What is “Beer Metal” and Why Does It Suck? (guest entry)

Article by Jason, aka Lonegoat from the Necroclassical project Goatcraft and the host of the Necropolis podcast

Beer metal is a shallow take on the genre of metal that values accessibility and mainstream appeal, often featuring simple and catchy hooks and anthemic choruses. In the case of beer metal in death metal, Amon Amarth, Unleashed, and Runemagick are among the notable bands that demonstrate technical proficiency and musicianship while catering to the tastes of a wider undiscerning and often inebriated audience. Beer metal is characterized by its intentional prioritization of comprehensibility and relatability over compositional and harmonic complexity or musical experimentation. Despite the intricate riffs and elaborate instrumentation sometimes present in beer metal, these elements typically serve the broader objective of shaping memorable, easily-grasped pieces that appeal to a diverse range of listeners who look at music as a form of adornment; mere decoration for the identities that they wish to socially project.

It is important to note that beer metal does not require lyrical references to alcohol or beer, although some bands like Tankard embrace this theme explicitly. Conversely, bands like Amon Amarth, Unleashed, and Goatwhore may not openly market themselves as beer metal, yet their music aligns clearly with this superficial form of music. Their focus on creating entertaining and accessible music for festival environments often comes at the expense of genuine expression and potency. While bands may cater to a broad range of listeners seeking a fun and energizing experience, those seeking more challenging or authentic music find beer metal’s bourgeois countenance unsatisfying. For those with such discernment, music should be more than something for people to bob their inebriated heads to. 

In a society that values success and popularity above all else, it can be easy for musicians to fall into the trap of prioritizing commercial viability over creative authenticity. However, this approach ultimately limits artistic expression and undermines the very essence of what makes music so powerful. By pandering to the lowest common denominator, musicians sacrifice their individuality and end up manufacturing music that is derivative and uninspired.

Therefore, it is important for musicians to resist the temptation to conform to societal expectations and instead strive for authenticity in their music. This means fashioning music that is more aligned with their own perceptions and experiences rather than simply catering to the lack of discernment of the general metal public. By doing so, musicians are able to tap into their own unique creative potential, creating music that is truly meaningful and fulfilling.

Of course, achieving authenticity in music is no easy feat. It requires a deep level of introspection and self-awareness, as well as a willingness to take risks and push boundaries. Additionally, it may entail a degree of vulnerability and exposure, as musicians must be willing to share their innermost character with the world. However, the rewards of such an approach are immense, both for the musician and the listener.

For the musician, forging authentic music can be a cathartic and transformative experience. By channelling their own unique perspectives and idiosyncrasies into their music, musicians are able to express themselves in a way that is honest and raw. This not only allows them to connect with their own emotions but also resonates with listeners on a deeper level.

For the listener, authentic music can be a powerful and transformative experience as well. By connecting with the authentic expression of the music, listeners are able to gain a greater understanding of themselves and the world around them. In this way, music becomes more than just a form of entertainment but a means of personal growth and self-discovery.

In conclusion, while beer metal may achieve success and popularity by prioritizing accessibility and mainstream appeal, it ultimately undermines the authenticity and creative potential of the musicians involved. Instead, capable musicians should strive for authenticity in their music, creating music that is more aligned with who they actually are. Deviation from being true to oneself, such as creating beer metal, is for the false and the demiurge does laugh at those fools.

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