Southern Steel Hits the Rust Belt

By Joe Wasp for Identity Dixie

Though running in contrast to the narrative of the day, rock and heavy metal once permeated with cultural ties and rootedness. For generations, these genres once stood alongside Country as music with a sense of roots, cultural ties, and resistance to overbearing authorities. With a long history of Southern influence and rebellious tendencies, it is of no wonder why contemporary rock and metal publishers, websites, and “enthusiasts” work so diligently to separate the genre from its historic Southern imagery, despite the unpopularity of doing so. In examining the history and Southern influences within rock and heavy metal, this piece will articulate how rock has lost its pride and metal has lost its edge in a contemporary setting.

Birthing from the Land of Cotton via rhythm and blues and rock n’ roll, the South features a long history of being the cultural hearth and homeland of rock music. As it developed into its more recognizable form during the 1960s, other regional influences would take root. However, the 1970s and 1980s would return rock to its original Southern traditions. Bands such as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Allman Brothers Band, ZZ Top, Molly Hatchet, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, the latter being the most famous, would provide such a massive influence on the genre and in popular culture that rock would become synonymous and intertwined with Confederate imagery to the extent non-Southern bands would often sport Southern iconography. Masculinity and coolness abounded with the genre. This trend of Southern Rock would continue into the 1990s, with one of the last purveyors of the genre being The Black Crowes. Since the 2000s, the influence and popularity has faded.

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Lynyrd Skynyrd live at Oakland in 1977

Though originating from England and featuring a myriad of regional influences, it was only a matter of time before heavy metal made its way below the Mason-Dixon Line. The rebellious, testosterone fueled, abrasive nature of metal fit easily within Dixian culture. Throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, Southern Metal reigned supreme alongside many of the most superlative metal acts, developing the subgenres of Groove Metal and Sludge Metal. Down, Rebel Meets Rebel, the preeminent Pantera, the underrated Sign of the Southern Cross, Corrosion of Conformity, Lamb of God, Superjoint Ritual, Crowbar, Texas Hippie Coalition, and a slew of others, Southern Metal would influence a wide range of other regional bands, such as Black Label Society, Zakk Wylde, and even the now cuckoldry Avenged Sevenfold. Lasting well into the 2000s and a few holdouts surviving into the early 2010s, Southern Metal now sits mired in leftism and hipster imagery.

Having lost its masculine leanings and Dixian iconography, Southern Rock and Metal has now been lost in favor of leftist based mediocrity. Soyboys and cultural Marxists now control the imagery and narrative associated with once masculine subcultures. Working desperately to separate rock and metal from its Southern roots, the talking heads who run the rock tabloids and metal websites have pushed the genres into a state where rock has no sense of culture or rebellion and with metal lacking any edge whatsoever, despite the larger metal community being apathetic or outright supportive of Confederate imagery. The latter should come of no surprise due to metal’s anti-establishment attitude. The purveyors of anti-Southern propaganda vehemently insist Southern imagery is nothing more than racism, despite the oft touted claim by the rock and metal community and supporters of the flag that the Rebel Flag is a symbol of rebellion or Southern pride. It is of no wonder these genres lack quality musicians and popularity nowadays. Gone are the days of the rugged Ronnie Van Zant or the belligerent Phil Anselmo, the smooth twang of Allen Collins and Steve Gaines or the baleful shredding of Darrell Lance Abbott.

Seis años sin Dimebag Darrell, tres canciones para el recuerdo - Especiales  - Hipersónica
The legendary Dimebag Darrell during Pantera’s Great Southern Trendkill Tour

Having been subdued by Maxists, soypeople, and leftist urbanites, Southern Rock and Southern Metal simply no longer exist. Ostracized from the public spotlight and Southern imagery unjustifiably removed due to leftist witch hunts, the genres no longer exist contemporarily, and rock in general no longer features any Dixian influences. Their history buried and forgotten, the genres are in a state of decline. Unless Southern Nationalists and Traditionalists seek to form their own bands, the days of pride in their own music are now relegated to history. Rock and metal have lost their roots; they have lost their identity. Quality music cannot survive should it lack any reality, wherewithal, down to earth sensibilities, or feeling of place.

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