Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Mayhem on a Cross" (Bones Episode): Is this What the Mainstream Thinks of Us?

I realize that this is a rerun, but I saw it for the first time on Sunday night. Bones, for those that don't know, is a show about a forensic scientist investigating the deaths of a variety of people. In this particular episode, the victim is a skeleton used as a stage prop by a so-called Norwegian black metal band, apparently somewhat influenced by King Diamond's use of "Melissa", the name given to a skull he used as a prop to tell a story back in his Mercyful Fate days. The victim's name is Mayhem, obviously a reference to the Norwegian black metal band.

We also have a death metal band wearing corpsepaint in the episode, as well as a deathcore band. The music is mostly provided by groove metal band Droid, so don't get your hopes up too high. There is no black or death metal in this episode. But, that's not really why I am writing about this.

The death metal band under investigation in the U.S. for the murder of Mayhem apparently does not play at bars. Their concerts are typically held in slaughterhouses. The band members possess names such as Pinworm and Grinder and even give the investigating team a tip that a deathcore band may be behind the killing, and vocalize their contempt for the genre. Then at another black metal show, the lead singer slits his own throat, which was supposed to have been staged but someone switched the prop knife. One of the investigators has inside knowledge of the scene and professes to have once been a fan of death metal, but grew out of it. One of his theories is that someone killed the victim because he was attempting to leave the scene, viewing death metal as some sort of all-consuming cult. He also believed the killer would have kept a souvenir from the murder. Of course throughout the show, we are treated to random snide comments about metal not being music and metalheads being incredibly violent and offensive.

Obviously, this is meant to be entertainment and not to be taken as an indictment of the scene in general, but I have to ask, does the mainstream really view underground black and death metal as ultra-violent, dark sadistic psychopaths? Obviously there is a social stigma attached to us metalheads. This show really did nothing to dissuade that stigma, there was not one sympathetic metalhead character, unless you count the victim.


  1. People fear what they don't understand.

    This show has been recommended to me by people who are generally aware of my tastes in television (I watch both versions of NCIS as well as House, and on occasion I will watch some version of Law & Order). But after reading this description, I think I'll pass.

    Basically, if that's what they're going to say about my people, then fuck them.

  2. Also, I've never heard of anyone "growing out of" death metal. What garbage.

  3. It's actually not too bad of a show. It's entertaining once you get past some of its quirks. The main character shows almost no emotion and does not seem to understand the other characters when they do.

    I agree, I have never really heard anyone say they grew out of death metal. Usually when you are listening to music that extreme, you're pretty firmly entrenched in it.