Alright, kids. Before we start debating about whether modern metal is worth a listen, we’re guessing some of you won’t want to consider giving any band that broke out in the past few years a chance.
We get it: Nothing will replace the classics.
While it’s impossible to ignore the impact of the genre’s pioneering players, I find it hard-pressed to believe that great, imaginative metal music only hails from those early days of the genre. Time and time again, I hear comments that none of today’s metal bands are worth anything. While you’re always going to have your posers, I truly believe many newer metal bands are keeping the genre alive and dynamic.
There’s no doubt that the ‘70s was a magical time for metal. Bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Judas Priest came onto the scene, uniting psychedelic rock and blues in a massively heavy concoction. These revolutionary acts drew huge audiences and created an entirely novel style of music that featured vigorous rhythms, distorted guitars, intense vocals and an unprecedented loudness.
That said, there’s something to be said for paying homage to the early metal greats. Some of my favorite newer metal bands have obviously done their homework and listened to metal from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. Obviously, if your musical inspirations don’t even reach back into the ‘90s, do yourselves a big favor and listen to some of the pioneers of the genre.
Fast-forward to today. Looking at the new breed of metal, I honestly believe there are many hard working bands out there doing their best to gut out new sounds and styles and bring something fresh to the genre. These bands are venturing down new paths and pushing the envelope of what metal in 2012 brings to the heavy music table. Groups like the Devil Wears Prada, Trivium, Battlecross and Demon Hunter are some of the bands I’m currently digging. Musically, these bands pull from a variety of influences and making their own unique art which, in my opinion, is one of the key qualities of a great band of any genre. These bands have learned that if they want to be effective, they have to figure out what they actually want to accomplish as a band. That may seem obvious, but it’s not.
Something that even transcends the music is the message, and I truly believe that a collection of metal bands today have done some soul-searching and asked the tough questions: What do we want to say? What are we going to sound like? What new and different aspect of our music can we bring to the genre? Your music and message are the heart of who you are as a band, and if the focal point of your band isn’t in a good place, people are going to figure that out pretty quickly and move on.
Perhaps some “baby bands” have given the new generation of metal a band name. But rest assured that for every metal band that seems crafted to attract 14-year-old screaming girls, there are others out there carving a unique and exciting path.
So, the next time you’re heading to an Ozzy show, get there early to check out the little guys opening up. Have an open mind. Give them a chance. Let’s support the guys and gals who are pushing the envelope and creating a musical legacy worth experiencing.
What are your thoughts on the current state of metal? Who are some of the newer metal bands you think are worth checking out? Or, do you think the metal bands of today aren’t worth a listen? Let us know in the comments below!