Below is reporting from MetalSucks.net (here), outlining something so weird, something that could be so awesome on one level, and something that ultimately showcases how silly we are as a culture…

Some thoughts:

1. If H&M is partnering with actual musicians in order to create contrived bands and brands and whatnot with the purpose of a) highlighting the camp and spectacle inherent to metal and b) showcase the silliness that is blind consumerism… well, I love that.

2. If musicians have partnered with H&M, licensing some of their images, etc to the retailer, and are making a bit of cash from new fans (or total poseurs, or both) buying their merch, more power to them. It’s pretty silly for long-term fans or “true” metal heads to begrudge artists some form of monetization. (the people at MetalSucks are not doing this, I’m just saying…) Competition is stiff, especially in this day and age, and metal has never been super pop-culture popular. This is especially true for entities that have been around for some years.

3. If, through their lack of research, H&M et al have *unwittingly* made finger-hooks with some reprehensible social groups… well, that then shows the flip, problematic dimensions associated with big-business and commercialism. Yet another great demonstrative point about which we can all scoff with abandon!

In all, this is an odd little story worth reading (reprinted below)… Thoughts?

Clothing Chain H&M Creates Fake Metal Bands to Sell Merch, Releases a Song Called “Vaginal’s Juice Dripping into Cadaverous”

Last month, we reported that clothing chain H&M was getting into the metal game, making shirts for Metallica, Slayer, and Guns N’ Roses, as well as some shirts that just seemed to promote heavy metal in general, or that were for fictional bands. For example, while there’s no shortage of metal bands called “Mortus” in the world, none of them are this Mortus, whose shirt goes for thirteen bucks on H&M’s website:

HM-Mortus

What we did not realize is that H&M are not only participating in the creation of fake metal bands in order to peddle merch for said bands, but they’re trying really, really, REALLY hard to make people think those bands are real.

Case in point: less than an hour ago, MetalSucks recevied the below press release from someone calling himself Ville Huopakangas. As far as I can tell, no such person exists.

Swedish underground metal promotional agency STRONG SCENE PRODUCTIONS was pleasantly surprised when Swedish clothing industry giant HENNES & MAURITZ decided to honour legendary underground metal acts from their roster in H & M’s latest fashion collection.

Now STRONG SCENE PRODUCTIONS is happy to provide a musical trip down in memory lane in support of HENNES & MAURITZ Heavy & Metal clothing line showcasing the talents and forgotten jewels of global underground metal music.

As illustrated by the bomber jacket and t-shirts worn by the models of H & M, the new items feature logos from long-forgotten underground goth and thrash acts such as the French LANY, Mexican MORTUS, American “cosmic hippie metal” – gurus MYSTIC TRIANGLE and GREY from Germany – the originator of the whole symphonic female metal-genre.

These groups together with the likes of extreme metallers MOTMROS and neo-folkers THE ONE formed the basis for a whole generation of music in 1980’s, music that was traded on tapes rather than as files, music that served as an inspiration to all of the most successful bands still recording today, from Meshuggah to the likes of Nightwish.

As most of the bands featured on the HENNES & MAURITZ clothing line are from long before the age of digital music, there is now a compilation project in the works by STRONG SCENE PRODUCTIONS, collecting together all of the works of these long forgotten jewels of metal music that never hit it big to the masses until now – thanks to the talented designers at HENNES & MAURITZ.

None of these bands are real. And as Scrapyard notes, Strong Scene Productions purports to have been established in 1999 and has a drolly 1999-ish website, complete with detailed bios for all of the bands that have allegedly been on the “label.” But Strong Scenes’ YouTube page is less than a week old, as is their Facebook page and Twitter account… and “there’s a bunch of corporate sponsored accounts on Reddit saying that these bands are TOTALLY REAL.” In fact — the press release even included fake album art and band photos, some of which are reasonably convincing, some of which look like shitty Halloween costumes.

And as if all of that weren’t strange enough, H&M have commissioned “A demonstration sampler compiled by Strong Scene Productions showcasing the talents of these old-school underground metal talents.” These songs have titles like “Sign of the Antichrist,” “Hellish Massacre,” “Holocaust Tomb,” and, best of all, “Vaginal’s Juice Dripping Into Cadaverous,” which, kind of hilariously, sounds pretty gross, but doesn’t actually mean anything. All of the songs are made to sound like super-underground old school shit that would have been traded on tapes back in the day, and generally speaking, they sound more or less authentic (if you don’t have the patience to listen to the whole thing, I highly recommend you at least check out Grey’s “Death of Rose,” because holy shit is the singer off-key, and the fact that this was presumably a deliberate choice somehow makes it even funnier).

HMjacket-620x725

And it gets weirder still!!! As Metal Injection notes, “Two of the bands seem to have ties to the NSBM scene.” Which means H&M is creating fake white supremacist bands.

What to make of this little marketing ploy? Satan knows I love a good trolling, but what’s the actual point of this? Making up bands is presumably cheaper than licensing logos and art from real ones, but… are people really gonna buy shirts for fake metal bands? Why would they? Real metal fans will recognize that this is all bullshit; maybe posers will go for the gag, but they can get cool-looking merch from bands they don’t actually listen to (e.g., Iron Maiden, Black Flag, Napalm Death, Cannibal Corpse, etc. — y’know, bands whose merch is popular even amongst people who don’t know the band very well, if at all) for much less via other outlets.

Update, 8:12 pm, March 23: Against all odds, this story has gotten even stranger, and Strong Scene now denies any official involvement with H&M. Read the latest here. Original story follows below.

Update #2, 11:04am, March 24: Henri “Trollhorn” Sorvali, guitarist and keyboardist for Moonsorrow and keyboardist for Finntroll, is apparently one of the people behind the creation of the fake music to accompany H&M’s new clothing line. He claims “that the point of the project was “to point out the fact that you cannot commercialise a subculture without actually knowing all the different aspects of it.”

(full article here)

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