Where do we go from here?

Music constantly evolves.  For every album that lasts forever, there are thousands that ten years after their release sound dated and old.  The world goes past them and that is the natural way of things.  However, it doesn’t stop people clinging to the past.  You just have to bring up a band like Bring Me the Horizon to a group of diehard metal fans and see the reaction.  ‘That’s not metal!’ blah blah blah.  All of this ignores the fact that it is without a doubt metal, it is just the next stage in a constantly evolving sound.

I have spent the morning listening to Kontinuum, an Icelandic band who play ambient rock music that is shrouded in mystery and depth.  Their newest album Kyrr is a thing of beauty.  It’s heavy and light and it is most definitely not heavy metal.  However, it is still a part of our world.  You could see them playing the venues our bands play alongside their compatriots  not because they turn everything up to eleven, but because they make challenging and interesting rock music that has earned that right.  However, to the so-called diehards Kontinuum and Sólstafir probably have even less place in our world than Bring Me do.  Which is bloody stupid.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I love the old stuff, Metallica are still gods to me and when I saw Black Sabbath live at Download a few years ago I nearly wet myself with excitement.  When I got into heavy metal proper it wasn’t new albums I spent my days seeking out, it was the cornerstones of the genre and I am glad that as a musical movement we look back as much as we look forward.  However, we do need to look forward occasionally.  It’s no secret that are bands aren’t as big as they used to be.  In the last few years only Slipknot and Avenged Sevenfold have made the step up to headliner status at the biggest festivals and both of them released their debut albums well over ten years ago.  The next generation isn’t there yet.

But the thing is, they are there.  In bands like Bring Me the Horizon and Five Finger Death Punch we have acts that are ready to make the step up if they are given the ball and allowed to run with it.  However, every time someone gets close we seem determined to rip the ball away.  As if by letting one of these new bands get famous, we are somehow failing ourselves. You only have to look at the backlash against Avenged when they headlined Download.  The amount of shit they received was ridiculous and yet by all accounts they did a good job.  We need to support these bands not destroy them.

Now I get that not everyone has to like everything.  Christ, I’m hardly an Avenged Sevenfold fan myself and I will never understand how bands like Enter Shikari are getting as big as they are.  But what do I achieve by sitting at home and slagging them off?  You can criticise them and say what you don’t like, but is calling them cunts and saying they’re shit achieving anything?  These are the guys who are going to headline festivals for years to come and get young kids into music.  Those kids who will then go and find Sabbath and Maiden and then one day discover some beautiful music coming out of Iceland and fall in love with it and support a whole new generation of bands who break down boundaries.

Or maybe not.  Maybe it is not heavy metal so we should all just throw shit at it until it goes away.  MaidenMetallica and Slipknot can headline Download every year until they all keel over and die and the crowds begin to thin and we are all fed up and the kids grow up listening to pish.  Heavy metal disappears into the underground and we all talk about the days when it was huge.  I exaggerate of course, but there is a grain of truth there.  The metal community is a great one, but if it doesn’t start supporting new bands (big and small) and encouraging experimentation and growth, then it is going to end up shooting itself in the foot.  Which is a worrying thought for us all

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