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The State Of Heavy Metal

There it is again. Heavy metal. It doesn’t matter how many times the labels tried to kill it, mainstream it or commercialize it, Heavy Metal has remained consistent from when it began. Whenever pop music becomes pretentious, heavy metal rises up as an alternative answer.

What does the term “heavy metal” mean?

Black Sabbath started something in 1969 in the UK. Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin started something on the hard rock front. In the U.S you had Kiss, Styx, Ted Nugent, Journey. In Australia, you had a pub rock band called AC/DC. Progressive Rock became a force to be reckoned with on the backs of Pink Floyd, ELP, Genesis and Yes.

By the mid Seventies, disco, punk and new wave became the darlings of the scene and heavy metal and all forms of rock went underground again, waiting for the day to rise again.

Then came the New Wave of British Heavy Metal between 1979 and 1983. At the same time, hard rock, glam metal and speed metal roared out of the Los Angeles and San Francisco scene. Think Motley Crue, Ratt, Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer.

When heavy metal and hard rock drops off the mainstream scene, it is never gone for long. Heavy Metal is the answer to all things corrupt. It is the soundtrack.

Typically most metal fans come from working-class homes or changed family dynamics. According to a recent study, all us metal heads must have low self-esteem, because that is why we listen to metal music.

The mainstream always ignored metal music, seeing it as too dumb. Of course, when a band breaks through, the mainstream are the first group of media outlets to jump on the wagon. Remember Metallica. Ignored by the mainstream completely. The only mainstream press they got was the sad and tragic death of Cliff Burton. Then the Black album comes out and it is undeniable. It’s a juggernaut and everyone wanted to be a part of it.

So here is the list of the current state of heavy metal.

CLASSIC EVERYTHING

Rush – enough said. Move on.

AC/DC – enough said times two.

CLASSIC METAL

Iron Maiden – they need another great album like “Brave New World” soon or they will be playing to smaller and smaller audiences with each tour.

Metallica – they need to start making better decisions and they need to release new music. Look at their decision-making process. A project with Lou Reed (RIP) that just didn’t connect with the fan bases of each party involved and an $18 million dud of a movie. In relation to new music, they can only go back to the same market place year after year before the fans get burned on it.

Megadeth – Dave Mustaine said on “The Metal Show” that his top five Megadeth albums are “Countdown To Extinction”, “Rust In Peace”, “Peace Sells”, “So Far So Good So What” and “Killing Is My Business”. He needs to have a current album in that Top 5.

Slayer – are finished in relation to new music without Jeff Hanneman. He was the main songwriter in Slayer, full stop. To hear Kerry King saying that if the Jeff Hanneman music in the archives is not good, it will be not used is a load of B.S. Who made Kerry King the gatekeeper?

Judas Priest – is not Judas Priest anymore. It’s all about the dollars.

Black Sabbath – is all about the last paycheck. Anyone remember the recent album? Name me the whole track list without Googling it. I bet if i asked you to name me the whole track list on “Paranoid” or “Heaven And Hell” I would get an answer.

Pantera – lets hope that no one is stupid enough to reform Pantera with a “guitarist” paying tribute to Dimebag. Stick to your guns Vinnie. Pantera died completely when Dimebag died.

CLASSIC ROCK

Led Zeppelin is still big business in the market place. That is what the mighty Zep has become. A Corporate entity.

Pink Floyd are on hiatus however Roger Waters is still doing the rounds. He is the real deal anyway.

Motley Crue have gone back to the same market places year after year since 2008. The fans are getting burnt on this grab for cash as no new music has been forthcoming expect for the song “Sex”. The movie and the farewell tour are constantly dropped to the public.

Deep Purple should call it a day. They are out of ideas and inspiration.

Styx, Journey, Toto and Night Ranger are shadows of their former selves, doing enough to make a living in the current music business, but out of touch of what the music business fans want from their artists today. Which is a direct line, a connection.

THRASH/GROOVE METAL

Machine Head is the leader in this group. In Robb Flynn, they have a work horse of epic proportions who has the grit to see things through.

Trivium are real contenders. Say what you will about them, one thing is clear; they are not afraid to try new shit out and take risks.

METAL (all styles)

Avenged Sevenfold and Five Finger Death Punch lead this group. They are ticking all the boxes. They have the sales on the board and both are part of the public conversation.

Bullet For My Valentine – have a great album in them. Can they write it?

Stone Sour – should have released one album instead of two.

Sevendust – I love them and the new album was a welcomed return to form.

Disturbed – The Device album had the same impact as the last Disturbed album. Do they still have a place in the Metal world?

Heartist – could be the next big thing or they could crash and burn with their next album as now they have a record label A&R department in their house.

ROCK (all styles)

Shinedown are the new ROCK GODS. Volbeat are not that far behind with Black Veil Brides and Skillet as decent contenders.

Eve To Adam – released a great rock album but no one has heard it.

Buckcherry – veterans of the scene and play to a niche.

Thirty Seconds To Mars – took too long to release a good album. If you are going to take 4 years between releases, you need to release a great album.

Airbourne – fill the AC/DC void when AC/DC is on hiatus.

Alter Bridge – are an experienced team that deliver consistently.

One Less Reason – great music, great songs however if people buy a physical product from them, they need to deliver.

10 Years – a great fan funded release in 2012. Now they need to make some hard decisions. Do they go the fan funded route again or do they seek to get a deal or something entirely different.

DO IT YOURSELF ROCK

Digital Summer – they run their band as a company that puts money back into the band and they still hold down jobs that gives them money for living.

Burnside – released a great album that no one has heard.

Vaudeville – another band that released a great album.

SUPER GROUP

The Night Flight Orchestra – If you haven’t heard “Internal Affairs” from 2012 you need to. TNFO is made up of melodic death metal bands playing classic rock and metal.

PROGRESSIVE METAL/ROCK

Tool – it’s going to be an event when the new Tool album comes out. Is it too late? Time will tell.

Coheed and Cambria – can’t do nothing wrong currently. Excellent double releases, plus great fan perks.

Dream Theater – are doing their best to maintain the success they achieved 10 years ago. Need a great album otherwise it’s bye bye.

TesseracT, Protest The Hero and Periphery are the new leaders of Progressive Music.

Today I Caught The Plague, Sound of Contact, Op Shop, Scale The Summit and Lizzard are rookies to take notice off.

METALCORE (MELODIC DEATH METAL)

Killswitch Engage are firing on all guns.

In Flames need to bring out new music.

All That Remains needs to head back to the studio.

The rest of the bands in this movement need a re-think.

SYMPHONIC METAL/ROCK

Within Temptation – enough said

DEATH METAL

Lamb of God – they are angry and they are pissed off. A bullshit murder trial and banned in a South East Asian country by ignorant pricks.

SHOCK

One final mention; “Du, Du Hast, Du Hast mish a fraud.” Rammstein has a dicka, so let’s get together, what is the problem?

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Derivative Works, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

You Don’t Know Me, But You Will…. From Controversy, Popularity Is Born

I watched Fast 6 the other day, and the final additional scene had me all pumped up. For those that haven’t seen it, I will not spoil it, however it sets up Fast and Furious 7 very nicely. The final words said in the movie, are the words of the villain, “you don’t know me, but you will……..”

Isn’t that what every musician wants. To be known.

So how does it came to be, that the villains end up known to the world and the ones that do real good are forgotten. Does the world at large know the names of the police officers that captured the Boston Bombers? Does the world know the names of the victims that died in the bombing? The answer is NO, however everyone knows about the Bomber brothers, their family links to Chechnya and so forth. Even Rolling Stone has glorified the bombers with their recent front page issue. By doing this, Rolling Stone has sent social media into meltdown.

David Draiman and Nikki Sixx are two rockers leading the outcry against Rolling Stone. It looks like the Rolling Stone magazine is taking the “you don’t know me (or maybe forgot about me), but you will “mantra to heart. Once upon a time Rolling Stone mattered. Today, Rolling Stone is a dead magazine. They needed to do something shocking like Rammstein did with the Pussy video to bring their name back into the mainstream. You can’t get more shocking than putting a terrorist bomber on the front cover, regardless of what kind of story you are trying to sell. The wounds are too fresh.

Another person looking for publicity is Thom Yorke from Radiohead. He has gone onto a Twitter rampage against Spotify and what they pay artists. For those people that didn’t know about Spotify, they sure know about it right now. Every mainstream news story has picked up the story and run with it. Every blog is talking about it, including this one right now.

Thom Yorke on the other hand, should write great quality music as a solo artist and take control of his own catalogue of music. That way he will know exactly what Spotify pays him, instead of waiting for the statements that the labels give him. It’s funny to look back and read stories about how Thom Yorke and Radiohead was praised for releasing an album under a “pay what you want” model. From this recent outburst, it is clear that Thom wasn’t expecting fans to pay nothing for it, however they did. That is why they never tried that model again.

The big grey area that hangs over Spotify is the lack of transparency over the payments made to the labels, because in order for Spotify to operate in the US, the labels wanted a 50% share in the company.

One thing is clear from all of the above, from controversy, popularity is born.

Ozzy Osbourne’s solo career at the beginning was all about controversy. The dove and bat biting incidents, the tragic death of Randy Rhoads, the drinking and partying which lead to the Alamo incident, the court cases about backward messaging on the song Suicide Solution and the drugs.

Motley Crue built a career from controversy with their sexual innuendos, the pentagram on Shout At The Devil, their partying and drug taking lifestyles which lead to the tragic death of Razzle at the hands of an intoxicated Vince Neil and the death and rebirth of Nikki Sixx.

Even Dream Theater experienced controversy when in a Guitar World interview circa 1994, certain musicians from the grunge / alternative scene blasted John Petrucci for playing with no feeling. Since Petrucci responded gracefully that he likes the music that those bands do, all it did was divert people’s attention to Dream Theater.

Did anyone in the mainstream world know that Black Metal existed? Of course the fans of the style did, however it was just a niche. Then churches started to burn and people started to die. So the Black Metal movement is all over the news.

From the Napster controversy, the people got to know that you can find and download mp3’s of music that you liked, from people that had similar tastes. 13 years later, people are still downloading. From the Napster controversy, the people got to know who the RIAA is and how corrupt they really are. Throughout the years, the RIAA popularity as a corrupt organisation has grown tenfold. From the Napster controversy, everyone got to know Lars Ulrich and Metallica. For better or for worse, Metallica had fully become embedded with mainstream media and pop culture. Press Organisations that never reported on Metallica, suddenly where reporting on Metallica.

Metallica in 2013 is now the biggest metal band there is. Did the Napster controversy hurt Metallica? My answer is No it didn’t. It made them bigger, it spread their name out across all the corners of the world and most importantly it made their music available to everyone.

As an artist, that is your mission statement. Your music needs to be available to everyone. It is not about money right now.

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