Sunday, October 07, 2007

Pet Peeve

Pet peeve of the day: the term 'neo-classical metal'.

I first noticed the term when it was applied to Dragonforce. As far as I can tell it's used only to infuse cheesy metal bands with more importance and respectability than they deserve. What it technically means is that they use 'classical' instruments such as piano, and that they steal riffs and motifs from classical music. In every other respect, it's indistinguishable from normal metal.

It's all total bullshit. Firstly, a piano is no more a classical instrument than the guitar, they've both been rock music staples since the beginning of the style. Secondly, just because you're playing rock music with an orchestra doesn't make it classical.

Also, the actual music that they appropriate is usually Romantic rather than classical, I'd let that slide because they're just using the colloquial definition of 'Classical', but it brings me to my main complaint, that there already is a genre existing called neo-classical, which refers to the music made by composers such as Stravinsky and Shostakovich which reversed some of the trends of Romanticism and returned in some ways to the styles of the Mozart/Beethoven era.

Attention Metal Heads!
Just because your song has a piano in it does not make it classical!
Just because your song has a violin in it does not make it classical!
Just because your song has a long elaborate wank solo in it,does not make it classical!
Just because your song is written in a diatonic scale does not make it classical!
If the London Symphony Orchestra got Yngwie Malmstein to wail along with them on a Wagner tune, would that make it a metal song? No! Of course not!

Every band listed on the wikipedia page for neo-classical metal could be more properly classed as some other brand of metal, usually power- or prog-. The term itself is simply an attempt at pretention, with no real meaning.


Anonymous said...

I liked November Rain./ I guess if i liked it -then its probably not metal. Heidi

Jon said...

Fortunately no one is claiming that anything Gunners ever did was neoclassical metal, or I'd probably have an aneurysm.