Every subculture must now be corralled into a wholly owned subsidiary of what’s euphemistically called “social justice.” Little did you know that even heavy metal was in dire need of progressive jihad, led by scolding new-media church ladies. It’s a strange phenomenon in a scene with a heavy dollop of rebellion in its DNA; but progressivism is a black hole, demanding fealty from every nook and cranny.
“Metalgate”—named after “Gamergate,” last summer’s tiff over ethics in video games journalism (and I suppose also Watergate)—is the latest skirmish. An attempted sortie of leftist politics into metal ran through 2014: In July, Terrorizer pilloried metal for its “homophobia,” apparently unaware that metalheads refer to a guy who looks like he stepped out of a Tom of Finland drawing as “the Metal God.” Metal Injection went straight to the point, declaring that “the problem with heavy metal is metalheads.”
Kim Kelly, in her intro to SPIN’s year-end metal best-of, declared, apropos of nothing:
Metal is still dogged by the issues that arise from its deep-seated conservative values, but thanks to an increase in conversations about racism, politics, and feminism, those on the right side of history have gained solid ground.
Back in August, Kelly penned a forgettable piece of outrage porn for VICE—now, sadly, a stronghold of shame-mongering orthodoxy—in which she accused members of Dragonforce of having previously been in a shock metal band with … shocking lyrics. Doubtless pitched to the band as an interview about their new album, it quickly became a dime-store show trial in which all of the prosecution’s questions were variations on “Why did you guys write offensive lyrics for a band designed to offend people 15 years ago?”
Later that month, VICE also gave Theis Duelund a platform for a hyperbolic sermon about black metal’s “bottomless capacity for misogyny.” Mr. Duelund is apparently unaware of the existence of gangsta rap, the Islamic Republic of Iran, or any actual examples of what hating women looks like. No leftist moral panic would be complete without the Guardian’s two pence. Dom Lawson, also the editor of Metal Hammer, chimed in to express his deep concern over women twerking in Mastodon’s new video. The article was confusing, due not least of all to a photograph prominently displaying a woman’s posterior at the very top. Certainly this was not an attempt to combine outrage with titillation for maximum page views!