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Nochielo
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:20 am
Posts: 1585
Location: Puerto Rico
PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:29 pm 
 

Not at all Gorblethorp, the post wasn't directed at you anyway. I see where you are coming from, there is gray area in genre tags, I just don't think it's worth the hassle to narrow it down anymore. For example I don't think Meshuggah is even metal, some people say they are. That's just fine, I'll call it some bastard form of hardcore or whatever. Doesn't affect my enjoyment at all.

However, parallels can be drawn with how biology classifies lifeforms as well. We start off very generally and then continue to narrow it down systematically until we get a species name (canis canis, for example). We can say that music is the larger, more ambiguous classification, then comes metal, then comes, let's say death metal, melodic death metal, progressive melodic death metal and we keep adding descriptors (REAL ones) as we go further towards the particular, which could be the band name or if you are more musically inclined, a music sheet. I don't think it's necessary to go as far as showing a music sheet every time I describe a band, but I am comfortable with the gray area. In other words, I'm not arguing against you, I'll use the genre tags because it is efficient. If we could have an easy way to remove the gray area in genre tags, I'll stop using them in favor of the alternative. But we don't have that yet. If anything I agree with you, except that I go for genre tags because there is no other good alternatives.

The way I see it, I'll say "it's a viking metal band" and if you are familiar with the encompassed tendencies, you'll get a general idea of what I'm talking about. Otherwise just listen to the band.
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talvikki77
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:20 pm
Posts: 183
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:49 pm 
 

Kveldulfr wrote:
Now, Korpiklaani has riffs? man, I don't hate the band or something, but the music is driven not by the riffs, but the accordion/violin, as well as Finntroll's most prominent instrument have been the accordion/keys. That syncopated beat that plagues Finntroll's catalogue is done by those instruments.

Bathory, on the contrary, was always riff driven and the music was clearly at first black metal and then Quorthon embraced more heavy/power metal elements - see Manowar for references, not euro power stuff - which combined with his already black metal songwriting to lead into the 'viking' stuff started with Hammerheart.


I never said anything about Korpiklaani's riffs :P That's exactly what I meant, that at one end of spectrum is the folk metal more dominated by folk melodies, usually played on folk instruments, and at the other end is the more black metal sounding stuff, maybe with some folk music influences, but more fitting into genre because of lyrical themes.

My comment about Korpiklaani's metal elements mainly had to do with me being obsessed with Spirit of the Forest and the overwhelming dominance of the folk music sound on that album - the whole album is dominated by the violin, which sounds just like traditional Finnish pelimanni fiddling, whereas on later albums the violin is cleaner, more generic and kind of absorbed into the general sound of the band.

I happen to like the polka beat, but then again, I came to metal from straight up Scandinavian folk music and folk rock :P

Quote:
I agree that the viking tag is pretty diverse and I usually prefer to dismiss the viking tag in favor of folk metal, pagan metal or black/folk, but I can't deny that there are a good share of bands that are easier recognized as viking cause their share some traits.

I don't use the viking tag much cause I don't feel it should be used for bands whose music is based in cultures other than Viking - so that would exclude most of the Finnish bands, cause ancient Finns weren't Vikings, and most of the continental bands like Eluveitie, Heidevolk and Arkona. I see what you're saying about using "viking metal" to refer to bands that use mainly or only the traditional metal instruments to play songs that sound folky, but I don't use the label that way. Maybe it's just a case of Finnish pride :P

Quote:
Here in Chile there's a bunch of bad Korpi and Finntroll imitators and they always play together, but not with the black metal bands that have some folklore elements into their music.

Ah, I don't envy you that. Perhaps I should count myself glad that in the US we are safe from bad folk metal bands. I only know of one local folk metal band here, and even they come from several states away, and have a great heavy sound reminiscent of Wintersun and Amon Amarth (not folk metal, I know!)

Anyway, to bring this back to the discussion on why music genre labels are needed: I raised folk metal as an example to contrast with death metal, which has several (relatively) clearly defined subgenres, whereas folk metal doesn't, as much. "Folk/black", "pagan metal" and "viking metal" encompass some parts of it, parts, I guess that have their own following. I still feel that there are some distinctions that aren't made, though, which limits the ability to say "I like x type of folk metal," unless one says, "I like folk metal in the style of Eluveitie," or some other band. A demonstration of why subgenres are useful, I guess. But the poster above has a good point; "folk metal" is usually enough of an indication, to get me to listen to the music and see if I like it on its own merits.
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Last edited by talvikki77 on Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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volutetheswarth
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:37 pm
Posts: 1354
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:10 pm 
 

In all the instances of my friends recommending me a band, they've never once mentioned genres, they've mentioned similar sounding bands and I more or less do the same. This argument that you need a perfect description isn't very realistic, and the music in question would be played long before the refining of labelling.

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Megadeth
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 481
Location: Norway
PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:12 am 
 

Gorblethorp wrote:
You, on the other hand, have no argument at all, and rely on personal attacks to further a point I don't think even you understand.

You are the only one not replying or elaborating. You just give short arrogant feedback about how superior you feel, and how inferior I am. I say your arguments are full of fallacies and only discuss the obvious limits of communication, while you say I'm stupid. Who's using personal attacks? You're the most pretentious person I've ever met.

Gorblethorp wrote:
All I infer from this is that you've sadly misread an easily understood point. I never championed any supposedly indescribable "superior method," but rather suggested that proper description is more helpful than vague genre tags. If you were unable to discern my meaning when I exemplified what a description is,
Gorblethorp wrote:
(e.g. "This band does play black metal but with obvious shoegaze influence and classical-inspired leads a la Gorgoroth")

I'm afraid I can't really simplify it much further, as it's already a pretty basic proposition to start.

This is how you think genre's should be? It's a lot more complicated than just saying blackgaze or black metal/shoegaze, and it is completely contradictory to what you wrote:

Gorblethorp wrote:
If the argument for genre tags is that they are helpful descriptors of sound, but only to those who are well enough "in the know," then it might be fair to conclude that they aren't as helpful as more thorough descriptions, which might include actual reference to easily recognized elements from fairly commonly known bands.


Talking about classical-inspired leads and referencing Gorgoroth requires a lot more knowledge and will be helpful to a lot fewer people. You are not making music more accessible, but seriously limiting how it can be interpreted as every band is presented as clones. It is way too specific. And everyone has to figure out which band their riffs, drum style and solos (etc.) sound like? What if they suddenly have some songs that resembles Immortal? This system would require that you know every single riff and solo, the tone of the guitars, etc. of every single popular band just to be able to say what guitar sound some new band has (and then you have just begun describing the overall sound). Your suggestion is very short-sighted. Complicating it to this extent, where you would spend a full minute to describe the genre of a band like Sigh properly, will result in nothing but confusion and almost unlimited communication barriers. It is obviously not more helpful. Most people wouldn't even be able to describe bands anymore. It would require the toolkit of a musician just to describe the most obvious bands.

Do you expect this to be put in Metal Archives genre fields or in the genre field on Wikipedia? If not, where do you want it? That's after all what genres are. When do you want people to use this? Considering you have only referenced what the bands themselves call their music (which is not genres), then is this what you're referring to? Some new black metal band is supposed to present their band, not simply as atmospheric black metal, but some Agalloch wannabe project? When people are describing the bands in the forums for example they are already using those kinds of descriptions, and when bands want to present their music they already have this option. It's already in use for merely describing bands. You are seemingly arguing without a real endpoint or goal.

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Ilwhyan
Metel fraek

Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 1:41 pm
Posts: 6486
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:44 am 
 

Gorblethorp wrote:
Ilwhyan wrote:
Nationalist isn't a genre tag anyway. I've never come across people seriously arguing about genres to that extent, anyway.


Just my point though. There's no standard by which these arbitrary categorizations must adhere. I can make up the Nationalist subgenre (which has certainly been used before as you'd observe if you use the search function, but I'll pretend it hasn't as the point remains) because that's how all absurdly specific subgenres arise. Hence, the silliness of this practice.


You're lying. Nothing comes up at all.

And of course there's a standard. :lol: Nationalist is an arbitrary categorisation solely referring to lyrical themes, whereas viking metal and pagan metal are more or less valid subgenres of metal. Simply because there's no academical faculty dedicated to researching and standardising metal genres doesn't mean that you can come up with something genuinely arbitrary like 'ice metal' and claim it's equally valid as death metal or grindcore. Genre names based on lyrical themes such as viking metal should not be dependent on the lyrical content at all. It's merely the name that was given to the genre at the time. If I recorded an album just like Hammerheart, but the lyrics were about scifi literature and technology, it would actually be viking metal.

Though it's easy to assume that viking and pagan metal are essentially hazy genres with considerable overlap and shady distinction, I'm willing to bet that actual fans of the genre have perfectly logical and well-defined standards for distinguishing between the two. As a little kid, I was skeptical as to whether death metal and black metal had any actual musical differences (beyond imagery, production and vocal style), but as it turned out, they're two completely different entities, albeit with a great amount of overlap.

As for the overlap, that's exactly what calls for clearly defined genre definitions and standard names for fusion genres. Early extreme metal that isn't predominantly either death or black metal but shows major elements of both should be tagged as a fusion of the two, not as either or depending on whim, or as "satanic/morbid metal".

As far as bands like Primordial with somewhat uncommon genre classifications go, I think it's quite safe to call them folk/black metal, or folk/pagan/black metal, and so on. I think the celtic tag is somewhat pointless. Genre tags don't have to be highly descriptive of the style, but they also must not be misleading (i.e. calling Primordial merely black metal or folk metal would be quite misleading, even outright false).
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talvikki77
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:20 pm
Posts: 183
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:09 pm 
 

Re the discussion as a whole, there's a difference between how you describe a band to a friend, where you know each other's tastes and probably both listen to a lot of the same bands, and categorizing things in a broader context, like a record store or the internet. As someone already pointed out, it's human nature to categorize, and it helps us find the things we want or need more easily. And the categories aren't any use unless everyone, or at least, people who care enough about the topic to learn the categories, know what they mean. Which means they can't just be arbitrarily made up by individuals, but gain usage through consensus.

Ilwhyan wrote:
Genre names based on lyrical themes such as viking metal should not be dependent on the lyrical content at all. It's merely the name that was given to the genre at the time. If I recorded an album just like Hammerheart, but the lyrics were about scifi literature and technology, it would actually be viking metal.

So does that mean I can make a black metal song about cute ponies? Just wondering XD I think you are right in theory, but it's a little mind-blowing to think about it in practice.

Good point about Primordial.
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Nochielo
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:20 am
Posts: 1585
Location: Puerto Rico
PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:07 pm 
 

talvikki77 wrote:
So does that mean I can make a black metal song about cute ponies? Just wondering XD I think you are right in theory, but it's a little mind-blowing to think about it in practice.

Not exactly cute ponies but it holds up, I guess.
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"Beauty is the substance distilled
The rest of what you could not hold
You'd not take the splendor instilled
And I just couldn’t ask for more"

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Ilwhyan
Metel fraek

Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 1:41 pm
Posts: 6486
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 7:26 am 
 

talvikki77 wrote:
Ilwhyan wrote:
Genre names based on lyrical themes such as viking metal should not be dependent on the lyrical content at all. It's merely the name that was given to the genre at the time. If I recorded an album just like Hammerheart, but the lyrics were about scifi literature and technology, it would actually be viking metal.

So does that mean I can make a black metal song about cute ponies? Just wondering XD I think you are right in theory, but it's a little mind-blowing to think about it in practice.

That's what I believe. The genre classification doesn't really necessitate any honesty or adherence to established aesthetic. However, I think such a venture could only exist as an intentional, self-conscious experiment, so it wouldn't have much to do with reality.
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Azmodes
Ultranaut

Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 10:44 am
Posts: 5908
Location: Gradec, Austria
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 8:34 pm 
 

Ilwhyan wrote:
Gorblethorp wrote:
Just my point though. There's no standard by which these arbitrary categorizations must adhere. I can make up the Nationalist subgenre (which has certainly been used before as you'd observe if you use the search function, but I'll pretend it hasn't as the point remains) because that's how all absurdly specific subgenres arise. Hence, the silliness of this practice.


You're lying. Nothing comes up at all.

Maybe he's referring to the "NS" tag for black metal bands.
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