Thursday, April 29, 2010
Will the New Wave of True Heavy Metal (NWOTHM) bands have to modernise their style to succeed?
Question: Do you think the nwothm bands at some point will have to adapt with the times to get anywhere i mean as much as i love cauldron, white wizard and enforcer im sure at some point the market is going to dry up as people will tire of that sound and do you feel that the bands may have to take a more modern metal approach sort of like what evile have done with thrash or biomechanical or even the other extreme like aussies electrik dynamite have done eg keeping the traditional metal elements but sprinkeling a touch of modern aspects? From:
Answer: I think you are missing the point dude, the new young NWOTHM bands on the Earache label like Enforcer, Cauldron and White Wizzard all play HEAVY METAL precisely because they aren't into what passes for metal in the current climate. If you talk to them, they just don't have an appreciation for or even relate to the likes of Pantera, Lamb of God, Mastodon, and certainly not Killswitch Engage/Bullet For My Valentine or whatever is deemed 'metal' by 99.9% of the metallic population.
To these bands, downtuned guitars, sludgy riffs and extreme growly vocals are seriously unhip. In the 90's and 00's some geniuses thought that Metal was better when mixed and matched with hip hop and hardcore, then symphony orchestras and even opera divas got in on the act too, and almost unbelievably, these abominations somehow became the acceptable face of modern metal to most people.
Luckily not everyone agreed- to the NWOTHM musicians all that modern stuff is just laughable. Instead they crave a return to a sort of 'authenticity' in metal, and from where I'm standing, that's what this New Breed of HM bands signify more than anything. That's what the "True" stands for in NWOTHM. If you meet the guys, they are pretty snobby about this being the only way Heavy Metal should be in the 10's. I guess time will tell if they are right.
Olof from Enforcer can explain his vision better way than me: " I think it's because we take things all the way, making heavy metal something spectacular again, both musically and aesthetically and I think that frightens people in the 21st century. If you look back at almost all bands since the early 90's and forward the bands forgot about taking it all the way. Somewhere in the musical progression bands forgot about attitude and looks. What's so fun with that? If I go and see a band I don't want to see some lazy old dudes playing around, laughing about what they do, dressed in their regular clothes. I want to see something spectacular, a show, see some enthusiasm and get infected by the energy on stage or even get scared. Nowadays what Heavy Metal has turned out to be is so damn mediocre."
So there you have it--it's about the singer, songs, and showmanship, stupid. Though way too young to remember it, Olof's definition of metal is based around the spectacular sight of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Scorpions and Dio etc in their pomp, not the monochromatic vision of say, Morbid Angel, Dimmu Borgir or Cradle of Filth and their ilk. Yes I agree the roots are unashamedly retro, and the sentiments pretty naive, but at 21 years old Olof Wikstrand still has plenty of time to develop a more unique character, and I believe given enough time and enough budget to achieve his aims, Enforcer will in the future put on the some of most spectacular live shows his generation will have ever seen.
The NWOTHM scene is currently dividing the opinion of fans and journalists like no other. Newcomers Steelwing (average age 19) on Nuclear Blast received a thorough bashing and a paltry 4/10 review from extreme metal specialist mag Terrorizer. Steelwing were bashed for basically being unoriginal,because they choose to play an outdated, 30 year old Heavy Metal style.The same mag praises the likes of Landmine Marathon for successfully recording a straight-up copy of the Earache circa 1990 sound. While I'm happy to see our 90's era back catalog being so influential with new bands, I fail to see the logic in bashing a band for playing 1980's metal while praising one which worships 1990's metal. Its a matter of taste, I guess being retro is only cool if you copy the right decade?
There is a precedence for this- it has been pretty hip in metal circles to appreciate Black Sabbath type retro riffs for years, the entire genre of Doom Metal is pure unadulterated Black Sabbath worship, so you could argue that retro metal in some guise has always been around in the underground.
If you like no frills, heads down Heavy Metal make sure to catch ENFORCER & CAULDRON on European and UK tour in May, this is what you can expect:
Heres Cauldron and Enforcer causing chaos backstage aswell, on current May 2010 tour. UK better watch out!