Is Metal Music dying?

Posted 2010-10-27 @ 00:34:47 In articles > features

Nils Oberg asks the question.


I have no doubt that this article will probably annoy or even enrage a few people, but after all, this is my opinion having worked with bands of all genres over the last 5 years. Some of you might share my opinion, others won’t.

Heavy Metal, or Metal, has gone through a massive evolution since the term was first coined by a reporter who listened to the first offerings that Black Sabbath produced in the 1970s. It has since sired so many sub-genres that the lines have become blurred as to what "real" Heavy Metal is these days.

Elitists and the older generation find it hard accepting Heavy Metal that’s been produced over the last 10 to 15 years and feel that Heavy Metal these days will ever match the likes of Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Testament and Black Sabbath. The list can go on and on with bands that first brought about the whole Heavy Metal genre.

The truth is they are right, but at the same time so very, very wrong.

Nothing will ever replace the bands I have already mentioned, this is very true, but the mindset of the Elitists is one of the reasons Heavy Metal is dying a slow death. New ideas and new bands are ignored because they don’t match up to the classic Heavy Metal bands and bands who try something different are ridiculed for selling out or for being too different and therefore are ignored, I speak from personal experience as I’ve done the same thing.

Now it would be unfair of me to blame just the old school metallers as it’s not just them destroying Metal. "Scene Kids" are just as much to blame for the slow demise of a musical genre I hold dear. Scene Kids are the new emos when it comes to the current generation of kids who "love" metal. (Scene kids, for those of you not sure what that phrase means, are the kids who all dress the same, have long fringed haircuts, loads of piercings, covered in tattoos, all wear skinny jeans, plaid shirts and listen to music because it’s popular or "scene", rather than because it’s good)

So many kids who conform to the Scene Kid image, listen to bands because their friends listen to these bands and therefore are willing to accept the utter mediocre sh*t, that gets produced these days. These kids will continue genre hopping because it maintains their image "to like what everyone else likes".

The individual has been replaced by the masses.

Lastly and I feel most importantly. The internet is just as much to blame as elitists and scene kids. Having studied Sound Engineering, Music Production and the Music Industry over the last 3 years, I’ve been able to see the devastating effect the internet has on the music industry in general. With the inception of broadband internet, downloading music has never become easier. Gone are the days where downloading one track took you a whole day, these days you click on a link and you can have a whole album within 10 minutes. We’re all guilty of downloading music and that’s the bottom line.

How does this affect Metal you may ask? Metal has never been a mainstream musical genre, with the exception of a few high profile bands like Slipknot (yes they are metal), Metallica and Lamb of God. The one thing all these bands have in common is that they have all either been nominated for Grammy Awards or won them. Can’t get more mainstream than that can you?

Bands like the ones mentioned have such a high profile that while downloading their albums does affect them, it’s not detrimental to their existence, as say lesser established bands or up and coming bands.  Being able to download albums by bands that haven’t had the chance to establish themselves yet, makes their struggle to make it so much harder, as they are constantly losing out on money from albums sales and have to tour more in order to make the money back which leads to quicker burn outs, bands going on hiatus or bands breaking up.

After all how would you feel if someone stole the work you’re passionate about while sticking their hands into your pockets and stealing your money? Pretty p*ssed off is how I’d feel.

In order for Metal to come back from the dead we need to change our perceptions, accept musical differences, stop the genre bashing, support the local scene, buy a band’s merchandise and buy the album instead of clicking on a free download.

In closing we are all indirectly responsible for either making or breaking bands, for the growth or decline of the metal scene in your area. Support bands by buying their merchandise and album and just bear in mind what bands have to go through to become known or to produce and album professionally.




Tags . metal



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Is Metal Music dying?



by Tyrran

    This is an interesting article, when I agree with you I agree, when I disagree I strongly disagree. I just want to make mention that although these comments might seem like Iím attacking you and being a douche Iím definitely not. You seem knowledgable in the genre of Heavy Metal and I respect that, I myself just have some strong opinions on this and some of them donít seem to be shared by you. 1. You say ďÖthe lines have become blurred as to what "real" Heavy Metal is these days.Ē Itís true, itís true that Heavy Metal has sub-genres upon sub-genres upon sub-genres, but isnít it all still Heavy Metal? If you look at a hair follicle under a microscope no matter what magnification you use or what section of the specimen you look at, itís still the same hair follicle. NŁ-Metal, Black Metal, Porno-Grind, itís all just functioning tentacles from the bigger creature that is Heavy Metal. This would then mean the grandfathers of Heavy Metal should be classed as such and the rest of the bands are sub-genres. I can dig this, but then who are the grandfathers? Black Sabbath? Blue Cheer? Grandfunk Railroad? Christ, even Elvis maybe? I have a personal theory that the later Beatles albums and specifically Paul McCartney were truly the beginnings of the Heavy Metal genre. Obviously Paul McCartney mixed up with some blues influences (which is interesting because he himself was influenced by blues) is what I believe to be the primordial soup of Heavy Metal. 2. I agree with you when you say that elitists will have a problem with recently produced music (maybe not as far back as 10 or 15 years) and that they wonít match up to the likes of Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Testament and Sabbath. But who will match up to these bands? Youíve chosen 4 of the biggest Thrash Metal bands and arguably the grandfathers of Heavy Metal here, nobody will live up to them. With that being said, I find it hard to accept St. Anger or Endgame, not because the style is different or because theyíve ď

    Posted   2011-02-06   17:46:53

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