Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A New Wave: Things that Should Happen in Metal

Howdy folks,

How we all doin' today? You happy? I'm happy. Just a couple weeks left in this semester (just a year left of school after this *knock on wood*), less than a month 'til Maryland Deathfest with my bro-in-law, and hopefully I'll find a summer job in California. Gotta acquire funds for my next big adventure. I got one of my Speakpipe calls answered on the Metalsucks Podcast (an excellent edition this week with an interview with Weedeater's Dixie Dave). Also, one of my buddies has drawn up a sketch concept for a logo for this blog. I don't know how to technology, but I will find a way to have it made, as well as possibly make a Facebook page for this. Life's good.

I got to thinking: it seems there hasn't been much excitement in metal these last few years. Don't get me wrong, there's a shit ton of good music out there. Great men have fallen and great bands have returned to the fray. That's just the cycle of things though. New life needs to be breathe into these old lungs.

How can this be done? Any number of ways, I'm sure, but I've got a few ideas cookin' I think need to be done. Some of it has to do with the actual music; others might be what you can call "extra curricular activities". Either way, I'm sure they'll be the kindling that fires up a new interest in the genre from outsiders and helps add further stimulation to those already in it. Let's see what y'all think...

1. A New Sub-genre

I know what you're thinking: "DEAR GOD! NOT ANOTHER ONE!" Metal already has like fifty-billion branches on the family tree. Why not add another? Metalheads hate change, but that doesn't mean the metal you loved before will be thrown away. It's still there; it just has a new buddy. Babymetal was the latest band to come out with a radically different sound, but it hasn't really sparked a mass of new artists following suit. Hell, I don't even know if a proper name was given to their style of metal (J-pop metal? Kawaii-core?). Before them, I'd say the last major influx of bands taking on a new style came in the mid-to-late Aughts with the rise of djent.

Now I really want A-pop (let's make it all-inclusive for the other Asian countries) to be a thing. But until enough bands rise up to justify the creation of a new Wikipedia entry, let's see if I can come up with the next new metal craze... Prepare to be astounded (and to take these with a grain of salt).

JAH DOOM- Metalheads love weed. This should be no surprise to anyone considering we have a thing called stoner metal. Rastafarians love weed as well, and they're always jammin' to that sweet Jamaican groove known as reggae. Why not bring the two together? They'll look just like any other metal band, except the frontman with the face tattoo is also rockin' a saxophone. It'll be the most chill metal ever. Don't tell me you wouldn't be astounded by Matt Pike skankin' it on the guitar!

DEATHGRASS- Can we get an electric fiddle up in this bitch! Bluegrass seems to be doing pretty well today so add some death growls over it and you might attract a hipster or two. Controversy will arise when someone starts playing an eight-stringed banjo.

PROGPUNK- Wait a sec... That's an oxymoron... Nevermind...

CRANK METAL- I never understood why exactly marijuana gets its own genre, so why not give one to another? Sure it's horrible, but the effects are quite metal. I imagine it'd sound like grindcore times a hundred. The vocalist isn't even shouting lyrics, just trying to scare away the thousands of bees swarming over his body. The bassist is a part of the band, but he never plays a show because he's too busy doing favors for his next fix.


2. Gettin' on the Telly

Everybody loves Metalocalypse. Okay, not everyone, since apparently season 5 of the show is a no-go. That makes me sad. The only other time metal is on the TV is when some show's parodying the glory days of Eighties rock and That Metal Show (again, the glory days...). Film always seems to gravitate towards classic metal and glam acts as well. The only film I'm aware of where extreme metal is at the forefront is the new film by Ragnar Bragason. Haven't seen it but desperately need to. Metal needs to make some expansion into this territory if it wants to spread its infection to others. I got some ideas there too, but these are perhaps a little more thought out than the ones previously mentioned.

A Smart Sitcom- Everybody loves to laugh, there's no doubt about that. But the comedy that's usually seen in films and shows isn't very high-brow-- mostly dick jokes (though in all fairness, dick jokes are hilarious). When I think of the great comedies of all time, Cheers and Frasier immediately come to mind. Now there's an idea... Cheers, except replace Cheers with Saint Vitus. A good plot, some witty jokes, a few special guest appearances, and bam! Maybe have a different band playing out the credits each week? Someone write that shit up!

A Cannibal Corpse Horror Film- It's no secret that the band's songs are basically sonic horror films. Why not add a visual aspect beyond the album art? The lyrics of so many songs are just asking to be put on the big screen. "Butchered at Birth", "I Cum Blood", "Necropedophile", "Force Fed Broken Glass"... holy shit, this is already shaping up to be an absolutely horrifying film. Get Tom Savini to look at Vincent Locke's art for a little inspiration to make something truly gruesome and brutal.

3. More Consciousness in the Music

Rock music in general has always had a proud tradition of being a voice for the people. Remember the 60s and 70s? I don't since I'm twenty-one, but there is a shit ton of songs out there taking a stance on important issues and events going on. Neil Young's "Ohio", Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth", and Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son" instantly come to mind.

Now we've seen a lot of songs still have that political edge, particularly from the punk and grindcore scenes, but it seems like a lot of what's being written about today stems from general concepts of war, poverty, and corruption rather than actual events; that or everything's about Satan. This past year alone has been a tumultuous one; we've seen an onslaught of police brutality against the black community, protests in Ferguson, and even as type up this post there are both peaceful demonstrations and looting occurring in the city of Baltimore-- the former in response to the death of Freddie Gray and the latter taking advantage of the situation created by the protests. I would think there'd be a lot of metalheads screaming about this as a wake-up call, but I don't. Instead I see people complaining that it might interfere with a festival, as if a human life pales in comparison to music.

That's just what I think. These are just three ideas that might be good for bands to look into. Will they happen now? Probably not. Eventually? I think so. We'll see.

So what do you guys think? Hate these ideas? Love them? Have other ideas that might  be pretty cool? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Stay heavy, my friends!

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