Is this what we’re calling metal now?
- Sarah-Louise Kelly
- 19 January 2016
The metal scene needs to make way for newer acts before the old guard thrash their final farewells
October 5th, 2014 Scottish metal act Falloch headlined Candlefest – an annual festival with artists from Candlelight Records performing over the course of a weekend in Camden, London. Falloch were the final act of the weekend and after performing to at least 100 people per night on their European tour, this was the final stop and Falloch were playing to three people. A journalist and two members of staff.
The lone journalist, Cheryl Carter from Metal Hammer said: 'shame on the scene for letting this happen', and gave the band 8/10. Tony Dunn, who was Falloch's vocalist at the time, recalls that while he was disappointed, he wasn't surprised. 'Having played both in Britain and around Europe, the scene for new bands [within the genre] is almost non-existent.'
Download Festival for 2016 has three headliners for the main stage; Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Rammstein, the latter of which originated in 1994, making them the 'freshest' of Britain's largest rock and metal festival's headliners. While in 2015, Bring Me the Horizon's That's the Spirit reached number two in the UK charts, and though a defined metal band with a serious following, a lot of the older members of the scene refer to them as 'One Direction' and ‘for teeny boppers'. Bring Me the Horizon are new compared to Download headliner's standards but actually originated in 2004, so if older members of the scene can't take them seriously what hope do emerging bands have?
If you delve deep into groups on Facebook or forums dedicated to metal, it's clear that attitudes are stagnant among fans. Phrases like 'is this what we're calling metal now?' are rife in reference to newer acts who perhaps don't emulate the founding fathers of the genre. But yes, of course, this is exactly what we're calling metal now. Because genres change and while Slayer are still managing to sell out venues, Black Sabbath are headlining festivals, bands such as Heart of a Coward and Beartooth are still clawing their way up. That's the Spirit is an example of the genre being redefined and challenged.
I should be clearer; Motörhead are my favourite band and the passing of Lemmy has broken my heart. I'm an old school aficionado and it hasn't escaped my grasp that this generation will be the last to see the genre's founders. However, the passing of Lemmy, the demise of Mötley Crüe, the inevitability of my favourite acts soon passing away doesn't scare me as much as I'd expected it to. There will always be music if we're willing to find it. There are so many people I know who are hugely behind supporting their local scene and beyond. Scotland's very own Wildfire Festival is a fantastic example of this, but we need to be doing more.
Mindlessly placing the veterans of metal will leave us in a sad position once they have all gone and there's a hell of a lot of great artists out there that are precisely ‘what we're calling metal now'.
Sarah-Louise Kelly is a music writer from Glasgow. Follow @sarahvulgaris for more.