Professor Simon Frith is one of the main reasons I got into academic popular music studies. He was very supportive to me at an early stage of my career and, later on, he contributed an afterword to After Subculture, the book I edited with Andrew Bennett.
Frith has also been the chair of the judges for the Mercury Music Prize since it began in the early 90s. Over the last few years I've become increasingly vexed at the total absence of Metal (and hardcore, industrial, goth and other genres) from the annual prize shortlist. I hate special pleading for particular genres but I simply cannot accept the implied jidgement that absolutely nothing has happened in UK Metal that is worthy of note since the early 90s.
So with his permission, I compiled a burned a couple of CDs with UK Metal albums that I thought Frith should hear. They aren't all necessarily my favourites. The only thing I wanted to do was to show that UK Metal was interesting and diverse. I deliberately left mainstream Metal (ie Iron Maiden) off the list in favour of stuff he probably wouldn't have heard of and that leans to the more 'arty' side of Metal. The earliest (Carcass) is from 1993 - the year after the Mercury Prize started. Here's the list:
- Akerkocke 'Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone'
- Anaal Nathrakh 'Domine Non Es Dignus'
- Anathema 'Alternative 4'
- Capricorns 'Ruder Forms Survive'
- Carcass 'Heartwork'
- Electric Wizard 'Dopethrone'
- Godflesh 'Selfless'
- Iron Monkey 'Our Problem'
- Jesu 'Conqueror'
- Mithras 'Words Beyond The Veil'
- My Dying Bride 'Like Gods Of The Sun'
- The Axis of Perdition 'Depeted Scenes From The Transition Hospital'
- The Meads of Asphodel 'Damascus Steel'
- Thine 'A Town Like This'
Whether or not this list is the best UK Metal has to offer, I do think it shows that UK Metal is at least worth a second glance from people who are not otherwise interested in it.