Good day all and Happy New Year,
Another year and some exciting things coming for us metal fans. One of the early announcements that I find exciting is the upcoming Metal Alliance tour. The tour itself will be headlined by Anthrax (who seem to be trying to take the hardest working band in metal moniker away from Motorhead) with Exodus, Municipal Waste, High on Fire, and Holy Grail supporting. Really looking forward to seeing the last three bands mentioned there as I have yet to see them live. There will also be some big new releases from some big bands this year and it is always exciting to find new metal through the various channels in which we do so to include but not limited to METAL BUZZ, Metal Bandcamp, About Heavy Metal.com, MSN’s Headbang, and many others.
Speaking of new metal, over the holiday break I had the opportunity to peruse some of the end of year lists that are spread across the Internet and found myself becoming very interested in what each of these fellow bloggers and professional writers thought about the year in heavy metal music. There were some really great and well thought out lists and then there were some throw away lists, but no matter what there was at least one take away from each of the lists at least for me. Take for instance one list I saw had the new Killing Joke album on it and I had yet to really listen to the album but after seeing it on this list I gave a good listen and found out why it ranked so high on this list, it is a solid album that had I heard it earlier in the year may have wound up on my own EOY list. On the other side of the spectrum I found a list that had Hellyeah’s new album in their top five and instantly disregarded the additional picks of this specific writer. I know everyone has an opinion and music is different for everyone but come on! With all of the great metal that came out last year Hellyeah is in the top 5? Sorry, not even in the conversation!
But I digress, what really revealed itself to me while scouring these end of year lists was how much looking for new metal has started to mirror how I search out my beers. I have become a craft beer enthusiast over the past year or so and I am always looking for new beers to try, and trying to find a nice “type” if you will that satisfies my drinker’s palate Much the same way I am always looking for metal that will satisfy my musical palate. What I have found is that for both of these obsessions of mine I have to look outside the norm and find new and different places to find my information. When I was younger it was radio, magazines, and MTV that led the way in introducing me to new metal music. The same could be said for how I was introduced to new beers: TV, magazines, and radio or whatever my favorite team or personality was pimping at the time.
But now with the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, Untapped and so many other options, there is a way to find new and different metal and beer it seems almost limitless. Now don’t get me wrong there is still a place in my life for the more mainstream in both beer and metal, I am still a push over for a good hair metal anthem much like I still love to find me a National Bohemian on tap some where and drink it out of a nice frosty mug, but I have also found so much more. It is interesting because now that I compare metal and beer I am seeing more clearly how alike they are in the process of craft. Maybe we should consider replacing the term genre with craft, that way there will no longer be any confusion on what you are listening to in metal. It seems to me that at this point everything that comes out in the metal world automatically gets linked with the “extreme” genre, but is it really as extreme as we think. Maybe to make it easier for everyone we should just call it “craft” metal and have some small sub-genres out of that much like beer. I can see right now that sludge would fit nicely in the Milk Stout category of Craft Metal and death metal working well as a Porter.
Let’s look at the more mainstream bands like Judas Priest, Ozzy, Kiss they would still fit into the old and reliable brew section of the Budwisers, and the Miller’s and the Coors and Municipal Waste would be the perfect companion to Mickey’s Big Mouth right? You could put the German thrash of Sodom, Destruction, Kreator in the Hefeweizen or even the darker Oktoberfest beers, but the point is there will be a place for everybody in the Craft Metal world and an added bonus would be that it would probably be more accessible to more people as I think the term “extreme metal” scares people away. And if we do this right the magazine and Internet realms would be much easier to navigate.
We could take a page from the beer rating guides and judge the metal on its color, bitterness, content, sustainability, taste, it could be a whole new world for metal heads all over the world. Looking at my Twitter timeline I can see that a lot of the people I associate with about metal are also craft beer fans so this transition should be easy if not seamless. So everyone’s homework is to look into their metal favorites and decide where our specific favorites and hidden gems will wind up. There is an easier way for all of us to enjoy and find metal and I think if we follow the craft beer example we will find our way to discover what our own palates desire in metal music.
Until later, Peace!