Exodus: 'We Started Playing Metal Because It Was About Freedom, Now Young Fans Are Limiting It'

Guitarist Lee Altus talks so-called "metal police" and how metal fans hate change.

Ultimate Guitar

Some call it a stereotype, others call it a genuine fact, but being hostile towards change is one of the traits metal fans are known for. It's also a trait of many different people out there, regardless of their music taste, but that's not what we'll focus on right now.

The given matter was touched on by Exodus guitarist Lee Altus, who blamed the younger fans for limiting the genre that was initially about musical freedom.

Explaining to PCM how metal is always dividing into "little tribes," Lee pointed out, "It's all heavy music, it is what it is.

"We started playing metal because it was total freedom, you could do anything you want, and all of a sudden, what we call the 'metal police,' usually the younger guys that didn't grow up and don't understand, they just think that it's only supposed to be this way.

"And we're like, 'No!' When we started out we had a freedom to do something different and there were no limits to what we wanted to do," the guitarist noted.

Further explaining, Altus added, "People just hate change, I've learned that over the years. Every album, if you try to make it a little bit different - and you don't even try, it's kind of a natural progression, there's no reason to repeat the same album over and over and over."

Getting back to his initial thought, the guitarist added, "But yeah, I've learned over the years that every album, somebody will find something wrong with it. You can't please everybody."

Finally, Lee shared a brief update on the new album, pinpointing late September or October as a tentative release date. Stay tuned for more updates.

YouTube preview picture

34 comments sorted by best / new / date

    He does have a point, although I'd say: 1) it's not limited to metal, it seems to be a plague of most genres (prog rock is the same, if not worse), 2) truth is, there are many fans who are open, but the annoying, close-minded ones are always the loudest and the most obnoxious. Therefore I imagine it must be quite easy to get that idea.
    That is true. And even if the open-minded fans don't like a given album, they'll just leave it alone or make a comment here or there and forget about it.
    *nasally teen voice* "you don't listen to post-progressive-technical-death-grind-thrash?" "you aren't a metalhead"
    A genre is only limited if you let it be limited (where the fans tend to be that limit for some bands). I'm sure that there would be quite a lot of progression into metal and rock if fans gave the bands a chance (of course, the music the bands produce can't completely turn away from the fans - i.e. a metal band changing to pop/rock).
    I think the progression usually does happen despite even a massive discontent of the fans. I'm thinking of Katatonia or Porcupine Tree for example, both these bands did a MASSIVE turn at at least two points in their discography, and despite a lot of discontent from people they've only grown bigger since. ALSO MY FIRST EVER GOLD COMMENT WTF I LOVE YOU ALL
    Second Rate
    I do so love the complete and utter hypocrisy of aging Thrash Metal musicians. These "metal police" as you call them didn't come from nowhere, Lee. Guys like Kerry King, Lars Ulrich, and your boss Gary Holt created them. Whenever you bitched about the big hair bands being too prissy. Whenever you cried about Death Metal being too technical. When you whimpered about Black Metal being too focused on satanic imagery. It was, YOU, not the fans that painted yourselves into the corner of always having to be loud, fast, and sloppy (sorry... i meant "chaotic"). These kids are just holding you to the standards and principles that YOU all created. It's a bitch, isn't it Lee? But hey, if you don't like it, there's always a shortage of good busboys in this world.
    Not to mention Exodus was once fronted by Paul "I wanna see dead posers" Baloff, and the original Thrash Metal scene became so popular because it was seen as the antithesis of Glam and other mainstream "Metal" acts. Thrash Metal was created by the same kinds of people he's talking about. It was the genre the popularized and cemented the "kill posers" attitude that so many modern Metal fans whine about to no end, for ****'s sake.
    Yup the whole 'true metal' brigade limits the genre. Heck I'd say the purists of rock and metal are what are keeping these genres from being in the public eye than anything
    Considering that Ambient Black metal, Folk metal, Industrial metal, Funeral Doom (dark Ambient), neo-Classical metal, tech-Death (jazz Fusion), Stoner metal (psyche rock), Crossover-thrash/Sludge/other hardcore influenced metal, Drone/Doom, Symphonic metal and the entirety of Progressive metal are deemed "true metal", and the styles that metalheads claims are not actually metal (Nu-Metal[Hip-hop, Industrial rock and Alt rock ie Linkin Park, Korn], Hard Alternative (Hell Yeah, Three Days Grace), Industrial Rock (Marilyn Manson, Powerman 5000), Post-Hardcore/metalcore (Atreyu, Asking Alexandria) have a far less diverse influence base, it's got nothing to do with genre purity, but rather just fitting into the bloody definition itself. I Like the aforementioned Non-Metal bands, but they are simple that, not metal. How exactly is that belief going to limit anything in terms of popularity? If anything, it's the opposite case, especially for rock. It's the fact that we LET people call stuff like Imagine Dragons rock that has lead to the devastation of the genre in the mainstream, we let Pop bands calling themselves rock go, and now they've flooded out the entire genre and almost changed the definition in the public's eyes all together. It's harder to say for Metal, seeing as it's a niche genre that was never designed to be huge, but personally I find that metal releases now are way better than they we're during 1999-2007, when people started making slightly harder distictions
    There are literally millions of metal and rock fans. How is rock/metal out of the public eye?
    Well, it is out of many public places. Shops, gyms, etc. (anything modern) plays pop music. I haven't heard many rock songs, let alone metal, being played in any public place which isn't for a specific fan group (i.e. I haven't heard any rock song being played in a shopping centre for some time).
    That's more of a symptom of rocks place in the mainstream, not really anything to do with Rocker/Metalhead culture.
    It's a bit of both really. Since several small groups of rock/metalheads exist and seem to despise one another there's no overlap like pop music. So it makes sense to play pop music which will probably appeal to most people whereas playing say Korn in a bar will annoy the metalheads who see nu-metal as beneath them. Playing a Michael Jackson song is more likely to appeal to a broader spectrum.
    Metal is ironically stricter than a nun in a mental ward. I can't do the scene. It feels too hostile.
    Butt its tru metallica hasunt releesed a tru mutulz album sinse 1987!
    When did you forget how to type? Unless a troll took over your account
    The only thing I remember Exodus experimenting with is being a Metalcore band, which is seen as trend hoping, so the backlash from that is the fact that they made really boring music purely for cash, not hating change. If you can do something weird and new than Metalheads will flock to you (Neurosis, Opeth, Ghost, Alcest), if you're just going with the flow than you condemn your bands credibility to the same deadline as whenever said trend dies.
    i agree, when bands like Muse and Korn infused dubstep into their music, what it felt to ME that was out of fear of being left behind. But i can see artists getting scared, when what they were doing is getting left in the dark.
    Today's thrash bands/fans are too scared to challenge themselves and try to find an identity; nobody wants to try something different to make themselves stand out from the crowd because they're too cotent with ripping off bands such as bloody Exodus. I love thrash metal, but I'm sick of getting given the same thing over againf rom new bands who, let's face it, have a lot of talent and could really be something great if they'd just stop rehashing the same shit over and over again. I get the thrash metal is a relatively liiting genre, but come on...
    You're actually wrong. My band doesn't rip shit off. The only thrash bands I can think of is 80s and 90s bands. Can't even name one 00's thrash band besides mine which is unnamed. And I easily find other identities through alternative/indie rock and industrial metal
    love how he just blames it on the younger generation, thrash metals always had a strict set of rules
    Eh. Without pointing fingers or laying blame, I think this, along with metal being far out of the mainstream, is a symptom of a larger problem which is being far too split up. There are too many distinctions for what subgenre of metal something fits into... and most of it is just something made up, anyway. Example: Agalloch.
    Second Rate
    It's more like the nature of the music in general that is keeping it from reaching the highest pinnacle of mainstream success. Sure, you have the occasional fluke like Iron Maiden or Pantera.... but when you have a music that is so heavily dependent on musical density, bombast, and mechanical execution, it's going to remain largely underground. Sure, you could shave those elements out of your sound to reach a more mainstream audience, but in doing so you lose the sound of Heavy Metal. Metal's perceived lack of mainstream success (I say "perceived" because the music actually does seem to be rather popular) doesn't bother me. What bothers me is the constant whining of young metal fans about the genre not being as popular as whatever pop star everyone is drooling over at the moment. Does it make the music less enjoyable for you people if everyone who owns a Katy Perry CD doesn't also own a copy of "Confederacy of Ruined Lives?"