One dreary day in the forgettable fog that was 2020, we took a mental health day and decided to watch music-influenced films such as Almost Famous, Rocketman and yes, even a Taylor Swift documentary.
Now, before you revoke our metal card, let us take you on a bit of a thought process – a “think piece,” if you will. No, not about a mid-level band struggling with their own limitations (yes, an Almost Famous reference in 2021) but rather a mid-level genre and fanbase struggling with what it used to be.
There was a time and place when heavy music wasn’t met with laughter when you professed your adoration for it to strangers. A time when rock and metal awards were actually aired on television instead of being banished to the ranks of Best Spoken Word Album or prettiest recording package or whatever.
Don’t get the wrong idea, this isn’t a “back in my day, old man shakes fist at cloud” bit. This is a critique of the stale times we’re seeing in heavy music.
What’s lacking from our scene isn’t fair representation or Doc Martin-wearing rock stars. Rather, it’s an aura of surprise and curiosity leaving fans on the edge of their seats.
What we’re saying is: What’s the worst part about a bad movie? Guessing the ending twenty minutes into the film. Rock music has become so predictable it’s like playing Connect Four with a three-year-old.
More and more, artists have been forced to regurgitate mediocre music to the delight of formulaic fans disguised as free thinkers. “That’s not punk rock!” listeners shout, disgusted at new-age music in the year 2021. “It should sound like this!”
“Ha! You call that metalcore?” dude in a Lamb Of God shirt sneers. “Where’s the breakdown?”
Newsflash: If an artist doesn’t meet your expectations, maybe it’s your tastes that need an update – not the musicians.
Artists don’t want to be put in a box and meeting your expectations really isn’t something they care about. Sure, at the end of the day, bands need fans to sell records (or should we say, earn Spotify bucks) but that doesn’t mean they should write the same thing over and over again.
For a scene that cares considerably about selling out, isn’t it selling out to quit trying to create something new? It shouldn’t be frowned upon to diversify your sound. Instead, you should be criticized for standing still.
Okay, so why are we waking up and choosing violence in a year that needs much more positivity? Well, after thumbing through so many Best Of 2020 lists (really, nobody cares what your 22nd favorite EP from April was), we just needed to get something off our chest. And we guess that is: Stop being so demanding for the same-old-same-old.
If you want to see our scene grow, allow artists like Bring Me The Horizon, Poppy, I Prevail, Falling In Reverse, FEVER 333 and more usher in a new era of sonically-progressive music. Stop wishing it was 2005 and let the expansion of heavy music happen – we’ll all be better off for it.
END. OF. RANT. Now, enjoy this playlist we made entirely of artists pushing to keep heavy music relevant in the soon-to-be roaring 20’s. Consider this our most anticipated albums // artists to watch in 2021 and beyond.