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Friday, 21 September 2012

Where do we go, my lovely?

Iron Maiden for Download 2013. It's the announcement everyone wanted to hear. It's not the most shocking or surprising revelation, as having the biggest heavy meal band in the world headlining one of the biggest rock festivals in the world is a bit of a no-brainer but fuck me it's exciting. It could only be better if the other two nights are headlined by Slipknot and Slipknot.

It does beggar the question though; what will Sonisphere do? The rumblings about Led Zeppelin continue, and I can see Green Day or Foo Fighters getting a slot but in terms of your true metal fans, Maiden is going to be a tough one to beat. Based on the redundancies and various board level departures that surrounded Sonisphere 2012 it's difficult to know if it will return to these shores.

I'm not going to evangelise about how astonishing The Irons are as I tend to do that on a regular basis. What I will say is that they are a genre defining band, and although they are not technically from my generation they remain as important, if not more so, than they ever have been to the heavy metal movement. 'Movement' might be a bit of a daft word but this kind of thing is something that I've been mulling over for a while. Allow me to embellish;

It seems that in today's rock/metal world, there is a lack of any truly new movements. As metal became less cool in the late 80s and early 90s and was replaced by grunge as the misfits choice of listening, bands such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam had music by the balls. Seattle came out of nowhere as a scene and our world became resplendent in long shorts and ill-fitting knitwear. Regardless of whether you liked it or not, the garage style of grunge completely changed the sound of music.

Then nu metal, without doubt the most divisive genre ever to emerge in our world, merged hip hop into massive riffs. The music was underpinned by lyrical themes about abuse, bullying, and it was angry listening that meant something to a generation. Nu metal died out (sorry Fred, but it really did) but the sentiment was reborn in the 2000s with Emo, which spawned a million bands who sounded and looked the same. Even if it's not your thing it's impossible to deny how much of an impact My Chemical Romance had.

But for me, it all gets a bit muddy after that. It doesn't feel like this very moment in time has anything unique happening in metal. There isn't any development. The UK hardcore scene is producing some great bands and US outfits like Between the Buried and Me continue to be innovative, but who is the next Faith No More? Who is the next Korn? Has there truly been a band since My Chemical Romance that has caused such a tectonic shift in musical evolution?

Metal has evolved so much in the last 50 years and there are certain names that will always be quoted as responsible for this but what happens next? There is so much amazing music coming out but is any of it going to change the future? Who knows.

Anyway, this is all a bit much for a Friday. I'm off to drive 2,000 miles in a 1986 Nissan dressed as a Ninja Turtle with my brother for charity.