Rebirth Amongst Ruin…

Posted: December 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

                                                                                          “We Reign In What?”

   There comes a time in everything where you have two vital options. Either end it, or change. Such law clearly applies to metal music, as in its relatively short history (42 years exactly), it has changed nearly a dozen times. It all started with a tritonal horror song, and it has never stopped its reign. The generations who see each era claim their’s to be the best, and instinctually so. Those who lived in the golden days will say anything not Maiden is less than dirt metal, while those (like me) born at the tail end of one (death metal) and raised, immersed, and infatuated with another (modern metal), I respect all genres of metal, whether its the soaring opera of Priest, or the crushing breakdowns of Lamb Of God, it’s all amazing. But in the past year or so, metal has yet again hit a point where one genre is slowly waning. Slowly, but surely, there is a new wave of metal creeping in. Like a river, it’s coming in, and pulling anyone willing to submit to the current with it. That new wave is American heavy metal.

    Britain had its time. For a long time, the not so distant brothers from across the Atlantic were the only country producing “modern” metal. America was into kicking a dead horse, like the short lived “New Wave Of Thrash Metal” from 2007 to 2010. The bands who stuck around from that (Municipal Waste, Warbringer, Violator, Bonded By Blood) have long run their recipe dry, stretching the limits of human patience by releasing album after album of monotous Anthrax clone metal. The well ran dry eventually and the limits of thrash metal eventually pushed many fans (including myself) to find some new metal to listen to. At first it seemed Britain had won the neverending cycle of whos better. Bands like Bring Me the Horizon were at least unique in a time of saturated thrash or non deserving metalcore. Bands adopted the term post-metal. This allowed a more flexible sense of musicianship, i.e. keyboards, synths, even some outside influences such as techno and (then unknown to America) dubstep. Their fanbase here in the States were small, most pinning their noses at the mere thought of them. I myself have never been a fan and most likely never will be. The lack of actual influence of metal is too small for me to identify with. That said, this whole movement was vital in the rebirth of American metal.

    Long before BMTH, Asking Alexandria, or TesseracT even existed, their was one band who was straight-t0-the-point American metal. Hailing from Richmond, Virginia, Lamb Of God were the first to take the breakdown and turn it into a deadly weapon. Their first album was released in 1998, as the much more controversial Burn The Priest. After guitarist Abe Spear left, drummer Chris Adler recruited brother Wille on the axe, and they began work on what would become the pinnacle 2000 album “New American Gospel”. Their was nothing like it at the time. The breakdowns were vicious. The vocals were like a monstrous pterodactyl attacking a small village. Their are small hints of percussive influence from fellows Americans Slipknot, but the claim is yet to be accepted or denied. The album was a deciding factor in the end of preceding genre, nu-metal. Suddenly, bands like KoRn and Limp Bizkit, were left without any platform for their music. The tides had turned. The influence of rap and hip hop was dead. Lamb Of God took what forefathers Pantera gave them, and turned it into a monster of hate and metal. After Gospel was released, suburban kids no longer tried to downtune their guitars to Drop Z and sing like Jon Davis, rather they tuned it to Drop D, screamed like Randy Blythe and added the then all but unknown breakdown to their sounds. Many bands on the East Coast morphed this sound with a more hardcore influence. The West Coast bands (CA, AZ, TX) added a more death metal influence to this later on, adopting the term deathcore. The latter has yet to fully get anymore approval than metalcore. And this leads us to the intro. The rise of American metal versus British metal. For long, Britain’s metal scene was mostly underground, with bands such as TesseracT, Bring Me The Horizon, and Asking Alexandria leaving an imprint of the American fanbase. Some smaller movements broke out, such as djent, or dub core, but none garnered quite as much as the post metal sounds of the latter. Meanwhile, around this time, America was in the midst of a revival, the thrash metal revival. Once that ended (late 2009, early 2010) once again the tide had turned. Bands such as Lamb Of God, Machine Head, Mastodon, and Killswitch Engage were throwing out classics to unreceptive crowds. Metalheads like me had long been fans of these bands, but the support that post metal got was never there. Until now.

         People have all but turned their attention away from the British scene. Some will deny this vehemently. But the bands who once looked and claimed metal, have now added the trends of cultural music, ie techno, dubstep, and dance to their sound (as mentioned earlier). Many who support them will stay, blinded by the idiocy of youthful hope. But today, December 16, 2011, is a mere day in the timeline of the dawn of American heavy metal’s rebirth. Lamb Of God are set to release “Resolution” January 24, 2012. Mastodon recently released “The Hunter” a post country sort of affair that integrated their metallic chops into their classic rock roots. Since the rebirth of NWOAHM began over a decade ago, the strength as grown.  Mark my words, 2012 is going to be the best year American metal has had since 1986. Long gone are the days of Britain reign over metal, America will purveil in the fight of real metal and false metal. Elitism among American fans is slowly, yet surely, dying. The acceptance of the breakdown, the clean to harsh vocal style, and all around American-ness of metalcore has wrapped its arms around our fanbase. The older bands are slowly bowing out, retiring or just falling out. Retro thrash is postmortem, and British metalcore is on its last walk to the morgue. All signs lead to America reigning the metal scene for long time to come. And I’ll be supporting every step.

                                                                                                     Because Heavy Matters,



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