The Uncanny Valley is a song from Stone Sour and it appears on the House of Gold and Bones II album. Corey Taylor explained it as a song that is about fighting off pessimism and trying to reach for positivity and being brave enough to make a decision and stick with it. If you are a musician starting off, that is the unwritten rule. Make a decision, stick with it, be positive about it and don’t let the haters drag you down.
Five Finger Death Punch recently covered Mama Said Knock You Out. When Nu-Metal came on the scene 15 years ago, this would have been an accepted practice. Nu-Metal was riding high in the charts, it was a successful genre and it was the norm mixing hip hop with metal. These days, you don’t see any bands mixing rap with metal anymore. So what does Five Finger Death Punch do. They do the uncool thing and cover a hip hop song, in a metal fashion. Being brave enough to make a decision and stick with it. Being strong enough to fight off all the haters and pessimists. Being positive about it. Raising their stiff middle finger at what the norms are. This is what artists need to do.
As Ivan Moody and Zoltan Bathory have stated in countless interviews, there is no grey area when it comes to Five Finger Death Punch. People either love them or hate them, and all that matters to them is to focus on the people who get excited about music that comes from Five Finger Death Punch. In an age where people are supposably not buying music, Five Finger Death Punch have been able to achieve sales of over 500,000 in the US alone for each album cycle. It is clear that that the fans are supporting them and that is because they have been brave enough to make decisions and stick with those decision.
Dream Theater is also a band that has gone through a period of a dramatic turn of events. The departure of Mike Portnoy was unexpected to say the least to the fan base. However, Dream Theater soldiered on, held auditions and hired the mega talented Mike Mangini. The haters and the pessimists came out. Dream Theater continued on. Then Mike Portnoy reached out and asked back in. Dream Theater showed how brave they are and said NO. They made their decision to hire Mike Mangini and they are sticking with it. They see positives in this change.
So fast forward three years and Dream Theater is at another milestone. September 24, is when the self-titled album drops, the first to involve Mangini for the writing process. In the press statements, Petrucci is saying that this album is Mangini unleashed. They have come to this point in time, by making the brave decisions back in 2010/11 and sticking with them. It would have been easy from a fan point of view to bring Portnoy back into the fold.
Which brings me to Mike Portnoy. Yes, I am critical of his decisions, however one thing the Portnoy cannot be faulted with is making a decision. Love him or hate him, he makes career defining decisions and sticks with them.
Hell or Highwater is the band that Atreyu drummer Brandon Sailer formed. The difference here is that Sailer is the lead singer and songwriter on this project. He wrote 8 of the 11 songs, before he even had a band together. While Atreyu was known as a metal core act, Hell Or Highwater is heavy melodic rock. It’s no frills hard rock, and that is what people are gravitating towards again. The big difference between Hard Rock now and Hard Rock in the Eighties is the subject matter in the songs. It is back to being personal, it is back to conveying a feeling, it is back to storytelling. Gone are the goofball Eighties style lyrics of Slipped Her The Big One and sticky side up.
The reason why this is mentioned in this post is the brave decision Brandon Sailer needed to make when Atreyu went on hiatus. He stepped away from the drum kit and became a front man. He started writing songs that are connecting with people and he is sticking with it. He is seeing positivity in this change, already thinking ahead to the next record. If you haven’t heard Hell or Highwater check out the tracks Gimme Love, Find The Time To Breath, Hail Mary, Go Alone (with M.Shadows from Avenged Sevenfold), We All Wanna Go Home and Rock Waters Edge.
Be brave, make the decision, stick with it and move on.