Remembering the days of big metal bands or rock bands seems like a recurring theme:
“Where’s the iconic bands that initially came out with the sounds that you love? I’ve never seen a band that impressed me that looks like they’re going to be the next Judas Priest or Iron Maiden.” “ — Says Exodus Vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza
“there seems to be no Led Zeppelin for the current generation of music fans” — Forbes
But, we need note that there was no Iron Maiden until there was one. In other words, emergence of The Beatles or a Black Sabbath or an Iron Maiden is sort of non-cyclical. We may assume otherwise, but history itself is non-cyclic. What’s generally cyclic is human behavior. Especially our propensity to repeat mistakes, or ask instinctive questions. Even outside of rock and roll, same questions might arise. For example, who is the Antoine Lavoisier or Adam Smith or Charles Darwin of the last century! But the answer is the same.
We definitely don’t have giant arena filling heavy metal bands anymore, but the question is do we even want to go back to that time? Dialing back a vibrant musical evolution of 40 years seems inane. Back then we just had heavy metal, now it has mutated into hundreds of sub-genres. Instead of arena filling giants, we have an ecosystem and an extended research worthy genealogy. So, do we go back to stadium filling old school purists or just sit back and appreciate a hybrid fragmented mosaic — of Tribulation, Meshuggah and The Dillinger Escape Plan! We definitely cannot have both.
Analogous to Charles Darwin or Karl Marx — Black Sabbath and The Rolling Stones were also originators of powerful ideas. Those ideas were transformative and spawned whole new schools of thought. They were giants because they were at the beginnings — of something captivating and novel. In other words, we simply cannot expect arena filling giants from an aging refined genre, for that we simply might have to look elsewhere.
— Image Attribution
By S. Bollmann [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons
4 thoughts on “The days of …”
Well said, Mahesh, especially when you pointed out that history isn’t cyclical. It is most certainly linear. I think the closest thing to the arena-filling metal bands of old currently on the scene might be Sabaton, although they aren’t prog (thematically they sort of are). They aren’t huge in the US, but they are in Europe. They aren’t genre defining like Maiden or Black Sabbath, though. I guess Avenged Sevenfold has that arena-filling power, but they’re on the periphery of prog.
As for the Adam Smith of the last century… well maybe no one individual can claim that level of influence, but the collective influence of Milton Friedman (with Anna Schwartz), Ludwig von Mises, Russell Kirk, and Friedrich Hayek can compare.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks, Bryan. I do agree!
LikeLiked by 2 people
Prog has its time in the spotlight and now it’s been relegated to a niche audience or blending with other genres.
The radio brought us these big arena bands. The break from the cookie cutter life of the 50s gave rise to the 60s and made it possible for counter culture to flourish. Then MTV killed the radio. It made bands like Slayer and Metallica accessible to many but also brought about hair metal (in addition to tape trading and ‘zines) and and endless onslaught of one hit wonders. Napster and streaming killed those remaining traditional models and and the internet paved the way for fans to increasingly connect with the type of music which resonates most with them (without a DJ or tv channel telling them what’s good o).
Taylor Swift and Beyoncé sell out arenas. Record companies and A&R men stick with tired old formulas. At least metal fans have festivals and a nearly endless and untapped pool of delightful music to explore.
LikeLiked by 1 person
>> “At least metal fans have festivals and a nearly endless and untapped pool of delightful music to explore.”
Absolutely. No complaints.