Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Where next for Extreme Metal? It's not Jazz.
Question: Dig, speaking about the future of metal, and extreme music. Do you SEE one? Earache is focusing on the thrash revival movement, a conservative throwback that is very fundamentalist in its approach to composition and music, it brings back the radicalism, narrow-mindedness and intolerance of the 80s with a vengeance (and sees that narrow mindedness as something to be confused with "pride" for the music and a kind of "trueness" and loyalty to the music) and pretty much only allows for music to be made in the way it was made during roughly 7, 8 years, from 1982 to 1990. Any growth, experimentation or evolution that took place after this very specific tiny period is seriously frowned upon by the conservative, reactionary thrashers. I think this scene is now as set and marked in stone as other revivals, mainly like rockabilly and we will see the aging thrashers and their followers doing and playing exactly the same type of music over and over again, with the same riffs, themes, clothes, album covers, etc, in the decades to come. Is Earache prepared to be the label for that movement?
And if intense music is to grow, do you see or can you predict WHERE it can go after all these years of experimentation with punk, hip hop, electronic, faster, slower, stonier, more bass, colder, etc types of metal and hardcore have already been done?
Would you sign, nowadays, a band like Shining (not the black metal, the Norway one) which is apparently attempting to take heavy sounds to new places?
Answer: Maybe you missed this particular memo dude, but the future of 'Extreme Metal' is already being written into history by a generation of young bands playing whats loosely an amalgam of Death Metal brutality & hardcore style knuckle-dragging chug chug breakdowns, its called 'Deathcore'. It was never predicted by any journalist or blogger but was created by teenagers seeking to make the most extreme music imaginable. The scene built its success due to those bands early adoption and fanatical use of the power of the then newly-launched social networking site MySpace. From 2004 onwards, they were all over it, networking with, and building a fanbase 24/7. Curtis who is a member of Sheffield, UK band Bring Me The Horizon was so quick off the mark, he nabbed the Myspace pages of both At The Gates and The Haunted for his own private use.
The success of Deathcore bands like Job For A Cowboy, Suicide Silence and newer names like Whitechapel is proven by their high USA Billboard chart placings.They have genuine fans who still -gasp - actually buy CDs, and they are changing the landscape of extreme metal, in fact they have done so for a few years now. If there is one flaw in this theory, then its the bands' relative lack of success in the heavy metal strongholds of Europe. Deathcore bands are huge in USA but make barely a blip on the radar in say Sweden or Germany. Their success story seems to echo that of Myspace itself.
Back to your point about the Thrash bands being retro- I disgree, because I think the bands are merely using Thrash and NWOBHM as a reference point to start over again. Basically to many of the young bands we deal with, Destruction is just cooler than say Cradle of Filth. Bringing Thrash & 80s Heavy Metal elements back into the metal picture is just as valid and probably more contemporary than the abominations we have had to endure over the years- Hip Hop, Goth, Electronica and even bloody Opera have all been added to the metallic palette with short-term success, but I'm sorry, for me, Jazz becoming a big thing in metal will be the final nail in the coffin.
Its all about demolishing the ensconsed. Last week NME magazine- not known for having a finger on the pulse of metal trends- actually recognised that ENFORCER were pushing the metallic envelope and named them as among the Top 50 risk-takers in music. They were right to compare ENFORCER to Bjork, Jack White or Lady Gaga, because in 21 year old Olof Wikstrand the band boast a True Heavy Metal singer who wants to be, first and foremost a showman, and put on a show for his fans.
Fenriz from Darkthrone agrees. He knows a thing or two about decent music- he's just reviewed ENFORCER 'Diamonds' with a 9.5/10 mark in Rock Hard magazine:
ENFORCER "Diamonds" Heavy Artillery/Earache 2010
I am 12 years old again! WO HO!!! it's the early 80s and the more i listen to this album the more i realize that 2010 will be THE SUMMER OF ENFORCER for me (along with THE PAST and Kate Bush, by some freaky coincidence).
First of all i started my promo shouts for darkthrone proclaiming that we start the new decade with REAL heavy metal, and i guess i knew this album would come along and solidify my stance with ease - it even has that studio production that only THOSE WHO KNOW use these days - it is that of heavy metal like 3 first DIO, the guitars taking up very little impact on the parametres and with no comprimation, Enforcer have the balls to DO IT RIGHT and even minimize the fuzz on the guitars. Yes in the fashion of old they have understood that the drums and vocals drive this type of metal best for all time, with the bass supporting the drums like they should. I am thrilled that Earache decided to stand behind this release, because it will have a huge signal-effect to EVERYONE - and now the kids can finally understand how it was in the 80s again, by getting THIS album and not all those other heavy metal bands with the modern sound but old riffs. they are mostly sad to me compared to this firework.
Many will like their straight ahead speed metal pounders, I for one adore their beautiful songs - like KATANA or WALK WITH ME. I swear those songs gave me goosebumps the FIRST time i heard them, and it gets stronger every time - so far i got around to hearing the album 7 times and in Fenriz-time that means 70 times. ELDERS AND KIDS, BREAK YOUR CHAINS AND OPEN YOUR HEARTS TO THE SUMMER OF ENFORCER!!!
9.5 out of ten points for doing this in 2010. MAXI BALLS! TAXI!!!
I'll leave it to the blog readers to make their own mind up.Which do you prefer- a new NWOTHM band with a Heavy Metal singer or an instrumental jazz-metal skronk outfit? Leave your comments.
Heres Enforcer live on stage:
Heres Shining live clip: