Down With The Sickness: God Forbid’s Doc Coyle Takes on Mainstream Metal
When it comes to music (and other things really), I tend to play devil’s advocate. If everyone is shitting on a certain band, for some reason, I become more attracted to that band and seek them out. I don’t know what it is about my personality, but I think it stems from the same perspective that inspired me to write the antagonistic blog about rethrash. It may be a character flaw, but I’m sure it has something to do with a need to be an individual. From what I gather, this website is inhabited mainly by “true” metal heads. What I define as “true” are people whom are purists in the realm of metal and usually scoff at any band or trend that reeks of premeditated commercialism or an overt play for popularity, and who usually demand a certain level of musicianship and underground credibility. These fans usually hate every Metallica record after …And Justice For All, and for that matter always prefer any particular band’s older releases, which usually have a more raw and unrefined recording quality, as well as more abstract, less traditional song writing. For example, they will prefer Carcass’s Necrotiscim to Heartwork, or Morbid Angel’s Blessed Are The Sick to Domination. Oh yeah, and these guys gave up on In Flames and Soilwork years ago.
I have a good deal of that purism in my bones, but it always seemed short sighted and close minded. You have no idea how many arguments the Adler brothers from Lamb of God and I have gotten into over the merits of a particluar Metallica or Megadeth record. If you even bring up Disturbed or Limp Bizkit on MetalSucks, it is mocked and disregarded 100% of the time. I think metal heads often have a sheep mentality because of the fear of being viewed by their peers as less credible for liking bands that aren’t considered “true” or “real” enough. We all have guilty pleasures, but the real question is “Why should we feel guilty about something we enjoy?”
Glam Metal used to be the go to punching bag for purists, but over the years grew a soft spot in our collective heavy metal hearts because its fun, party anthem, escapist traits induce nostalgia, and are not to be taken too seriously. In the last decade or so, Nu Metal became the piñata for every metal head to beat on. I get it. There were a million shitty Nu Metal bands, and the DJ’s, the hip-hop Hot Topic fashion, and severe lack of talent in many of these bands was pretty unbearable. With that said, there are bunch of bands that came out, or at least started out, in that genre that I consider myself to be a real fan of, like Korn, Deftones, Slipknot, Linkin Park, Nothingface, Sevendust, System of a Down, and Ill Nino. And, yes, I enjoy Disturbed from time to time, and even own a Limp Bizkit record. I don’t feel guilty about it, and I don’t see why it’s weird to like this and also love Cynic, Amon Amarth, or Symphony X. At least, I wish it didn’t come off as weird.
One thing I figured out a long time ago is that you can always learn something from a musical act that is at least GOOD AT WHAT THEY DO. Meaning, you might be in a kick-ass thrash band that sounds like Exodus and shreds hard as fuck, but it doesn’t exactly mean you could write and perform Drowning Pool’s songs as well as they do, even if you think they suck. So even if you don’t like a band, you can at least respect their talent, and that they do have for their niche. I also believe that the fact that many of these mainstream heavy bands are incredibly popular and successful, whether it’s Avenged Sevenfold or Godsmack, gives them a certain credibility. I’ve debated this point for years, and I understand that it comes off as shallow. “Just because people like it, doesn’t mean it’s good.” That is a true statement, but that’s not what I’m arguing against. What I am saying is that it is an extremely difficult task to create music and have a band that connects to millions of people. All these guys who can shred their asses off and play double bass at 220 bpm will talk shit all day about a mainstream band, but couldn’t write a hit song to save their lives. If it was easy, than way more bands would be blowing up, trust me. I give a great deal of respect to bands like Tool or Muse or even Killswitch Engage, who utilize a very high level of musicianship and technicality, but frame it in a way that the average Joe can understand and enjoy it. Chris Rock said something that I thought was really profound: “If your work is so smart that only smart people get it, than it’s not that smart.” And that’s coming from a smart motherfucker!
I completely understand where the animosity comes from. Yin and yang theory. Without the mainstream, the underground would have nothing to rebel against. I used to be that angry kid who only liked the most brutal shit available. The ironic thing is that the bands we came up with, like LOG, Killswitch, Shadows Fall, All That Remains, and Trivium, which were in some ways a rebellion against the Nu Metal era, have become the new metal mainstream that a whole new generation is rebelling against – hence the rise of the technical, progressive scene and deathcore, etc. It’s the way of the world I suppose. All I’m saying is that talking shit about a band that everyone else is talking shit about isn’t cool, it’s predictable. So do like I do when Nickelback or Creed comes on the radio: be the rebel. Don’t turn the station, turn it up! I know I will catch a lot of shit for this, but be honest and let me know if I’m not alone for feeling this way.
God Forbid will be touring with Kittie, another mainstream metal band a lot of you probably hate for no real reason, starting in March. Check out God Forbid’s MySpace page for dates!