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TERRIBLE METAL FROM SOUTH AFRICA RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT GLOBALIZATION

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A question that seems to come up a lot these days is: “What does the internet mean for local scenes, and regionalized sounds?” The concern is that whereas, in the past, geographic location has often played a unique part in the creation of new sounds and sub-genres in the metal world, the web allows information to spread so quickly as to potentially put an end to that – if kids in Norway can hear the new Job for a Cowboy song as quickly as kids in the U.S., will they ever be inspired to do something different and unique to their culture, or will we just get a bunch of Norwegian JFAC clones?

This argument has always seemed a little faulty to me for a number of reasons. Thrash and death metal had no problem spreading across multiple continents in the 80s and 90s without the benefit of the internet, and sites like MySpace and blogs like this one had not yet become so prominent at the turn of the century, when 12,000 bands from Massachusetts all decided to start playing like At the Gates. It seems to be that every band, at some point, has to make the decision to either synthesize their influences into something new and interesting, or just rip-off other bands they admire; being aware of what other bands in other parts of the world are doing is only a small part of the decision. As a very intelligent record label A&R dude says in an interview we’re going to run later today, MySpace is the new tape trading; the speed and convenience of it shouldn’t really have any bearing on what young musicians do once they’ve digested that music.

That being said… reader Mike Master sent us this video by South African “mullet-core” outfit Facing the Gallows, and, uh, yeah. I guess it sucks to learn that all over the world, there are bands that have no higher aspiration than to sound like Miss May I. But again, I’m not convinced technology has anything to do with that – an unoriginal mind will always think in unoriginal terms, won’t it?

In any case, South Africa gave us Charlize Theron, and for that, I will always be grateful.

-AR

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