I tend to write about things I know well. See: the ’80s. While I know a lot of metal, I spend a lot of time researching and fact-checking before I attempt to put together a thought that I think will be earth-shatteringly wonderful. Hell, I even double check things I think I know, just to be sure. For the most part, anyway. I’ve certainly made a mistake or two here and there.
Let’s say, for example, that I was to write an article about Cradle of Filth bringing black metal to a more mainstream audience. I know all the facts surrounding it in general, but I was never a fan. I didn’t ever listen to the music. Yet still, I felt compelled to write about this particular moment of music history. And I could probably write the whole thing without thinking twice about it.
What would be my motivation for writing about this? Let’s say it’s because I find it interesting. In that case, one would think that I would be ravenously eating up all literature available to quench my thirst for knowledge and understanding. Now let’s look at the typical internet metal writer’s motivation: the reason to write about this would be for attention, because Cradle of Filth has 8 million fans and 8 million anti-fans. Even a scholarly dissertation on the topic would get more fan/hate mail than one could properly handle, particularly if it got Blabbermouth’ed. Tempting, no? So they just start writing some shit and then they post it.
This infuriates me.
I won’t name names, but Dave and I have discussed this like crazy. Ditto with Sick. We both know at least one person who fits this criteria and who has shit all over metal history because this person thinks they are “metal” and therefore is an expert on all things metal.
Here’s the thing: I am qualified to write about Dream Theater without researching. I am qualified to write about hair metal (for the most part) with very little research involved. But I’m not going to sit here and pretend I know dick about today’s American metal scene. Europe? Black, death, doom? Oh, I could at least give that a go; if nothing else I could outline a valid topic, then go back and fill in the blanks after a bit more research. Same for thrash, NWOBHM, and other sub-sub genres that I’ve delved into. I know my limitations.
However, this is metal we’re talking about. In this world, if you are into metal, you are supposed to know all metal or you’re not metal enough. Or whatever other macho shit you want to insert there, minus “shitty” metal, which is a good way to categorize anything you haven’t heard so that you don’t sound stupid for never having heard it. That’s the other thing — metal people have supposedly heard every metal band ever made or they’re just not metal. It’s silly, yes. It’s very caveman-like. It’s fun.
AND SOOOOOO… when I see someone writing “scholarly” dissertations about metal classics when they clearly did not live the era, did not listen to the music, or didn’t even bother to properly research… I want to kill. It’s the equivalent of people saying Lacuna Coil sounds “kinda like Evanescence.” It’s watching someone gush over the latter years of Megadeth because that’s when they got into the band, meanwhile glossing over and completely discounting the first five albums WHICH JUST HAPPENED TO BE THE MOST CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED AND VITAL TO THEIR ENTIRE SUCCESS.
I’m sorry… I’m getting all excited here.
Let me just finish by saying this: I protect my own credibility, and it wouldn’t be fair for others to have theirs brought down by being associated with an asshat such as this. I’ve got one eye glued open and, if necessary, I will valiantly defend my metal brethren. Odin owns ye all, bitches.