This Will Rile Metalheads: “The Slow Death of Heavy Metal”

Funny, but I thought metal was as healthy as it’s always been. Not according to this article in the New York Observer.

These are strange days for classic heavy metal.

Many godfathers of the movement are in their 60s, some close to 70 years old, including members of Judas Priest and Black Sabbath. Several hard rock and metal luminaries—Ronnie James Dio, A.J. Pero (Twisted Sister), Jeff Hanneman (Slayer),Lemmy and Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor (Mötorhead)—have passed away recently. Concert sales for some acts are still strong, others are waning. OzzFest is long gone, and the final nail in the coffin for the annual Mayhem Fest likely landed this past summer. Music sales overall have declined, and over the past decade the Billboard charts, radio airplay and music award broadcasts have been dominated by anemic pop music and hipster rock.

To top it off, Brent Hinds, guitarist for old school-style headbangers Mastodon, told Guitar Player earlier last year that he hates playing heavy metal, while KISS bassist Gene Simmons proclaimed that “rock is dead” two years ago.

Considering that many of the genre’s godfathers, who still inspire younger bands and dominate European festivals, will likely retire in a few years, where do things will go from here? Will we see heavy bands on the superstar level of Metallica and Iron Maiden ever again? Will that classic sound become a nostalgic relic relegated to oldies bins? Or will it mutate into something else?

Some good points or just moaning? Read on.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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