I’m a gluten for punishment me and that’s why far too regularly I find myself browsing through the comments of the latest Metal Hammer Facebook post. It’s a horrible dark place where the very worst sections of our world reside, and it inevitably leads to me wanting to chew my laptop with frustration. It does, however, give me a constant supply of ideas for stuff to write about. So that’s something.
The latest idea that was served onto my lap was when I saw someone declare that the best album released this year came from the instruments of Anthrax. Now I’m by no means saying For All Kings is a pile of shit, I listened to it when it came out. I honestly can’t remember any of it, because it was an unmemorable pile of shit, but I did listen to it. Oh wait, I guess I am saying it was crap then. All joking aside, I just refuse to believe that anyone can seriously believe that is the best album to have been released this year.
But let’s be fair to the moron. Let’s assume that he is purely a metal guy meaning that he might not be interested in Milk Teeth, The Dirty Nil or PUP. Let’s assume he hasn’t heard Plague Vendor and Oceans of Slumber. He only listens to the heaviest of the heavy stuff. That means that the Anthrax album is only coming up against competition from the likes of Vredehammer and Agoraphobic Nosebleed. Oh wait, that still makes no sense.
However, I can’t really hate anonymous internet cuntbag. It’s not his fault. You see we live in a world where unless a band has been doing it for thirty years, they are perceived as not being worth your time. Christ, I’m guilty of it myself. If people ask me who my favourite band are, I say Nirvana, Metallica and Led Zeppelin despite the fact that all of those bands did their best stuff before I could walk. I honestly can’t even remember the last time I listened to most of them. I spend a lot more time listening to Against Me!, Letlive and Heck than any of these classic bands.
It goes one step further than that. If you go on to the TeamRock site, the majority of articles are focused around such bands. You’ve got Brian May, Iron Maiden and for fucks sake there is even something about windscreen wipers signing ‘We Will Rock You’ (no that is not a joke). The Golden Gods Best International Band section even includes Slayer because apparently releasing an average album makes them the best. As a scene, we are obsessed with what came before, and it is fucking frustrating.
Because the best bands in the world right now didn’t start making music in the eighties. They started making music in the last five years. The albums I have listened to this year from older bands have been unilaterally dull. Megadeth, Anthrax even Killswitch Engage, who I love, have released weak efforts. While elsewhere a host of new bands have blown my mind.
Now I’m not saying we should turn our backs on the past, and you know what, maybe that guy has listened to all those albums, and Anthrax are still his favourite. In which case, all power to him – although he has awful taste. But it is time to let it go. I can still bounce around to AC/DC and bang my head to Metallica, but the bands who need fans to have their backs are the ones in the here and now. As a scene, we are close to being so wrapped up in the past that the future falls around us.