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.
The annual get so and so to Christmas Number One, has become almost as big a tradition as turkey or drunk argumentative relatives. Ever since the Rage Against the Machine campaign knocked Cowell and co off of the top spot, it has become somewhat fashionable to push an alternative band towards the top of the charts. This year the always wonderful Iron Maiden are the chosen band. Now quite frankly, I would love Iron Maiden to get only their second UK number one single, they damn well deserve it, but do we really need to care about Christmas Number One?
So yesterday the Daily Mail once again ran an idiotic article about the suicide of a young teenage boy, I’m not even going to bother linking to it, because they don’t deserve the one click that would get them. That story is obviously tragic and I don’t want to belittle that. However, the Daily Mail chose to focus on the fact the young man was listening to Slipknot and was a ‘hardcore rock’ fan. Now quite frankly, I am fed up of this kind of shit. I think we all are. However, I have written about these problems before, more times than I count. So, rather than focusing on calling the Daily Mail cunts, which they are, I have decided instead to write about 5 ways that heavy metal is awesome. Because in shit times, we should focus on the positives.
I’m slightly behind the times with this one. Mastodon recently released a video for the rather awesome “The Motherload”, one of the highlights of Once More Round the Sun, the album they released earlier this year. That alone is hardly worthy of a post, but the reaction to said video, which is a combination of traditional rock aesthetics and a collection of woman with rather large derrieres ‘twerking’ (as I believe the kids call it), is.
There is a common misconception that all heavy music is angry. Yet that couldn’t be further from the truth. If I listen to a band like Metallica or Iron Maiden, anger is usually the last thing on my mind. Yet to many people those bands are the personification of heavy metal. However, that does not hide the fact that there are some very angry bands out there, who recently I have taken a lot of joy out of spending time listening to.
Every couple of years some twat who has never actually seen a guitar writes an article claiming that ‘guitar music is dead’, as if it is some great scoop and actually true. Which of course it isn’t, yes bands with guitars more often than not fail to top the charts, which is instead full of soulless crap (in the majority anyway), but any slight scratch below the surface shows that music with guitars is far from dead. However, is it still cool? I mean of course it’s cool, but is it really cool? There was a time when rockstars were the coolest fuckers on the planet and had an amazing ability to do more drugs, drink more booze and fraternise with more young women than anyone else. Is that era dead? Are the current wave of rock bands lacking that little bit of va va voom?
I’m of a generation of rock and metal fans who probably all, despite what they may claim now, at one point loved Linkin Park. They were releasing their best work when I was hitting that age where I was beginning to make my way over to the dark side, but I wasn’t quite ready to give up on the traditional musical formula I’d grown up with. Therefore, to sit here and completely destroy Linkin Park would be very hypocritical, this band meant a lot to me once and while I’ve got past that, it doesn’t erase it from history. Despite that, there is no denying that their recent output has all been a bit shit, as they disappeared up their collective arses into a world of synths and musical wankery. Yet this year seems to have seen a turn around from the band, playing Hybrid Theory in full (still their best work) at Download was the first step and then they started promoting The Hunting Party, their most recent album, as a return to their rocking roots, but is it too late? Even if The Hunting Party is great is there still a place for Linkin Park in the minds of people like me?
Architects have had an unusual career path. At one point they seemed like they could do no wrong and were heading for the big time. Then they released The Here and Now, an album which despite some initially positive reviews, slowly saw fans turn against it and then even the band themselves turn their back on material they discovered they had little passion for. Since then the release of Daybreaker has seen them begin the path to redemption and Lost Forever//Lost Together may be the album that seals that return.
So for some reason today Blabbermouth decided to run this story. Now I should make it clear before this descends into a rant, which trust me it probably will, what happened at Fort Hood is obviously a tragedy and nothing I say is at all designed to take away from that. If you think you are likely to be offended by any point I will make past the see more line below just don’t bother reading.