My interest in extreme metal began as a teenager in the early 2000s. I was heavily influenced by the writings found on the now defunct anus.com which, for all its flaws, instilled a certain outlook on underground music’s purpose and place in the world that has not left me (a full account of my experiences with anus.com can be found here).
As the community around ANUS’s Dark Legions Archives split and grew, quality writing and analysis on metal was buried beneath tobacco reviews and deranged far right rants. I stepped back from championing metal as a serious cultural artefact. But then, in 2016, when Western society began to collide with its own history, I started Hate Meditations.
There were two reasons for doing this. With the demise of deathmetal.org as a source of serious musical analysis, quality writing on underground metal was lacking (bar a few exceptions). Most reviews are marketing material. Meaningless hyperbole with no other function than to promote and sell a series of disposable products stuffed with empty novelty. This makes sorting artists worthy of appreciation from those that are not an impossibility. Hate Meditations was a first step to redressing the balance.
The second reason was a personal interest: what is metal’s purpose in a society that is reaping what it sows? Metal – unsure of its place in a rapidly changing world – is in danger of being left behind. It has ceded intellectual ground to those with no interest in the preservation of metal’s complex and diverse history and philosophy. Vapid free marketeers disguised as artistic trailblazers are stripping metal’s legacy and selling off the spare parts, and many of metal’s most respected artists are complicit in this erasure. Metal’s past is being put on trial, and its future is in the hands of those with no stake in its preservation.
Artists, labels, promoters, and fans with integrity make this thing endure. Hate Meditations is a small, inadequate tribute to their deeds. Through analysis of new releases, retrospectives on moments and scenes throughout our history, and occasional essays, its aim is to seek out quality over quantity, to never settle for less, to weigh ideas fairly and efficiently, to promote other sites, labels, and artists on a similar journey, and never to pander to a lower common denominator. An attempt to root out a semblance of permanence in the art of today and yesterday. Art that gives life meaning, art that will last well beyond our lifetime. Along the way we might find the proper place for extreme metal today and in the future, one unsullied by vapid sentiment at one end, and the deranged far right ramblings of yesterday’s gatekeepers at the other.
This is not a dialogue. This is armchair rhetoric on extreme metal. An attempt to save it from the ‘enormous condescension of posterity’.