James Hetfield of Metallica, photo by Peter Anderson/ The Hell Gate- image is copyrighted, not for use without permission
An interesting article and even more insightful comments were published on the Guardian UK last Friday about the Mercury Prize basically overlooking the genre of Heavy Metal. This is not really surprising nor news. Metal has never been embraced by music taste makers/critics, especially in the UK. To basically have The Darkness as one of the only hard rock/metal nominations in the past 11 years for the Mercury Prize pretty much says it all.
Metal remains outsider music that has a tribe mentality. Many Metal acts have decent album sales and do great on the road without the support of airplay or conventional media coverage- even in the blogsphere Metal is not nearly covered at the same rate Indie Rock and Hip Hop are.
The “us against them” attitude that is a cornerstone of Metal has its distribution roots in word of mouth and trading of bootlegs. Now with the boom of social media, Metal has diversified even more with a mind-boggling array of sub genres that go way beyond Nu-Metal and Death Metal (Grindcore anyone?) The insular community of Metal does not need outside accolades such as the Mercury Prize for validation. The fans are the most fickle critics Heavy Metal will ever face- what would be refreshing is if the media acknowledged and respected the musicianship.