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The decline of old school Heavy Metal

Written by: ProstheticCunt
Published: 08.10.2004

In the February of 1970, something happened to music that would in the end revolutionise it forever - four people from the heart of Birmingham released an album under the monicker of Black Sabbath, lead by the now legendary Ozzy Osbourne. The self titled album 'Black Sabbath' turned many heads and revolutioned the music scene with this new style of 'heavy metal'. This however wasn't enough for Sabbath and when they returned the next year with 'Paranoid' the album went straight to number 1 in the UK album charts and the single of the same name hit number four. Within the next 10 years many bands popped up under the same style, such names including AC/DC, Def Leppard.

As the music scene progressed into the eighties so did music, bringing into it yet another style of heavy metal which was essentially more hardcore. With Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and many others becoming very well known worldwide - but the question lies, what importance do they have in todays music scene with metal becoming more commercialised, more available and with so many varities.

The introduction of both grunge (circa 1990) and nu-metal (circa 1994) meant that the older bands were beginning to lose the spotlight and fall. This not being helping by what many fans would call the declining standard of the older metal with Black Sabbath losing Ozzy, Iron Maiden's 'Virtual IX' and 'The X Factor' with Blaze Bayley on vocals and the infamous Load siblings of Metallica. But even with this happening many fans were not reacting to the nu-metal saying it was too manufactured with not enough skill.

With this progression till now it has been time for the older bands to strike back, with bands like Evanescence, Linkin Park and Papa Roach taking places in the charts people decided to ask back the older bands who they had been against for their change. Unfortunately the question is - are they still up to it, many bands attempts to re-invent themselves have fallen flat on their faces, of which some is being blamed on the media but as it is more obvious to state, there is a time where you have to stop.

Look back to Milton Keynes in the UK where AC/DC headlined a show supported by Megadeth, The Offspring and Queens Of The Stone Age - having been at the venue myself it came to Megadeth, they came on and they played their hits, but they didn't have the attitude or the same skill they had in their day, now in their demise due to Dave Mustaines health you have to think weither it is for the best. But then in another dissapointment of the night AC/DC were the pure reflection of why it may be the time for the genre, from the moment the walked on the stage, to the moment they walked off - it was obvious they did not want to be there at all, they didnt care if the crowd reacted, they didnt care if they sang along - it was the last thing you wanted to see a band do. At the end of the night, even the most hardcore old school fan had to admit they were upstaged by the american pop-punk foursome and the crazy QOTSA.

In this exact day Iron Maiden, Slayer and Metallica are possibly the only ones still respected on the whole and how long can it last. Metallica's 'St. Anger' was received very badly by fans and seemed a desperate attempt to stay on the commercial boat with a nu-metal approach, some put this down to a progressive change in style which is a plausable explanation if you look through their discography. Others however believe it is a poor attempt to keep in the money by producing something people will buy. Whatever their reason, the point remains that since this album they won't be seen as keeping the flag flying for old school metal. Iron Maiden and Slayer both are fortunately holding the flag, but for how long - with Iron Maiden going off the touring circuit after this tour, people are looking where to turn.

But down to the basic facts, within the next five years old school metal will have died completely, partly because they can no longer do it, partly because of the high expectations of them and also due to the media not allowing them the chance they deserve. What we have to do now is progress with the music scene, yes - listen to our old 'Master Of Puppets' CDs but don't expect the genre to come back in its same form... unless we move on and open our minds how can the scene progress.

In conclusion, old school whilst was brilliant in its day and is still amazing to listen to now - it isnt going to come back and unless we realise that we are holding up other bands we may be dismissing.

Guest article disclaimer:
This is a guest article, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments: 21   Visited by: 155 users
07.01.2007 - 06:12
Account deleted
Good article, but maybe there still is a chance for old metal, bands like Metallica might give in to heavy critisism and work hard to make their new albums sound like the older ones. Same with other bands.
07.01.2007 - 14:03

nice article. There are still good old school metal bands, but they're not that famous like Iron Maiden and Metallica and this - in my oppinion - is cause the fan base for this style is shrinking because other styles (like death and black) have growing fan bases.
08.01.2007 - 06:21
Advice Troll
Well, as I've said, metal is a living organism and living organisms evolve...
We can't still listen to bands that were born at least 30 years ago...
I personally have chosen not to listen to releases or bands that were before my birth. Some of them, like Iron Maiden are still good today, but some others, are way to old-fashion. My friends and I can't listen to these old crap...
I'm 20 years old and prefer bands of my age. Linkin Park sound more pleasant to me than Black Sabbath or Judas Priest... not to mention some bands even older than them... I just wonder, in some years, will there be young people who would actually listen to these bands?
Bitch! Please
08.01.2007 - 11:51
Eternal Flames

Great article. I must say you've got some things spot on, but others I must say I disagree with. Old school metal will of course die eventually. It is the cycle of evolution. Bands progress, evolve, move onto different things. I mean, Iron Maiden will never release another Powerslave or Number of the Beast, Megadeth will never release another Rust In Peace, Metallica will never release another Ride The Lightning and so on.

However, I do believe that there will be new bands that will come around and bring something new and innovative to the metal scene. It might take a few years, but I do believe that eventually it will happen. There are some great new bands that really deserve some attention but as you said, are being dismissed because people are trying to keep the old school in the spotlight. I personally love old school metal, but I still enjoy the newer bands that are bringing new ideas into metal.
10.04.2007 - 15:09
The Aryaputra
Excellent article
Not only old school heavy metal, but old school black metal, deathmetal, thrash metal are also diminishing nowadays. This is certainly due to commercialization and bastardization of metal by bands like cradle of filth and co bodom, whose sole aim seems to be to make money by using their instruments, and not maintain the original musical and ideological spirit of metal.
Yes, among the old thrash/heavy bands, only Iron Maiden and Slayer are still going as strong as they were going when they started; IMO other bands like Judas priest, megadeth, metallica aren't as much influencial and 'strong' as they has once been. (maybe megadeth and JP haven't spoilt, but Metallica has become a disgraceful name as they ran after cheap mainstream (MTV?) fame)
that which shines without names and forms...
27.04.2007 - 02:45
Doc G.
Full Grown Hoser
OK article, you left out wuite a bit. Manowar for example, theyve been playing the same thing for the past 25 years, and there debut was one year before metalicas. And as far as new metal bands you only brought up 'Nu' Metal bands, theres plenty of bands to pass the torch to, of course it wont be the same as before but metal would get boring if it wasnt for progression.
"I got a lot of really good ideas, problem is, most of them suck."
- George Carlin
27.04.2007 - 19:51
Erotic Stains
I don't see this as a bad thing, it's good that the Metal scene always evolve.
29.04.2007 - 06:43
el parcero
This is a good article, and it does make you think even more about this. I do think that some of those bands really have to find the time to stop, and they will still be remebered for what they were, and will still be listened.
Still, music is consantly evolving, the same as the people's taste, so a band can't expect to be there forever (i'd guess). IMO, it's better for a band to see when they have to stop, and do it when they have reached a top moment, instead of releasing mediocre and low quality albums just to keep selling and get money. *cough* St. Anger *cough*
love is like a jar of shit with a strawberry on top
25.05.2007 - 04:22
Adrian Valentine
Account deleted
2 words to dispell all nay sayers of classic metal's rebirth in America: ICARUS WITCH!
21.10.2007 - 23:08
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Man firts ppl get older an dcant kick ass and a lot of band sgive up 80ties letter jacket, hair, boots and jeans to modernclouts and wifes thats why thay changing look dio hasnt change since ages, Ac/Dc, Iron Maiden, Saxon, and soem other bands but its hard to explain why it hepens but mouslt ppl are full whit energy when are young and then kick ass more
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
20.03.2008 - 04:48
☭ Mr. S ☭
Owner of the DSA
Written by Bad English on 21.10.2007 at 23:08

Man firts ppl get older an dcant kick ass and a lot of band sgive up 80ties letter jacket, hair, boots and jeans to modernclouts and wifes thats why thay changing look dio hasnt change since ages, Ac/Dc, Iron Maiden, Saxon, and soem other bands but its hard to explain why it hepens but mouslt ppl are full whit energy when are young and then kick ass more

What the Fuck did you just write?
The artical was good and i agree with its message.
Seize the weed of production!
20.03.2008 - 14:56
Hangar XVIII

Pretty good, but in the beggining only mentioning Black Sabbath was a bit slim. Deep Purple, early Led Zeppelin, and Uriah Heep were all almost equally important in establishing the roots of the genre as I understand it.

Also you mentioned Black Sabbath losing Ozzy in the same time period as Load. It was actually in the late 70s when Ozzy left, not the early 90's.

Overall this was a very nice article though.
My new black metal project.
20.03.2008 - 23:38
Lowelas OF FIRE
Account deleted
I mention things similar to this in my extended essay for school
30.03.2008 - 13:34
☭ Mr. S ☭
Owner of the DSA
Evolve or Die
Seize the weed of production!
01.04.2008 - 20:48
Written by ☭ Mr. S ☭ on 20.03.2008 at 04:48

The artical was good and i agree with its message.

Yeah, good if you mean brief. It didn't say much, and didn't point out much of the obvious either. Metal will never be huge to the masses. Metallica was about, and the majority of people know about five songs, maybe a couple from Sabbath. That's about it. Metal was kept alive in the underground, and it's still kept alive there. There are tons of fantastic bands out there, putting aside the "oldies" that he briefly mentioned as Iron Maiden, Slayer, Metallica, and Megadeth, which are a poor representation of Metal as a whole. Just my opinion though.
The force will be with you, always.
03.03.2009 - 10:16
Account deleted
Holding up other bands? Old school metal is superior to much of the modern drivel for good reasons: guitarists actually had the technical skill to play excellent leads, singers could actually scream a melody rather than just make noise, etc. If modern music can live up to the what made old school great, they should have no problem gaining our ear. Until then, I'm sticking to Priest, Maiden, Ozzy, Loudness, Obsession, and even a few old school sounding Dream Evil CDs. Boycott bad radio and let the rock revival begin! In the meantime, pick up a banjo and get pickin'.
04.03.2009 - 16:49

Cool article, but then, I dont think Megadeth have soften up. Their last album 'United Abominations' and one previous to that 'The System Has Failed' were pretty kick ass.

And yeah, although few in number, there ARE bands that can hold up the flag of metal - Nevermore for example. I think Nevermore is one of the best 'modern' metal band out there. Outstanding guitar playing and original songwriting - everything that they do seem to knock any metal head's socks off.

Heavy Metal forever!:banger2:
23.03.2009 - 01:48

I completely disagree with this article. Old-school metal has more to it than the big boys of the 80s. Lack of airplay and a general decline of sales following grunge never killed metal, it just lessened it's exposure in the media. Plenty of older bands carried on with the original sound and spirit while equally many new bands would play the music they grew up with and loved.

I might agree that thrash or perhaps the NWOBHM were products of their respective times, but if it's tradtional heavy metal in the broadest sense we are talking about you have a very superficial view of the scene. I am sorry but this article seems to written from an outsider's point of view.
31.05.2009 - 20:06

Although i like all (almost) styles of metal, i am extremely sad to agree with the article. it is an extremely good one, but i strongly hope he wasn't telling the truth, cause heavy metal is a legend and i want it to be a living one not to die. but unfortunately this article is true and good.
10.07.2009 - 08:17

Very good article. I would like to say that I like the new stuff but yes my favorite bands are all from the 80's. Although some comeback with a new sound its the music they make that counts. Examples: Motley Crue, Guns N' Roses (new stuff sucks) but yeah, Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Def Leppard, Poison, Cheap Trick. Who knows maybe other bands grew to this and decided lets bring this music back. Only with time their ages are old but I think they will hold the flag somehow. Times change anyway. I just hope I die before it takes full effect.
25.12.2009 - 06:46
Rocker of Worlds
I think what we need are more retro-metal bands, because before we know it all the classic metal bands are gonna break-up or die off and fans of the old-skool styles will be left with nothing. Well, we can still listen to the old albums, but we won't have anything new.

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