Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Teenagers: The Future of Heavy Metal?

Do you all remember a band that came out a couple years ago with these teenage kids who played 80s type thrash metal named Black Tide? They made quite a buzz in 2008 with that single "Shockwave"? Well...look at and hear em now...

My my. How things have changed.
If you think the image is bad try listening to one of their latest singles posted in the link above. Clearly they've been hanging out in LA for too long.

It's really interesting to spot the different trends throughout the years in metal music and how they affect the industry as a whole. I think for any band that wants to become successful, while (Mind you, I said successful not famous or even mainstream) it will be difficult holding on to your integrity as an artist and keeping the original intent of the band pure.

There have been plenty of disbanded bands and "Hiatuses" popping up recently in the metal world that include Cathedral (Seriously, not that much of a loss IMO), The Human Abstract, Oceano, Ludicra, Dismember, and Carnal Forge (loved em').

As famous metal/hard rock icons die, like Dio, Nevermore's Loomis and Williams quit, Arch Enemy releasing the fucking godawful Khaos Legions (I freaking hate when people misspell something to make it sound cooler, like "kvlt.")and even Killswitch Engage's Howard Jones walks, I'm sure fans are wondering what the sordid and unknown future is headed for metal.

I just heard this Dubstep/Djent/Prog Metal Fusion band or I'm sorry, "project" that made me scratch my head.
I don't have a problem with Djent or experimenting but I'm pretty much DONE with dub step. I never really took to it so I hope that it doesn't bleed too much into metal. *shudders at the thought of a dub step black metal/jazz fusion album*

I'm all for experimentation but I think it certainly comes to a point when your losing a sense of your original and organic sound to the need to be unique and different.
I like my metal traditional, straight to the point, hard, fast, guttural and mean.

To get back on topic, I think teenage metal heads have the right idea. Take the example of Black Tide I have above. They are seemingly influenced by bands like Death, Metallica, and I even hear Testament in there. They clearly had a set style that they started out with.
As you all know, metalcore/deathcore is this looming black cloud that seemingly is engulfing the mainstream music of the genre (anyone still remember nu metal?) and and has clearly seeped into the once virginal ears of Black Tide. That new single that I linked you to sounds like some Attack Attack BS with better guitar work.

Metalcore/Deathcore/all the other cores is where I'm seeing a lot of young people get into metal from and THAT scares me. If a band like the Black Veil Brides is the first band that got you into any kind of metal then you may be doomed for all of eternity.

And here here! That's not to say that there aren't great bands in which young people play in....but for the life of me I can't think of any at the moment that formed RECENTLY who impress me enough to consider mentioning in the blog. I could go on about new releases from excellent bands (Vildhjarta, Across The Sun-thanks Israel-, Arkona, etc) but none formed by younger metal heads.

I honestly think there is a good interesting future for metal, you just have to wade through all the shit to get to it.

What say you?

Side note/P.S: I was walking through Target the other day and saw a black kid around 11 or 12 wearing a Venom T-shirt. I wanted to take a subtle picture but I couldn't because his mum was hanging around. But it made me really happy to see someone so young and black (yeah, I said it) listening to it. True metal knows no age, color or boundaries. I would have been just as happy to see some white kid that age wear the shirt as well. Maybe there is hope.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ego and Loner- ism In The Metal Scene

"Why do you listen to that stuff?"

The common metal head-no matter what genre of metal you listen to-has constantly been berated with similar inquiries from various people in their lives asking this question.
In a sense, metal music goes against our basic human instincts of what 'classically' is considered music. Granted, now that metal has branched off into multiple genres that statement could lose some of its accountability, what with Symphonic and Operatic metal, etc.
But I'm sure when metal first began to develop around the late 1960s, the general consensus was that it was just 'noisy'.
Its a type of music that from the very beginning was never fully accepted.

As a result of this, I've noticed that generally speaking, those that do listen to metal have certain loner tendencies.
I'm definitely not saying the culture as a whole is isolated since when metal heads do come together-they can most surely be just as social as other groups. And also as susceptible to peer pressure and conformity.
But to really accept this sort of music, I've learned that a person has to cultivate and learn their 'darker' side, a side that not many people willingly accept.
I know that sounds lame but hear me out.
I believe there is something innately savage and vicious about this type of music that scares people because of its honesty. It's raw-its not manufactured or wrapped into a pretty package (well, perhaps lets forget about hair metal). In essence-its real. That's what attracted me to it all those years ago and what continues to.

Personally, metal helped me get through a lot of strife in my life. I had always turned to music before when I was distraught but when I started listening to metal I got out a much needed amount of aggression from my system. Every time there was a scream or growl in the song, I felt like the artist was venting everything out for me that I was too scared or embarrassed to do myself. I still feel that way-its a great outlet.

NOW, that being said, within the metal scene certain genres add to this theory and take away from it.
I mean, your average Metalcore/Deathcore/Screamo/Symphonic female fronted bands are extremely targeted to younger mainstream types of people. These genre's are considered to cater to the more casual and social metalhead.

As for Thrash, Death, Black/Grindcore bands are usually listened to by far older, extreme metalheads who are less prone to be into the social aspect of metal.
There. I said it.

If you take a look at Black Metal, for example, being a loner is not only accepted but encouraged to an extent. It's considered a more introspective type of genre. And it is PURPOSELY not intended to be meant for a mainstream type of mind.
Fans of extreme metal also tend to have ample sized egos as well as arrogance to match. The reason of this I'm not so sure but I believe it stems from the fact that metalheads generally think of themselves as reaching a higher state of consciousness somehow because of the fact that they do listen to the genre-and thus-have evolved more-so than the average music fan. (Especially true for fans who are also musicians)
Mind you all, I'm generalizing but this is what I've found to be the case.

The bottom line is metal is very attractive to individuals who consider themselves or were pariahs in their early youth, people who like to deviate from the norm, and anyone who is in tune their more animalistic and essentially human side.

What's interesting about this is that with most shootings of any kind, the culprit is always found by the media to listen to metal and be some type of loner. Such is the case with Columbine, Jared Loughner, and the more recent Norwegian gunman. Mainstream media will use any excuse to condemn metal music. Blame it on the mental state of the individuals and not what they listen to.

But that's just what I think, what about you?

*BTW you guys, pick between Finding (Good) Christian Metal and The Future of Heavy Metal: Teenagers in the comment section. These two were tied so I want you to pick the next post.
Thanks for continuing to read and I hope to hear from you all soon.