Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Listening to hardcore: Kinda like not riding.

So I haven't ridden much for the past week. This is in part due to a road bike out of the picture for a little while. It's also due to a lack of inspiration. I've been sick, it's been hot, or wet. I just haven't felt that desire to push myself as i have been for the past while. I know i should take a break after being ill. But for how long? And to what extent? All this results in a guilty feeling, as if i should be doing more.

By the same token, I've been listening to a lot of the band Propagandhi for the past few days. I had heard the name thrown around a bit and decided to give them a listen. I really like it. Which brings me to another conundrum. For as long as i have listened to metal there has been, despite my passion for it, a slight discomfort in that my general world view is rarely in line with those of the bands i listen to. There are some exceptions. Early Metallica and, for that matter, most thrash bands in the 80's belonged to a left leaning philosophy. Grindcore, by and large, belongs to the punk political view. But many of the bands i love espouse an apolitical, or right wing world view that makes me uncomfortable. Burzum make incredible music, but Varg's opinions when it comes to race, sex and politics, are not worth repeating. Morbid Angel, possibly my favourite band, have an ambiguous past in regards to white power movements.

So i have, it is probably fair to say, been a metal head with a punk outlook. So listening to Propagandhi has been a bit of an eye opener. Supporters of animal rights, and various brands of anarchy, as well as condemning religion, corporations and intolerance, they seem much more in my political spectrum. The songs are great too.

But with it comes a similar guilt to that which i feel when i sit on the couch watching Aliens 3, instead of riding. I have a metalheads mistrust of hardcore. It's all a bit preachy, a bit self righteous, just a bit too good for for its own good. There are less sweet solos, and less of the spine tingling roars that make me want to break shit.

But isn't this a good thing? The members of Propagandhi are supporting good causes, passionately, and with a great deal of conviction. Isn't that better than making music which is fucking awesome, but with more questionable theoretical backing? Or should music be separated from agenda?

I simply don't know. What i do know is that, despite having the traditional mistrust of hardcore, i'm going to keep listening to Propagandhi, as well as other hardcore bands i have discovered along the way, not only because i think the message is a positive one; but also because the music kicks ass.

I'm still going to listen to Burzum though. And Sodom. There will always be room for bullet belts and inverted crosses.

So maybe, despite my misplaced guilt, its ok to 'cross borders' when it comes to music, just likes its ok to take a week of the bike if you feel like it. That way, when you come back to what you really love, be it metal or riding, you'll love it all the more.

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