I recently had a very interesting discussion with a fellow metal head that I feel like it applies all too well and happens a lot more than we may realize. It happens everywhere. It happened in the 80s. It happened last year. What happened you ask? People who hear an up-and-coming band’s debut album or whatever albums they have out, and then have the balls to say that “they should only make this kind of music from now on”, that’s what. It may not seem as big of a problem as you may realize, you may have even done this yourself without knowing!
I’m not saying I’m the exception, now. No one is. I’m as guilty as the next guy. For example, I didn’t like Metallica’s “Death Magnetic” because it wasn’t what they used to sound like back in the “Master of Puppets” and “Ride the Lightning” years. But I finally gave the album a chance and listened to it and enjoyed it quite a bit. I didn’t love it, but I won’t go into specifics.
You’re probably wondering what set me off on this little ranting of mine, and I’ll tell you. Me and my friend were having a nice little chat about Slipknot’s latest helping, “.5: The Gray Chapter”, which I love and she generally likes but not as much as I do. She said that she didn’t give the album as much of a chance because she’s more into the style of “Iowa” more than any other Slipknot album which is all fine and dandy. The problem that I had is that she didn’t give “.5: The Gray Chapter” all that much of a chance because she knew that it wasn’t going to be what “Iowa” was going to be like despite it being known that there is a good level of brutality in the latest album. And after much debating she finally took the time to sit down and listen to it, and had some fun with songs like “Custer”, “Lech”, and “The Negative One”. What she did is what needs to happen more often. People need to simply suck it the fuck up whether or not a band they like puts out an album that isn’t exactly their taste and doesn’t seem good at first.
Like most things in metal, I somehow manage to draw a connection back to my all time favorite metal band who was the first metal band that I truly loved: Mudvayne. Their debut album, “L.D. 50” is known amongst just about everyone who has heard it to be a fucking great album and done very well. However, the second album that came out only 2 years later, “The End of All Things to Come”, people saw immediately that this album was not as heavy as the first. It was more math metal. It wasn’t as innovative in many ways. It still had that lyrical genius that Mudvayne is known for, but apparently that wasn’t enough for some people to enjoy the new sound. This happened all the way through to their 5th and unofficially last album, “Mudvayne”. If people would’ve given “The End of All Things to Come” and later albums a chance then things would’ve been very different.
The greatest example that I can give that everyone should take a little bit from is the devotion of fans of Five Finger Death Punch. Remember their first two albums? Intense, heavy, angry, and refined all at one. Sure, their third album, “American Capitalist”, had those but it brought to the table songs like “Coming Down” which were more somber and weren’t as angry as anything else we heard from them before. Yet the fans stick ate that stuff up like it was homemade ice cream. Then came the “Wrong Side of Heaven, Righteous Side of Hell” albums where fans still retained their loyalty and gave the albums a chance and more. Shit, I know I did!
Imagine if every single metal fan gave every band they love a chance as the fans of Five Finger Death Punch do. People would still be judgmental, yes, there’s no escaping that. All I’m asking is that people be just a little bit more open to a new style from a band that they know they like. It’s not fair to the bands who do their best to put together an album that they love only to be smacked down by some asshole because he didn’t hear a good riff in the first 15 seconds of the first song. Imagine if you spent months, shit maybe even years, working on something and coming up with a product that you’re happy with and extremely proud of, and having some dick in his basement call it shit because he didn’t give it a chance.
Don’t be that asshole. Try to be a more accepting metal head. Hell, you might even find something you like in a different way. Imagine that.