Question Of The Week: Heavy Metal Solo Albums By The Pound?
If you’ve ever inspected a platinum album plaque that was awarded to KISS, then you might have had occasion to wonder how on earth that happened. It’s like the honors of Most Delicious Beverage bestowed on a shot glass of salt water. Still, you can admire their 1978 release of four “solo” albums, each lead by a different member and bearing his face on its cover. In the hands of a less cynically commercial band, that scheme could net a windfall of awesome jams (short term) and boost the creative health of the band unit (long term). It could be the most fun thing ever!
So you wish that someday your favorite band splays itself across a handful of simultaneous solo releases. And it seems like a longshot, until one uncompromising group staffed by distinct creative types threatens to do it! Hope is alive! In this dreamy Question Of The Week, let’s talk about who should — nay, must — do it next!
Inspired by Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s plans to roll out four albums — one for each of its members’ preferred style — we ask our staff:
What band do you want to simultaneously release a “solo” album by each of its members — under the band’s banner and backed by their bandmates — like KISS but awesome?
We reply below! So do you! Don’t say “Any band but Trivium”!
Metallica. I admired Lulu (kind of impossible to like Lulu, of course, but that’s the point), and I’d rather see Metallica fall on their faces than hear them try yet again to remind people of how great they used to be. What better way than four “solo” albums?? James Hetfield’s contribution would be a glorious ocean of garbled YEAHs and chubby, lazy riffs. Kirk Hammett would surely go spiritual, which might result in a trimmed down All Things Must Pass (but terrible and awkward instead of transcendent like All Things Must Pass). Lars would fuse The Datsuns with Angel Witch and somehow manage to greatly dishonor them both. And, predictably, Rob Trujillo would make something really fucking good, thus causing the band to rush back into the studio to try to top it. And fail. Miserably.
DAVID LEE ROTHMUND
Periphery, because they’re kind of already doing that. No, seriously, ever considered what Mastodon would be like split into separate albums for each member? Not everybody realizes that those dudes are incredible musicians on their own because, ya know, Mastodon has that chemistry. Brann Dailor is one of the world’s greatest drummers, but get Bill and Brent to burst out on their own accord and we’d have something delicious. Also, remember those Remission/Leviathan days when Troy didn’t sing?
Iron Maiden. The laws of nature suggest that the members of metal’s most consistent band have changed as people since they took up their instruments in 1836 or whenever. So in 2014, they have new things to express and different ways to do it — though they honor Iron Maiden and its awesome identity. But six solo albums (!) represent a tidy way to snapshot each Maiden man and his tighter focus and post-GAF creativity. Just as I’d write a sequel to Van Halen’s 1984, singer Bruce Dickinson would author a tribute to his beloved Deep Purple; from Jannick Gers we could expect a heavy blues concept album about the life of a guy who resembles Robert Plant; though comparatively rare, a Dave Murray writing credit adorns some of Maiden’s most impressive songs (this, this, this, this), so his LP could be the most belated coming-out party ever; Steve Harris could merge the get-off-my-lawn griping of “The Age Of Innocence” with Killers-style punk metal; the drummer could vent his sun-fried spirituality — with a swing, baby; and ace songwriter-axeman Adrian Smith’s 60 minutes would combine heavy, hooky hitmaking with soul-stirring guitars so awesomely as to spur a mass defection by fans of Pink Floyd, ’80s Yes, and Dream Theater. Drool.
Lamb of God. I’m not sure how the John Campbell album would sound — I just don’t know him well enough — but I bet the others would be awesome. The Mark Morton solo effort would be thrashy and punishing, the Randy Blythe hardcore punk record (or spoken word recollection of his prison stint) would be totally vitriolic, and the Adler albums would both be dynamic and powerful (though since they’re brothers, I keep imagining it as an Adler Brothers record: The Adler Conspiracy, as it were). That’s a band whose individual parts are so exceptional that I can only imagine them being awesome on their own. Though who knows? Maybe the combination is what makes them great.