It’s understandable why certain rock and metal fans became sour on My Chem and bands like them – but it wasn't MCR's fault. When the band blew up, labels and managers did what they always did and snapped up any bands with black hair and a penchant for bloodied suits, regardless of whether or not they were any good. Meanwhile, new bands looking to blow up and old heads trying stay relevant felt pressured to include echoes of emo and goth-punk into their music. Sure, there were some kids who took the fashion to absurd lengths or were more about posting neon-colored Deviantart Photoshops than they were about the music, but these were often specific cases that got blown out of proportion.
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If anything, My Chemical Romance brought a lot of pretty metal imagery and art to the forefront. From the get-go, the band celebrated blood, knives, vampires, bats, vampire bats, corpses, skeletons, Halloween and medical horror – all things that bands like Deceased and Mortician have championed for ages. The Helena video has a danse macabre in it, for fuck’s sake. Just because the guy singing about these things had big shiny eyes and nice cheekbones doesn’t discount that he brought a lot of that imagery to the front lines of pop culture. While underground punk and metal fans may have instantly recognized the differences between that and their interpretation of these things, the world at large began accepting and even celebrating the dark side.
That’s perhaps what most rock fans need to understand: to the world at large, fans of darkness are one. We like our personal brands of wickedness to stand out as unique, but the truth is that for the daylit world – whose idea of a good time involves showing off its new Lulu Lemons on TikTok – the frostbitten cruelty of extreme metal and the bloodstained lips of emo aren’t that far apart. And while those cultures may not have the same ideals at every turn, the acceptance of one on a broad scope means more opportunities for the other. To put it another way, the more black-clad My Chemical Romance fans that venue owners see prowling around their bar, the better chances a band dressed like Nifelheim have at booking a show there.