I was having a conversation with a friend the other day and he was asking me who some of my favorite bands were these days. He said, “Don’t tell me Iron Maiden, Priest, etc. I know you love those bands already but who are some of the more recent bands to emerge in the last decade or so that are blowing your mind.” I just started spouting off bands: Holy Grail, Graveyard , Enforcer, Christian Mistress, Siena Root, Blues Pills, Kadavar, ok, you get the picture. As I listed all of these bands I noticed that while each of them all have their own distinct sound, they all have one common bond: they all sound like old bands.
The bands listed above all pretty much sound like they could’ve come out at the same time as the bands that inspired them some from some 40 or so years ago. What is it about these bands that appeals to me on such a grand level? I think it goes back to that classic saying, “What comes around goes around.” This kind of music lately has also been dubbed as throwback music and I fucking hate that phrase. Well, I mainly hate it because someone felt the need to create a genre term to identify these bands. I have a better idea, why not just call them what their peers were called; rock n’ roll and heavy metal.
The first time I was really aware that this was a thing that was occurring was the first time I heard the song “Over the Top” by White Wizzard back in 2010. The minute I heard this album and song it was as if I had just hopped into a time traveling DeLorean and ended up back in a time where metal music was just no frills, standard tuning, and having an authentic singer with a voice that sounded like he could’ve been popped out of Bruce Dickinson’s willy. This band was the portal for me to realize that the old saying “what comes around, goes around” was oh so true. As a matter of fact, for this old, jaded metal head who had pretty much figured that metal music (aside from the classics) was pretty much now a young persons game, it couldn’t have been a more welcomed thing.
Metal music over the years has undergone many facelifts, transplants, and as even been somewhat genetically mutated to create genres that I never thought would even exist. Death core, grind core, post-death, nu-metal, pirate metal (yes, this is a thing), Viking metal, and so on. As an older, more curmudgeon metal head, I can honestly say that I have very little time for all these things. It’s one thing to be a younger metal head and to be born and brought up into all these genres. For someone like me who has been into metal for a good bit longer than most of these genres have existed I have no need for all these other genres and they don’t even appeal to me.
You might be saying, “But Brainfart, you need to be open minded.” Well, in all honesty I don’t have to be shit but I have not written off a lot of these bands without giving them a listen first. I even did an article a while back about how I learned that while not all Death metal bands are created equal, it’s just not necessarily my cup of tea and crumpets. I have tried to listen to many of these other genres as well and I just found myself not really feeling like they did anything to connect with me. While this is the case, I cannot say that there are no newer, modern bands that aren’t connecting with me. It’s these newer, more modern bands that are wearing the influences of old upon their hooded robed sleeves that have struck a chord with me and connected.
If you’ve read this blog before, you know the bands I’m talking about. Scorpion Child, Christian Mistress, Graveyard, Lucifer, Kadavar, Blues Pills, Holy Grail, Jess and the Ancient Ones, Siena Root, and Purson (just to name a few off the top of my head)are bands that I talk about quite a bit. The reason is that all of these bans have common bond. They are all bands that are heavily influenced by bands that I loved as a kid growing up and even more so as an adult. It must be something about getting old or something. I know that sounds silly but you know how as we get older we tend to long for and seek out nostalgia. We love being reminded of how we felt as younger people and the things that we can find today that make us feel those things tend to be of importance. It’s that exact reason that I seek out these kinds of bands and hold them dear when I find them.
Even as I write this I have found yet another new, young band that is pulling at the strings of my nostalgic heart. Chicago’s Dead Feathers is a band of young bodied people with souls as old and classic as the very psychedelic occult rock of the 70’s that heavily influence them. When I hear bands like this it just makes me feel good knowing that among all of the truly loud, abrasive, and sometime crappy and noisy metal bands that there are going to bands like this that play this kind of music because they know that it’s good, it’s timeless, and it’s accessible.
So what is it about this kind of music that has some of these great, young bands reaching so far back for their influences? When I interviewed Lucifer singer/founder Johnna Sadonis not too long ago, she said, ” I think that this kind of music is having a renaissance is because everything has pretty much been done. When you have seen it all, you just kind of filter everything out to get to the good stuff; the quality music that lies in the roots.” While I appreciate even more modern sounding bands such as Kyng and Sabaton, it’s because of their classic roots that, while maybe not as prevalent at the aforementioned bands, lie at the heart of their sound and have managed to connect with me on the same level.
At the end of the day, I couldn’t agree more with Sadonis in believing that the roots are where it’s at. When things just seem to get all crazy, and bit too heavy (pun intended) you can always go back to where it all began to hear where it all truly started. In a world where death metal and extreme metal seem to be running on the top level, it’s nice to know that I can dip just below the surface where things are a bit more melodic, slower paced, lyrical and just a bit more calming while still maintaining a heaviness. Have you ever heard the Jefferson Airplane‘s “Coming Back To Me?” How about Black Sabbath‘s “The Warning” or maybe even “I Can’t Feel Nothin'” by Captain Beyond? Those songs are every bit as heavy as the heaviest death metal or black metal band. Those bands understood very early on that “heavy” is so much more than just speed or even volume and unintelligible cookie monster singing.
At the end of the day, If a song is so good that it moves you to tears or makes the hairs on your nuts (or kitty; if you have hair down there) stand at full attention, that is fucking heavy. It’s so nice to see that there is a whole new generation of musicians and bands that understand that “heavy” can be something totally different and they are choosing to go back to the roots and reseed them in the now so that future generations will always know where it all came from. These bands are taking us all back to where it all began. Sometimes we just need to be reminded (or in some cases shown for the first time) where it all started and why in most cases it was done so much better and with more feeling and sincerity.