Vocalist Som Pluijmers has left Scotland-based brutal death metal band Cerebral Bore.
As you may have noticed if you’ve been visiting NO CLEAN SINGING for more than a week or two, we spend very little time reporting on band drama. Musicians leave bands and join bands every day, and honestly, I’d rather be writing about the music. About the only time it matters is if a changing line-up has altered the music of a noteworthy band in some significant way, and that’s unlikely to happen in this instance — so far as I know, Som was not involved in writing Cerebral Bore’s music.
So why am I making an exception here? I’ll tell you in a minute. But first, the details. Here’s a statement that appeared on Cerebral Bore’s Facebook page about 5 hours ago:
“Som walked out on us less than 24 hours before the US tour, and we were forced to either cancel or go ahead with it as an instrumental if need be. We didn’t want to let our US fans down, so we went ahead with our buddy Shawn Whitaker on vocals for the tour. Show us your support and make Shawn feel at home, he saved us from a disaster.”
Cerebral Bore began a U.S. tour on November 24 in support of Dying Fetus, Cattle Decapitation, and Malignancy. It’s scheduled to run through December 23. The Shawn Whitaker referenced in that statement is the sole member of a Houston band named Insidious Decrepancy. And now here’s Som’s response to the statement quoted above:
“I decided to leave because Paul McGuire treated me bad… And him saying I walked out on them like Im a bitch is ridicilious. Im not a diva, I had to do this for my own happiness and safety. He woudnt let us have an own opinion or wouldnt let me have friends and screamt at us all the time. Im sorry but I was too unhappy with him and had to leave. There was more going on than this but if hes gonna start bullshit than im more than happy to tell you guys the truth. I had to do this for me and thought about fans etc. it was a difficult decision… But for the best”
I found this statement on The Font of All Human Knowledge, but haven’t yet located the original source. Undoubtedly, there will be a lot more to come on this story, with fans choosing up sides and much ringing of hands and frothings at the mouth, none of which we will be reporting.
So why am I mentioning this episode here? Well, I do like Cerebral Bore’s music. We were “early adopters” of the music shortly after Som joined the band, and we’ve featured them on other occasions in the past in posts that drew a lot of traffic (and still do). So I assume we have readers who care about them, too.
But that alone probably wouldn’t be sufficient cause to report about this drama. No, the main reason I’m saying anything is because Som Pluijmers is a woman who can bring the brutal death vox like a dude, and among the many women who can do the same thing, she happens to have a higher profile than most because of the size of Cerebral Bore’s fan following.
Let’s be honest: She’s responsible for the size of that fan following. She put Cerebral Bore on the metal map after vaulting from YouTube popularity as a cover artist to join the band in 2010 at the age of 18. It was after she joined that Earache Records signed the band. It was after she joined that the band’s popularity sky-rocketed. And those things didn’t happen because the band’s music suddenly became better.
In an ideal world, it wouldn’t matter that Som is a woman, but we’re not living in that world — yet. It clearly does matter in the here and now. Her vocal talents are no better (or worse) than the skills of dozens, maybe hundreds, of male vocalists who front death metal bands. She and her now-former band elevated their profile dramatically because of her gender, and that’s an interesting sign of our times even if it’s illogical or even unjust.
It’s worth noting that Som doesn’t appear to have consciously traded on her gender. For example, her official Facebook page includes this statement: “I’d be happy to answer your questions asap. If you only care because I’m a ‘female vocalist’, I’d ask you kindly to leave.” It’s also worth noting that there are just as many (and probably more) extreme female vocalists who get slagged because of their gender as become popular because of it.
And so, as a sign of the times, I thought this development was worth this one post. If you disagree, leave a Comment; I’ve got my flame retardant poncho on.
As for the future, maybe Cerebral Bore’s fans will stay true to the band despite Som’s departure. Or maybe the outcome will be more along the lines predicted in this Facebook comment I saw, which made me smile:
“And there goes 85% of Cerebral Bore’s fanbase. Better hurry up and sew a vagina onto one of the remaining members.”
Undoubtedly, Som will land herself another band. Undoubtedly, she will have many choices. And for the foreseeable future, rightly or wrongly, she will be able to elevate the popularity of whoever she joins.
We wish her well, as we do Cerebral Bore. We also wish for the day when artists in the world of extreme metal are judged solely by their talent, without regard for what’s between their legs.