It’s been a year since Metallica headlined Glastonbury, but not so long that we can forget much of the criticism they faced for taking the slot. Admittedly, some who opposed them did so on the grounds that they supposedly supported bear-hunting. Many, however, opposed their set because they viewed Metallica as an outdated and untalented metal band with no place on the UK’s biggest festival stage.
There has been a majority perception that rock and metal belongs to the beer-bellied old men reliving their golden years and a small minority of alternative youth culture. It is a community that had its heyday and is now dominated by ageing stars on endless reunion tours. To those who don’t know, rock and metal is a dead.
But to those who do know, it has never been a more exciting industry to be part of. The biggest rock and metal stars that have bubbled at the edge of the mainstream are now bursting to the top slots with seemingly infinite momentum.
To those who don’t know, rock and metal is a dead. But to those who do know, it has never been a more exciting industry to be part of.
Firstly, let’s talk about Bring Me The Horizon. Though their newer sound has strayed far from their death metal roots, their style and energy is quintessential of the genre that birthed them. What they have created is a palatable version of the metal sound so popular that it can hold a number 2 spot on the UK album charts.
Their success is just the forefront of a wave of new talent shaping the way we all see rock and metal music. Enter Shikari have put a political face on rock music whilst Babymetal have put a theatrical spin on mosh-worthy metal. The likes of Young Guns and PVRIS have brought irresistible style, whilst Royal Blood have dominated the charts with ever-heavier rock anthems. Everywhere you look there is fresh talent popping up, reviving a genre that was screaming for innovation.
Their careers, and many others, have been nurtured to the top by Radio 1 which has embraced rock and metal in recent years. The Radio 1 Rock Show, hosted by Daniel P. Carter, now has three hour Sunday slot which, until recently, followed on from the official charts. The primetime shows have also widened their appeal with singles by metalcore acts Architects and Of Mice and Men getting plays on the breakfast and drive time shows. Radio, once the exclusive domain of pop, has opened its doors to the fresh faces of these once-niche genres.
No longer are rock and metal by-words for an outdated minority. These are genres showing themselves in the mainstream in a fresh and youthful form.
And though many of the old rock acts have remained stuck in the past, others have revamped themselves in line with the times. The Foo Fighters have kept themselves in the spotlight with ever-evolving albums and the innovative concept behind their recent TV show and album Sonic Highways. Old timers like The Libertines and Queens Of The Stone Age have both made successful returns with new music and international tours. Most recently Iron Maiden, who have been making music since the 70s, shot to number one with their new album Book of Souls. These and many other triumphant returns show that there is a widespread hunger for heavier music that has grown beyond their original fans.
No longer are rock and metal by-words for an outdated minority. These are genres showing themselves in the mainstream in a fresh and youthful form. The fierce talent and exciting sounds the alternative music scene is creating are too loud not too be noticed, and you should be expecting to hear a lot more of the heavy in your day to day life.
So where do we go from here? Is this a trajectory that is sustainable or will these genres sink back into obscurity once their breakthrough stars lose fame? Next year’s festival headline rumours may offer some answer, with both Royal Blood and Bring Me The Horizon tipped for the top slots at Reading and Leeds. Whatever the future holds, the rock industry has never been a more exciting world to be part of.