CULT BANDS YOU WOULD’VE HATED/IGNORED IN 1995
While these days metal fandom is basically just a contest to see who can fap harder and faster to obscure technical death metal, it wasn’t always that way. In fact, many of the bands that internet metal nerds regard as legendary icons today were either hated or ignored when they were at their peak — fellow oldz will know exactly what I’m talking about. In this post, I will remind us all what fickle, trendy conformists metal fans can be by taking a stroll down memory lane and recalling vintage popular opinion of a few of your pet bands (hint: it wasn’t good!).
BANDS YOU WOULD HAVE HATED
I can make a pretty strong case for “Hammer Smashed Face” being the best death metal song of all time
In the mid/late 90s, there was no more hated trend that what were dubbed “Suffoclones.” You didn’t hear ME complaining, because I can listen to generic NYDM until the cows come home (o hai Baphomet, Morpheus Descends, Dehumanized, and Wasteform) but it was a fair criticism — there were zillions and zillions of bands who did their best to sound exactly like Effigy of the Forgotten and Tomb of the Mutilated. Only because the bands weren’t as talented, many of the releases sucked. I like to think of Jungle Rot as the ultimate example of the Suffo/Cannibal style running out of steam; they were truly one of the most extraordinarily ordinary bands of all time. In any case, I’m happy to see that both of these bands are highly regarded today, but go pick up some issues of Metal Maniacs from 1996 or so if you want to see how many haters they had at the time.
My personal favorite Pestilence song, “Multiple Beings”
Many MetalSucks readers probably think I’m some sixteen year-old Hot Topic kid who listens to Attack Attack! and The Devil Wears Prada while I look at my candy-colored DC high tops in the mirror, but in the 90s, I was all about progressive death metal. And when it comes to 90s progressive death metal, it doesn’t get much better than the holy trinity of Cynic, Atheist and Pestilence — the records these guys put out nearly twenty years ago are still incredible examples of musicianship, new ideas, and fearless experimentation (especially when you consider that they didn’t have nearly as many studio tricks to work with as we do today). Unfortunately, like most people who do something new, forward-thinking and innovative, nearly everybody fucking HATED them at the time. As Kelly Shaefer mentioned in his recent MS interview with Atheist, their fresh ideas were not well received — I forget who it was, but I specifically remember some exceedingly dull, mediocre band like Sinister saying in a Metal Maniacs interview, “You’re not going to see us sell out and do some kind of trendy, jazz fusion nonsense like some bands.” Basically, everybody hated the jazz stuff these bands did, and wanted them to go back to playing the relatively standard death/thrash metal on their demos. I’d like to think they got the last laugh in that they’re rightfully held up as pioneers and visionaries these days, but I bet they would have been happier with some positive feedback two decades earlier.
BANDS YOU WOULD HAVE IGNORED
The bands above were widely hated on, but also had their fans. As they say, I don’t care what you say about me as long as you spell my name right — what really stings is when nobody gives a fuck what you are doing. Such is the case for countless innovative metal bands in the 90s who are substantially more popular now than they were at the time. Believe me, NOBODY gave a flying fuck about Watchtower or whatever back in the day. It was only around 2001 or so that many of these bands were discovered — I think a lot of that is because it was fucking impossible to get their records when they came out, and it wasn’t until technology made mp3s easily available that people could actually hear their music. I’ll just run through a few of my favorites, but I could literally name a hundred bands who went tragically ignored in the 90s — I may do “Album of the Day” posts about some of these if you are into any of them.
Confessor’s Condemned is a masterpiece of technical doomy death metal, with some of the best drumming I’ve heard to this day — so brutally bleak and depressing!
Demilich were an extremely odd band from Finland whose record was easily a decade ahead of its time. The vocals on this album were absolutely unheard of at the time (1991) — nobody was doing vocals this fucking low, and nobody really knew what to make of it.
Featuring Rom Jarzombek on guitar, Watchtower were one of the first and best technical thrash/speed metal bands and were completely ignored by all but the hardest-core guitar dorks. Still sounds sick to me.
I definitely need to write an in-depth post about the legendary HAVOHEJ and PROFANATICA, who were doing raw, lo-fi black metal years before most of the dorks in Scandanvia despite hailing from the unlikely locale of Hudson County, New Jersey. Dethrone The Son of God still peels paint if you ask me, and Havohej’s later, more atmospheric stuff was sooooooooo far ahead of its time that I still don’t think it’s gotten the recognition it deserves.
THE LESSON: DON’T HATE, CONGRATULATE!
Whether it’s music, art, or science, most pioneers and original thinkers are despised, ridiculed or simply ignored until the masses finally catch up and realize that they were right all along. For most of us, the natural reaction to anything new that challenges our existing ideas is to get stangry and find a reason to reject it, but as my friend Chase Jarvis once told me, “Don’t hate, congratulate!”
No joke, the new Attack Attack! record is fucking awesome, especially when you consider that I think all the members are under 21 — it’s honestly ahead of its time and pioneering
I’m not suggesting that you have to like anything and everything that’s new, but I am suggesting that you don’t immediately reject everything that doesn’t sound familiar — try thinking for yourself and challenging yourself to expand your horizons instead of angrily mashing your keyboard in a fit of nerdrage. I think you’ll find it liberating to look for the good in new things, rather than find reasons to cut them down. Being a hater is for entry-levellers and betas, true alphas are confident and aren’t threatened by newcomers!
What other bands were despised in their prime but are now highly regarded?? Did you hop on the Demilich bandwagon in 2001?? Will kids in 2025 look at Winds of Plague, Attack Attack, Big Chocolate and Cephalotripsy in the same way as today’s beardos fawn over Cynic and Atheist??