Washington Think Tank with W.: Should metal bands still make music videos?

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Take yourself on a mental trip with me. What was the last metal video that you actually sought out and watched? When was the last time you actively sat and watched a bunch of music videos? No, our buddy 365 Days of Horror’s video breakdowns don’t count. No, Katy Perry’s or Nicki Minaj’s videos on mute don’t count either, you philistines. When was the last time you didn’t click play on a music video and open another tab because you only wanted to hear the music? Toilet amigos, 365 and I are wondering if music videos are even relevant anymore.

Today’s Question: Should metal bands still make music videos?

I’ve been pondering what the last metal music video I actually watched because I genuinely wanted to see it was, and I’m pretty sure it was “I Am Colossus” by Meshuggah. Since then, I’ve largely ignored the visual aspect of music videos. Why is that? I doubt I’m the only one who has largely moved on from videos. Hell, MTV stopped playing them eons ago, and most bands today are content to just release stupid lyric videos. In my opinion, music videos themselves have mostly become irrelevant, and the only time any video seems to make a splash nowadays is if it is a major production (Exhibit A), has interesting cinematography or presentation (Exhibit B), or is just downright nasty (I’ve linked to Cattle Decapitation‘s video for “Forced Gender Reassignment”, so watch at your own risk).


Exhibit A – Amon Amarth – “Father of the Wolf”


Exhibit B – The Body/Haxan Cloak – “To Carry the Seeds of Death Within Me”


In a way though, it makes sense. Music streaming is easier now than it ever has been with Spotify, iTunes, Soundcloud, Pandora, bandcamp, Beats Music, Grooveshark, last.fm, and more competing for consumers’ attention. For many people, music is a background task relegated to the periphery, making spending valuable effort and energy on streaming services more viable than watching videos. Plus, many metal bands simply lack the huge budgets of major studio-backed pop stars that still produce extravagant videos. Making  lyric videos is a cheap and effective way to embed new songs through a free service (youtube) without requiring viewers to actually watch the video. Additionally, this all may just point to a change in the paradigm of music delivery that coincided with the digital era. Before the streaming services and limewire, you had to stay up late to watch metal videos on Headbanger’s Ball or listen to certain broadcasts that might play metal at certain hours on the radio. Now, though, we can instantly access almost the entirety of recorded music within just a few keystrokes. People consume music in greater volume and in different ways than ever before. Therefore, it is my opinion that streaming services have essentially rendered music videos inert.

However, I don’t think music videos are completely irrelevant. I think there is still room for artistic expression within videos if that expression is creative and adds a unique element missing from the music itself or lends an even greater understanding of the artistic direction of the creator. Additionally, I think live concert footage can still thrive in video form. As metalheads, we all admire the live prowess of our favorite touring bands, and some bands even alter songs in a live setting in ways that can’t be captured on album. Therefore, in some circumstances, I think music videos can still be used effectively, although they’re mostly relegated to niche situations.

What do you think? Are music videos still relevant? Should metal bands keep making them? Sound off in the comments below.

Special thanks to 365 Days of Horror for coming up with this idea!

P.S. Do you have an idea for Think Tank? Send it to toiletovhell@gmail.com! I’d love to collaborate.

Don’t know what the Washington Think Tank is? This is a weekly column where your former President poses a pressing question and allows the top minds at the Toilet ov Hell to investigate his query.

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