Nobody really denies that metal music among many others, has its own industries, labels, bands, fans and big huge events. But still nobody can ever deny that metal music, after all these years, never really got out of the closet. In other words, it has never earned the title of “Mainstream” music.
In the next few paragraphs, I am not going to be traditionally nagging about being considered a minority and an outcast, or listing a zillion reasons for why this is taking place. I am here to ask myself – and you all – a totally different question. What if metal really got out of the closet and became a mainstream music?
For someone like me, the first reference that pops up on my forehead is the word “Jazz”. Historically, Jazz was the “Metal” of the early years of the 1900s. Only a few have accepted it, and for the rest this was heretic music of the outcasts. And since all musicians possess quite the same spirit or being possessed by it, the jazz musicians has their own wars, struggles and fights to shine the light on music they lived and died for.
But have we ever focused on what is really happening to Jazz now?
When the Jazz closet was widely opened, hundreds started to claim that their music is Jazz music, while actually it wasn’t! Lots of music has been mistaken by the majority of being jazz. Numerous people are now making commercial music, to serve many commercial purposes, and they only tag it with the word “Jazz” just to up sell it or to make it seems more prestigious.
Without getting through many names and dates, let me simply mention that classic or what I prefer to title as “authentic jazz” is now only played in small-sized venues. Jazz musicians and bands are no more given the headlines of magazines, nor backed up by huge sponsors nor offered the same amount of money or fame, compared to Rock and Pop music stars. And now the Jazz survivors are forming Jazz clubs, scattered around the globe trying to preserve the true nature of jazz.
Now if you are like me – a die hard metal fan – are you really still willing to get the metal out of the closet, just to face the same eventual end or at least similar?
I am not speaking for myself here, when I say that many metal fans that belong to my generation, cannot perceive “Metalcore” and “Deathcore” as subgenre of metal music. They do not see it as a musical development, they actually do see it as an abnormal mutation for the metal music they have been born listening to. If not a simple groovy development is not accepted, then what about if metal flew out of the window?
I believe the real solution to this dilemma, lies in the word “diversity”. First, we have to acknowledge that Metal and Jazz, are not music for the masses. Accordingly, seeking a commercial approach for your metal songs, will always categorize your output as “easy listening”. And let’s face it! Metal music is never meant to be easy listening. The answer doesn’t lie in burying metal underground, or spreading it like a plague in every earphone.
A diverse community and culture should have the capacity to contain various types of music that grows horizontally in its variety, and vertically in its commerciality. Each serves a purpose, and being served to different segments. Which deviates the original question to be, to what extent are willing to bring your metal out of the closet?
Written by: Khaled El-Shazli
Edited by: NJ Bakr