I get this question a lot, so let me spell it out – It all depends on how you define dead. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to sound like Bill Clinton. I mean after all, when Bill was asked, “Did that intern suck your dick or not?”, he said, “Well, it depends on how you define the word is”. It was pretty slick. No wonder they called him “Slick Willy”. He is still one of the best Democratic Presidents the United States has ever had hands down, or in his case, hands up.
Is death metal dead? Well, you have to understand that “dead” has many different meanings. I don’t want to sound slick or evasive, but it is true. If you are talking about dead in terms of sticking to some formula that you had when you were in your junior high regarding death metal music, that’s one thing. If you define dead as the inability to recall that nostalgia from a long-gone era, that’s definitely one way of defining dead. And I am happy to report that death metal “is dead” by your definition.
But if your definition involves something vibrant, multi-polar, multi-cultural, versatile, and rapidly evolving like a musical version of the Ebola virus, I’m happy to report that death metal is far from dead. In fact, its attitude is spreading all over the world thanks to the internet. If you like posting pictures of people in a very unflattering light to poke fun at conventional thinking, or Orthodox people who have just rigid ideas that it seems like there is some sort of stick up their ass, then death metal will never die.
Let’s get real here. With Hateeternal.com and the editorial crew here, we believe that death metal is really less of a musical genre involving drums, guitar, bass, and singers and more of a personal reality. To say that it’s an attitude is to really do it a disservice. I would like to spell it out in broader terms. I’d like to use a broader brush. it’s a sense of reality. Sarcasm is a part of it. The eagerness to upset the status quo is definitely a big part. The emphasis on virtuosity as a tool of disruption plays a big role.
There’s a lot of things going on and when you look at death metal as really this reality with all these impulses moving all over the place often in contradictory directions, then it’s really very difficult to say that this is dead and buried. How can you say that this virus that is fast-evolving, that can even faithfully replicate itself, is dead?
That’s like saying HIV is dead. It’s hard to kill even with these amazing anti-retrovirus drug because of the fact that it’s rapidly evolving. Eventually, the old drugs don’t work, so you have to use harsher and harsher drugs.
It’s the same with death metal. It’s easy to try to encapsulate it by focusing on the word “death”, but now we live in a post-modern world where death is not what we used to think it was. In fact, a lot of people now are looking at death as a very positive thing.
So with that kind of social landscape, it really would be presumptuous to say that death metal is dead and buried. Maybe the death metal you knew as a kid is dead. Yeah, everybody can agree on that. But death metal as a reality, as an idea, as a form of really all sorts of rebellious intellectual and musical insurrection? Not on your life. It is still alive and it will continue to be alive for a long, long time to come.