Listening to NPR discuss Massachusetts racial history today and the Jason Sokol book All Eyes Are Upon Us: Race and Politics From Boston To Brooklyn as I pull up the photos photographer Matt Slater graciously assembled for this live piece. Looking at Chimaira, Shadows Fall and God Forbid in metal splendor, I can’t help but feel like the better examples of geeks, thrashers and artists are ahead of the pack at times when it comes to acceptance. Shadows Fall’s greatest album, The Art Of Balance, has a title alone that is good metaphor for the way to walk and interface with people in life. Hey, we all lose our heads sometimes ( remember when powerhouse drummer Jason Bittner yelled at Halestorm for the Grammy Win, hahah?)… But most of the time I think it is awesome we can have an underground that supports a diverse spectrum of people. When I’m at a show inclusiveness is second nature, though of course there are always some knuckleheads who just came to fuck shit up.
That said, I think overall the mark of metal core and NWoAHM is way more positive than negative. We’re going into a new Congressional period with people who don’t want to listen and want to obstruct. Scott Walker and other hobgoblins don’t care about workers, in my mind. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul or Rubio are as uneven, creepy and selective in memory as I am a fan of Kyuss. Bridgegate was appalling, NJ. But in the underground we have a voice to help people and communities shook by Fegusson’s exposed wound! To cheer on when New York State chooses to improve definition of consent on college campuses! To just get out there and fucking rock and have a good time with OTHER PEOPLE! Look, it aint that all cops are bad or all black people are criminals. It’s about empathy for the suffering of other human beings.
Anyway, looking at these photos Slater gave us, I can’t help but feel pride and energized by what these bands gave us all. From energy to words to vision. Fuck off, haters. You aren’t constructive.
Click HERE for the shots.