Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
MentzerLivesOn

The Psychology Of Metal Music

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

A Dragonforce song is good. A Dragonforce album...not so.

That's a good way of putting it I think, haha :).

The album I had heard was the one that came out before Ultra Beatdown, I forget what it was called. My friend loaned it to me and I gave it a listen, tried to be unbiased, but came out of it feeling pretty unfulfilled.

And as a guitar player I understand how difficult it is to play complex stuff on stage without making mistakes, but it IS expected. Being the lead guitar player in a technical metal band is a HUGE responsibility, if you can't practice several hours a day then you need to either write easier solos or take up a different role in the band. Take Muhammed Suicmez from Necrophagist, I swear that man never misses a note in his solos when he plays live. They sound so much like the album versions that it's indistinguishable. Example:

The fact that Ibanez gave Herman Li a signature guitar but not this guy is kinda upsetting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This thread has been an interesting read, for sure. As a guitarist who's in a metal band (and writes all the music and lyrics), I figure I'd offer my insights here.

I guess my first question would be, does the artist, or the music *have to* be 100% romantic for it to make it appreciable to an Objectivist? I ask because is it not possible to enjoy music because there are aspects about the performance or material which an objectivist finds attractive? LiberTodd mentioned Muhammed from the technical death metal band Necrophagist. As someone who's devoted a huge chunk of my life since my late teens to honing my technical ability on guitar, I can tell you achieving that level of proficiency takes a lot of selfish desire to reach. Not to mention when its a musician like Muhammed, who grew up in a muslim family and had to hide his guitar from his father (who destroyed it once discovering it for playing "blasphemous rock music") and yet despite that, was so focused in his desires that he persevered beyond that kind of oppression. Then on top of that, he writes all of the music and most importantly, totally nails everything live. That takes an incredible amount of unyielding integrity. Are these not all extremely admirable traits to an Objectivist?

Conversely, look at a band like Dragonforce (who I've seen some people mention here). Those guys should be appalling to an objectivist, seeing as how they are essentially the Britney Spears of metal. Their studio performances are so doctored and edited that the performances on them might as well be considered fake. This is highlighted in their live performances, where neither guitarist can replicate their studio work live, and also cover their tone up with so much gain and effects as to mask sloppy playing. Don't get me wrong, I listen to plenty of bands with guitarists that are not technical masters by any stretch of the means, the difference is that they don't pretend to be with digital studio magic.

Onto the actual music, one of the reasons I like metal is because I have an attraction to dissonances in music. I love symmetric scales such as the diminished, non-diatonic tonalities, harmonies based on 4ths and 5ths, etc. This extends beyond metal since I also really like jazz/rock fusion (Allan Holdsworth is probably my favorite guitarist) and as far as classical goes, I like modern guys such as Bartok, Holst, and Satie, and one of my favorite progrock bands is King Crimson, who are particularly fond of using such dissonances in their writing. There is something pleasing to me about tonalities that sound "out" but work, or resolve themselves, and as a writer its fun as hell to experiment with. I make a distinction between dissonances and atonality though, the latter I'm not a fan of at all.

As an interesting side note given the discussion at hand, my interest in more extreme, harsher, styles of metal just happens to coincide with my growing interest in objectivism. Go figure :dough:

Edited by BlackInMind

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This thread has been an interesting read, for sure. As a guitarist who's in a metal band (and writes all the music and lyrics), I figure I'd offer my insights here.

I guess my first question would be, does the artist, or the music *have to* be 100% romantic for it to make it appreciable to an Objectivist? I ask because is it not possible to enjoy music because there are aspects about the performance or material which an objectivist finds attractive? LiberTodd mentioned Muhammed from the technical death metal band Necrophagist. As someone who's devoted a huge chunk of my life since my late teens to honing my technical ability on guitar, I can tell you achieving that level of proficiency takes a lot of selfish desire to reach. Not to mention when its a musician like Muhammed, who grew up in a muslim family and had to hide his guitar from his father (who destroyed it once discovering it for playing "blasphemous rock music") and yet despite that, was so focused in his desires that he persevered beyond that kind of oppression. Then on top of that, he writes all of the music and most importantly, totally nails everything live. That takes an incredible amount of unyielding integrity. Are these not all extremely admirable traits to an Objectivist?

I think you need to distinguish between what it takes to create the music, verses the final product that is produced. As a rule, I don't consider metal to be musically brilliant, rather I see it from the stand point of emotional fuel, specifically as an assertion of and expression of control over ones life. I think that's part of the appeal of the electric guitar, with its resonating power.

Nugent's Stranglehold is a case in point: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7dR8-3Nc0M

While I enjoy listening to some metal music, it's interesting that when it comes to playing the piano/keyboard I play almost exclusively classical, baroque and some rag time. The reason for that, I believe, is because the payoff is bigger at the end of the day.

Note the technical brilliance and artistic integration of the Hungarian Rhapsody:

As he plays the piece you'll find it changes quite a bit through out, while maintaining the same basic melody.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I guess my first question would be, does the artist, or the music *have to* be 100% romantic for it to make it appreciable to an Objectivist?
For art in general -- not music as such -- one can definitely like specific non-Romantic art and be an Objectivist. There is no contradiction in that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think you need to distinguish between what it takes to create the music, verses the final product that is produced. As a rule, I don't consider metal to be musically brilliant, rather I see it from the stand point of emotional fuel, specifically as an assertion of and expression of control over ones life. I think that's part of the appeal of the electric guitar, with its resonating power.

Nugent's Stranglehold is a case in point: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7dR8-3Nc0M

Note the technical brilliance and artistic integration of the Hungarian Rhapsody:

As he plays the piece you'll find it changes quite a bit through out, while maintaining the same basic melody.

I understand what you're saying here, and I certainly don't in any such way consider metal to be conceptually on par with either jazz or classical music. Even as a fan of some bands that get categorized as progmetal, which fans of that particular genre like to climb onto an intellectual high horse over, is not close to the kind of expressiveness that comes from something like that Liszt piece you posted. Mostly because no matter how you slice it, the characteristics of metal (or rock in general) lie with loud guitars and loud drums, thus negating a gigantic portion of possible dynamics. I like how you describe the appeal of electric guitar as "an assertion of and expression of control over one's life" because thats definitely the energy I feel with heavy music.

While I enjoy listening to some metal music, it's interesting that when it comes to playing the piano/keyboard I play almost exclusively classical, baroque and some rag time. The reason for that, I believe, is because the payoff is bigger at the end of the day.

In a similar light, even though metal is my passion as far as music goes, a good portion of what I practice as a lead guitarist I get from jazz/fusion players, since I think both harmonically and sheer technique-wise, those soloists wipe the floor with 90% of metal players. Case in point, Allan Holdsworth with Soft Machine in '74:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA5uCGHjUWM

The pyrotechnics really start a little over 5 minutes in.

For art in general -- not music as such -- one can definitely like specific non-Romantic art and be an Objectivist. There is no contradiction in that.

Thats kinda what I felt, but I was really confused considering how "hardcore romanticism" a lot of the posts I've read regarding art seem to be. My friend who introduced me to Objectivism and I often discuss this as well (both he and I have nearly identical music tastes) and he brought up appreciating music and the artist for their integrity to their beliefs. The example he uses is that he is a Kansas fan and, despite their overtly Christian lyrics, he finds admiration in how well written and presented their ideology is. So it seemed to me there was no contradiction in appreciating well crafted and well performed art for the particular setting, regardless of if that setting is romantic in nature or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...