Journalist Gives Detailed Explanation on Why There Will Never Be 'Another Metallica'

Over-saturation, internet, radio, screaming and the fact that music isn't important anymore listed as top reasons.

Journalist Gives Detailed Explanation on Why There Will Never Be 'Another Metallica'
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The question about who will be "the next Metallica" seems to pop up very often in metal circles these days. And not only among fans, but among labels, journalists and even musicians.

Metal Sucks co-founder Vince Neilstein tried to give an answer to this question, explaining in detail why there will never be another Metallica, or another metal band of such grand size.

Listing some of the key factors for the current state, Neilstein singled out over-saturation, internet, radio, screaming, as well as the fact that music simply isn't all that important anymore. Check out his full rundown below.

"1. There are too many bands - There are too many metal bands out there, plain and simple, pulling metal fans in a million directions at once. The days of the universally loved metal band are gone (except for Agalloch). It's not a bad thing that there are so many bands ... not at all. In fact, it's wonderful: never has metal been more diverse and artistically rich than right now. But the fact that there are so many bands - and choices - means that every metal fan has a lot more options when it comes to selecting their favorite one, or favorite few, to pay attention to and to spend money on. This behavior, of course, is enabled by...

2. The Internet - This one is two-fold. Yes, file-sharing has made it harder for musicians to make a living, that's obvious. But in this context I bring up the Internet as the ultimate narrowcast experience: any music fan can find a band that's suited EXACTLY to their tastes. No longer are music fans beholden to the broadcast experience - being given a limited menu at the record store or on the radio and being forced to choose their favorite. Whatever you want, it's out there. Spazz-crunk-techno-core? There's a band for that. Space-fusion-post-pop? You betcha. There are no common denominators anymore simply because we don't need them to find music we like. Think of music on the Internet like a giant dating site: if your fetish is Asian girls with big boobs, blond hair and shaved hoo-has, all you really have to do is click a few check-boxes and you're on your way to getting laid tonight.

3. Rock radio won't support metal - The rock radio format, against all odds and common sense, has not changed one iota in the past 15 years. I've spent plenty of time talking about this subject in the past so I won't harp on it here. But if there's going to be a metal band that hits the mainstream it seems pretty damn important that radio - the ultimate broadcast medium that big fat dumb America listens to in their soul-sucking cars - gets on board. Unfortunately, rock radio in 2014 won't take any chances whatsoever. Oh, I know, Sirius Liquid Metal plays metal, but it's a pay service and it just doesn’t cast a wide enough net; it's too specialized, and it's even billed that way. For a metal band to hit the mainstream they have to be played on mainstream radio... crossover, as they say. This is becoming increasingly difficult because...

4. Screaming - Screamed and growled vocals have gained some acceptance outside of the metal world (see: indie rock kids getting into metal in recent years by way of Pitchfork, Stereogum, NPR, etc.), but the world at large is just not having it. The general music-listening populace likes melody in singing, and they like to be able to understand lyrics. Bands like All That Remains, Avenged Sevenfold and Five Finger Death Punch that have gotten some radio play have either had to transition to only clean singing or were mostly that way to begin with. Hard though it is to believe for us - people who listen to much more extreme music every day - those bands are considered pretty abrasive to a lot of listeners.

OK, fine, those bands never had much metal cred to begin with the way Metallica did in the '80s, so let's kick it up a notch on the extremity meter: bands like Mastodon and Killswitch Engage were able to expand their fanbases by incorporating more clean singing and melodic, pop-driven song structures into their music. Lamb of God are the lone exception; miraculously they've never sung a clean note. But, love all those bands as I do, I don't see any of them going beyond playing 3,000-5,000 seat venues on standard tours (festivals don't count). That's hella impressive, and it's a great way to make a living, but those numbers don't even approach Metallica numbers.

And still, many people consider Lamb of God to be tame these days by modern metal standards. When we talk about 'metal' we're talking about stuff that's even heavier in every sense, not just the vocals. And mainstream culture is never gonna get into that s--t.

5. Music doesn't matter as much as it used to. - I'm sorry guys, it's just the world we live in. It doesn't. 'Kids these days' have a million other ways to spend their time: Facebook, Instagram, video games, sex, drugs, etc. And, to be honest, it's not just 'kids' (I hate that expression when used by industry folk): it's you and me, too. When was the last time you sat in front of your stereo (if you even have a proper one not in your car!) and listened to an album start to finish? Be honest. That time when you passed out to 'Dark Side of the Moon' after your BBQ doesn't count. Music has been relegated to background status now for all but a select few die-hards. It is no longer the main activity."

Continuing on more of an optimistic note, the author concluded, "So, with apologies, that's reality: there is never going to be another metal band as big as or even close to as big as Metallica. The way it is now is the way it's going to be for a while, probably forever, if it even stays this good. Stop hoping, and make the most of what we have right here, right now, which is pretty f--king great if you ask me. The metal scene is better than healthy ... it's thriving. Let's keep it going."

72 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    jacobdubya
    How about this idea: We stop expecting that there will be another Metallica. Or Beatles. Or Led Zeppelin. Or Nirvana. Every time I hear someone make reference to "the next (iconic band)," I cringe. There will never be another band that comes along that will ever be able to accomplish what any of those bands did. And it's not because bands these days aren't good, because there's plenty of great bands out there. But the music industry has evolved so much since the time of those bands (and this article highlights some of those changes), that's it's virtually impossible for bands these days to accomplish what bands of the olden days had. Furthermore, when we hold modern bands to those extremely high standards, they're always going to come up short. So here's a suggestion: How about we change our expectations about what modern bands should be, stop expecting them to be a band they're not, and just enjoy the music.
    Robslip
    totally agree! You will never see "develoment deals" for bands. They already have to have a following and a ready packaged product before the record companies will exploit,..I mean sign them. So much of that amazing music from the 70s came from bands who would never have otherwise been signed.
    Boothus
    To be fair a lot of people nowadays seem to think that all metal is screaming vocals and in my experience that puts them off listening to any of it. I've managed to convert some of my friends to listening to some types of metal over the years with help from Metallica, Mastodon, Stone Sour and the like but the whole screamed vocals does seem to be one of the biggest factors for people not listening to metal at all..
    DickHardwood
    Dude, I love clean metal. Sabbath, Maiden, Priest, thrash. I like some Mastodon tracks, I like Stone Sour, I will pretty much listen to anything metal with the exception of growls. I used to organize a small town festival for bands in my hometown in high school and every time we got a metal band with growls half the people left until we had to stop bringing them but clean metal bands even turned a few people into metal. I don't like growls myself, it throws me off a song. I would like an intense scream as PART of a song, sure, but not a growl/full screaming band and a lot of people are like that.
    Boothus
    Yeah man, personally I listen to all sorts but I do find pure screaming vocals excessive after a while. I think a lot of people would be more open to metal if they were exposed to the clean vocal stuff more often. There are a few places near me that do "metal nights" and they only ever bill deathcore type bands and the only way people can get a good clean metal experience is if a fairly big band, like Anthrax, comes to a nearby city and I drag them along.
    akwash79
    I agree. Screams are somewhat like solos for me personally. I like them in moderation and at the right time, certainly not for the entire song.
    azrael667
    Don't you dare tell me music doesn't matter anymore. I'm sick and tired of these articles on how the future of music is so bleak. Take your negativity and stay the hell away from me.
    slush
    I think you got completely the wrong idea out of the article. Music in general and Metal in particular are at an artistic peak. Fact is fact. Thanks to mp3s nobody listens to full albums anymore, but this means that bands have to work twice as hard to force people to pay attention to them rather than half-assing things with a couple of good singles and tons of filler.
    Way Cool JR.
    I still listen to complete full albums all the time on my home stereo (HiFi rack system). Actually I only listen to full albums period, it doesn't mater if I'm at home or in one of my cars. I will either pop in a CD, cassette or a vinyl and listen to them all the way through. I don't even own any type of portable digital music device, I just have no need for them. I do still enjoy listening to the radio a lot. So I'm not just exclusively full albums or bust. But if I listen to anything besides the radio it IS a full album every time.
    TheNameOfNoone
    The future of music is not bleak. The future of average musicians is - which means only the best and most determined will prevail, so the future of music is very bright. And yes, music doesn't matter that much when compared to 70's and 80's.
    xxdarrenxx
    I think you three do not get the point of what he said entirely. Azrael, He is not even referring to a musicans point of view, but a listener's point of view on this. How often do you ask a friend to come over and just sit on the couch and listen to music? Not touching your smartphone at any point. Actually you might do this, but I know a big majorityy of people doesn't do this (unless drugs or dancing is involved). Slush; You talk about artistic peak. This might or might not be true, but is also not what he's referring too. He means that when you wanted to listen to anything metal in the 80's you had just the option of a select group that had records out. Now you have such a broad pool, that there are less people per band. That's just basic Math (Chance). TheNameOfNoon; He says the opposite. Your comment implies 'band gets rich/money' equals pinnacle of a band. Where the Author actually refers to the average musician's future as far as how easy it is to get music out.
    vikkyvik
    I don't invite friends over for any reason nearly as much as I used to. That has little to do with music, and a lot to do with growing up and having different responsibilities. I listen to albums all the time in my car (because that's where I can blast them and sing along and drum on the steering wheel without residents of neighboring apartments getting really pissed and calling the police). I listen to them all the way through if the drive is long enough. I will fully admit, I don't get all the negativity. It sounds far too much like the all-too-common nostalgia for the "good old days" that weren't really much better than current days. As I said in the article about Robb Flynn's blog post, things aren't better or worse, they're just different.
    link no1
    I don't think you got the point at all about inviting somebody over. It has nothing to do with your age and responsibilities. I myself have grown up and have responsibilities, though I still hang around with my friends every now and again. It usually happens by one of us saying: - "Hey, want to come over, have a few beers?" - "Hey, want to come over, have a few beers and play Halo?" - "Hey, want to come over, have a few beers and jam a little?" Notice that non of those said "have a few beers and listen to the new xxx album"? Nobody does this anymore and the people who do are few and far between. It's usually "listen to the new xxx album WHILST we do something else". So, yano, background noise. I'll agree though, when I'm out and about I will listen to a full album all the way through pretty regularly but again, you're not JUST listening to the album. You're listening to it whilst traveling. Even on public transport where you aren't actually doing anything it's not the same. It's different from just sitting at home and doing literally nothing else other than listen to that album.
    SofaKingMatthew
    I don't buy it. We had access to every band on the planet through tape trading networks. If there was something big in Cali we heard about it back east. An example of this would be getting handed a tape of a band I'd never heard of called Dream Theater in the early 90's that had just been signed. The problem is that people don't purchase enough products from the bands for them to become as big as Metallica. It takes money. Even Hetfield, himself came out and said, "There is no market for heavy metal in North America. That is why we won't be putting on any festivals." He means there is no money. Look at Dream Theater. 3.4 million fans on Facebook. Have you heard of their new album going gold? Nope. Not even one eighth of their audience purchased their new album. There will never be another Metallica because metal fans are murdering the musicians by not allowing them to earn the living wage it takes to become the next big thing.
    fenderfrenzy101
    Number 5 is completely innaccurate. I'm pretty sure the only difference between 'kids these days' and kids from the 80's is the internet and its impact. There were still video games, sex, drugs, etc. back then. There are plenty of 'kids these days' that will sit down for the sole purpose of listening to music
    akwash79
    Back then, just going to buy new music was an event in itself. Almost religious-like. I agree with the author that this has mostly been lost. Not just for kids, even us older guys notice that the experience just isn't the same. I still listen to full albums every now and then(usually it's older stuff that I'm already familiar with) but it's not the same "event" that it used to be.
    Robslip
    akwash79 is SO right!! When I was 16-17 all of our friends would buy 1-2 tapes each week. Usually a band we knew and a band we never heard of. We would all get together on Friday and Saturday nights and bring the tapes to listen to. Its how I was introduced to artists like Stu Hamm, Joe Satriani, Death, LA Guns, Talas, Death Angel. I wonder how many "kids" do stuff like that today.
    link no1
    I have to agree with akwash. I remember when I was around 16 (2006ish) and I was still going out to buy physical copies. If I wanted xxx new album, I had to get on the bus for 30 minutes, so I would probably make a day out of it just because it would be inconvenient not to. When I got home I would listen to it all the way through and appreciate it more since I've had to go out of my way to obtain it. Now if I want to listen to xxx new album I generally just click a button and I've got it before I can finish watching the video of that hot blonde on pornhub. I probably won't even JUST listen to that album either, I'll likely 'listen' to it whilst I'm reading something on another website. Hell, even if I want the physical copy of something I just get it delivered now and I probably won't ever listen to that CD, I'll just listen to the digital version.
    SstanN
    I agree with most of this. I do think however, that metal doesn't need to get mainstream. If people are open minded they will give it a chance and might like it. People who aren't are simply not ment for metal.
    polfnikufesin
    There's one reason, and one reason only, why there will never be another Metallica: metal fans. If you need more of an explanation, then you are one of the reason's why.
    LoloLalaLe
    Dude. Tool's got a lot of fans.
    vikkyvik
    Arguments over what genre a band is in are a big turnoff for me, even though I'm already a metal fan. Who really cares? Why draw up divisions between bands and fans of bands? I can't see anything positive that would come from that.
    Scourge441
    Tool have also never played a metal riff. Great band, wrong genre.
    Kornholic
    Tool is a metal band whether you like it or not.
    6-String_Madman
    Tool is a progressive rock band... I would put them in the same shelf as Rush but not with Dream Theater.
    howyjr
    I would argue that they are heavier than Rush, which may push them into the Progressive Metal genre.
    bof92
    Never played a metal riff? I would say Bottom fills that criteria!
    TheExterminator
    The biggest reason, though, is that Metal simply isn't the type of genre to normally spawn bands that reach the levels of popularity Metallica reached. We're talking about a predominately underground genre of music that, even if it wasn't extreme and abrasive to the average ear, has about as many anti-commercial tendencies as its Punk sibling does. I mean, there's like 96, 000 Metal bands listed in the Encyclopaedia Metallum, and you could count the number of truly popular Metal bands on your hands. The lack of some "new Metallica" is not the fault of the status of music in the modern world, it's not over-saturation, or the lack of mainstream appeal, it's because the original Metallica's success was a fluke more than anything.
    Mikheal
    Metal doesn't have to be mainstream. Look at the '80-s, when metal was the new shit and popculture embraced it as - yes, this is the way to go. Now most of us are trying to forget all those hair-metal bands
    Irwin Navarro
    Avenged Sevenfold begs to differ )
    MaggaraMarine
    "The next Metallica" doesn't necessarily mean a band that sounds like Metallica. It means a band that has a big influence on music and does something new. Copying Metallica =/= being the next Metallica. You need to do something new to be the next Metallica.