November 13, 2019
I can't help but notice the pop-ization and even hip-hop-ization of metal, in other words, its undue and inappropriate contamination with some other musical or auditory form, and it disturbs me greatly. OK, Rage Against the Machine was an interesting sonic diversion, I suppose, but let's not take it too far.
Who am I to say that blending metal with some other musical form constitutes "contamination"? I'm me to say it--it's my own informed opinion as a lifelong metal fan, musician, and individual with an intellect. In this latter regard, it can't be denied that I am a critic. A critic of what? Much. I have a critic's eye. It's why I'm a political theorist--I'm able to see fairly clearly what the problems are in society.
As pumped as I was to listen to Mindcrime II by Queensryche, when I finally put it on I had to rip it from the turntable, as, evidently unknown to Messrs. Tate & Company, his vocalization during the initial part of the record had a definite hip-hop cadence to it. The hip-hop way of enunciating a line just becomes almost second-nature if you hear hip-hop around you all the time. You become inured to it and then it simply works its way into your consciousness and then, if you're a musician, into your music. Metal artists have to be careful in this regard.
Another example is this 2017 live performance from the all-female hard rock/pop-metal band Vixen. Aside from the fact that lead vocalist Janet Gardner's performance and vocals are anemic, even embarrassing, here, anyway, notice her downward-pointing-finger hand posture, usually associated with forms of music such as hip-hop and soul, during the performance of their signature tune Edge of a Broken Heart. I'd rightfully expect to see Maria Carey carry herself this way during a live performance--not Janet Gardner of Vixen. One can clearly see the general devolution of Ms. Gardner by comparing this performance with this markedly better one from 2009, eight years earlier.
It Gets Worse
Nor are these the only examples. Would you believe Tony Iommi working with--I hope you're sitting down--Ice-T?
And Ozzy has a recent connection to the hip-hop world, as well. Tommy Lee of Crue has been involved with hip-hop for some time now. Even Mark Wahlberg, who did such a superb job playing the Chris Cole character in the equally fine film Rock Star, is actually a hardcore rapper, musically and culturally.
Wake me from this bad dream, would you?
. . . . .
While on the subject of Queensryche: Sorry, but the entity that's been recording and touring around for some years now calling itself "Queensryche" is anything but. Any musical formation without superlative legacy Queensryche vocalist Geoff Tate is, by definition, NOT Queensryche.
Ditto my lifelong favorite metal band, Black Sabbath. Sorry, lads, but without Bill Ward, you're really not Black Sabbath--I don't care what Sharon thinks. Stop calling yourself Sabbath.
All this inversion, if not perversion of metal comes on the heels of an assertion by "Fifty-Cent" of some time ago that rock-and-roll is a lifestyle or attitude, and not a musical style.
~ Creating Metal that Stimulates Heart or Mind ~
- METAL WITH MEANING -