What I thought was interesting: back in roughly 2000 the word "Metal" had a different vibe to it in the U.S. compared to Europe. I think the popular use of the term in the U.S. tended to include stuff I'd call Rock. My guess would be that the common mainstream answer to "name a metal band" would probably have been something like Iron Maiden in Europe and maybe Led Zeppelin in the U.S.
+it seems like Black and Death Metal were much more common/represented in the European scene. Once again strange because most of the DM bands I liked at the time (still do of course) are from the U.S.
I feel like my view could be highly distorted so I'd love some feedback on this.
I think it's also interesting that some U.S. bands are superstars in the European Metal scene or parts of it but seem to be fairly unrecognized in the U.S. (Savatage, Iced Earth).
South America has a huge Metal scene, too. I think it's mostly similar to the European one.
Don't know much about Asia other than the fact that some German bands are really popular in Japan (Blind Guardian etc.)
E.g. the top Norwegian death metal bands are amongst the most successful Norwegian musicians ever, yet they don't sell much at home. Yet they do extremely well by Norwegian standards because they sell ok all over the world.
That's a good thing because they would slowly change it if they got their hands on it. Sony buying Century was disappointing but there's alternative labels. Metal should stay underground to protect itself from the people who see it as 'weird'.
Great genre, great to hear it has spread so far despite the perception of it being a genre on its way out perhaps these days in certain countries.
The 1960s? The Beatles for example were extremely popular.
It really is big in Chile. After spending a year here, in Santiago and Concepcion, rarely a day goes by without seeing Slayer and/or Iron Maiden T-shirts on someone walking by me on the sidewalk. I've seen 6 year old children with metal shirts.
Today I still play my instrument (piano) and enjoy metal, jazz (which is also big in chile) and classical music mostly :)
I mean is pop, rock, hiphop, dance or even dubstep any less global?
Is it weird because heavy metal still has the "satanist' label attached to it in jurnalist minds?
Death to all but metal!
One of the personal experiences is that only about 10 years ago, it was difficult to find metal music online, even on mainstream services. Today, I have an Apple Music subscription with tons and tons of metal music in it, with curated playlists and really good recommendations based on my listening habits. I wouldn't imagine this would ever happen.
Another anecdote is the ever increasing acceptance of headbangers as regular folks. Yes, with a peculiar musical taste and an unusual lifestyle, but nothing really suprising anymore.
And as for metal itself, I really love how people from all over the world have found in this music style something meaningful and special to them. You can go all around the world, meet fellow metalheads and see their eyes glow and their hearts accelerate as they talk about their favorite bands and the live shows they have seen. It's one of the truly friendliest "communities" I have ever found, way ahead and more welcoming than the tech community.
Entombed was my favourite Swedish band - esp the Clandestine album.
Today, it seems that half the kids under 25 know more about Meshuggah than I do. :-)
As a fellow Swede, this is a bit funny:
What I don't get is why Finland don't have more famous metal bands? If you check a jukebox in Sweden, typically at least half is factory made pop music made to sell for money. In Finland, half is good hard rock and metal.
(Edit: For a good take on metal, search for the interviews with the Darkthrone drummer on Youtube. See both the old and new ones. It gives a strange feeling how he dismisses everything I like... :-) )
What's interesting to me about those bands is that they took some of the elements of Meshuggah's sound - the complex time and extended range instruments - but usually end up with something that's not as heavy or extreme, often having very melodic sections and lots of clean singing.
For a long time it seemed the direction was a bit one way - bands tending to get more extreme - and while that's still the case it's maybe going the other way at the same time.
Gojira, for example has been carrying the Meshuggah sound forward while Between the Buried and Me, who was born from very technical and chaotic metal, almost devoid of groove, to extremely proggy and theatrical like Dream Theater.
Mastodon moved closer to rock from technical death metal and Opeth once a paragon of death metal, doesn't even use death vocals any more.
For me at least it has been very interesting to see the exchange of ideas.
IMHO, you can't be more metal than to play black metal in a country where you would be killed if identified... :-)
Here is an article about another band in Saudi A: http://www.vice.com/read/anti-religious-black-metal-band-in-...
(And no, I'm not metal. I just like the music.)
(btw that sex part works only if both have same attitude :))
Is Turbonegro metal?
Is punk metal satire?
What about grunge?
And then there's Kiss ;)
This thread reminds me of the underrated film Airheads, when the band is asked what kind of music they play - the three members all start saying different things ("kinda this, but not really") but end up converging on "power slop".
As far as I know they call it deathpunk, and their discography tends to be classified as punk.
My broader point is that there's a lot of metal parody in punk. And a lot of metal is arguably metal parody.
When did Metallica stop being metal? Was it "Metallica", "Load", or St. Anger? Were they ever metal? Does anyone over the age of 16 care? (the answer is yes).
"History repeats itself - first as tragedy, then as farce"
edit for the downvoters: I've listened to a lot of heavy metal in my teens. It kind of had sense at the time (late eighties, early nineties) - heavy metal had evolved naturally from other genres, and probably it's a type of music that appeals to a certain kind of person in a certain environment and age range (and that would explain its persistence). Nonetheless, it's a pretty ridiculous and backwards musical genre, extremely rigid and codified and, in my view, hardly evolving at all. The sight of the idols of my youth, now well aged but still dressed like satanists, monks or ancient warriors, and still singing the same stuff after decades, is a sorry one.
Now you can downvote me more :)
I know some people who where only interested in metal because it made them more rebellious. Their interests quickly fade always as they grew up and now they are the first to tell everybody how it's a music for teen.
I remark that your souvenir is about your idols and how they acted/are dressed and not that much about the music.
But some people are genuinely interested in metal and if you happen to be a bit curious, it's easy to see that it's not more rigid, codified or stalled that any other genre.
Heavy metal is (you have to admit that) a pretty rigidly codified type of music. It requires a certain set of instruments, with few variations (I still remember debates in the eighties on whether keyboards were kosher). It mostly deals with a fixed set of themes. It sounds in a very recognizable way, so it's rather easy to classify songs that fall into it. Performers dress in a codified way, also easily recognizable. (To all these points there are obviously a few exceptions here and there, as always.)
As for the richness of subgenres: it seems to me that these subgenres are just the partitioning of a fixed space of immutable size. The urge to classify them is another proof of the fact that the rules of the genre are so rigidly codified that the slightest deviation or emphasis on an element requires (or allows) a new classification bucket.
Nothing could be further from the truth. For example, the OP itself talked about "folk metal", a sub-genre that uses traditional themes, musical styles, and instruments.
It sounds in a very recognizable way, so it's rather easy to classify songs that fall into it.
Again, you've missed out (and even claimed that it never happened) a HUGE amount of evolution. Metal fans love to bicker and debate, and you'll see, for example, discussions over whether the evolved Opeth, that eschews their older death metal trappings, still counts as metal at all. In the proggy sub-genres that I enjoy, there's ample debate over whether a particular band or song is prog metal or "just" prog rock.
In its infancy, much of metal was dismissed as being stupid, three-chord performances. It's evolved so that today, it's undoubtedly the most technically demanding genre within the entire poo & rock oeuvre. Bands like Meshuggah, or the whole math-metal sub-genre, are performing music so technically demanding that no high school garage band is going to get near it.
In its expansion into these prog, technical, death, extreme, folk, etc directions, there is no doubt that the variety of expression covered by metal today is many orders of magnitude greater than in its younger days.
Folk metal is actually well inside the tradition of heavy metal, that spans from the black/ gothic to the epic and fantasy themes. By the way there's even a more extreme musical genre called "folk": where people from different regions of the world perform actual folk songs strongly connected with their real traditions. Can you imagine, you can actually listen to folk music outside of the rules of heavy metal? That's extreme.
Metal fans love to bicker and debate ... over whether ... still counts as metal at all.
Exactly. A little bit of evolution or variation and people start debating whether you're still in the group or out. That's silly.
And oh yes, I've listened to my share of Yngwie Malmsteen and Cacophony. Heavy metal fans are certainly very proud of the raw technical skill (which is, in fact, just speed) of their players. But it's a sort of pissing contest, who can play the riff or the solo faster is not a good meter of one's musical talent or skill.
Sure, if you're talking about just Malmsteen or Cacophony. But again, you really have missed the evolution. Things have moved well beyond that in the 21st century. For just one example, the band Meshuggah that I mentioned requires the performer to shift fluidly between bizarre odd time signatures. It's debatable how much this improves the musicality, but it's an advanced skill that requires a ton of experience; some small amount of this was visible in the era you're referring to, but the evolution has been, well, extreme.
One last observation. I remember that in the early nineties, a single chord from Nirvana - I was hearing them for the first time- was enough to make me say "this is not heavy metal" (I was actually pretty disgusted by that sound at the time :)). How is it that after more than twenty years (during which I haven't listened to new metal bands), 3 seconds of Meshuggah are enough for my brain to categorize them with absolute certainty as heavy metal?
No we don't have to admit that.
what many of us are is deeper - in hard rock & heavy metal I found something that works with me, makes me happy etc. The genre itself is slowly evolving, but this is not something I care for - I listen it for same reasons as before, and expect same effect as before... which is delivered, 110%.
if I pick 1 out of gazillions of bands - Iron Maiden - take their album from 80s, take any recent and compare. Technical quality aside (which went from stone age to 21st century) - some say not as good as before, some say better, for me - same quality, delivered in a bit different way.
P.S. no downvote from me because not everyone can or should be expected to love every form of music
Pun intended :)
Have you heard Between the Buried and Me, Animals as Leaders, Meshuggah, Intronaut or Haken?
I imagine you consider classical music backwards, then, and look down upon it. It's stayed the same for centuries...
that's _seriously_ wrong.
but seriously, the impression you describe is of your own making. metal is much wider musically and lyrically than the narrow subsection you used to listen to as a kid.
try UneXpect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVwl3kZwRX0
Anything people might find interesting is welcome on HN as far as I understand it.