Pitfalls and Progression.

[originally published 06-11-12 after Earth Decay, SPC, Laguna]

San Pablo City was a major eye-opener for me.

Made me realize that music was alive and well and has not only stepped, well over the boundaries of comfort and familiarity, but is now running away from it — in full sprint! \m/

I like talking a lot of smack about the validity of music, the integrity of the writing and the relevance of a band or an artist to the times, to their community and to the world — and it is very, very rare that I am surprised, much less impressed by music nowadays.

Progression is a topic favorite that encompasses the spectrum, bridging the gap between my rants and my raves. For the most part, the rants have been having a field day until quite recently.

Where the obvious harbinger of change: Metal, has failed to impress upon me a semblance of progression that is neither derived nor contrived — Punk Hardcore has more than taken up the immediate void.

It’s been a decade since The Beauty Of Doubt has taken me on that ride and it has been ages longer since anyone else has tried as effectively [until now!]. Disappointingly, the painful truth is that the music and the community that I so love and have championed is being shown up in the arena of progression by the one I left behind.

I mean, What the fuck, right?!? You’d expect “superior” musicians, with hours of practice and the gear to invest in expanding technical prowess, to lead the way in progressive music — to be the new beacon of rhyme and reason.

But no, collecting bootleg Recto Metal shirts and pirated CDs was a bigger priority. Getting more votes and LIKES was a bigger priority. Becoming recognized as the Philippine version of a big metal brand name was and still is the bigger priority.

And these cretins have the audacity to look down on their “abhorred simpletons” of the genre and IRONICALLY make light of certain forms of Death Metal as simplistic and formulaic. Idiots that can’t seem to tell the universe of difference between Down From The Wound and Pus Vomit. There’s more progression in this community than there ever was in ALL their little scenes put together, and they ARE putting them all together, mind you.

Now, as a whole, Metal has been very locally stagnant, a good friend of mine and underground journalist, Adrian Camoens of the Dreams Of Consciousness metal blog has already pointed out the problem as a regional thing. I’ll take that a step further and say that it is GLOBAL. The world is now filling itself up with all manner of clones, copycats and conformists. It is so commonplace that people who don’t understand what you’re doing will attempt to peg it to something familiar, just to make themselves feel better.

My band is no stranger to that. Only a few people, with an obvious knack for conscious listening, get it. The rest try to look for that comfortable pigeonhole to squeeze us into: “They can’t be making something new, I have drinks with these guys for crying out loud! They eat, sleep and shit the same as the rest of us! Why do we have to be the generic ones? Why can’t we all be normal and not break any rules! Huh!?” — not entirely accurate, you might think. Yeah, sure. Whatever you say, slowpoke.

Bottom line is, I’m not looking for any brothers-in-arms or kindred-spirits or any other idiomatic stereotype to define what I believe in. It is just that I was more than pleasantly surprised and genuinely impressed to see the progression, lost to a world where it would have made more sense, now thriving in another where it now truly matters.

And yes, that redefines the observation: “That isn’t Metal” from being a critique to a compliment. Irony is a bitch.

The Rational Opinion Looms Laboriously

In the open-world of The Creatives’ PvP arena — Honesty works.

It keeps people on their toes and helps push any situation forward especially in this age of post-truth alternativism.

For the most part, people can take the brutally honest opinion. There’s a thickening of the skin that came hand in hand with the torrential horde of end-user commentators. But taking it is one thing — dishing it out is a whole new ball game.

When is an honest opinion truly honest? When is it not a self-serving attempt at machismo or naggery? When is it truth for truth’s sake and when is it just a contrasting defensive bias?