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SXSW Music 2014

Has Metal Lost Its Edge? Ask The New York Times...

Over the course of the past decade, more and more mainstream media outlets have begun acknowledging the existence of heavy metal, even in its more extreme forms. Some of them have even taken a shine to it, exemplified by sites like Pitchfork, Stereogum, and NPR's willingness to publish death metal reviews and streams with bands like Wolves in the Throne Room and Autopsy. Doom veterans YOB were invited to tour with Tool, Scion's marketing division has poured money into booking an annual metal festival and releasing metal records, and even The New York Times making space for black metal bands besides its usual highbrow fare. What gives? Somewhere along the course of its forty-odd raucous years, heavy metal became...acceptable. Respectable, even. Whether it's curiosity, novelty, or the simple realization that metal's history, complexity, and global impact more than afford it a place at the cultural table, we want to get to the bottom of how and why it's happened, and what's coming next.

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  1. When did you as a (writer, artist, musician, promoter, label manager, etc) first notice that the mainstream media were taking an interest in metal, and extreme metal in particular?
  2. Why do you think it happened? Why is metal finally "okay" or even "cool" to like, and a viable topic for analysis in major media and literary outlets? The PRMC wasn't all that long ago. What changed, and which bands were at the forefront?
  3. Do you think that this increased media coverage has had a positive or negative effect on metal culture? Do you feel that it's being treated as a novelty, or that there is a genuine interest?
  4. What kind of reactions have normal metalheads had to this shift? Do you still hear people complaining about how Pitchfork and the "hipsters" ruined metal and Scion has made everyone sell out, or it it a welcome change?
  5. What's the next step? How far down is the mainstream media willing to dig? Will we be seeing Gorgoroth on CNN sometime soon, or is there a limit to how much metal is "too metal"?



Kimberly Kelly, Journalist, Pitchfork

Meta Information:

  • Tags: media, culture
  • Event: Music
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Genre Specific
  • Track 2
  • Level:
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