Music is a funny old business. Heavy metal is a genre that sits outside the mainstream and 99% of the time, relishes in that fact. We embrace our difference and we love it. That is until something like the Grammy Awards comes along and gets metal horribly wrong. They don’t get us, so they just go with the safest option, this year that was Tenacious D, and hand them a trophy, before ushering the whole thing off stage and breathing a sigh of relief. Should we care? No, of course not. Do we care? Well sadly, a glance around the internet suggests some of us do.
Now I’ve talked in the past about this issue, about how heavy metal should be glad the mainstream hasn’t got its grubby little claws all over our music, so I don’t feel the need to go down that route again. It is far too negative and every now and then it’s just more fun to be happy. Instead I want to point out that despite what the Grammys might think, and the occasional person online, there is so much good going on in heavy music at this moment in time, that we are probably heading into one of the biggest years of all time, ‘for our world’.
Funnily enough, the moment I realised this was the case, was in a club in my home town of Aberdeen. I was rather drunk and I found myself on the dancefloor. It was only around half way through the night, that I realised the music this place was playing, was essentially the music I grew up on. It wasn’t shit like The Killers or Mumford and Sons, but rather bands like Fall Out Boy and Enter Shikari. Now, I am going to be honest, I loved Fall Out Boy as a kid, but I thought their most recent album was crap. I’ve also never got Enter Shikari, I don’t know why, I just don’t. A lot of people, whose opinion I respect, have suggested their most recent album is their best yet. To me, it’s just more of the same and I can’t get into it. So this isn’t about places playing music I like, but rather a shift in attitude.
These bands are cool again and yea, they aren’t heavy metal. They are about as heavy as a wet fart in a shower, however, they are bands that I can get behind. They are bands who like rock and roll and at least try to fight against the status quo. They are the guys that influence people like me to get into alternative music and check out other great acts. Sure, my love for Fall Out Boy may not have stuck around. But it was looking for bands like Fall Out Boy that got me into proper punk. I don’t know if I would love bands like Rancid if I hadn’t started my education with pop punk and I really bloody love Rancid.
It’s not just the ‘classic’ bands that are suddenly getting attention though. There is a whole host of up and comers that are proving themselves on a daily basis. The obvious British example is Bring Me the Horizon, who have got so big they aren’t exactly up and comers anymore. But they are not alone. Bands like Architects aren’t that far behind and we also have a wonderful underground scene, with the likes of Feed the Rhino, Hacktivist and Bury Tomorrow regularly smashing up venues across the UK. That’s not even getting into the more intelligent bands like TesseracT. Outside of the UK, groups like Five Finger Death Punch, Watain and Mastadon, continue to prove that heavy metal in all forms can still be a big deal and whether you love it or hate it, it’s fucking fun to watch.
Now believe it or not this ramble does have a point. The fact of the matter is, heavy music is bloody brilliant and we are going through a period where that landscape is going to be defined for the next however many years. So while whoever runs the Grammys may actually think that Tenacious D were the best act to come out of this world last year, we all know different. Long live heavy metal.