I believe that most metal and hard rock fans have relatively wide musical tastes. A lot of times we come across music that doesn’t necessarily form part of our normal listening habits, but we are still happy with it and enjoy it. The saying normally goes; meet a person rooted in metal and you will find other non-metal music that form their listening habits.
But sometimes we come across people who like to waste their time and energy on hating music that is not metal. You know the ones, who keep on saying it’s not heavy enough, you can’t call this metal and so on. And if you look at the comments to YouTube clips and articles, you can see some serious debates between patriotic metal heads with their fixed mindsets and others. One thing is clear, the patriot will never abandon their valued opinion.
When Grunge hit the airwaves I was cold towards it. But going back to the 70’s musical output in the 90’s and then reading the interviews with the Grunge artists, I saw there wasn’t much of a difference when it came to influences. Those same artists/guitarists that Jake E Lee and Randy Rhoads liked Stone Gossard and Jerry Cantrell also liked. Those same artists that James Hetfield liked, well, Jerry Cantrell also liked em.
Everyone changes. We abandoned sending letters in order to send emails. We gave up dial-up internet for broadband. We gave up analog telephones for mobile phones and eventually smart phones. Typewriters went out in favour of computers. Film cameras got replaced by digital cameras. Laptops replaced desktops and tablets are replacing laptops. So for all of life’s other pleasures, people can change and adapt different viewpoints, but for music, people can’t. Then again there is no rulebook when it comes to music. I remember when Dokken splintered and my friend asked me, who will I support, Lynch Mob or Don Dokken. I said to him, why can’t I support both. Same deal with Motley and Vince, Ozzy and Jake.
But the Classic Rock and MTV acts forgot what their dedicated fans wanted. Metallica taking 8 years to make a new album is completely missing the point. In today’s music world, you need to be in the game. Cut a track today and release it the next. The best music that lasts forever isn’t the music with the best promotions and marketing behind them. The music that lasts forever is the music that fans decide should last forever. We know it when we hear it.
And do we still get that kind of music these days?
Are artists stuck in sequel mania, delivering derivative copies of albums they delivered before, which generates cash, satisfies a few but leaves a lot unsatisfied?
When it’s hard to get peoples’ attention, are artists avoiding the albums where they try to grow and experiment with each release?
What’s the last big blockbuster release we’ve had in the metal or rock world?
That’s right it goes back to 1991 and Metallica’s “Black” album. Even in the 90’s, when the labels controlled the market, there was not a metal or rock blockbuster that topped the “Black” album. But then in 2000, when piracy was decimating the recording business (according to the labels and the RIAA), a band called Linkin Park release an album called “Hybrid Theory” and it became a blockbuster. The follow-up “Meteora” released in 2003 is no different. Having lived through the era of Linkin Park so far, I can say each record is a little bit different from the last. On a few occasions, they kept pushing the envelope and delivered something totally different to what they became famous for while their contemporaries repeated the formula. But Linkin Park is still here, not too sure on their contemporaries.
“What I do best is play thrash music. Having labels and management tell us we had to do a follow-up to “A tout le monde” or we had to do a follow-up to “Symphony” or saying we had to write another radio song—you know, if I could do that, I would, but I’m a thrash guitar player, and I got lucky with those songs.”
It’s about vision and freedom. When Shinedown took the hard rock world by storm with “The Sound Of Madness” in 2007 (their 3rd album by the way), it wasn’t on the back of a huge social media campaign, nor was it with a corporate sponsor. All they did was make great music and the fans did the rest. What a great concept. And Brent Smith has the freedom to create what he wants. No one told Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath what to record. They delivered what they wanted to and the label’s only aim was to sell it. What an amazing concept?
Deliver something fantastic, people will pay in mass