Nobody likes to be rejected. Even in the best cases, being turned down stings. No matter how polite the dismissal, it simply doesn’t feel good to be turned away.
Usually when declining a request, common courtesy takes over. Most human beings would rather not turn a disappointment into a confrontation (notice the operative word, most). A polite society requires politeness, after all.
However, there are people out there who take glee in the misfortune of others. Some call them sadists, others call them assholes. When it comes to hurting someone’s feelings, they take delight and will go to great lengths to exacerbate their misery.
The influence of NWOBHM band Venom is simply undeniable. Love them or hate them, the band coined the term “black metal” and cemented much of the visual aesthetics of extreme music as we know it. This is a band that helped define an entire subgenre and one would think they are entitled to a modicum of respect, right?
Before spearheading the movement with their 1982 album Black Metal, it took Venom a while to shop around their debut album, Welcome To Hell. One label they had set their sights on was EMI, the monolithic conglomerate that had signed Pink Floyd and Queen. In the 1980s, the label was focused on pop-oriented post-punk, putting out records by the likes of Elvis Costello and The Smiths at a quick pace. They wanted to make a buck, and metal was not in their plans.
When Venom sent EMI Welcome To Hell, the label shared their disinterest in the band in as blunt and vicious a way possible, with this two-word rejection letter:
Unearthed by producer and journalist Bart Gabriel, this letter is a masterclass on being a jerk. Just imagine how much effort went into properly spacing that layout in the days before computers. It’s a level of disdain for the feelings of others that is so hostile that it’s almost admirable.
As it turns out, Venom would do just fine without them.