Developments in Heavy Metal over the Last 10 Years

Posted: March 18, 2011 in Articles


For the better or the worse, heavy metal has always been stretching its margins, now to the extent no one could have imagined about a few decades ago. Some styles have broken into the mainstream and are ‘selling’ well, while some have remained obscure as always; some have come and gone over the years, while some are in the process of resurgence. It’s obvious by now that most of the metal genres have outgrown to the degree that decent music is difficult to be located. Everything has its gems, yes, and so a pile of substandard stuff that do not worth our time. This is 2011!

So I was beginning to wonder about the recent sounds, scenes, movements and ‘trends’ in heavy metal, and just got by a thread with similar subject in some internet discussion forum. So here is a little of what I gained and what I subjectively feel about this whole metal development in the span of last ten years.

The best thing going nowadays could be the thrash revival movement – trying to invoke the misdirected 80s’ darling. It’s cool that thrash is getting a second chance, and when most of the modern bands suffer from being not original enough, clearly few of the newbies are putting on better albums lately than the old-guards are. It certainly needs some extras to beat the odds, and some thrash bands have captured this extra by becoming more brutal than the rest, while others are just relying on experimentation, triggering newer sounds. And then are some bands incorporating groove metal elements instead, labeling themselves thrashers. It’s still hard to find some decent freshness amid the retro-thrash bands, many of which, as mentioned, may be unfortunately unoriginal. Having said these, check out the Americans Vektor, my favorite among the modern revival hordes.

Regarding black metal, the genre has comparatively become dreadfully boring over the decade. While one may question about where it is heading with the consideration of apotheosizing amount of Cradle of Filth devotees, speaking generally, it’s cool enough that black metal has now started to become much more progressive, varied and diverse. Many of the newer bands are trying to bring complexity in music and thus it tends to offer much more than the old orthodox ideology tending to be Satan’s bitches most of the times. Production too has improved, but again, I couldn’t disagree an inch on what this guy has to say;

“Yes, some bands (Darkthrone, Emperor, etc.) actually were treading some new grounds and were relevant while these other bands all “borrowed” their ideas from the first wave. Black Metal today reminds me of how comical death metal became in the mid 90s. If you have been listening to black metal for longer than like five months you would see the development (and subsequent artistic stagnation) of black metal. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard it before, and done better the first time.”

Death metal – whether the Suffoclones or the progressive jazzy crossovers, breakdown extravaganzas or what not – like always, it’s in path of broadening its horizons. Bands trying to sound increasingly brutal and technical than others have always sounded to be ridiculous for me. Technical death metal has risen which is being overtly complex and instrumentally defiant among all other genres, and I feel the severe lack of atmosphere in these bands in verge of obtaining mechanical and technical pleasure. Slam death metal has come into existence, parenting from the breakdowns of Suffocation and groove of Dying Fetus. Deathcore has born, with death metal being mingled with metalcore, the resulting offspring without retaining the genes of either, unfortunately. Good bands are there, but totally lost in a pile of modern semi-technical garbage. I guess tracking down good ones is even more tedious in death metal than in other genres. What’s more interesting is the wave of newer death metal bands who are bringing the essence of old-school vibe who are doing their own thing. Bands like Morbus Chron, Krypts, Blaspherian, Disma, The Wakedead Gathering, Shroud of the Heretic, etc. come to mind, some really great stuff!

Groove metal is getting much love and I hope it will continue to shine, when most people recognize Lamb of God as the decade’s Metallica, considering the commercial success. Nu metal has come and gone over these years, whereas metalcore, has been the most successful style of the past decade, and is still going strong among its fellowship, with several bands as Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet For My Valentine breaking into the mainstream. Never been my cup of tea though, and it continues to appeal more to its legion.

A load of ‘band-worshiping’ acts are spawning lately as well. Take those followings of Incantation, Suffocation and Burzum as examples. While cloning may instantly be a fail in most cases, few of the projects are indeed bringing something fresh in their music, and that could be a welcoming facet so to speak. The crossover trends aren’t any less popular either.

Hence, metal on a whole has spread its branches in a much diversified manner, which has made heavy metal one of the most assorted of all genres. Metal development on whole tends to be a natural flow, but most of the faithfuls still drift in confusion… confusion of its future. But what’s there to worry about anyway? Good bands will always be there, no matter how few and how obscure/underground and no matter in which direction the ‘trend’ moves onto.

The Sickening Art

  1. umes says:

    Samyam, you should keep this blog alive, at least this article alive, come back in 5 years and read it again.

    Btw, I still enjoy Limp Bizkit 🙂

    • Samyam says:

      Well, wouldn’t you like it? Wouldn’t you like it, dai, to be in time somwhere in future when Limp Bizkit were already old school? Wouldn’t you?

  2. Great read dude!!! I agree recently there has been a resurgence in metal. I love seeing how a lot of modern bands are really pushing themselves stylistically, artistically, and skill wise. I see a lot of bands taking inspiration from their favorite bands growing up and expanding on it. It’s really nice to hear some of my favorite styles get a fresh spin on them. One type of a newer style metal I really enjoy is this Folk/Epic/Viking/Heroic/WTFever Metal. I know it’s a bit of a trend at the moment, but there are some bands doing some really cool and interesting things bringing different instruments into the metal mix. Moonsorrow, Amon Amarth and Ensiferum being my favorites of that subgenere. And the branching out of Black Metal is great. Some years ago I wouldn’t give it a chance, I honestly really don’t like the who can blow satan harder type bands. But after hearing the Black Metal influence in Moonsorrows music I checked out some other bands(Agolloch, Bathory) in the Black Metal genre and there is some great modern ones that don’t have an affinity for nailing bibles to nuns.
    And to quote a friend of mine, “Metal makes Metalheads happy!”, so hopefully metal keeps branching out and trying new things and keeping older styles fresh and keeps me happy with a plethora of metal.

    • Samyam says:

      Firstly, thanks a lot for your comment, brother. Besides all, it’s cool how the internet is helping us recommend good bands out of others. It’s certainly cool that even black metal has been a lot more lately, even to stuffs like DSBM, the genre which only cared about rant and rave a decade and half ago. I really like the way you think about the flow of heavy metal. I hadn’t cared much about genres as power/epic/etc. metal before, but I just dig groups as The Lord Weird Slough Feg, Cloven Hoof, Pagan Altar and Helstar lately. And again, I feel there’s a lot of things for me which is still left to discover. And it’s great 🙂

  3. John Tyr says:

    Nicely written, bro. I also see modern thrash metal bands are really doing something good, mixing their influence with creativity.

    • Samyam says:

      Load of thanks for your comment, bro. For the thrash revival bands, Vektor have said it all. I’m a huge fan of their unique sound.