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What's wrong with th current metal scene ?

Discussion in 'Old School Metal Discussion' started by Bruticus, Jul 1, 2018.

  1. Bruticus

    Bruticus Member

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    Obviously I've got an idea of my own (concerning that question) but reading different opinions and perspectives is always interesting and can be eye opening (although I swear, mine are open right now, I'm not THAT good around my keyboard) (apologies: I love horrendous humor).

    Here's an objective argument that could at least settle the matter somewhat and get this topic going: of the now many decades of metal we've had, 80's til the 2010's, all the "classics" are very widely considered to be the better albums of the earier decades, not the latest. A legendary monolith of metal is Morbid Angel, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Cannibal Corpse (love em or hate em personally, that's a fact) - NOT Tesseract, Braindrill, or Animals as Leaders. Some would answer they haven't had the time to gain 'legendary status', but I still push the argument I don't think that's what's going to alter the equation, the first batch are clearly legendary, the second (contemporary ones) feel more 'experimental' if anything. Like their experimental prowess is praisable - but not legends. It seems it's quality (older bands) vs experimental/technical exploration (newer).

    What d'ya think ?
     
  2. Bloopy

    Bloopy Member

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    Seems your title should read "what's wrong with modern metal music". The 'scene' refers as much to the behaviour & enthusiasm of fans or how often bands play live etc.

    How quickly an album becomes a classic probably depends on how wide its appeal is and how much competition it has. Technical music tends to have a narrow appeal. Also, technology has levelled the playing field a lot. Making recordings is much cheaper and fans can sift through 100s of new albums in each subgenre every year. It's no longer just a few bands getting signed and reaching mainstream record stores/the radio and having a big chance of achieving a classic.

    I think a classic album is likely to be one that helps cement an emerging subgenre and/or has a wider influence than just within its niche. First examples I'd name from the last 20 years are Sleep - Dopesmoker and Electric Wizard - Dopethrone. They were too heavy for stoner rock but too stoned for doom metal, escalating the need for a 'stoner metal' tag. Any 'modern' subgenres will have their classics, but it's almost impossible to imagine a thrash metal album from 2018 quickly becoming a classic because the genre's been around for so long.
     
  3. Bruticus

    Bruticus Member

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    ^ yeah you're right, *current metal music not 'scene' my bad !

    Well I'd reiterate the argument that older bands were all about song writing quality: you say a classic band is defined by how it can establish a genre, but many bands that did achieve that weren't particularly good musically they were just original at that time and happened to become very influential.
    I could name bands but I don't want to get ppl angry at me ! Instead I'll name bands that were both very original/influential AND really good musically: Morbid Angel. Slayer. It wouldn't have mattered whether they were influential or just fit in an already established scene, because their music was that good they would've stood out anyway. I mean whether "God of Emptiness" came out in 93 as it did, or in 2000 essentially wouldn't have mattered as to how great and unique it is.
     
  4. Bloopy

    Bloopy Member

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    Maybe quality is the wrong word, because the newer experimental/technical stuff you refer to is quality in its own way. The older bands were motivated to write catchy hits or songs you could sing along to. So not necessarily higher quality songwriting, but popular, high quality entertainment.

    I only discovered death metal in 2000 when mp3s came along, and first heard God of Emptiness a few years later on TV. I liked that it was catchy, but it was completely drowning in nu metal and groove metal by that point. It's hard to imagine it would've found quite the same success, even if it deserved it. And if it didn't achieve wide success then they wouldn't be talked up as being legendary by enough people. Even if you do find a band from the 2000s that you personally think should be listed up there with Morbid Angel, not many people will agree with your choice because there are so many other bands and sub-subgenres to appeal to their taste instead.

    I don't think there's anything "wrong" with that. Especially coming from NZ where there were hardly any local metal bands I liked before about 2008. Around that time there was a resurgence of speed/thrash, traditional, and stoner/doom metal. I guess bands also became more mature, got access to better technology and started putting out better quality recordings.
     
  5. Bruticus

    Bruticus Member

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    Quality is the wrong word ? Perhaps. I can't for the life of me though compare in terms of quality, just sheer quality, older bands to the newer ones. I think catchiness is just a natural condition to good music, as a general rule. Even the most twisted, full on chromatic band needs to be coherent enough musically that the riffs carry that natural value to them, and that patented memorable quality. A good musical theme is a memorable one, surely.
    I'm not promoting radio friendly metal, but God of Emptiness for instance is by no means that. I realize it even featured on Beavis n Butthead lol, but eh, I mean it's just really brilliantly written material isn't it.

    But anyways, I'm only here just exposing my own opinion of what's wrong with contemporary metal, whereas I'm looking for outside opinions instead.
     
  6. Bloopy

    Bloopy Member

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    My listening is biased towards older bands as well. I often prefer bands' raw early stuff (if the production is ok), and groundbreakers who weren't necessarily that good musically (The Runaways, Plasmatics, Venom etc.). But I'd say that's more due to the attitude and intensity captured. I don't have a musical ear and I see this all as a matter of taste.

    In case it's of any relevance, here are a few of my favourite tracks from the past 10 years or so:
    Razorwyre - Battleshark
    The House Of Capricorn - Coffins & Cloven Hooves
    1989 - Take My Hand

    Admittedly both Razorwyre and 1989 were aiming for a retro sound, but then the more technical and arty bands channel old school influences too.
     
  7. Bruticus

    Bruticus Member

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    I see. Well bias is bias, bias is only bias. Personal preference, stops there. But I'd make plenty of arguments about why the older stuff was easily better, and not because 'I just want it to be', but for actual reasons - but again this isn't about me exposing my own arguments.

    Just basically: music is inspired by the society of its time, and I think there was plenty more positive influence to be tapped into during the past 3-4 decades than the current. It doesn't seem a coincidence (in fact quite the contrary) that not just metal, but everything sucks atm, which of course stirs controversy every time I say that but. There.

    Lsnd to your first two (third didn't work). Not my thing personally. Although I would tell you it still had more character and genuinness than anything I hear nowadays if I'm perfectly honest !
     
  8. Storrsson

    Storrsson New Metal Member

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    If you look at the "classic" bands (like many of those listed already), they all seem to be about pushing the envelope: Sabbath, Motorhead, Priest/Maiden, Venom, Celtic Frost, Death/Possessed (and then Morbid Angel, Deicide), Bathory, the Norwegian BM scene and so on - these bands became known not only because they were proficient songwriters/players, but also because they "kicked it up a notch" from what had come before. After '94-'95, with Death Metal becoming a household name and the initial explosion of Norse BM reaching its apex, everybody seems to have floundered. Now there's lots of exploration "within" genres, but not a whole lot of ground to cover beyond those genres. People have experimented with industrial influences, folk music influences, jazz style stuff and all sorts (even this awful "electro-metal" that came out about a decade ago, with dubstep and dance influences), but nobody really knows where to go to push "metal" to a new extreme. So that's why we're seeing a lot of retro bands rehashing sounds from the past - we're plumbing the depths of what has been revealed by forerunners, while those forerunners are all lauded as "classic" bands that produced "classic" albums - and quite rightly. We'll never have another Altars of Madness, even if someone creates an album that is equally as good in that genre - precisely because Altars of Madness was released nearly 30 years ago. A new Altars of Madness might be a great album, but it won't be "classic" because it's already been done.

    I'm a composer, so this is a pretty interesting topic for me. I'm not satisfied doing what everyone's done before, but I can't deny that I have to base my music on what people have done before, to whatever degree. So I'm personally trying to find "grey areas" in between genres that haven't been looked at totally - like incorporating the heaviness of death metal into a speed metal context, or pushing the "pagan black metal" idea further than it's been taken (again by incorporating e.g. more Venom influence than Bathory/Norse BM). But it's very hard to look at the wide range of metal genres available today and think "hmm, how can I evolve this?" Because you can't go heavier on the distortion - that's been done; you can't go heavier on the vocals - that's been done; you can't go faster on the drumming - that's been done; you can't go more extreme on the lyrical themes - that's been done. On and on and on, whatever you think of, it's been done - there would appear to be no more envelope to push.

    So maybe now we're at a point where, instead of helping the genre to evolve, we need to be looking at bands that really encapsulate what metal's about, whatever their genre of choice is. "Classic" albums from the past couple of decades will likely be those that didn't necessarily invent anything new or "overcome" their predecessors in terms of heaviness, extremity, power etc., but will be those that stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the albums we know as classics today, and shone a different light on the path that metal had already taken by the time they came to releasing their record. I don't agree with people who say that "metal is dead", since humanity is pretty much fully-evolved (contentious, I know), and we ain't dead yet. Stagnating, perhaps, but we're still around, and some of us are doing cool stuff. I think it's the same with metal. In between the cracks, there are bands here and there - known or unknown - that are doing very good things with the tools that were unveiled for us by the "classic" bands of the past, and time will tell which bands those are (and which albums). Eventually, quality will overcome quantity, and thousands of ok-but-not-great albums will be forgotten in favour of one or two extraordinary albums from any one year in any one genre.

    (Oh, and another thing - mainstream attention. Metal didn't become a mainstream genre like other outsider genres in the '80s and '90s - the media tried to bring it in, and things like Nu Metal, emo etc. happened (which did get news reports), but by and large, after the Death Metal explosion of the turn of the '90s and the Norwegian Black Metal "mafia" of the early '90s, the mainstream media basically gave metal the finger and said "do it on your own". Priest and Maiden got a lot more exposure in the '80s than Rhapsody and Averse Sefira did in the '00s. Nowadays you'll only see a metal band on mainstream media if the singer's girlfriend got sacrificed to a pet goat or something (or, alternatively, accusations of "nazism" etc. can still bring the press). The shock value is all that there is for the media, so they won't report on musicians just doing their thing. Maybe that's down to the Norwegian BM scene. But it seems harder for good metal bands to get the attention they deserve nowadays - metal in general, too - because there aren't any decent rags picking up on them. Terrorizer's just died a death here in Britain, used to be one of the biggest extreme metal mags in the business. Now everyone's online, the online metal news is often selective because there's just so much to look at, and a lot of newcomers to the genre have no idea where to hear about what's good and what's bad outside of the first few links on Google. So I think that has a part to play too, if only a small one. No attention from outside of the metal community.)
     
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  9. rusty water

    rusty water Member

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    The people whom played in and wrote in the original metal bands came from / were brought up in a different era than the new bands. This will make for a much much different type of music.
     

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