I told her that it is still alive and kicking and has an ever growing audience. There are some things that tend to push it into the nether regions as far as the every day experience goes. The majority of the music related reality TV Shows seem to be mostly anti-metal in approach. I'd say it is because their tv show band likely cannot play most of it, but I don't actually believe that. I've seen them and they are usually pretty amazingly skilled musicians. Some metal songs might be beyond their abilities, but most of them I think they could manage to practice and pull off.
So is metal dying? Most of the bands people constantly talk about have been around for a long time and she was mainly saying that as she couldn't think of many recent bands that really show off something new.
Really Metal (Heavy Metal, Progressive Metal, Death Metal, Doom Metal, Djent, and the many sub-genres) are more mainstream present than ever before. When I was younger and liked metal it was unsual to hear something Metal anywhere other than from the boom boxes, stereos, and walkmans of my friends and I. If you were lucky you'd catch the once a week Headbangers' Ball back when MTV actually still did music.
Now, I hear it everywhere. It hear it as theme music for tv shows, movies, and all over the place. I heard a ton of it waiting to see the Live Speech from President Trump in Montana. Metal is all over the place.
During the past when the metal Stigma was greater than now to hear a chugging distorted guitar, a growling vocal, or intense drumming was not not that common. These days it is.
Metal is alive and present in more places than ever. It just still is not welcomed into the places where POP is present. You won't hear much metal in the American Idols, X Factors, or The Voice. They do sometimes appear but they are rare and the judges tend to try to force them to do songs other than metal if they make it. Now in some countries metal appearing is far more likely than say the United States. In the United States those things considered Pop will invariably fall into the Pop, Hip Hop, Country, or perhaps Blues/Soul arena. In fact , Opera, Theatrical, and Jazz style performances are still more likely to appear than metal.
Does this mean metal is dying off?
No. It might actually be stronger than ever. There is a huge metal presence on youtube. It is from people doing covers, often quite unique covers, to the ever increasing bodies of REACTION videos from people who are allegedly experiencing various metal acts for their first time.
Those channels and videos are popular. I get it. I like them too. One of the things I really loved to do in my youth and I still like it was to discover new metal acts that none of my friends had ever heard and be the one to introduce them to it. It would be the "you have to listen to this!" type of thing. In the digital age this is less an option. I think reaction videos to a degree have begun to replace this desire. The thing I truly got out of showing it to my friends was to watch their facial expressions, and their movements as they encountered things for the first time. The reaction videos can still provide that.
Now if I were talking to my daughter about this (I'll have her read this later) she likely would agree with me and her main thing would be that there doesn't seem to be much new metal. I get why she thinks that. It is there. It is just buried behind the massive amount of attention the older acts are getting from audiences of people just now discovering them.
I see people listening to older Metallica and reacting in awe. Yet I distinctly remember blasting those same songs in the 80s in High School, and Early College. People mostly didn't get it. Metallica didn't start to get the Nod from a lot of people until after they put out the video "One" from the album ...And Justice For All. Yet it took decades for people to start reacting on youtube with joy to things that only a select number of us had joy to earlier.
This is normal.
I remember getting to college and many people were listening to music my parents listened to on road trips and that I grew up hearing at a very young age. People were getting into things like Steve Miller, Steeley Dan, Jimmy Buffet, and more long after they had been popular with a select few.
It seems to take the general populace awhile to GET hooked on a new sound. For those surfing that sonic wave of new sounds it likely is old and has been around for awhile, but the populace doesn't seem to GET IT until it has crashed down, and the water has calmed. The surfers have continued looking for new waves.
I used to be that pioneer seeking new sounds. I still am to a degree. I like new sounds. I've never been that impressed with people saying "X sounds like Y." My opinion was that if they sound like Y, then I might as well keep listening to Y while I wait for someone to do something new.
I don't do that very often.
So do I think Metal will die off? No. Likely never. It fills some voids that most other music does not. The Voice and other shows put emphasis on emotions and putting emotion into songs. They say "use it" to make the song better. They emotions they seem to put emphasis on are Love, Saddness, or Joy. Those indeed are great emotions, but they are not the only ones. There are other emotions that can enhance the experience as well when it is appropriate.
Some of these are anger, lust, aggression, fear, etc. They may seem evil to some. Yet that is a matter of perception.
Why do people like to ride thrill rides like roller coasters, or high drops? Why do people like to sky dive? Why do people like to bungie jump? Why do people like to go to strip clubs? Why do people like to talk about ghosts, and search for them? Why do people like to look for unknown animal species? Why do people like to explore?
These are things that are motivated by many of the same emotions that fuel metal.
Metal is unique in its ability to tap into those areas. Other music can do so, but not as often or with the frequency of metal.
Metal also took up a mantle that previously was mostly held by Jazz musicians. If you truly want to find the masters of the instruments that are used in metal, the best in the world will often be in metal.
Sure there are virtuosos not in metal, but all those people do is inspire the metal musicians to push harder (there are some sub-genres like Grunge that reversed this trend) and take it further. People watch the Voice, and So You Think You Can Dance type competitions and they GET IT. When it comes to putting together songs, soloing, and showing skill the metal community of music has been a constant version of one of those competitions. The new albums released trying to do something beyond what came before it.
Like I put in parenthesis above there are exceptions like Grunge that seemed to reverse this path towards ever increasing sonic complexity and went the other direction musically, but introduced totally new vocal approaches.
A Metal vocalist can be important, or just window dressing. It totally depends upon the sub-genre in question. In some sub-genres the vocals are the most important thing. In most of them this is not the case. Metal is a style of music that allows the musicians to share the limelight. They all are the front men and women together. In things like pop the band is just someone who backs the vocalist. They can be replaced with fill in people easily as needed. This is not true of metal. It is rather unique in that regard.
Now I spent a long time writing this, and I did not actually think I had this much to say. I actually wanted to do this post about some NEW metal acts that are out there. They are quite good. When I say new I'll try to keep them to within the last 10 years or so. They are certainly new compared to what we are mostly seeing today.
Some of you may think these are not new, and that you've been listening to them for awhile. They are new to me. :)
I hope you enjoy... - Deva Winblood @dwinblood
First Release: 2007
I just heard this band. I watched a video and REALLY liked what I heard, and what I saw. This is largely what inspired me to seek some new metal and share it. Long live metal...
UNLEASH THE ARCHERS - Awakening (Full Band Playthrough Video) | Napalm Records - 7:17
UNLEASH THE ARCHERS - Tonight We Ride (Official Video) | Napalm Records - 5:49
UNLEASH THE ARCHERS - Cleanse The Bloodlines (Official Video) | Napalm Records - 7:10
Unleash The Archers - General Of The Dark Army (OFFICIAL VIDEO) - 7:56
UNLEASH THE ARCHERS - The Matriarch (Official Lyric Video) | Napalm Records - 4:02
UNLEASH THE ARCHERS - Test Your Metal (Official Video) | Napalm Records - 3:36
On the vocal side and perhaps some song structure I find myself wondering if these guys and gals were influenced by the 80s band Grim Reaper. Especially that last song. I'll show an old song here just to illustrate.
Grim Reaper-See You In Hell [HQ and LYRICS]
Grim Reaper - See you in Hell live 1987 HQ
Grim Reaper - Rock You To Hell [HD]
First release: 2009
JINJER - I Speak Astronomy (Official Video) | Napalm Records
JINJER - Pisces (Live Session) | Napalm Records
JINJER - Just Another (Official Video) | Napalm Records
JINJER - Cloud Factory (Official Live Video) | Napalm Records
Most of those bands have been around for awhile and my family and I have even been listening to them for awhile, so they don't really fit my criteria, but I thought I'd wrap up this post with that in case many of you haven't heard of some of those bands. Nightwish is one my family has been into for a long time. I first found about them when I saw the movie Alone in the Dark in the theater and Nightwish was in the credits music.