the rest of the Soho art gallery BM scene, for which I thoroughly disrespect them and everything they stand for.


(those two bands I can kind of understand their motivation in that they're trying to find a new cultural frame of reference for a self-styled transgressive genre which ran out of new tricks in the mid-1990s, but the resulting music just isn't very interesting and that's what I'm really looking for)
"The past is not some static being, it is not a previous present, nor a present that has passed away; the past has its own dynamic being which is constantly renewed and renewing." - Claire Colebrook
Back to Top
Toaster Mantis View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: April 12 2008
Location: Denmark
Status: Offline
Points: 5898
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Toaster Mantis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2014 at 15:00
An interesting angle that I didn't include at first because I couldn't find it, but would have liked to: I remembered an old thread wherein several posters claimed the opposite, that the general public considered metal more obviously complex and intelligent than prog... and I've found it.

Originally posted by purplesnake purplesnake wrote:

Metal is generally easier to explain as more complicated music, because of the faster playing, and so people can explain themselves more. And they feel belonged in a group that is relatively large. With Progressive Rock, its harder to communicate the intelligence. The outside listener must really understand music.


Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:

Yeah, sort of.  The fast part is particularly important.  It is easier to relate to prog metal as technical music because of the fast, intense playing whereas in prog rock, it is necessary to come to grips with the music to appreciate its nuances.


Originally posted by CCVP CCVP wrote:

First, progressive rock still have a negative stigma in the eyes of many in the music business and media, what does not necessarely happens with progressive metal.


Of course, another angle I could elaborate on is how much "intellectual substance" each genre has thematically... but articulating exactly how you measure that in a way that's not extremely subjective would probably require more work than I could be bothered with. I'll probably edit this post more when I've figured out how to do that.
"The past is not some static being, it is not a previous present, nor a present that has passed away; the past has its own dynamic being which is constantly renewed and renewing." - Claire Colebrook
Back to Top
ExittheLemming View Drop Down
Prog Reviewer
Prog Reviewer
Avatar

Joined: October 19 2007
Location: A Land Mass
Status: Offline
Points: 8996
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ExittheLemming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2014 at 17:12
Had to think about this idea for quite a while as I just don't get the metal is more intelligent/complex than Prog attitude at all from most music fans I know. I'm guessing that people who claim such mean the overtly technical end of the spectrum e.g. Meshuggah c/f Twisted SisterWink

Just for clarity, is it a given that one genre considered more intelligent/complex than another can be deemed to also have more cultural legitimacy?* Please explain in simple terms what you mean by the latter as such a judgement clearly rests upon who is doing the judging, e.g. if only metal fans made this judgement it seems unlikely that this view would ever reach beyond its confines and take hold as 'conventional wisdom' in a broader cultural milieu.

*I just think of this as being tantamount to acknowledgement/approval/credibility in the eyes of those consumers with a modest knowledge of prevailing musical styles.

It also has to be said that Rock genres where the 'guitar is God' seldom have to preach to atheists. People 'get' the message and attitude of a distorted electric guitar and correctly equate this with rebellion, irreverence and dissent packaged together as entertainment (a.k.a. Rock'n'Roll)Big smile

Maybe Prog, being perhaps more keyboard oriented and eclectic/esoteric by nature, finds it harder to be accepted and recognised without such a signature calling card?


Edited by ExittheLemming - January 11 2014 at 17:15
Back to Top
Toaster Mantis View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: April 12 2008
Location: Denmark
Status: Offline
Points: 5898
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Toaster Mantis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 12 2014 at 04:10
I don't believe either that technical complexity alone qualifies music as intelligent or intellectual, indeed that mentality is one of my least favourite things about the progressive rock scene as it stands right now.

What matters in my book is what the recordings do with that technical proficiency, that would be underlying concept behind the music the performance serves to express or communicate. This goes into the question of whether the three mentioned genres have some kind of unifying ethos or ideology, let alone said ideologies are well-thought out.

One of the black metal musicians that discussions with whom inspired me to create this thread, it's Demontage's percussionist "Abominable Reverend" if you're curious, brought up that the artistic/literary lineage (Wm. Burroughs, Aldous Huxley, Ken Kesey etc.) that psychedelic rock has brought up as forebears isn't that different from certain metal subgenres' evokation of the more morbid side of 19th century Romanticism and the French Symbolists in particular. (Charles Baudelaire, Comte de Lautréamont etc.): Most of said intellectual precursors came from a different generation and often didn't have much of an active interest in rock music to begin with (Burroughs being mostly into jazz), not to mention that their output was way more advanced both in the depth of the literary themes explored and the narrative structure of their prose composition when compared to the vast majority of rock songwriters to take inspiration from them. The same thing goes for progressive rock's inspiration from classical music, the thread I started in the Prog Music Lounge about the subject brought up the revelation that neither Genesis' Selling England by the Pound nor Yes' Close to the Edge fulfil the formal criteria for a proper classical sonata.

Then again, have all but the most exceptional prog/metal/punk songwriters ever even aspired to that level in the first place? If not, I don't think it's reasonable to hold them to that standard at all. More than anything else it reminds me of modern science-fiction/fantasy literature evoking classical mythologies as predecessors: Yes, there is an obvious lineage, but when was the last time you read a SF novel as advanced in theme or style as Epic of Gilgamesh, the Iliad and Odyssee or the Ramayana? Does it even have to be in order to succeed on its own merits? (for the record I have very little active interest in either genre these days, being more into crime/horror fiction)
"The past is not some static being, it is not a previous present, nor a present that has passed away; the past has its own dynamic being which is constantly renewed and renewing." - Claire Colebrook
Back to Top
ExittheLemming View Drop Down
Prog Reviewer
Prog Reviewer
Avatar

Joined: October 19 2007
Location: A Land Mass
Status: Offline
Points: 8996
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ExittheLemming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 12 2014 at 08:31
Originally posted by Toaster Mantis Toaster Mantis wrote:

I don't believe either that technical complexity alone qualifies music as intelligent or intellectual, indeed that mentality is one of my least favourite things about the progressive rock scene as it stands right now.

Kudos for clarifying that, as the merits of Dylan, Velvets, Television, Patti Smith, Pete Townshend, Nick Cave et al would be rendered spurious for our purposes otherwise. I hope none of us continue to feign surprise at the resistance shown from any rawk sphere to a genre interloper that tacks on the provocative 'progressive' prefix

What matters in my book is what the recordings do with that technical proficiency, that would be underlying concept behind the music the performance serves to express or communicate. This goes into the question of whether the three mentioned genres have some kind of unifying ethos or ideology, let alone said ideologies are well-thought out.

Forgive the glib inanity but the most valuable unifying ethos in the 1st world has always been the fostering of individualism. All three genres tick that box, albeit they might be guilty of spouting platitudes and clearly have different motives. As far as political leanings are concerned I discern significant right wing sentiments in much Metal but considerably less so in Punk (the Nazi Punks have largely followed the advice on the badges and erm..f.u.c.k.e.d off accordingly (trad anarcho socialist punks must be considered a quaint anachronism now surely? Social Democrat Punk just doesn't have the same frisson does it?) Re Black Metal and its purported links with Satanism/Paganism/National Socialism (sic). It really dosent require a sociologist to tell you that these are a right wing stratification driven enterprises.
Those successful in Metal/Punk/Prog are no longer revered as ideological knights with a romantic quest to change the world for the better. Rather, they are seen as successful businessmen or entrepeneurs who embody the capitalistic dream of mastering your given resources towards a material goal. As much as I admire someone like say,  Frank Zappa's music, he is surely the embodiment of an american dream he routinely professed to abhor. I cannot discern any overriding political orientation in Prog and can only surmise that like US Punk it was largely apolitical.


One of the black metal musicians that discussions with whom inspired me to create this thread, it's Demontage's percussionist "Abominable Reverend" if you're curious, brought up that the artistic/literary lineage (Wm. Burroughs, Aldous Huxley, Ken Kesey etc.) that psychedelic rock has brought up as forebears isn't that different from certain metal subgenres' evokation of the more morbid side of 19th century Romanticism and the French Symbolists in particular. (Charles Baudelaire, Comte de Lautréamont etc.): Most of said intellectual precursors came from a different generation and often didn't have much of an active interest in rock music to begin with (Burroughs being mostly into jazz), not to mention that their output was way more advanced both in the depth of the literary themes explored and the narrative structure of their prose composition when compared to the vast majority of rock songwriters to take inspiration from them. The same thing goes for progressive rock's inspiration from classical music, the thread I started in the Prog Music Lounge about the subject brought up the revelation that neither Genesis' Selling England by the Pound nor Yes' Close to the Edge fulfil the formal criteria for a proper classical sonata.

Anyone facile enough to think the contradiction of Abominable and Reverend represents wit is not deserving of anyone's curiosityWink. I can't comment on the literary influences at play in Black Metal but it's interesting that you cite the French Symbolists as being pivotal. (Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Mallarme, Poe, Verlaine etc) These were the same influences that shaped the work of Patti Smith, Tom Verlaine, Lou Reed, Richard Hell and much of the NYC proto punk milieu circa the mid 70's. The only Prog musicians I can cite who subjected their musical materials to the same sort of structural and developmental rigor as that of classical 'sonata' composers were Keith Emerson, Jon Lord and Robert Godfrey of the Enid. Everyone in the Prog domain would admit to borrowing freely from the classical past but very few saw themselves as the successors of that tradition.

Then again, have all but the most exceptional prog/metal/punk songwriters ever even aspired to that level in the first place? If not, I don't think it's reasonable to hold them to that standard at all. More than anything else it reminds me of modern science-fiction/fantasy literature evoking classical mythologies as predecessors: Yes, there is an obvious lineage, but when was the last time you read a SF novel as advanced in theme or style as Epic of Gilgamesh, the Iliad and Odyssee or the Ramayana? Does it even have to be in order to succeed on its own merits? (for the record I have very little active interest in either genre these days, being more into crime/horror fiction)

I heartily loathe SF so will steer well clear of this point (Apologies)


Edited by ExittheLemming - January 12 2014 at 14:25
Back to Top
moshkito View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: January 04 2007
Location: Grok City
Status: Offline
Points: 7207
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 12 2014 at 12:37
Originally posted by ExittheLemming ExittheLemming wrote:

Originally posted by Toaster Mantis Toaster Mantis wrote:

I don't believe either that technical complexity alone qualifies music as intelligent or intellectual, indeed that mentality is one of my least favourite things about the progressive rock scene as it stands right now.

Kudos for clarifying that, as the merits of Dylan, Velvets, Television, Patti Smith, Pete Townshend, Nick Cave et al would be rendered spurious for our purposes otherwise. I hope none of us continue to feign surprise at the resistance shown from any rawk sphere to a genre interloper that tacks on the provocative 'progressive' prefix
 
 
I've always been wary of that, specially when I was already aware of literary scenes that inspired these folks, and one other theater scene that did the same thing in England (Angry Young Men), which was similar to the punk scene then, and its "revolt" and later, the American rap scene.
 
It might not be a social phenomenon, but it makes those scenes VISIBLE, and the importance of it, is not something that you and I will know or understand until 50 years on, so to speak.
 
I don't think, and never have, that "progressive" was not that complex in the first place, although we love to use Chris Squire and others as examples. Sometimes, this was their comfort zone, and what they wanted to do. And I love the example of John P and John M (DT) talking about learning to play the LP at the faster speed, and see if you can keep up. All of a sudden, it makes you look at music differently, and you might find something that is useful that you are capable of learning.
 
The complexity there, is different than what one gives credence to other musics and artistic scenes, with all the intelectual this and that! I simply do not believe that ANY scene, is not a valid expression, because IT IS, and it does not make their music better, or worse than anyone else! But the music (or any of the arts) helps validate the scene.
 
It's like saying that Kesey, or Kerouac or others did not influence and help one scene or another. I think they were just concurrent with the weather, instead of one being more important than the other. And at that point Hesse is just as interesting as Kesey, just like Amon Duul is as interesting as Pink Floyd and vice versa.
 
The only concern I have is that the English speaking world has a tendency to play the imperialist and consider that they invented the world and their opinions and ideas are more important. (joke coming up!) This would explain why the best known version of the Bible is also the worst translation there is of the real books!
... none of the hits, none of the time ... now you know what the inner art is all about!
www.pedrosena.com
Back to Top
rogerthat View Drop Down
Prog Reviewer
Prog Reviewer


Joined: September 03 2006
Location: .
Status: Offline
Points: 7366
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 12 2014 at 19:54
I am not at all sure what cultural legitimacy of music is supposed to be.  However, to answer in your question in simpler terms, why punk gets an easy pass from a cross section of rock listeners as opposed to prog or metal is because it has the strongest connections to out and out rock music.  There is no need to get to some other place or push your tastes in a certain direction (in favour of the complex or the extreme) to appreciate at least the likes of Sex Pistol or Ramones.  The complexity may turn people off prog but its more accessible side via Floyd, Jethro Tull may still find (has found) following.  

Metal is the most exclusionary by its very nature of the three and since the 80s has headed off in a single minded pursuit of the extreme.  Obviously, not everyone is going to be interested in that.  This exclusionary path has also sparked a kind of 'dumb snobbery' that is quite unique to metal. As an example, when I once shared a lovely performance of a Ghulam Ali ghazal on facebook, one metalhead friend jumped up to comment snarkily that did I really need to already start playing stuff for my grandchildren or something to that effect.  I call it dumb snobbery because it is based on the ludicrous assumption that anything that is slow and soft outwardly is neither worth listening to nor possesses any real technical brilliance.  The objections of classical snobs are usually based on pedantic or class considerations but not so when it comes to metal.  This form of snobbery is hard to avoid if you talk to a lot of metalheads regularly so somebody who just has eclectic tastes that happen to include metal would find it hard to get along with metalheads' obsession with metal and their celebration of it as a way of life rather than just music.  Metal is all important within the metal orbit, but its very nature and its deluded superiority complex (remember Araya's unthinking comments on how classic rock would be so boring to play?) tend to exclude the rest of the rock crowd who therefore become indifferent to it.
Back to Top
Toaster Mantis View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: April 12 2008
Location: Denmark
Status: Offline
Points: 5898
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Toaster Mantis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 13 2014 at 11:45
Originally posted by ExittheLemming ExittheLemming wrote:

As far as political leanings are concerned I discern significant right wing sentiments in much Metal but considerably less so in Punk (the Nazi Punks have largely followed the advice on the badges and erm..f.u.c.k.e.d off accordingly (trad anarcho socialist punks must be considered a quaint anachronism now surely? Social Democrat Punk just doesn't have the same frisson does it?) Re Black Metal and its purported links with Satanism/Paganism/National Socialism (sic). It really dosent require a sociologist to tell you that these are a right wing stratification driven enterprises.


The weird thing is that despite borrowing a good chunk of its symbolism from the NSDAP by way of biker culture's appropriation of same, and Anton LaVey's Church of Satan notorious for promoting "might is right" ethics, until the early 1990s the metal genre didn't have much of a honest right-of-centre political presence at all except the occasional outlier like Alice Cooper or Ted Nugent. It gets even weirder when you consider that the person most responsible for the metal scene's turn to the far right in the 1990s, the late Type O Negative frontman Peter Steele, happened to be a transplant from the NY punk scene! For the record, I get the impression that Social Darwinist/Fascist Revivalist loyalties aren't anywhere as widespread in metal circles as they were in the early/mid-2000s... probably as a result of the genre's recent re-mainstreaming since then. (and Pete's death in 2010)

By the way there's also still plenty of hardline leftwing sentiment in the more extreme subgenres of punk... even if those are (often by design) very inaccessible to mainstream audiences and hence don't get noticed much. Likewise, I've noticed that at least in Denmark and Sweden the death metal subculture is at least as hard left as black metal is hard right in many countries, probably because its fanbase overlaps quite a bit with certain punk subgenres. (crust and grind in particular)

Quote I can't comment on the literary influences at play in Black Metal but it's interesting that you cite the French Symbolists as being pivotal. (Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Mallarme, Poe, Verlaine etc) These were the same influences that shaped the work of Patti Smith, Tom Verlaine, Lou Reed, Richard Hell and much of the NYC proto punk milieu circa the mid 70's.


Well, there's two obvious reasons for that: The earliest black metal groups (Venom, Bathory, Celtic Frost etc) were all very strongly informed by punk, something the genre gradually dropped throughout the 1990s but has returned to in recent years; there's also the extent to which the French Symbolists dabbled in Satanism - in particular Baudelaire, Huysmans and Lautreamont. I actually think a recent English translation of Baudelaire's Flowers of Evil was done by a practicing Satanist!

For the record I've seen Baudelaire and for that matter Edgar Allan Poe brought up as forerunners to psychedelic culture too. (in Jim Derogatis' book about psych-rock Turn on Your Mind)

Quote I heartily loathe SF so will steer well clear of this point (Apologies)


It's the same basic phenomenon of a pulpy "low culture" artform evoking "high culture" as inspiration, though, and the same question of how often that's a case of signing checks you can't cash. (I personally take it on a case-by-case basis)
"The past is not some static being, it is not a previous present, nor a present that has passed away; the past has its own dynamic being which is constantly renewed and renewing." - Claire Colebrook
Back to Top
Toaster Mantis View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: April 12 2008
Location: Denmark
Status: Offline
Points: 5898
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Toaster Mantis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 13 2014 at 11:59
Originally posted by moshkito moshkito wrote:

The complexity there, is different than what one gives credence to other musics and artistic scenes, with all the intelectual this and that! I simply do not believe that ANY scene, is not a valid expression, because IT IS, and it does not make their music better, or worse than anyone else! But the music (or any of the arts) helps validate the scene.
 
It's like saying that Kesey, or Kerouac or others did not influence and help one scene or another. I think they were just concurrent with the weather, instead of one being more important than the other. And at that point Hesse is just as interesting as Kesey, just like Amon Duul is as interesting as Pink Floyd and vice versa.


Interesting namedrop of Kerouac because he hated being called "the voice of a generation", as did Bob Dylan while we're at it, and that might have been a factor in him becoming a paranoid recluse later in life. As interesting and as valid a field of study it is, I think it's clear there's some necessary cautions you should take when it comes to the whole "cultural/social relevance of art" business and it doesn't become more about the personal agendas of the person doing the study than what's actually there.

(even if it's questionable whether the interpreter's biases can be separated from the equation in the first place, and they indeed might be necessary for the whole endeavour!)
"The past is not some static being, it is not a previous present, nor a present that has passed away; the past has its own dynamic being which is constantly renewed and renewing." - Claire Colebrook
Back to Top
Toaster Mantis View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: April 12 2008
Location: Denmark
Status: Offline
Points: 5898
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Toaster Mantis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 13 2014 at 12:45
Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:

I am not at all sure what cultural legitimacy of music is supposed to be.  However, to answer in your question in simpler terms, why punk gets an easy pass from a cross section of rock listeners as opposed to prog or metal is because it has the strongest connections to out and out rock music.  There is no need to get to some other place or push your tastes in a certain direction (in favour of the complex or the extreme) to appreciate at least the likes of Sex Pistol or Ramones.  The complexity may turn people off prog but its more accessible side via Floyd, Jethro Tull may still find (has found) following.


Couldn't you say the same thing about the more "traditional" metal subgenres like for instance NWoBHM sans its rawer-than-roadkill Venom/Atomkraft/Warfare corner, newer power/speed, the styles of doom that still are close to bluesy hard rock etc.?

Another thing: I'm also certain that around here the more accessible metal and to some extent prog (depending on the social milieu) are actually more popular than the comparably accessible end of old punk at least as far as the general public goes. When it comes to what's acclaimed by the kind of people who write books about the history of rock music, though, and professional critics in general the script flips completely.

(that's also one of the main points of that Spiked Online article)

Quote This form of snobbery is hard to avoid if you talk to a lot of metalheads regularly so somebody who just has eclectic tastes that happen to include metal would find it hard to get along with metalheads' obsession with metal and their celebration of it as a way of life rather than just music.  Metal is all important within the metal orbit, but its very nature and its deluded superiority complex (remember Araya's unthinking comments on how classic rock would be so boring to play?) tend to exclude the rest of the rock crowd who therefore become indifferent to it.


I really think that depends a lot on which parts of the metal scene you are exposed to, in my experience it's usually people who got into it first through its most extreme incarnations and don't listen to very much before the 1990s (or maybe the mid-1980s) who are like that. I've also encountered at least as much genre-chauvinism from indie kids, jazz enthusiasts, prog/psych fans and the most purist folk/blues fans too for that matter.

And in Tom Araya's defense, he fronts the group most responsible for separating heavy metal from normal rock music. I'm pretty sure Slayer wouldn't have ended up being that musically groundbreaking in the first place if they didn't find the vast majority of hitherto existing rock boring.
"The past is not some static being, it is not a previous present, nor a present that has passed away; the past has its own dynamic being which is constantly renewed and renewing." - Claire Colebrook
Back to Top
ExittheLemming View Drop Down
Prog Reviewer
Prog Reviewer
Avatar

Joined: October 19 2007
Location: A Land Mass
Status: Offline
Points: 8996
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ExittheLemming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 13 2014 at 16:14
Originally posted by Toaster Mantis Toaster Mantis wrote:

When it comes to what's acclaimed by the kind of people who write books about the history of rock music, though, and professional critics in general the script flips completely.

(that's also one of the main points of that Spiked Online article)



This seems to indicate that the so-called 'cultural legitimacy' of these genres will be decided solely by academics and authors. (Ain't this a bit like letting bats vote on daylight saving?) I always have a problem with the word 'culture' in any discussion like this, as I find it difficult to reconcile my understanding of the indigenous and shared aspects of same with what (I think) you are proposing. That may be lack of knowledge on my part but it seems self-evident that any cultural elite is going to endorse only those values that beget its existence in the first place. Historians of culture are hamstrung by the same problem faced by any historians i.e.their knowledge of the motives behind the events they are describing is at best speculative and more often than not, self-serving

Awards are only as significant as the folks who choose the winners, the criteria laid out by the organizers and how closely the electorate follows those criteria. (Gabriele Marcotti ESPN)

Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply Page  123>
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 11.01
Copyright ©2001-2014 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.656 seconds.