heavy metal

Female fronted metal bands are, sadly, lumped into two categories; those who treat their singer as a gimmick, and those who provide operatic qualities men can't manage on their own. It's a gross over-simplification, but a large swath of the bands do fall into those categories. What is most disappointing is how little room there is in the current scene for a band to play classic heavy metal with a female voice. There are a few bands doing it, but none muster a fraction of the attention even second-rate male dominated bands lay claim to.

Deep breath.

This is one of things that you never think you’ll see in your life. Usually the next statement after that is some kind of unbridled joy, but the release of Black Sabbath’s “13” leaves feelings of wary confusion. Questions remain abound – What is this? Why are we here? Was this trip really necessary? This isn’t a cash grab (at least it better not be,) so why does it even exist?

Metal bands these days aren't unlike sets of Legos. Much as kids take the little plastic blocks and use the same pieces to build anything their little minds can think of, metal bands are increasingly composed of the same members, just reconfigured in different combinations. There's a double-edged sword quality about this development, as while it is welcome to have more music being made by many of the best players in the world, there's also the threat that all of these bands will wind up watering down the scene by making everything sound like everything else.

Over the past four or so years, no band has risen from underground to head-of-the-class faster than Amon Amarth. Their last album “Surtur Rising” was a breakout party onto the main stage despite being their eighth record, which is testament to the band’s patience and dedication.

It seems like every year there’s another Classic Rock revivalist band that attempts to reimagine the sounds of the ‘70s for a new generation of listeners. Bands like The Sword, Wolfmother, The Answer, Graveyard, and many others have all done a fine job incorporating the sounds of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, but they have survived their own band’s debut because they managed to blend in enough of their own identity.

At the rate these albums have been coming out, I need to either invent a time machine so I can go back to 1983 and learn to love thrash, or stick my head in the sand for another three years until a new trend is established. The number of thrash albums hitting these days is astounding, considering how the genre was all but dead until The Big 4 came out of hibernation. It's great news for adrenaline starved fans, because nothing can pump the blood like good ol' thrash can, but it's slightly less inviting for people like me who have never been filled to the brim with youthful bile.

One of the first rules of journalism is that the story should never be about you. Attention should always be focused on the subject or action of the piece, with the reporter acting only as narrator. We here at Bloody Good Horror pride ourselves on trying to keep to that rule, only allowing our personal experiences to color articles as a product of our editorial insight (or lack thereof, as I’m sure my readers have at least occasionally believed.)

In the annuls of heavy metal, I don't know if there has been anyone more frustrating to be a fan of than Dave Mustaine. Megadeth's run of early albums established him as one of the mainstays of American metal, but the last twenty years have been a see-saw of highs and lows, continually baffling anyone who tries to get a handle on what Megadeth is, and what they're about to be. Mustaine's injury that led to the disbanding of Megadeth came at a perfect time, as the band had hit rock bottom. The well had run dry, and the fans were ready to give up on the melodic rock Megadeth had become.

Despite all its loudly orated trappings to the contrary, metal is very much a genre that embraces the ideas of tradition and legacy. This really isn’t that surprising; all counter cultures recognize their own, and scrutinize members’ inclusion based on a selection of worthy criteria. In this sense, counter-cultures and underground movements aren’t at all different from the mainstream institutions they rail against, which is a sort of cruel, unyielding irony.

Every generation needs an AC/DC. Despite losing their original lead singer, Bon Scott, in 1980, AC/DC has managed to hang around for a few generations thanks to replacement Brian Johnson. However, with guitarist Angus Young getting dangerously close to 60, there’s something about him prancing around in a schoolboy outfit that has lost some of its original appeal. That isn’t to say AC/DC has lost their touch, they’re still one of the most entertaining live acts in the world, but when the time comes to officially pass the torch, no band is better suited for the handoff than Airbourne.