Wednesday, August 27, 2014

On Metal.

Hey bastard sons and daughters, I'm Tanelorn. I think I was the last host for MI, before it died its sorrowful death. I unveil myself today to talk about a topic that has been on my mind.

"What the hell are we going to do after Maiden and Priest hang up leather?"or, more broadly, "where is metal going?"

Now, before the pitchforks come out, let me explain. The bands that formed our illustrious genre, for the most part, are still playing. Ozzy and the boys in Sabbath just released a surprisingly solid record, Priest has been around for ages, Motorhead is still going, these bands that created a sonic wall for our ears are still amongst the recording world. But, as sad it may seem, these bands will not last forever. The last time I forced myself to realize this was when Dio went to the great gig in the sky, but these thoughts aren't really far from my mind. In 2010, Iron Maiden released the record, "The Final Frontier." Now that's ominous as hell, isn't it? Just this year, Judas Priest put out their potential swan song, "Redeemer of Souls." Now, that album titles isn't as foreboding as Maiden's, but let's take a peak at the tracklist. On the single disc, we have "Beginning of the End" tying the album up, but on the double-disc version, we have "Never Forget," which honestly sounds like a band that has come to terms with their mortality.

I hate to bum you out, because much like you, these bands helped form my fandom. Not every metal fan holds these same bands as near to their hearts as I do, for some people that may be Immortal and Mayhem, or Metallica and Kreator, but regardless, the facts are the same. These bands have to stop producing music at some point.

But, not all hope is lost. We have no shortage of bands to listen to, but I ask you, fellow bastards, who will pick up the mantle of these metal gods? Who will we have our kids listen to in 10-20 years and say, "Man, little dude(tte), you missed some killer shows."?

I put forth that we, as fans, have to demand a higher standard from our record labels. To Metal Blade's credit, they tend to have a very strong stable of artists, but Road Runner has been a bit of a joke for a while. SPV and Nuclear Blast are a couple other big ones. But the point is the same. Slipknot has a new album coming out, and for some reason there is excited buzz from the metal scene. Not since "Iowa" is this really acceptable. Now I understand that Slipknot is a bit of low-hanging fruit, but that doesn't change anything. We need to try and scour our scene's label sites and look for new bands. Like reddit, the label sees the world in "upvotes." Except their upvotes decide the careers of young bands. This next point sounds a bit old mannish, but we need to support the scene. That means money changing hands. Now, I'm not advocating going out to Best Buy and buying the newest Five Finger Death Punch album simply because their metalish, but I am getting more at the point that younger bands like Portrait, recent Metal Blade signees Visigoth (shameless name drop), Gypsyhawk, Enforcer,  High Spirits, or any nearly unlimited number of bands need to see support. And when looking through the eyes of a label exec, that means record sales. What does Nuclear Blast think if Sabaton's new record flops? They think they have a band that doesn't really click with "kids these days" and they look to the end of their contract as a light at the end of a tunnel. There is a scene worldwide that every single reader here is a part of. We all listen to the music, we all love to see the shows, and we love to wear our band swag with pride. I personally have enough Maiden shirts to wear a new one every day for nearly two weeks.

This isn't something that's easy to accomplish. Buying records is shitty because we don't all have money, but why should we demand that these younger bands keep making music while they don't see any reward? For me, the answer is Spotify. The bands make money off of plays, sometimes I contemplate playing an entire album just for the sake of them getting plays. Looking at bands like High Spirits or Enforcer and seeing their top played tracks have so few plays is a crime. These bands are killer, and we can buy happiness for like ten bucks a month.

We're at an intriguing crossroads in metal and we need to figure out what to do. We need to sort out which bands are worth supporting, we need to support those bands that are already established, like Amon Amarth or King Diamond, and we need to try and go out of our way to support them. Myself and some friends drove to Chicago from KC to see Iron Maiden. Myself, my girlfriend, and my best friend road tripped to Utah for the same reason. This fall/winter, I will be driving all over the midwest for the amazing shows coming up. King Diamond is finally healthy enough to tour, Sonata Arctica is coming around, Sabaton will be on the road with Amon Amarth. To quote Jasper from the Simpsons, "What a time to be alive." But instead of Moon Pies, we have metal! Seriously, I can't even imagine what to do with so many bands to listen to. But back to Jasper, if you don't listen to new music, that's a paddling. Seriously, we need to carve out legacies for bands just hitting their strides. A popular comic has a butterfly urging us to bring back 80s speed metal. What better way than to listen to KC's own Vanlade or Enforcer? And if you don't dig on the bands in the scene, start a band! If you live in Podunk, WY or Taint Fart, ID, get on the internet and join the discussion boards on Metal Archives, comment on Blabbermouth and tell to stop talking about Slipknot. We have an opportunity that we haven't seen since the Real British Invasion, the NWOBHM, to help decide the future of metal. We need to seize the day and spread the word about rocking new bands. If there's a band in your scene that doesn't have a label deal or a website, get them to throw their tunes up on band camp our YouTube and just share the crap out of their songs. YouTube is basically the tape trading scene from the 80s, but it's on an unimaginable scale. The amount of people that can be reached by posting a demo up on the 'Tube is mind-boggling. If it weren't for some metal brothers, I'd have never discovered how balls to the wall awesome Hibria is. I'd have never found out about the silly-voiced majesty of Manilla Road. If it weren't for the Wikipedia Game, I'd never have listened to Crimson Glory.

So I leave with a few demandments. Share your favorite artists. Support their music monetarily. Be loud and proud about new bands that rock. Just support the worldwide metal scene. What we take for granted in the states or Europe is a HUGE deal to new metalheads in Iran or Saudi Arabia. Like Sam Dunn showed, metal is global, and we live in a time period that is unlike any other.

To quote Vanlade, "Stay heavy or die."

PS: I hope you guy at least enjoyed my rambling. My next post won't be such a bummer or suck so hard.