doc coyle god forbidThe Adequate Response to Criticism; An Artist’s Perspective

Criticism. Criticism is something all artists who release their work on a broad scale must encounter. Many of us who do so approach these reflections in our own ways. On Metalsucks, my blogger brother, Dallas, has had the monopoly on providing that perspective in regards to God Forbid, which I think is unfortunate because I think it provides an inaccurate picture of the band’s collective or individual views. My motivations in writing this are not only to respond to the detractors of my band, but also to give an alternative view on the mindset of the motivations and mentality behind what we (who aren’t Dallas in God Forbid) do and what we hope to accomplish.

Not too long ago, Dallas released a blog insisting that he hoped our new album would get bad reviews in light of a theory that bad reviews would trigger some kind of reverse psychological effect in terms of success with the band. I guess that theory has some basis in the fact in that some bands whom although they don’t necessarily get critical acclaim, it isn’t directly tied to overall record sales or popularity (Disturbed, Insane Clown Posse, etc). The fact is, God Forbid has more or less gotten good reviews since the release of Determination, and maintained a good relationship with the metal media. In a sense, I feel like metal media has always been rooting for us. In that respect, I felt the assertion was off base because I felt pretty good about the new album. The only effect Dallas’s commentary would have is to make some people who would normally be allies into adversaries. I think what he was generally trying to say was that he doesn’t care what people think. What many people who respond to Metalsucks and Blabbermouth don’t understand is that he is mainly trying to push buttons, and even if the commentary is negative, you’re doing something right as long as people are talking about you. I think the jury is still out on that one.

Dallas may have mentioned this before, but the band confronted him about his blog after the first one where he called Hilary Clinton a nigger. Personally, I didn’t think it had anything to do with music, and would bring negative attention to the band, and give people a reason not to like us who would’ve otherwise just taken the music for what it was without any real prejudice. I didn’t ask him to stop blogging, but I wished he would’ve done his own personal blog, not on a metal website. He refused, and in general I admitted that I felt like I couldn’t or shouldn’t control his actions and expressions, so he continued on with the blog, and I felt it improved over time in terms of focus, content, intellect, and depth.

As the release of Earthsblood approached, there seemed to be more focused support of God Forbid on Metalsucks, which was almost immediately followed by backlash. People need to understand that there is no fucking conspiracy to hype God Forbid. We didn’t ask them, and Century Media isn’t secretly paying them off to hype us more than any other band. They decided on their own that they loved our new record, and wanted to do what they could to support us. In all honesty, I felt it was too much as well because metal heads are essentially nonconformists and the more you push something down their throats, the more they want to hate it. So I empathize with those sentiments. But then, more support came from all over the Internet. Earthsblood was receiving very high scores from many of the top sites like smnnews, theprp, a million European sites, and then the infamous 9.5 from Blabbermouth (Although it did receive a couple of bad reviews like metalreview.com). The user rating on Blabbermouth is hovering around 6.3-6.4, which is a good 2 points below the user rating of our previous album Constitution of Treason. Now even if you like Constitution better, I find it hard to believe that it’s that much better than Earthsblood especially when I know in my heart it’s a great album, and the general consensus amongst critics is that it’s our best work. What seems glaring to me is that there is some sort of public internet backlash against God Forbid mainly rooted in Dallas’s outcries against “haters” and “blabberbitches”.

Unlike Dallas, I admit that I do care what people think. I do. I don’t create in a vacuum, but I also don’t create for others. As a diehard, stalwart metal head myself, I have faith in the fact that if I like it then others will enjoy it. I respect solid criticism, and the fact is that I think some people are more qualified than others and are able to be much more objective than most people. Most people WILL NOT admit that they inject their emotions, prejudices, and preferences into how they perceive art. What bothers me is when critics and fans try to look into their fictitious seeing-stone to guess what the motivations behind a certain song or album is. People need to get through their thick ignorant heads that an album (or at least Earthsblood) is created over the course of maybe a year or 2 and is a collective collaboration. Trust me, all of the things you don’t like about our album, we probably argued over in a rehearsal room or mixing room. We fight over every note, riff, lyric, and melody. It’s a compromise that you usually don’t know what it’s going to be until it’s completely done, and then you aren’t even sure if you like it yourself because you’re so close to the project. What I don’t want to hear is bullshit like, “man, how can this get crap get a 9.5 when the new cannibal corpse got a 7.5.”  First off, it’s apples and oranges and it’s this new internet Generation Y idea that if something isn’t death metal then it sucks. I love Cannibal Corpse, but we do something completely different. We love many styles of music, and we try to put it all into our music, and don’t say it’s too ambitious either. Don’t blame us because you are too much of a pussy (critics and naysayers, not Cannibal Corpse) to push your abilities and lose fans. We take chances. It takes a lot more balls to switch things up than to do the same shit over and over again. We’d probably be bigger now if we would’ve stuck with just screaming, but we wanted to expand what we did vocally to fit the music. And stop saying that singing isn’t metal. I guess none of you dipshits have ever heard of Iron Maiden, Metallica, or Pantera. The first Black Sabbath album was all screaming. That shit was so metal. Grow up. Get in touch with some history. Now if you don’t like the way we sing or think we do a bad job, that’s fine because singing is very arbitrary and what may sound good to my ears might not sound good to you. I love Megadeth, but some people hate Dave’s voice. I get it. Different strokes for different folks.

I apologize for going off on a rant, but like I said, I really do care. I take internet banter with a grain of salt because I know it’s a lot of young kids with nothing better to do, but I’d rather people connect with what we do. Music is communication, and without the connection, it becomes a hollow existence. I try to exist in a positive atmosphere, and negativity is a cancer. Maybe it’s just an internet thing, but there seems to be an almost nihilistic approach to heavy music recently where people tend to almost hate everything that isn’t noisy garble or something that isn’t obscure enough that more than 5 people have the 7 inch demo. Because of the internet, obscurity is becoming obsolete. Being extreme isn’t going to hold you back anymore. But if that’s your cup of tea, don’t hold it against us for going in a different direction. After all of these years, I feel good about just being able to create and perform on a professional level. When you are a working class musician, you are always one shitty album or one bad business deal from shining shoes for a living, so I take nothing for granted. If you wish failure on another, you may want to look at yourself, and see what that says about your place in life and if that’s how you want to be. Love and respect.

Doc Coyle

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