"some music was meant to stay underground..."

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So, what's your definition of "underground"?

Posted in: Forum Home >> General Music Discussion >> So, what's your definition of "underground"?

Displaying 10 posts
Displaying 10 posts
Nov 11, 2009 2:29 PM ET #1 (permalink)

So, what's your definition of whether Metal is "underground" or not?

The extremes are pretty easy: Metallica is not underground, an unsigned local band with a demo CD labeled in sharpie marker is.

But there's a lot of ground in between. So where do you draw the line?

Nov 11, 2009 2:52 PM ET #2 (permalink)

I don't. As far as I'm concerned there's mainstream metal and there's everything else. And even mainstream metal can be classed as underground in some cases. I guarantee you there's thousands of people in the U.S, the U.K and the like that have never heard of Metallica.

Nov 11, 2009 3:33 PM ET #3 (permalink)

What's a met-a-licka?

Nov 11, 2009 4:27 PM ET #4 (permalink)

^ "What's a met-a-licka?"

They were a band back in the eighties, broke up in 1988 I think. (Or was that 1986? Reports vary.)

(This post was last edited on November 11, 2009 at 4:59 PM ET.)

Nov 11, 2009 4:55 PM ET #5 (permalink)

^^^ "I don't. As far as I'm concerned there's mainstream metal and there's everything else. "

See, I don't even know what's "mainstream" anymore. I haven't bothered with broadcast radio since Pandora.com and it's ilk came around, and I haven't watched MTV in over fifteen years (since back in the day where most of their programming was actually music videos.) So I have no idea what's, as they say, "popular with the kids these days".

(This post was last edited on November 11, 2009 at 5:01 PM ET.)

Nov 11, 2009 6:12 PM ET #6 (permalink)

It's funny, because even "underground" metal has it's own set of divisions of what's mainstream or underground within it's own structure.

Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse are pretty mainstream, as opposed to Sol Asunder or Antigama, at least according to underground metal as a whole. Irregardless, ALL those bands are underground because the majority of music listeners on the planet have no idea who they are, let alone what they sound like.

My point is, it's all about perspective. Where you sit in relation to music or metal as a whole or in pieces, and how relatively important or known they are within that perspective.

Nov 11, 2009 6:49 PM ET #7 (permalink)

FAN: awesome plugging Sol Asunder in there... now as far as underground/mainstream. it's a thin line now. I've seen unsigned acts get on support slots on a tour where every other artist is on MTV. or a band have tens of thousands of fans and not be signed or ever tour. With the internet anything becomes possible. Interesting thing about Sol Asunder is that they were featured in a Tony Hawk video game. would that be considered underground still? what's the threshold of selling out. i know a lot of people said Metallica did when they made a music video... everyone band i know has made some sort of music video and it's online despite how horrible they may be.

To me it's the way the band is marketed. if they are forced upon you everywhere you go online/TV/radio/etc. that's a bit mainstream. if they are headlining national/international tours where every date on the tour is a stadium... I'd say that's a bit mainstream.

Nov 12, 2009 4:59 PM ET #8 (permalink)

To me underground isn't a line, it's a gradient, and it's also relative to the person. To me it means bands that are celebrated within small groups, but known little outside of that.

Nov 12, 2009 5:23 PM ET #9 (permalink)

I agree with Cynic - underground, like almost anything is a sliding scale, not a line. And besides relative to a person it could be a regional thing. Local bands may have moderate success in their area or even larger region (like several state area) but still be underground to the rest of the world.

On a site-specific note, when I started Metal Underground.com, besides it having a nice ring to the name, the intent wasn't to focus solely on the underground. When I started the site, I was actually still having trouble discovering new metal outside of usenet and the like (and that was with limited success). That in itself led me to the thought that metal as a genre is more underground than many others. Sure, bands like Behemoth have "made it" for such an extreme act, but their mindshare outside of the hardcore metal world is next to none. Some areas have decent radio stations that play hard rock or metal, but many don't have any representation of the genre at all.

So yes, I'd say "underground" is a completely relative term based on a number of factors and I never really felt compelled to try to draw the line at what's underground or not. There are some obvious examples, and many not so obvious.

Nov 12, 2009 7:58 PM ET #10 (permalink)

I think a good example is Heaven Shall Burn. Yeah, they've done world tours, sold albums, made videos, but I wouldn't say they're out of the 'fight for your slot on the label' rat race either, like Lamb of God. But in the same thought process, Heaven Shall Burn are more comfortable than your favorite local band.

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