Black Collar Workers


  • Dave Mustein


If you read my year-end list, you were probably moderately surprised that you’d never heard of, let alone listened to, my #1 pick for the year, The Project Hate MCMXCIX’s masterpiece Bleeding the New Apocalypse. The band hail from Sweden and play a unique form of death metal mixed with all sorts of strange progressions and varied influences, culminating in a titanic swath of metal dominance. Recently, we received an email from the band asking for donations, with a link to a statement on the band’s home page detailing the band’s recent split from their previous label, Season of Mist. Here’s a section of the band’s statement:

“The simple truth is – we sell 1/10 of what we used to do some 5-10 years back. And we’re not the only ones in this situation, unfortunately. And what’s the cause for this? You already know what it is – illegal downloading. The majority of people simply do not give a fuck about buying actual albums anymore, meaning the bands sell less, the labels don’t get their invested money back and ultimately this leads to said labels not being able to take chances since they know they’ll lose money.

“So, will there be another TPH album in actual physical format? As it looks, I don’t think so. After all these years that we have been putting out albums I can safely say that I have had it with chasing labels and proving we’re worth a deal.”

If you read the rest of the statement, you’ll learn more about the band’s financial situation, but given the recent controversies with Spotify and all the other recent discussions we’ve had involving illegal downloads and filesharing, it’s rather timely for this band to announce that they actually won’t be able to record a physical copy of their next release simply because it isn’t monetarily worthwhile for them to spend their time doing so. This is, at least for me, the first tangible impact the controversy has had on a band I love, and I’m not taking it lightly.

So what does this mean for underground death metal bands in general? It means we have officially moved into an age of music where bands no longer write albums. This terrifies me. I haven’t been around for all that long, but I’ve been around long enough to know that this is the exact opposite of the direction metal should be taking. When bands no longer have an incentive to physically release music — when bands are actually going to be making more money in their garages on their Macs than they would be in a studio with a producer — that is a sure sign of a disturbed industry.

Fuck this. This goes way beyond The Project Hate. Metal could easily degenerate into a genre defined by two kinds of bands —  basement solo projects (a la the recent djent movement), and bands that are already large enough to support themselves enough to continually produce music and play shows and make merch with their current resources. It could mean a total lock on new bands entering the scene, as record executives decide that just a select few bands are worth signing or paying for.

Maybe you don’t care about a specific random band like The Project Hate. That’s perfectly fine. But if you care about a few less-than-popular bands right now, you should be aware that it’s getting harder and harder to finance metal in today’s world. And bands can really profit off fan support enough to keep producing music. If you care, donate via PayPal at theprojecthate AT gmail DOT com. If not, just be aware that there might not be that many bands worth donating to in the future.


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