Tales from the Jugular

Taking the Music Back: The Return of Old School Metal

By: Eric Compton & Frank Hill
Published: Friday, February 27, 2004
Taking the Music Back: The Return of Old School Metal

In a previous Tales from the Jugular column, we wrote:

"Metal will see a big hard rock resurgence in the U.S. similar to the '78-'82-era and the pre-thrash days of '84-'86. Trendy bands will one again put on jean jackets and grow their hair long and straight so they can look like real old-school metalheads."

Looks to us like older metal is definately back. Some of the indicators that are showing up across the board are:

  • Headlining the 2004 Ozzfest lineup is Judas Priest and Slayer. Between those bands, they have about 50 years worth of metal history. The Ozzfest audience is surely going to see a different looking crowd this time around. Somebody count up the average number of Camaros, mullets and crop shirts in the parking lot.

  • The changes in MTV2's Headbangers Ball lineup to more classic sounds. An episode with Dave Grohl's Probot featured a lot of old school metal and his new CD is getting great reviews especially from people who are glad to hear some old-but-familiar vocalists again.

  • Iron Maiden as one of the most successful British touring acts for the year.

  • A new AC/DC album should be out soon. IMO, they have a tendency to release a great one then some clunkers then another great one. Should be time for a really great one now after the weak "Stiff Upper Lip". Let's have another "For Those About To Rock"!

  • Nu metal sales have plummeted; not that it won't exist anymore, but its day in the sun is clearly over. One could also argue that all the wigger-haters have grown out of proportion. Get on any metalboard and post something positive about Fred Durst, for instance. That rush of wind you'll feel will be from the rush of people running to their keyboards to flame you.

  • A good many old thrash bands are releasing new albums: Death Angel, Exodus, Testament, Heathen, Vio-lence, etc. to name some.

  • Hard rock acts have come back, with Brides Of Destruction, White Lion, Warrant, Tesla, Motley Crue(?), Van Halen(?), Black N Blue, Skid Row, and Krokus all trying to muscle back in the market.

  • US/Canada Classic metal bands are emerging again, with Hallows Eve, Exciter, Attacker, Omen and other bands still keeping it strong like Anvil, Jag Panzer, Annihilator, Warrior, and so on.

  • Listen to the interviews on shows and in magazines from here on out. Everybody is talking about having more of an "old-school" sound and every genre of metal seems to be gaining in popularity right now, whether the bands are any good or not isn't the question. To offer a nod to Anthrax, the old-schoolers are absolutely "taking the music back".

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