Featured Image from: MetalSucks
Most of the people in the Internet usually stay away from metal bands. Not really that many like metal, their music, and their people. Think of them as being in the fringe of society, and it’s not like society placed them there. Metal bands usually sing about ideas not really on most peoples’ radar: philosophy, death, and religion, among other things. They also actively try to not look like common folk, which adds a layer of mystery to them.
So, when crabcore happened, probably the only accessible thing about metal music to most people, you bet that they had a field day about music’s resident cynics. When it resurfaced mid-2018, to everyone’s amusement, it just reminded me of the fun everyone had (including metalheads themselves) spreading the gospel of the crab pose.
A Lasso to the Entire Rock Community
The funny thing about crabcore, particularly to the ones it was pointed at, was it didn’t even come from a metal band. Attack! Attack! was a metalcore band, which is a complete departure from straightforward metal bands. Their video for Stick Stickly is where everything started, with the whole band coordinating their headbangs. This would be clue #1 why this would never have come from a metal band. But it’s their guitarist, Andrew Whitting, who took the rock pose to a whole new low. He did look like a crab, taking his axe that close to the ground. If you haven’t seen the video, it’s as ridiculous as it is hilarious.
The unfortunate thing about crabcore, particularly to the ones it was pointed at, was it made fun of something they all did. From the bands to the fans, everybody did that crab pose. I don’t care whether you were playing guitar, air guitar, or just in the middle of a really intense headbang, you did it if you listened to metal. I remember going to concerts then, and the headbangs became conservative. Everybody was afraid to have fun and let go, which means uncorking an ungodly amount of crab poses and neck-snapping headbang action.
Everybody else, though, they had fun. When memes were still young, crabcore was a catalyst. Everyone imitated the crabcore. As a metal fan, it was truly funny. I never knew headbanging was so ridiculous until I saw everyone trying to imitate what we did. Us fans got into the trend too, and as painful is was to make fun of our favorite bands for doing their thing, it was hard to resist. It lassoed everyone in the rock genre, and put us in a position where the spotlight was on all of us. It wasn’t about the better things about the music, but it sure was a blast.
After it died, 2000s rock went for a golden run. Whatever niche you liked, there were great albums everywhere. Metalcore, and post-hardcore (the actual name of the emo scene), exploded during the Crabcore phase. Suddenly, there were boys who had the same ridiculous hair, popping up everywhere, singing about their feelings. I admit I got into it during the time, and I particularly liked Funeral for a Friend, Finch, The All American Rejects, LoveHateHero, and Hawthorne Heights. If punk was more your speed, Fucked Up, Kid Dynamite, Green Day (I do dare), and Gogol Bordello released all-time great albums. If you’re like rock in general, this period was something to behold. I don’t even know where to start. Arcade Fire, Radiohead, U2, and many more released landmark records during the 2000s. The same goes for metal, 2000 was when the new greats let the world head their rage. Converge, Immortal, Opeth, System of a Down, Mastodon, Lamb of God, In Flames, and others unleashed a collective musical hell to the wider world.
It was a great time after crabcore died down. But now, even for a short while, something brought it back. It was a good thing it died quick, because nobody will have that now.
Still, it’s still really fucking funny.
Carrying an Unfortunate Torch
It’s not that crabcore was a zombie, it really died after everyone stopped talking about it. But like any good zombie, it bit a few people and the trend caught on. Bands like Asking Alexandria and Abandon All Ships are carrying the unfortunate torch of being inspired by Attack! Attack! Being objective about their music, it really wasn’t good. They were among the first metalcore bands, but they were like any firsts: they were one-dimensional. In addition, the dimension they were on were really boring. They disbanded in 2012, and never got back together.
But crabcore wasn’t without its merits. What started in a really low place, musically and aesthetically, became Issues, Bring Me the Horizon, Architects, and other hard-hitting bands. They shook off the half-baked style, and made it truly their own. All these bands are big in the rock world, and are moving the genre forward. That’s very unlike 80% of all metalcore bands who were just happy to sing as much as they growl. These bands, I am happy to say, are the ones I’ve been listening to these days. They are a snapshot of the current music scene, bands and individuals not boxed in their genres anymore. We’re on a golden age again, but this time, we’re including everyone.
So, in a way, crabcore lives. I hate that I still remember it whenever a guitarist or bassist let their instrument loose a bit too low, but as long as the music is good, there’s no reason to get stuck thinking that the guy on the stage looks tasty when boiled and with butter.
Sometimes, I think what would’ve happened to metalcore if crabcore didn’t exist. Maybe it would’ve gotten better a lot quicker, and metalheads wouldn’t look at it like its ridiculously dressed and sad brother. But it did happen, Attack! Attack! did take headbanging to a level never before explored by our rock forefathers. But nothing good in this world is perfect. Rock music has never been perfect, and has always been the home for those who can’t find acceptance. Crabcore probably just found the right place to foster, and when it did, it brought everyone a tornado of laughs.