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deadone
Mainstream Whore

Posts: 3175
From: Australia

  03.07.2014 at 08:26
Is it just me or are many older bands stuck in what can be described as "heavy metal groundhog day" whereby each album sounds so remarkebly similar to the previous one?

Bands like Amon Amarth, Kataklysm, Arch Enemy, Devil Driver, Lamb of God (and I like Resolution) and 99% of Thrash/Power stuff these days seems to be just a repeat of whatever formula was successful for them at some point in time.

There is little or no movement in terms of sound.


Even some of the stuff I like is very groundhog day (e.g. last couple of Overkill albums have been remarkebly similar).


We're certainly not seeing the kind of progression one used to see (e.g. Slayer: Show No Mercy through to God Hates Us All actually was quite diverse compared to say Kataklysm from Shadows and Dust to Waiting For The End To Come or most of Arch Enemy's Gassow era).



Deadone's Most Likely Flawed Theories on Metal Groundhog Day Albums

Band's avoiding backlash

The 1990s saw the emergence of the concept of sell out - in fact just about every band was acussed of selling out as they changed their sounds from established Thrash/Death grungier/groovier/Nu-metal versions of themselves and then in early 2000s with lots of Gothenerg's big names turning poppier/metal core-ier etc.

And very often there's no coming back from such things.

Commercial imperatives that result in imitation of previously successful results

Maybe bands are trying to recreate album formulas that were previously successful.

Maybe the labels are far less willing to accept something that deviates from that formula too or bands are scared to take risks that might result in reduced revenue.

Maybe they're just one trick ponies that should've been allowed to die

Could be these bands were one trick ponies. In the past higher costs of production (analogue recordings are far more expensive than digital ones and records cost more to make than CDs) meant that bands that didn't sell would be dropped off the roster. And given no internet, they would simply disappear off the shelves. With cheapness of digital recording and production, even low units can be profitable.



What do you guys and girls think?
Un-Born Again

Posts: 40
From: USA

  03.07.2014 at 09:00
Yeah it's definitely there. It seems like Iron Maiden has been releasing the same album since they got Bruce Dickinson. Same with Motorhead.
Some people mention Slayer, I think they do Slayer because Slayer is Slayer and they don't give a fuck what anybody else says.
As for Amon Amarth and Lamb of God like you mentioned I can see it in them for sure.
Cannibal Corpse is another band that comes to mind.
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"Individual Pot Patterns"
M C Vice
Ex-polydactyl

Posts: 1528

Age: 28
From: Australia

  03.07.2014 at 10:24
Written by Un-Born Again on 03.07.2014 at 09:00

Yeah it's definitely there. It seems like Iron Maiden has been releasing the same album since they got Bruce Dickinson. Same with Motorhead.
Some people mention Slayer, I think they do Slayer because Slayer is Slayer and they don't give a fuck what anybody else says.
As for Amon Amarth and Lamb of God like you mentioned I can see it in them for sure.
Cannibal Corpse is another band that comes to mind.

There are only 2 Motorhead albums that sound different to the others: Motorhead and Another Perfect Day. The rest are all pretty much (stylistically) the same.
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GO THE SHARKS!

"I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "How does he know what I'm thinking?" Well I know everything, and so does your internet service provider."
Ganondox

Posts: 219

Age: 18
From: USA

  03.07.2014 at 17:45
Written by Un-Born Again on 03.07.2014 at 09:00

Yeah it's definitely there. It seems like Iron Maiden has been releasing the same album since they got Bruce Dickinson. Same with Motorhead.
Some people mention Slayer, I think they do Slayer because Slayer is Slayer and they don't give a fuck what anybody else says.
As for Amon Amarth and Lamb of God like you mentioned I can see it in them for sure.
Cannibal Corpse is another band that comes to mind.


Number of the Beast sounds completely different than The Final Frontier, almost like they are different bands from different genres. While they're evolution has been slow, they've evolved a lot, and have experimented a bit, like with synths in Somewhere in Time.
Mattybu
crusty juggler

Posts: 2064
From: Canada

  03.07.2014 at 18:26
Written by Un-Born Again on 03.07.2014 at 09:00

Cannibal Corpse is another band that comes to mind.


CC's last 3 albums have actually all been noticeably different from each other. For some reason they have become the #1 scapegoat for not varying their sound but I think that's mostly a claim made by people who don't actually listen to them much.
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I ain't gon not gona ain't give you dis pie if you ain't not gonna ack rite
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist

Posts: 17481

Age: 23
From: Canada

  03.07.2014 at 23:59
I think a lot of the bigger bands are kind of forced into this repetition because they're the popular ones that bring in revenue for labels. Those labels want to make sure they continue earning as much money as possible, and if that means having your biggest names release the same album over and over then so be it.

This doesn't apply to every popular band obviously, but I think it's at least partially a reason for why we see so many older/big-name bands releasing albums that hardly introduce any change.
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Prettier than BloodTears.
Darkside Momo
Lazy, just lazy

Posts: 6219

Age: 36
From: France

  04.07.2014 at 00:30
I'd like to introduce another option:
The "if it ain't broken, don't fix it" attitude
And it goes well with commercial imperatives anyway.
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"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you." - Ray Bradbury
Un-Born Again

Posts: 40
From: USA

  04.07.2014 at 01:49
Written by Mattybu on 03.07.2014 at 18:26

Written by Un-Born Again on 03.07.2014 at 09:00

Cannibal Corpse is another band that comes to mind.


CC's last 3 albums have actually all been noticeably different from each other. For some reason they have become the #1 scapegoat for not varying their sound but I think that's mostly a claim made by people who don't actually listen to them much.


Honestly I only listen to Barnes era Corpse but what I have heard from Corpsgrinder era it seems the same but that's only based on what I have heard.
I'll have to check out their latest albums.
----
"Individual Pot Patterns"
Mattybu
crusty juggler

Posts: 2064
From: Canada

  04.07.2014 at 02:04
Written by Un-Born Again on 04.07.2014 at 01:49

Honestly I only listen to Barnes era Corpse but what I have heard from Corpsgrinder era it seems the same but that's only based on what I have heard.
I'll have to check out their latest albums.


It's not like one album is jazz-prog and the next is blackened sludge but there are discernible differences. And obviously almost everything about the band's sound has changed since the Barnes era.

And I agree totally with Momo on "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", CC is just cranking out one awesome death metal album after another, I don't see any reason for them to change. If you want some other style there's other bands out there doing it.
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I ain't gon not gona ain't give you dis pie if you ain't not gonna ack rite
deadone
Mainstream Whore

Posts: 3175
From: Australia

  04.07.2014 at 02:25
Written by Darkside Momo on 04.07.2014 at 00:30

I'd like to introduce another option:
The "if it ain't broken, don't fix it" attitude
And it goes well with commercial imperatives anyway.



Issue is with at least stuff like Kataklysm or Amon Amarth or Devildriver is that these "groundhog day albuns" might not be broken but they're certainly not exiciting musical journeys. In some ways it's turned metal into a product. Nuclear Blast seems at the forefront of production line metal.

Another flawed theory

Modern technology has reduced role of producer and also allows for far easier replication of a specific sound than analogue. You can also replicate that sound in different studios which was not possible in older analogue ones. In essence you can reproduce same sounding albums reliably regardless of studio. This helps create that production line vibe.
Mattybu
crusty juggler

Posts: 2064
From: Canada

  04.07.2014 at 02:34
Every album ever released to the public for a price is a product. Metal or otherwise. Even the most out-there, whacky, unique music is a product if someone is selling it. Sticking to a certain style that includes elements that a large amount of people like just means you will probably sell more copies. Also, for some people, each new Amon Amarth album might be an exciting new journey, even if they sound similar.

I'm not sure how relevant this thread is in general these days though, seeing as if you don't like the "production line metal", there are 100000000000 other bands out there via the internet all trying to out-pretentious each other and mix up every genre you could imagine and have barn animals do the vocals and whatnot. Unless you think metal artists selling more copies is hurting the trve kvlt credibility of the genre.
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I ain't gon not gona ain't give you dis pie if you ain't not gonna ack rite
Guib

Posts: 2019

Age: 23
From: Canada

  04.07.2014 at 02:36
Written by Mattybu on 04.07.2014 at 02:34

mix up every genre you could imagine and have barn animals do the vocals and whatnot.


Oh yes they do... Canine, Artists Are Idiots and Heatbeak, very animalish lol
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- I love my technical, melodic, my thrash, agressive and fast paced, my sludge, well thought, my heavy, heavier and my metal, ever-growing -
deadone
Mainstream Whore

Posts: 3175
From: Australia

  04.07.2014 at 02:48
Written by Mattybu on 04.07.2014 at 02:34

Every album ever released to the public for a price is a product. Metal or otherwise. Even the most out-there, whacky, unique music is a product if someone is selling it. Sticking to a certain style that includes elements that a large amount of people like just means you will probably sell more copies. Also, for some people, each new Amon Amarth album might be an exciting new journey, even if they sound similar.

I'm not sure how relevant this thread is in general these days though, seeing as if you don't like the "production line metal", there are 100000000000 other bands out there via the internet all trying to out-pretentious each other and mix up every genre you could imagine and have barn animals do the vocals and whatnot. Unless you think metal artists selling more copies is hurting the trve kvlt credibility of the genre.



Of course metal is a product.

However it seems that the "don't sway from current product" has taken it's hold.


Personally it matters to me for a number of reasons:

1. Surprise is nice from bands I like. I remember rEvolver, Dystopia, Shadows and Dust blowing me away because they were unexpected. Even Death Magnetic was nice as it was unexpected (I'd expected a more return to Load).

Sure sometimes it's shocking and I hate it. That's fine too - much better response imo than "meh".


I don't get excited about stuff that I know will sound roughly the same especially when the last album I loved was 4 albums ago and the band is just on repeat since.


2. I have no urge to buy these production line albums. E.g. I like Kataklysm but what's the point of owning more than a couple of the last 6 albums when they all sound remarkebly similar. Or Arch Enemy. Or whatever.



3. I'd rather have a strong opinion of an album (i.e. love Master of Puppets, hate Reload) than think it's "ok but nothing groundbreaking and in the end I really don't care about it" (e.g. last 4 Kataklysm, last 4 Devil Driver, last 5 Arch Enemy etc etc).


Some bands can pull it off simply due to strong song writing (e.g. Overkill's last few) but most struggle.
Mattybu
crusty juggler

Posts: 2064
From: Canada

  04.07.2014 at 03:00
Well if you have no urge to buy them, don't buy them. For collecting purposes there are people out there (probably including me someday) who buy every album by a band regardless of quality, so if you wanted to do that it's not an issue anyways.

And as for the bands you like surprising you, I guess that's a different thing. Suppose you will just have to come to terms with not being surprised by certain bands. For me I am not really bothered when bands don't surprise me, so I guess my opinion will be somewhat biased in that respect.
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I ain't gon not gona ain't give you dis pie if you ain't not gonna ack rite
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist

Posts: 17481

Age: 23
From: Canada

  04.07.2014 at 03:09
Matty pretty much covered it. If you don't like bands churning out the same album... then discover new bands. In this day and age pretty much everything under the sun is being put out on some form of medium for people to hear, so it seems like a waste of time complaining about repetition.
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Prettier than BloodTears.
deadone
Mainstream Whore

Posts: 3175
From: Australia

  04.07.2014 at 03:18
Written by Mattybu on 04.07.2014 at 03:00

And as for the bands you like surprising you, I guess that's a different thing. Suppose you will just have to come to terms with not being surprised by certain bands. For me I am not really bothered when bands don't surprise me, so I guess my opinion will be somewhat biased in that respect.


Surprises are nice.

But a band can get away without surprises if they write kick arse songs. But that's not happening with a lot of bands I like. Instead songwriting is mediocre as very often has the impression of just being a rehash of what's been done before.
JayMo4

Posts: 60
From: USA

  04.07.2014 at 05:10
I think a lot of bands out there do reinvent themselves from time to time, but a lot of fans tend to throw a fit every time their favorite band doesn't spend the rest of their career trying to recreate that one big hit album they had. Opeth is the example that springs immediately to mind, but there are plenty of others.

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