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5 thoughts on “Friday metal – All Hallow’s Eve edition”
I’m not much of a metal fan but I do have a couple of bands I’ve enjoyed. I loved Evanescence’s first major album after they got some attention for their contribution to the Daredevil soundtrack. Also a friend recommended Disturbed and Avenged Sevenfold, both of whom I’ve been listening to lately. Since you are a metal fan I’d like to hear your honest opinion, if you have one, of those three bands. I can take it if you think they suck. I’d just like to know where they fit within broader metal music. (Actually I’m not all that sure that Evanescence belongs in that category.)
It’s ironic that heavy metal–a genre looked down upon by 99% of the population–can within its own ranks be extremely elitist. There’s a kind of “indie rock” syndrome where you prove your cred by being into the most obscure and inaccessible bands possible.
I have a couple of CD’s by Disturbed and enjoy them quite a bit. I’m lukewarm on Evanescence and haven’t really listened to much Avenged Sevenfold (aren’t they kind of Guns ‘n’ Roses-ish?). A lot of “ture” metal fans would regard those three bands as hopelessly mainstream; fortunately, the rest of us can just listen to what we like.
But there’s also a lot of really good stuff that flies under the radar. Here are some recent favorite albums of mine (in no particular order):
1. Mastodon, Blood Mountain
2. Killswitch Engage, The End of Heartache
3. Machine Head, The Blackening
4. Gojira, The Way of All Flesh
5. Between the Buried and Me, Colors
6. Protest the Hero, Fortress
7. As I Lay Dying, An Ocean Between Us
8. Trivium, Shogun
9. In Flames, Come Clarity
10. Soilwork, Sworn to a Great Divide
11. Unearth, In the Eyes of Fire
12. Underoath, Lost in the Sound of Separation
13. Dark Tranquility, Fiction
14. Shadows Fall, Threads of Life
15. Arsis, We Are the Nightmare
I think pretty much all these groups stream music on their MySpace page, so it would be pretty easy to click around and see if there’s anything you like.
(Of course, I’m assuming some basic familiarity with the “classics” of metal–bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest; the 80s thrash metal sound (Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer) incorporated more of a punk attitude (though I think most people would give Motorhead credit for bridging the punk/metal divide first back in the 70s).
More extreme underground metal was largely an offshoot of 80s thrash–that’s where death metal comes from, essentially. And then there’s black metal–a more goth-oriented subgenre that is far more popular in Europe and which, frankly, I don’t really get.
In the late 90s and early 00s you have what people have called “alternative” and “nu” metal — depending on who you talk to, alternative metal could include groups like Jane’s Addiction, Faith No More, Living Colour, etc. who incorporate some elements of metal with funk, alternative rock, etc. “Nu” metal usually refers to bands with a syncopated style and even some hip-hop influences (Korn, Slipknot, Limp Bizkit, and Disturbed)
Recently there has been a so-called New Wave of American Heavy Metal, which includes several of the bands in my list above. A lot of these groups are influenced both by classic 80s thrash metal, European “melodic” death metal, and hardcore punk.
The Wikipedia article on this is fairly exhaustive:
That’s probably more than you wanted to know!
Since we’re on the subject, maybe you can settle something I’ve been wondering for no particular reason. Alice In Chains: metal or grunge?
Both? I say they’re a metal band that got lumped in with grunge because they were from Seattle. Compared with, say, Nirvana, they definitely have more of a metal than a punk-inspired sound. But grunge was always a pretty loose category anyway. (Do Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Nirvana really sound that much alike?) Of course, if your standard for grunge is “any band that appeared on the Singles soundtrack,” then Alice in Chains qualifies (but so, then, do Smashing Pumpkins!).
No, not more than I wanted to know. As you know my rather strange past means I lack a lot of basic knowledge about music. I’ve been listening to some of the alternative rock stations on iTunes. They also have some metal stations. I’ll check those out along with your recommendations. Thanks.