ARTIST SPOTLIGHTS & THINGS OF GENERAL IMPORTANCE
If you are a newb to underground and subversive metal genres or just live under a rock, you need to know about Encyclopedium Metallum: The Metal Archives, aka metal-archives.com. If you are into knowing more about the music and the band members involved or related projects, this is a bookmark you should save. It’s a wiki of metal and an amazing feat of records, all at the reach of your fingertips.
We got in touch with the co-creator, who goes by the handle HellBlazer. He mainly takes care of the technicalities and site communications while a team of moderators take care of the day-to-day maintenance. We just really wanted to know who was behind this all and what inspires them to keep up the massive amount of work. They definitely deserves some shout outs!
We found that the idea behind all of this was to have a centralized source of information for all metal bands. The first draft was a bunch of static band pages but it wasn’t long before they realized that it was just not going to be manageable. The idea of a database-backed system where anyone could contribute proved much more practical and alas, there is Encyclopedium Metallum: The Metal Archives. From the site’s inception in 2002 there have been over 90,000 users to date who have made at least one contribution in the site’s history!
The ultimate goal is to have complete data for every metal band that has ever existed. It may not seem feasible, but have a run for your money and go search any metal band that has an official release and you’re likely to find them. Really, you’ll even find bands who have only ever released a demo. It’s quite staggering when you think of it. HellBlazer tells us “I suppose its mission is to provide accurate, reliable information for metalheads. This is even more important in this age of social media when many bands don't even have official sites anymore. Facebook is fine and all to communicate with fans, but it doesn't have a standardized set of basic information that people might be looking for, like a discography listing for instance. That's where MA comes in to make all that information easily findable. And it will keep it forever, even if the band disappears from the Internet completely. Maybe that's its greatest use.”
Metal Archives encourages people who love to write reviews to participate in the semiannual review challenge held in December and June. You may have missed the most recent mark, but it’s something to look into and prepare for if you’re interested for June.
HellBlazer recalls a time where one of the moderators was aware of some old bands from the early 80’s in the area but they couldn’t be added to the Metal Archives because no information was available for the releases. The moderator was directed to a well-known singer at a show who happened to have old demos in his collection and was kind enough to rip copies and send them so that they could be documented on the archives for all to see. The magic of all of that just warms our blackened hearts.
Keep up all of the great work for us please, HellBlazer and the Metal Archives crew. We salute you.