overground scene

An imagined open letter from Trey Azagthoth

I understand that I do not represent the average Metal music-fan because such a thing does not exist. This is a statement whose truth would be challenged by most people on online fora such as Blabbermouth, who talk with authority as if music taste is the most objective thing on earth. And with this certainty comes the conviction that we Metal music fans value the same things and generally should know what is good and what not. And that extends to other types of music too.

The average metal music fan does not exist because each person builds their own reality. This reality is shaped by our various subjective experiences and it helps us make sense of the world. For too long, and with great persistence, the image of Death Metal that I formed was associated with notions such as freedom, innovativeness, art and resistance. The notions of commercialism, conformity and work could not exist on the same page as Death Metal.

One of the unfortunate results of the internet is the opportunity to look into artists’ lives. That has led to the slow crumbling of the noble idea of death metal (and metal) I used to have. Through the internet the rock star attitudes and the petty views of musicians are exposed. I will use this post first and foremost to say what death metal means to me and, secondly, to once again defend Morbid Angel‘s latest work. This is what I would want Trey Azagthoth to say to all those saying that they sold out, that they don’t play death metal, that they released the worst death metal album of all time, etc. I have no idea if any of the following are real, but I would sure like them to be.

“Dear people who had something to say about the new album and Morbid Angel,

I would like to start by saying that I am an artist. This means that I use the means available to me, such as my music skills, to express what I feel inside me. This is my motivation. To take parts of my reality and translate them into music. I appreciate that throughout all these years some of you have appreciated this personal journey that I set out to make and supported me. However, I did not do it for you. You just happened to like it for one reason or the other. I may have not put too much thought on how the music industry may appropriate this journey to make money because I am mainly interested in art. Of course, my involvement in the music industry has allowed me to live a decent life through playng music. Rather than wasting my money, like the Rock stars whose attitude I opposed all these years since I started my journey, I used them with prudence. So today I am in the pleasant position to continue creating what I like without caring what others think.

I understand that you feel disappointed with our current choices of artistic expression, some of you would not even call art. However, there is nothing I can do about it. I would certainly not consider doing anything that is against my artistic vision just to please someone else. Also, some of you argue that if I want to stop playing pure death metal I should do it under a different name, not Morbid Angel. Again this is an unreasonable request. Morbid Angel represents my artistic vision and one’s artistic vision is by definition dynamic. Your vision may be one thing one day and something completely different the next one because you see things differently every day. So, the idea that a band name should be associated with a specific recipee is wrong to begin with and should be discarded.

Finally, if the new record sets the foundations for our fan-base to become smaller or to be reconfigured, I will welcome this change. Death metal was never meant to be a music for the masses, because the masses are too alienated. Today’s death metal is for the masses and I would prefer not to be a part of it. The fact that death metal is successful today says something about the state of this type of music.”


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