Remember that metal, like lots of other things in life, can be dumb and hurtful and full of entitled, supremacist assholes. Remember, still, that metal is your friend, but the people who make it aren’t necessarily.
Part of what makes my gym routine (I know, I know) bearable is music. Like, earbuds crushed so far in my ears that everything is sealed up and blocked out—the pop music and sickeningly sweet love ballads piped in via the gym’s overhead speakers; the grunting from men of all ages, apparently paying a monthly fee to give themselves hernias; and even the nice lady who just wanted to know if I was done using the EZ bar or not. Anyway, ALL THAT SHIT gets blocked out because it’s distracting, and distractions tend to fuck with my head in unnecessary ways at the gym. Before I know it, I’m a total freak show or, somehow worse, entirely invisible.
Spotify’s New Metal Tracks is my go-to. Every time, without fail. In fact, I consider the hour or so I spend listening to this playlist part of my self-care because, let’s be honest, I’m a metal head at heart.
So, there I was, listening to New Metal Tracks and lifting shit, and all of a sudden, I’m like, “What is this track? This is so metal and satanic and AWESOME.”
The track was “SIG Safer” by Lord Mantis. Some of you may already be familiar with this band. I had been too busy death-gripping the black metal of yore that I missed the band’s horrifyingly transphobic comments and defense of their equally anti-trans album artwork for their 2014 album, Death Mask. (This is a link to both, if you’re interested, but I want to recommend that you tread carefully and slowly, and, more importantly, that you take care of yourself first. In the grand scheme of things, Lord Mantis and their opinions don’t mean shit, but your health and happiness being a trans fan of black metal really fucking do.)
My point in all of this is to say that, okay, now I’m pissed. Late to the party, sure, but, no, I’m pissed—and for myriad reasons. I don’t like it when racist, misogynist, transphobic fuckwits mess with my good time. (We’ll talk NSBM another day.) There’s enough of them in the media, at your local grocery store, and at the fucking gym. Hell, they may even be sitting at the table at the family Christmas dinner.
No, no … my point is that nothing hurts worse than when something you love attacks you. Nothing is worse than stumbling upon ignorance and hatred—and complete denial of both by the perpetrators—in an art form that you love, in an art form that, in its own strange, discordant way, expresses your darkness and your anger and your pain and your limit for anything that fucks with you or tries to fuck with you.
Here we are, having our outlet, enjoying the blast beats and the screechy, slow-death vocals, and fucking Lord Mantis walks in?
No, no. Turn around, turn around, turn around.
So, for those of us whom have found ourselves really digging on shit we wish we had never found in the first place—and, honestly, feeling really betrayed by that—I’d like to recommend a few albums/bands that, at least at the time of writing, have yet to find ways to make me reconsider my support.
I really like the new Pyramido album, Vatten. You can check out some of their (really good) older tracks here. They remind me a little bit of black metal mixed with old school Swedish d-beat, but slowed down, you know, quite a bit.
Tombs new album, Obsidian, is moody, dark, fast, and screamy. It’s very good, really. You can check out Tombs on BandCamp!
Okay, Graves at Sea technically isn’t a black metal band, but, yeah, I really, really like this album.
This is Ghost Bath’s Moonlover. Fans of Deafheaven, like me, are likely to eat this one up.
Please, please send me your favorites, okay? -J.