Posts filed under ‘music’


It seems that in mainstream culture, we tend to ridicule the things we love. Usually these are things we are ashamed of loving, or at least of being so dependent upon. For example, television, which the average American spends hours per day viewing, is one of the widest subjects of mockery. We love to make fun of its vapid commercials, predictable plots, and shallow values (programs often even ridicule themselves in the strangest sort of self-promotion). However, there is one piece of culture I feel has benifited from the mocking embrace of the mainstream: Metal.


This is because metal is one of those genres of music that has taken itself way too seriously over the years. Its recent emergence in the public eye has been in the form not only of actual bands (one of the most popular being Dragonforce, which as the title of this article suggests, I feel are a self-parody, even if they don’t know it) but also through entertainers like Jack Black, whose comedic projects continually return to rock and metal, such as Tenacious D and School of Rock. Now there are even shows (Metalocalypse) and videogames (Brütal Legend) emerging that lampoon the genre. The thing is, the people behind these materials obviously love metal, and the music of Tenacious D and Dethklok are actually pretty good.

This approach has trickled down to the actual bands as well. While Devin Townshend has been making tongue-in-cheek metal for years, it seems that more groups have been joining him recently, such as the ridiculous iwrestledabearonce. Other bands are skipping subtlety altogether and going for straight parody (see: Steel Panthers, a send up of everything 80’s and hair-metal). One might suggest that this is a form of self-preservation, the bands ridiculing themselves before anyone else can, and protecting their music from criticism by winking at the audience and telling them it’s all a joke. While this may be true in part, I think the larger point behind the humor is that metal is so over-the-top, and has taken itself so seriously as “dark” or “brutal” or “rebellious,” that it needed to be brought down to earth. And seriously, if you could write a kickass song about a grapefruit, wouldn’t you?


October 7, 2009 at 5:04 pm Leave a comment

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