1980′s – The Endangered Decade of Heavy Metal
Once upon a time, the 1980′s were hailed as the golden years of heavy metal, with some of the era still maintaining that faith. Every major sub-genre of metal found it’s mark in the 80′s, far more than any other era in metal, yet it seems like the newer generation of metal fans completely ignore their past, or write it off as a simple building block for the current field of up and comers. Am I the only one who has a problem with eliminating an entire decade of groundbreaking metal, that is still the embodiment of what we listen to today?
I’m no old codger who often spends his days recollecting on the glory days of metal, I am in the thick of things just as the next guy, enjoying all the new material coming out month after month. Progression in metal is what fans live for, and there’s nothing wrong with that, however, understanding our roots, and appreciating it, are critically important to the enjoyment output of the modern era. Truth be told though, as the years roll on by, and new fans are established, the connection to our roots gets more distant, and more faint. No longer do we compare great new death metal acts to those from the 80′s (unless they still make music), but instead we compare them to acts from the 90′s, and even later. When we have an old school retro band come up, most fans are limited to comparisons like Iron Maiden, Motorhead and Judas Priest, while ignoring the hundreds of other bands that were a part of the NWOB HM, as well as the various scenes in America. I’ve even heard that bands like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest are hard rock, along the lines of AC/DC, and not metal, because they aren’t heavy enough. Crazy right? Well go ask some of the 16 year olds going to shows, and they’ll likely echo the same sentiment.
I didn’t spend my adolescent years and early adulthood in the 80′s, so I didn’t experience the scene as some did, but even during my era, when I first started getting into metal, it was essential that if you were going to delve into the world of real metal, you needed to establish yourself with the classics in order to properly understand what metal really was. This is no longer the case. Kids now, in the post nu-metal and metalcore era, are in a world were the classics are what they listened to when they first started with mainstream crossover acts like Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage and the melo death scene in Sweden. Make no mistake, there are classics of 10-15 years ago, unmistakably, but even these acts were inspired by the first generations of metal, and if you asked all of those guys, they I’m sure would undoubtedly make their own recommendations of their favorite records from the 80′s, because that’s where everything started.
These days, when someone refers to “80′s metal,” it’s often derogatory, to make fun of a clean, old school falsetto vocals, or shredding tactics by guitarists. I understand this old school sound was driven into the ground for years, but this style also contains some of the best arrangements in metal, that very few artists have matched since in terms of uniqueness and power.
Again, I don’t want to be the old fart saying all the new music sucks, because if I did that, this blog would suck and would be re-dubbed negativenancy.com, and fuck if I want to be called that. With every storied canon though, no matter what the subject matter may be, it’s necessary to know the whole story to understand what paths may arise in the future. Foundations are everything, and the metal of the 80′s needs to be recognized and respected.
A FEW CLASSIC 80′s TRACKS FOR YOUR BROWSING PLEASURE YOU MAY NOT HAVE HEARD
(BTW Loudness still fucking rocks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALOlrsZfJgE&feature=related)