Metal – Is there a word that can evoke such emotion and debate as this single term? A form of music that has evolved into a lifestyle; an expression that is loud, bombastic and unrelenting. It cares not what u think.
Debate all you want of the founders of metal; Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Judas Priest even Led Zepplin, etc – metal was never supposed to last and yet it has; spanning decades, thriving like a virus that cannot be stopped…..
Sabbath with Ozzy. Sabbath with Dio. This debate can and will go on forever. My opinion is the Dio era brought Sabbath into a new sound and production value; Tony Iommi constructed aural masterpieces during this reign. Yes Ozzy era ruled and spawned numerous classic tunes…but he was a vocalist; an entertainer. Dio could sing like a god; it is fitting that he is now with them. I cannot ever forget the 1st time I heard Born Again with Gillain – there has never been a tune since like “Disturbing the Priest”….
Derived from hard rock and the blues, Metal has morphed into something that I’m certain the forefathers had no idea of what would become; yet perhaps, maybe they did? Perhaps they don’t even give a fuck? Hair metal, speed metal, punk metal, thrash metal, death metal, extreme metal, nu metal…..so many styles, yet 1 common thread remains, loud guitars combined with skill. Technique. Volume. Shred. Power. Attitude.
Mid to late 70’s and early 80’s, killer leads and harmony leads abound. An explosion of new music and bands. Scorpions, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Metallica…the lead break turned into a vocal part of the song; memorized by fans and air guitared ad nauseum.
One cannot ignore the mid 80’s and the Shrapnel label with their stable of shredders; Vinnie Moore, Jason Becker, Greg Howe, Marty Friedman, Paul Gilbert, Yngwie, etc….. Neo-Classical guitar, borrowing from the great Randy Rhoads, Uli Roth, Michael Schenker and EVH…and bringing guitar into new realms of never before seen technique, sound and showmanship. Than Steve Vai. Joe Satriani…..
Towards the end of the 80’s, the scene almost ate itself – so many bands and factions of metal that began to compete within; it was almost destined to create a black hole to which all live and real music would be sucked into.
The 90’s saw the birth of the techno DJ club scene and the death of live music…but than along came Seattle…it can be argued that grunge was a form of refined metal with the likes of Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, RHCP and Nirvana…. Leads were no longer cool and actually frowned upon. 7/ 8 minute songs were replaced with 4 minute singles….. Than, thankfully along came a lil band from Texas called Pantera…….and the machine was revived in all its glory once again as they ruled arena’s with their Vulger Display of Power.
For the past decade and perhaps even more, there is more emphasis on the tuning of the song than the actual song. Cookie monster vocals abound, blast beats played by drum machines and riffs that sound ever so familiar; so stale and cut and paste. Can metal survive this latest onslaught of mediocrity? Of trying to out heavy the next band?
I think back to 92 / 93, hanging out with the Morbid Angel guys before a sound check for their show at the Spectrum in Toronto…chilling, shooting the breeze about music and life- these 4 guys in track pants with coffee cups in hand, walking into the club and starting soundcheck…to this day I’m blown away by the honesty and heaviness of the real deal. The sheer power. No gimmicks, no triggers and crapola sequencers playing half the music. 4 guys ripping it.
I have been privvy to many a soundcheck, many a conversation with a child hood idol and the constant always remains – the artist does what he does because he must. He is compelled to it – like a moth to the light.
As the resident Shred Head of Loud Guitars, I will discuss opinions of what I have seen and heard. What has moved and inspired me and made me who I am.
Do I really need to pick the top 10 metal albums; between Ace of Spades, Rust in Peace, Number of the Beast, Heaven and Hell, Cowboys from Hell, Reign in Blood, Ride the Lightning, Screaming for Vengeance, Master of Reality or Bizzard of Ozz? I have probably 25 in my top 10….all have their own identity and within each band their own sound.
Music is not a competition it is an expression. It is and will always be open to interpretation.
I am open to discuss sounds, techniques and styles…yet it must be underestood that metal is a statement…and if you ask me for my opinion or my comments, you will receive my opinion like a 10 ton hammer…don’t say I didn’t warn you.
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