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'New Metal'?

December 24, 1988

Why are rock critics so consumed with fitting all music into one category or another? Steve Hochman ("Metallica Does Itself Justice with 'New Metal' ", Calendar, Dec. 9) described Metallica as 'New Metal!' Let's see now, in the past there's been "hard rock" and "acid rock"! Then came "heavy metal." Now, it's "Thrash," "Death Rock," "Speed Metal" and "New Metal."

If record stores used the same labeling system as critics do, it would be near impossible to find anything. Labels are too subjective. Besides, doesn't "branding" music tend to limit its appeal because of how one person, any person, views it?

And what is this "sense of sensuality" that Mr. Hochman is looking for? Hundreds of groups provide this so-called "valuable social purpose" in their shows, and not much else. Somehow I can't see Mr. and Mrs. Jones saying "Yes, Veronica, you can go see Metallica tonight so you can learn about sex." If Metallica did sing about sex, they'd probably get shreded by critics, as do most hard rock bands. Steve, go see Prince if you want to see someone preoccupied with sexual pleasures. At least the PMRC won't have Metallica on its list.

MATT NORRIS

San Gabriel

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