With the exception of maybe classical, I cannot think of a genre more fixated on the past than metal. I’ve been listening to metal for 25 years, and from what I can tell, the metal scene has remained frozen in 1995. In contrast to other genres, who are all about what’s fresh, new and interesting, metal just seems content to keep talking about the same fucking bands year after year after year, and I just don’t get it.
For example, look at the lineups of these two recent fests. I am pretty sure that MISERY INDEX is the newest band on the main portion of the bill, and they are 15 years old!! The rest of them might as well torn straight from the reviews section of Metal Maniacs in 1996. I mean it’s 2013 and someone gave top billing to fucking MORGOTH?!?! Really???? They were the definition of “bands whose album I bought in 1993 on cassette for $2, listened to once or twice and forgot about because zzzzzz.” Or look at the last few guests on the MS podcast: Billy Milano (SOD/MOD), Death Angel, Slayer, Deicide and DRI. Those are all 80s bands!!
I don’t really even think it’s a case of the typical, idiotic “older = better” mentality that you see so often in music. Yes, there is a certain amount of that, but I think it’s mostly that metal fans are just totally stuck in the past for whatever reason, like your uncle that corners you at family gatherings to lecture you about how they “don’t make cars like they used to” and the ’69 Mustang was the last good car they ever made and how you should quit driving that Honda Civic made out of plastic by some Orientals and get a REAL car. Replace “Honda Civic” with the contemporary band of your choice and “’69 Mustang” with Death or Metallica and it might as well be the comments section of this site.
I feel like there are two things going on here:
- The metal scene is so creatively bankrupt that it hasn’t really produced anything interesting since the 90s. Other than I guess djent, I can’t really think of any significant new ideas or genres since then. Bands just keep reiterating the same ideas, and it’s usually not very interesting. So why listen to some 3rd-generation copycats when you can listen to the band who invented it? I mean let’s be real, are there any metal bands these days doing shit as groundbreaking, unique and compelling as what OBITUARY, CYNIC, or SUFFOCATION did 20-25 years ago? And I’m not a black metal fan, but I’ll be the first to admit that what all the Scando bands did was some groundbreaking shit– and 20 years later, the genre is still essentially just a bunch of bands copying what they did two decades before.
- Metal fans are narrowminded and unsophisticated, and hate on anything new or groundbreaking that does come along. This is also nothing new. If you were around in the 90s, you will remember that people HAAAAAATED Focus and Effigy of the Forgotten when they came out. The same ponytailed dorks who jizz over that album today were the same ones who hated it at the time because it didn’t sound like fucking Ride the Lightning or whatever. The so-called “fans” discourage musical innovation and reward those who slavishly imitate the past.
I don’t know about you, but I think it’s pretty embarrassing. I mean fucking MOVE ON you losers — things have changed since the days when the Super Nintendo was the console of choice, Bill Clinton was president, and Miley Cyrus was just a lump in her daddy’s pants. If you’re in a band, do something new and different that we haven’t heard literally 10,000 times before. And if you’re a fan, up your fucking game and learn to appreciate innovation.