Music Television – Thoughts on the State of Metal

A weekend spent at home recently gave me the opportunity to watch a lot of music television, and me being that kind of guy that I am, naturally took the opportunity to catch up on what the young folk are listening to in rock and metal nowadays. There are a couple of channels catering to this audience, but my package doesn’t have access to Kerrang! (probably a blessing) or MTV Rocks (definitely a blessing), so the only dedicated channel left is Scuzz, which in my experience averages a 50% success rate in avoiding utter drivel. However, for the dedicated fans, the channel Propeller (Sky 189) plays music shows in the evening, after a long day of teleshopping and talk shows. Tuune is general chart music, followed later in the evening by Rock Tuune, and then late at night comes Metal Tuune. Anyway, onto the content:

First of all; okay, things actually aren’t that bad!

I started out with Rock Tuune, about half ten. For the most part, it just played generic indie and brit-rock, nothing too controversial or exciting. A few good discoveries though: Norwegian band Djerv and London based hard-rock band Zodiac N Black stand out.

Now the usual problem with metal channels is they get choked up with crappy metalcore, post-hardcore and stuff that gets called emo nowadays. Metal Tuune does a better job of avoiding this than most, though it’s far from perfect. However, even bearing that in mind, the night in question proved disappointing, with songs I did not like slightly edging ahead of good tracks.

The show opened with promisingly Parkway Drive’s Dark Days, and kept it heavy with Widows’s Green Tsunami and Karma Accomplished by Wretched, recent tour mates of Dying Fetus. The thrash revival of a few years back is still perfectly healthy – Nitebreaker by Cauldron was comprehensively old-school thrash/NWOBHM in its feel.

The cheesy and sidefringed end of the spectrum was thoroughly well represented unfortunately; particularly low points included The Unguided’s Betrayer of the Code, who sound like a bad Scandinavian Dragonforce, and Elueveitie’s A Rose for Epona, which introduced me to the horrifying possibility of folk-post-hardcore. Would not recommend. One band called Hackneyed had a song called Deatholution, and there seemed to be zero irony at play; music video of the band playing in a poorly-lit basement room and shots of a scary ghost child moving in jerky-stop motion… you can probably picture exactly what I mean. Even worse, it played right after Story Time by Nightwish, which in addition to being by Nightwish, has a music video that manages to tick off almost every lazy cliché associated with dark fairy tales.

A lot of what I heard was just mediocre rather than bad, and enough of it just wasn’t to my tastes that I’ll say the scene is still doing fine; music is being made and there’s a healthy balance of new sounds emerging against people playing in comfortable styles.The real problem is that all the second-rate metalcore and post-hardcore sounds the same as the bands doing the same thing five years ago – new things are happening in metal and hardcore but the same music is getting more and more exposure. If you want to hear that kinda thing, just listen to Gallows’s Abandon Ship. It takes a punk band to show us how it’s done right.

The following day, a few hours spent on Scuzz furthering my research only solidified my opinions. Now, most of it was spent on Nu-metal Top 100, so I’ve only myself to blame for any crap that came on the screen, and a man should be allowed a little nostalgia for his teenage years. It doesn’t exactly fall under “the current state metal” though, so I’ll leave with two thoughts; they did immediately follow the program up with Devin Townsend Project’s Lucky Animals, which went a long way to righting any wrongs committed, and I also discovered the talented classic-rock styled outfit Heaven’s Basement via the single Fire, Fire.

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2 responses to “Music Television – Thoughts on the State of Metal

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