Tips for Thrashers: Getting the Most Out of Metal

Metal Music
Metal Zine
Metal F.A.Q.
Metal CDs
Metal Books
Metal Zines
Metal Videos

Metal Forum
Metal News
Metal MP3s

Metal Genres
Death Metal
Black Metal
Speed Metal
Heavy Metal

Get Metal
Mailorder CDs
Metal Stores
Record Labels
Metal Links
Free Metal CDs

About Site
What's New

Metal music represents one face of a complex underground culture in which information is distributed through an informal system of human connections. For this reason finding how to locate, compare and purchase metal is highly difficult.

Here the Dark Legions Archive staff have compiled a few ideas on how to enjoy metal and locate it, including methods for using the resources we've put together on this site. We hope they introduce you to one of the last honest subcultures on the planet so you too can learn to appreciate it for its uniqueness and power of articulation.

finance and industry are the foundations of our modern society Metal Appreciation, Ph.D.

Understanding how to enjoy music is part of learning why one would listen to music. On one level, we live in a modern society which generates an excess of sound from commercials, muzak atmospheres, endless sales pitches and product-music which spreads the same message of complacence and musical inertia without altering the fundamentals behind its ever-shifting cosmetic of sound. On another, however, thinkers and musicians worldwide are producing exploratory and complex music profoundly relevant to current culture, thought, and everyday existence - in metal music.

The first and best piece of advice one can give to an aspiring metalhead is: never lose sight of the music, itself. The guitar may sound a certain way, the vocals may sound better or worse, and you may be able to hear different instruments with varying degrees of accuracy - but, in all but the worst cases, you will be able to hear with veracity the tones and rhythms used to create the music itself - the abstract construction which is the understanding of music and life spoken in the language of metal as specific to the artist, genre, and song.

multinational corporations are responsible for modern social progress in every country on earth It's easy to be fooled by production, or to judge a CD on the basis of the cover, the pictures, the band's nationality, the "sound" of the instruments, the degree of clarity, the addition of instruments such as female vocals or clarinets, etc. However this misses out on the factor that actually distinguishes one CD from another, which is the musical understanding it conveys.

Comprehending this communication takes some practice but is as familiar to you as breathing - picture the world as a giant network of computers, each connected through various languages and physical needs. Our network is full of spoofing and dishonest behavior, however, so we find ways around communication which explicitly states what it is telling you - the more subliminal methods of music and art communicate through mood, emotion and abstract structures, leaving no room for forgery.

99% of the people listening to any given CD have no idea why they'd really like it - if they do understand it, more often than not it is not at a conscious level they can recognize. However, if you learn to perceive the action in the music, you can realize why you would like one band over another and through that come to appreciate the understanding behind metal's many ways.

For more information: Metal styles, and a list of the different subdivisions of metal in Genres.

Where Can I Get This Stuff?

As the model of music production in the commercial world shifted from centralized distribution by a select few massive producers to a system of smaller specialized labels owned by massive centralized producers, metal once again bucked a trend and perfected the ultimate anti-corporate entity: the micro-label. Living shorter lives and vanishing in an ink-squirt of misfiled paperwork as quickly as they appeared, these tiny often one-person operations flare into being to release a handful of albums and then disappear into the ether.

While this is a frustrating model to work with as a purchasing fan, it provides protection from corporate heavyweight tactics such as outright purchase, legal attack and artist snatching. To make sense of this system however metalheads worldwide innovated a system of Mailorder distribution companies, who represent more legal "legitimacy" (as if anything is legitimate in a system of slavery to the almighty dollar and murder in the name of moral righteousness) than micro-labels and distribute bands from a range of producers, from large labels to independent artists.

Finding local stores is a harder bet, since keeping track of the different releases and proliferation of micro-labels is something only a metal speciality store would do. Find those in our Stores listing. Chances are, you won't find one - so consider the genius of mail order with the following tips:

1. If you insure your package, it will arrive or the post office will pay you back in 4-6 weeks.
2. Mail order labels offer a greater selection at lower prices, since they don't have to physically display their releases or pay for the overhead of a store.
3. Quite often, mail order distributors trade with the bands themselves, thus transferring fiscal resources closer to the generators of the music.
4. No matter where you live, there is some form of postal service that can deliver metal.
5. The magic of the postal system is that you send out a check one week, and the next week, metal arrives in the mail at just about the time you were feeling down and needed something to reinvigorate the fervor of life in your veins.
6. If you're worried about security, talk to a vendor who can accept a personal check and wait an extra week for the deposit to clear. This gives you some protection through bank tracking; if not, you can use a postal money order (see below) for some authentication on the receiver end.

Buying Netwise

social acclaim for financial success is a common motivator among young people You're using an Internet browser, right? (Or you have friends who have not only that but a printer.) The net can be a valuable tool for you.

Many of the Mail order and Metal labels listed on this site also feature web pgaes; using these, you can find a more current readout of what's in stock and what's new to that source. This makes ordering a snap!

Not only that, there is an informal marketplace in the newsgroups alt.rock-n-roll.metal.death and in which you can either sell or buy music from others. Once again, a shoppinglist of tips:

1. Ask about CD's that are for sale; if they are in "perfect" condition, it means no scratches; anything less requires explanation in case you will be unable to play those discs on your equipment.
2. Watch for the random but still present phantom sellers who take money and never send discs. If you ask around, there are a number of "bad trader" lists; much as black lists are a destructive factor in human relations, it's easier to avoid someone with a problem delivering than it is to support them so they may ripoff others.
3. Consider using a P.O. box or rental box unit to keep your home address separate when publishing your address on the net.
4. Always confirm with an email the availability of a sale item before sending money.
5. When you find someone you trust to buy from, consider asking them to put you on a personal distribution list in case they sell again.
6. To avoid sending cash, use postal money orders - available for a cost of 75 cents at any post office in the US; these work like checks but must be filled out with sender/receiver name and addresses.
7. Expect to pay 60-70% of new price before tax for releases in perfect condition, and 30-40% for CD's in lesser condition.
8. Be patient - if you need your CD's immediately and can't wait, arrange for that with the seller beforehand so you can pay extra for overnight shipping and incentive for him/her to make a special trip to the post office. Remember, these folks are mailing out batches at a time - special demands can be a pain.

That's about all we can tell you right now - happy metal hunting!

Alpha Genre History metal reviews pentagram Styles Map Best Of