EDM vs Metal and the importance of production quality (Blog Post #1)

Picture of Deadmau5 at Rebel Toronto. Tran, Tyler. “Deadmau5.” 2 Sept. 2018.

For approximately 24 hours, I swapped out my music listening, and community engagement, with one that is completely opposite with my own views. I listen to all types of electronic music. Admittedly, it is hard to justify a “polar opposite” music taste. But one thing I know for sure, is that I do not listen to metal, and I feel that I have avoided it more than other musical genres. Of course, I have heard of metal, and some of its biggest bands: Metallica, Slipknot… uh, yeah, that’s it. I do not actively engage or seek out this music, or it’s community, which is why I chose to enlighten myself with their views. In short, I was surprised namely with the degree to which they focus on production and style, especially since metal is a very live genre, where the quality of a studio edit may seem to be of lesser importance in comparison to EDM.

Undusted, playing live at a festival. “Undusted — Method to Madness Song Review” Metal Head Community, 30 Sept. 2019. https://metalheadcommunity.com/undusted-method-to-madness-song-review/.

Many electronic lovers, on r/EDM for example, would say that metal and EDM go hand in hand. While I think it is undeniable that metal and EDM can, and do coexist, the culture around it and the way it is talked about is completely different. First, the metal community puts heavy emphasis on the production of a track. “I am not certain if they have worked with a professional producer or handled the technical side of the job themselves, but in both ways the result is phenomenal”(Gundodgu ). Are the elements mixed well and does the studio version sound good in general? “It is weird for a genre like EDM, which is inherently, to not have this same issue, which likely stems from the idea that an electronic track should be well produced by default. Metal is a very live genre. Everything is physically played with little to no mouse clicking. Metal bands are not expected to know how to produce well, they are expected to play well, and EDM is clearly the opposite.

Additionally, the playing style of a performer is very important to critiquing a metal track, usually relating it to another artist or band, stating: “It has… an intro that immediately reminded me of Dave Lombardo kinda drum partitions…” (Gundodgu ), or “His voice… has parallels with the lyrical delivery on Enslaved’s records.” (UKMetalHeadBlog). Arguably, the possibilities in production of an EDM track is larger than that of metal, due in part to the use of a similar range of instruments which are linked to a certain sound (electric guitar, drum kit) versus synthesizers, samplers, and other digital tools that allow sound to be manipulated tenfold, but the way the style is described is oddly much more specific in metals case. Electronic music will often be compared using genre or a timeframe, such as “subtle hints to 90s rave” (EDMReviewer), which is no doubt more vague.

Slipknot, in costume. Crahan-Conway, Alexandria. “Slipknot — ‘We Are Not Your Kind’ Review”. NME, 8 Aug. 2019. https://www.nme.com/reviews/album/slipknot-we-are-not-your-kind-review.

As someone who has a passion for electronic music, and music production, I was surprised to see that people in the metal community did care about the uniqueness, or influence of a performers style, and the quality of a studio recording. It was surprising because my preconceived (now changed) notions, was that it was all about the live performance, the makeup, and the characters. Because this is often what people like I, who are on the outside, may see. I would like to end with a quote that I have never seen anything like on r/EDM or other EDM blog, that I found quite amusing: “The atmosphere of the entire thing depresses the f*** out of me with its feelings of isolation and hopelessness. Don’t tell me you didn’t have the slightest desire to off yourself when the title track ended…”(Stormdraggy). Now that, is pretty metal.

Works Cited

Gundodgu, Burak. “The Lightness of Being — Last Dance Review” 26 Sept. 2019. https://metalheadcommunity.com/the-lightness-of-being-last-dance-review/. Accessed 3 Oct. 2019.

Gundodgu, Burak. “Undusted — Method to Madness Song Review” 30 Sept. 2019. https://metalheadcommunity.com/undusted-method-to-madness-song-review/. Accessed 3 Oct. 2019.

“Henry Fong — Rave Tool.” 16, Sept. 2019. https://edmreviewer.com/2019/09/16/henry-fong-rave-tool/. Accessed 3 Oct. 2019.

Stormdraggy. Comment on “Stratovarious — Chasing Shadows.” r/Metal, 3 Oct. 2019. https://www.reddit.com/r/Metal/comments/dca55h/stratovarius_chasing_shadows/. Accessed 3 Oct. 2019.

“The Infernal Sea ‘Plague herald’ Review — Track of the Day.” 16 Sept 2019. https://ukmetalheadblog.wordpress.com/2019/09/16/the-infernal-sea-plague-herald-review-track-of-the-day/. Accessed 3 Oct. 2019.