Pat’s Picks: Hate has no place in metal

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Photo credit/ Katlynn Whitaker

Patrick Kernan, Managing Editor

Editor’s note: Pat’s Picks, which was originally an album review piece, is transitioning into a music news and opinion piece. Stay tuned for more great content!

I’ve got a bone to pick with the metal community. 

Over the past few weeks, it’s become all too obvious that hate, in the form of misogyny and racism, is all too much a part of what it means to be a metal fan. And that’s just not something I can abide by.

Let’s talk about what happened.

One of the most exciting black metal artists to emerge in 2015 was a Danish act called Myrkur, a one-woman band fronted by musician Amalie Brunn.

And while Myrkur’s album M was one of the most interesting metal releases of 2015 with its blend of black metal stylings with medieval twinges, there’s quite a bit of hate for Brunn on the Internet.

According to Metal Injection, Brunn removed the ability for fans to send her private messages on her Facebook page early last month because of the amount of death threats she’s received.

In a comment on Myrkur’s Facebook page, she states that the majority of these death threats have come from “American men,” seeming to suggest that the hate against the Myrkur project stems from the fact that Brunn is a woman.

Let’s jump forward a few weeks.

Phil Anselmo is an artist who’s been around in metal for a while. He was the lead singer of classic groove metal group Pantera, and was, up until recently, fronting a group called DOWN.

That was all up until this year’s Dimebash, an annual metal event that was held last week.

Once again according to Metal Injection (and, if you’re sensitive about obscenities, approach this page with a bit of discretion), Anselmo wrapped up DOWN’s set by screaming “white power” and flashing a Nazi solute at the crowd.

Now, while Anselmo has written an apology letter formally removing himself from DOWN, nothing changes the fact that Anselmo attempted to play this off as a joke, claiming the “white power” statement referred to the white wine the band was drinking back stage.

Of course, these two instances are very different from each other. In Brunn’s case, she was a victim of hate, while Anselmo is a perpetrator of it.

But both of these instances are indicative of bigger problems for the metal community, and perhaps the American metal community in particular.

If American men think they can make death threats against Amalie Brunn, seemingly on the simple basis that she’s a woman, there’s something wrong with metal.

If American men like Phil Anselmo can honestly think that he can shout “white power” and throw up Nazi solutes and that the community would be okay with it, or that he can play it off as a joke when they aren’t, there’s something wrong with metal.

Hate has no place in any community. If your community is built upon hate, it is only a matter until it falls apart.

And I’m not asking the metal community to be super lovey-dovey suddenly. Lord knows that will never happen for a community founded around hyper-aggressive music.

But what I am asking is to leave irrational hatred like racism and sexism at the door.

I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a closet metalhead. I’m not open about it, because I know that this sort of hate is how the metal community is perceived.

And if the metal community doesn’t want to clean up its act, I’ll just have to continue to enjoy the genre from afar.

What do you think? Do you think metal is too hateful? See how to get ahold of me below.

Contact the writer: [email protected]

@PKernanTWW