The Motherload and Heavy Metal

I’m slightly behind the times with this one.  Mastodon recently released a video for the rather awesome “The Motherload”, one of the highlights of Once More Round the Sun, the album they released earlier this year.  That alone is hardly worthy of a post, but the reaction to said video, which is a combination of traditional rock aesthetics and a collection of woman with rather large derrieres ‘twerking’ (as I believe the kids call it), is.

I have to admit, I don’t actually watch most music videos, unless someone points me specifically in their direction.  Therefore, I kind of missed this when it first dropped.  I saw some people mention it wasn’t safe for work, but that alone didn’t make it seem necessary.  However, I then saw this article, by the fantastic Dom Lawson, who had several issues with the video in question, in particular, its depiction of woman.

Now, I have to say, I don’t think I feel as strongly about the video as Dom did, however, I can see where he was coming from.  Mastodon were obviously going for something very different from what they have portrayed, a parody or satire, of the videos we see on a weekly basis in the mainstream.  By combining that with the rock aesthetic, they were obviously looking to make a point, however, the truth is they have failed to do so.  It is not intelligent or subtle enough to actually make said point and instead, is an almost exact copy of these videos, but with a slightly grittier background.

That in itself isn’t actually a problem,not every music video needs to be intelligent.  What does make it a problem, is the idea Dom puts across in his article.  Heavy metal has been a boys club for far too long and while that is beginning to change, it is still an issue.  Problems like girls being booed at festivals for not flashing their breasts and the constant spray of shite you see posted on the Metal Hammer Facebook comments, makes metalheads come across as more ape, than intelligent human beings.  Now I, to be honest, don’t give a flying fuck about how the world perceives metalheads, if the mainstream wants to think of us in that way, they can do so all they want.  I do however, care about how people who are part of this community feel and it’s issues like these that turn them away.

Now I hardly consider myself politically correct, in fact, I would say I was the opposite, but, I do care about this genre of music a hell of a lot and I care about how it can make a difference.  These kinds of attitudes are what will turn people away from it and that is just a bit shit.  As a heavy metal fan and as someone whose life would be very different without it, the idea of someone missing out on that because of a music video or a comment thread, is just sad.  We are supposed to pride ourselves on being a community, a community who cares for each other and whom compared to the mainstream, stands apart, if we do stuff like this, such a claim will quickly die.

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