Metal fans although claiming not to be obsessed with image can be just as fickle and shallow as other music genres they deride. A common criticism of Metallica from detractors is of their success and wealth that I find confusing. Many people when deriding Metallica will recall Lars Ulrich’s taste for collecting art. Apparently metal musicians should live up to a cliché and anything that doesn’t fit in with the macho imagine is ridiculed
This attitude reached the zenith of its ridiculousness during the reviews of Metallica’s most recent album “Death Magnetic”. In their review of the album Pitchfork media thought it relevant to include the shocking fact that two of the members of the band were recently caught shopping for Armani suits. Apparently this is not “metal” and the members should live their lives endlessly as working class, tough clichés or lose respect from the metal community. I dont really get this, Metallica are millionaires, family men and middle-aged and it is naive to think they are betraying their fans by doing something as trivial as shopping for suits. They probably watch old tv shows, go to parent-teacher nights and play trivial pursuit with friends and all other boring, everyday stuff.
Do we really expect Ronny James Dio to fight dragons in his spare time? Do people really think Slayer are axe-murdering Satanists? (the band members are actually Catholic)
Although I love metal music, the vast majority is too image obsessed and as a result most metal bands write similarly gloomy unrelatable lyrics and sing in the same cookie monster death growl that sounds like a 8 year old trying to pretend to be as evil as possible. They play their instruments as hard and as fast as possible and this usually creates an incomprehensible sludge of noise that is hard to distinguish from the 100’s of other metal bands who do the exact same thing.
The difference between Metallica and their support act, modern metal group Lamb of God couldn’t be more noticeable. Lamb of God had a small handful of fans there to see them but most people were anxiously waiting for Metallica. Being unfamiliar with Lamb of Gods for lack of a better term i’ll call “music” I wasnt sure what to expect. What I heard was fast guitars, fast drums and a growling vocalist that had nothing to say that was different from many other metal bands. Apart from the few times the vocalist spoke in between songs I couldnt actually understand any of the lyrics during any of their songs, all I heard was “rowwwwrrrrrrrrrrrr”. Is this really modern metal in 2010?
The audience of Metallica was diverse, there were parents with their young children, teenagers and young adults and people aged 60 and upwards. It was one of the most diverse audiences I had ever seen and when they played you saw just why they are still relevant. It is a shame that part of their lasting popularity is because modern metal has failed to be as progressive and relevant as older bands like Metallica.
Either that or I am just an old fart going on about dinosaur rock bands?