Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Why Metal Needs to Start Giving a Shit About Detroit: PART 2

This beautiful abandoned home also comes with its very own indoor lawn. 

Before you click any further, I highly suggest your read PART 1 of this series, as they both tie together, because...ya and stuff. I hope that you take the time to actually read and think about what is being said here rather than immediately jumping to conclusions because its the "easy" thing to do (like myself after a few cocktails).

ANYWAY, have you finished PART 1? Good. Now you can jump on...(it would be too easy and you all know it).

Whilst surrounded by hardship and decay, chances are that great art will emerge…in the form of shredding.

The music scene in Michigan/Detroit is unlike anywhere else in the U.S. Granted that, for every good band there are at least 5 shitty ones…but I digress. The hard rock and metal scene has bred a lot of exceptional groups over the years, and has recently queefed out more talent than Oprah has kick-started careers. This shouldn’t be a head-scratcher though; when living in a state that has hardship bleeding out of its ass, the music created within it is bound to reflect such a scenario. Just like when you hear Jimmy Buffet and picture 1) a margarita, 2) a beach, and 3) killing Jimmy Buffet, when you hear music from Detroit, there is a level of depth and gritty passion that’s entirely unique to this area, and I believe it to be fully recognizable. 

Living in Detroit and its surrounding suburbs is like staring down the barrel of a gun on a daily basis; you know the trigger will eventually be pulled, you’re just not entirely sure when it's going to happen.  Which is why most musicians from Detroit don’t half-ass it; there is no room for failure. When focusing your efforts on a specific endeavor, you give it your all because there are few options to fall back on if you don’t succeed. At the end of the day, this is a blue collar state with blue collar ideologies. Hard work and sacrifice is in our blood whether we like it or not; often times there is no option to do otherwise.

Just ask T-Baby. 

Take Battlecross for instance: a band with discernible talent that exudes what Michiganders battle on a day to day basis. The lyrics don’t necessarily need to reflect such hardships, because the musicianship does so solely on its own.  There is almost a subconscious programming of precision and perseverance built into their music that melts into the intensity of line-work at a place like Warren Stamping (the place that Eminem wore some plastic goggles and pretended to do stuff at in ‘8 Mile’). Wilson is no exception either. A band that has been touring their proverbial  balls off for the past 3 ½ years, Wilson has worked incredibly hard because it was in their blood to do so. They never complained and they never touted an undeserving sense of entitlement; they simply did what they had to do in order to gain recognition and notoriety.  And guess what? It paid off. As it has with many other bands hailing from Detroit as of late. The metalcore/post hardcore band Assassins is currently recording with Eyal Levi at Audio Hammer on their full length, while the wildly intense grind-core outfit Cloud Rat put out an EP earlier this year that is definitely making my top 10 of 2013. 

The relevance of this within the music scene should be obvious; great strife results in great artistry. The difference between a city or state-wide financial epidemic and a personal struggle, is that the relationship among a Detroit musician and their music is recognizably translatable. There is little need to fish for meaning when the influence is blasting directly into your ears. The Motor City, even with all of its short-comings, provides enough creative content to last millennia.

This is why Detroit needs some love from the metal world. We need it like our bodies need water and Blake Judd needs cocaine, heroin, a good lawyer, stolen money from fans, etc. We need the attention focused on what is emerging from the ashes rather than how it collapsed in the first place. We all know the many, many reasons for the breakdown of Detroit, but discussing them over and over isn’t going to help the cities future unless we apply what we have learned from past mistakes. Instead of constantly berating Detroiters about how terrible our city is, let’s start discussing how we can make it better; how to aid in its recovery and develop solutions to ongoing problems in a productive and financially efficient way. Our art will not suffer if things begin to look up for the city, it will only add an extra layer of depth to that which is created.

Okay, maybe that's too many layers...

The point is, Detroit doesn’t deserve the flack it gets, and by remaining silent about the positive qualities outsiders have observed and experienced, you’re doing nothing but a disservice to the city along with its people as a whole. Silence implies compliance with ideals. You should give a shit about Detroit because Detroit gives a shit about you. There is a lot of talent within our population that benefits the metal community, and that’s not going to change. We need positive support because it encourages musicians and artists to keep doing what their good at. In regards to Detroit and Michigan bands, there needs to be a direct emphasis in the blogging community on a group’s geographical location, because it plays a huge part in the way the music is formatted and derived.  It adds credibility to our music scene, which can prove to be nothing but positive in the long run. 

I could sit here and hammer the same concepts and ideologies into your head a hundred different ways, but honestly...if you haven't caught on to what I'm trying to say by now, chances are you won't at all. There are a ton of other bands that deserve props, but this is not about making a list of killer bands that come from Michigan. At this point, its up to you guys, the fans, to do your research and develop your own opinions about Detroit and its music scene. Speak up, whether you agree or not. And always remember: its never to late to say nice things about Detroit.

- Angela 

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