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International Essay Prize Awarded to YouTube Comment Explaining Why Deafheaven Isn’t Black Metal

MONTREAL — The internationally-recognized Rodgers-Mayhew Essay Award was given yesterday to SoundMatters99, a Youtube commenter who succinctly dissected the genre minutia of popular indie-metal band Deafheaven, judges confirmed in a public ceremony.

“I’ve been a Deafheaven fan since Roads to Judah, and I’ve always classified them in my library as ‘ambient black metal,’” said Dr. Alison Rodriguez, a self-professed music nerd and head of the Rodgers-Mayhew judging panel. “I was so floored by SoundMatters99’s salient and well-sourced arguments on their video for ‘Honeycomb,’ I had to revise my own categorizations.”

The straightforward tone of the author’s lengthy comment, estimated to be over 2000 words, was what ultimately led the panel to choose the unconventional winner.

“We typically award the prize to pieces on science, literature, or politics. But the tangible proof that Deafheaven’s sound is more akin to ‘reverb-drenched screamo-gaze pastiche’ forced us to think outside the box with this year’s recipient,” said Rodriguez. “Plus, SoundMatters99 has an avatar of Ihsahn from Emperor, so you have to believe they have a deep understanding of the black metal genre.”

SoundMatters99, who requested anonymity of their true identity, is allegedly flattered by the award — even if they don’t believe the comment is their best work.

“When Code Orange dropped ‘Forever,’ I remember I spent a couple hours showing the morons in the comment section that the song was mainly regurgitated nü-metal. I was pretty hyped on that one,” SoundMatters99 said in a written statement. “I’m glad this one got attention, though. I’ve been telling people for years they’re effectively Envy with blast beats and Oasis-style riffing. They’re a passable band, but hardly black metal.”

Unfortunately, former award recipients are not happy with the unorthodox selection.

“This selection debases the award itself, and all previous honorees,” said Dr. Reginald Weiss, a Yale physicist and last year’s winner. “Awarding the Rodgers-Mayhew to an internet comment? My winning submission was a short-form summarization of my life’s work exploring simulation theory. This? This is poppycock at best. What’s next — awarding the Nobel Prize for Literature to Pornhub comments?”

The Rodgers-Mayhew panel has also granted SoundMatters99 with a musicology fellowship at nearby McGill University, where they will reportedly explore how “Turnstile is Basically 311, Without the Reggae Songs” as their thesis.

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