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29 July 2010

Scott Jessup

You only live once, and nothing can be done about that, but I want to hear as much great new music as I can during my lifetime, and yes there is plenty I can do to achieve that, so I am always searching for new bands. What gets on my goat are groups that release fantastic albums and go unnoticed, when albums by big name groups will of course achieve so much more, even those mediocre ones. Though most probably nothing will change, that's just the way it is folks. The upshot is how much great music could we then possibly be missing out on? A great deal no doubt in such a tough market.

When reading recently through another one of those endless forum debates (poll included) on the topic of which band is superior, Metallica or Megadeth, I was again left contemplating. It contained all the usual arguments from the old and newer generations of metal fans, even referring to the important factors like the significance of one's hair length, and once again Metallica was in front with a clear lead, no surprise really. These debates really accomplish nothing and serve to demonstrate how narrow minded some people can truly be.

It is fine to have a favorite but sometimes whilst reading you would think no other metal band existed or could ever compare, and you have to ask the question, isn't limiting oneself so much to one band just sad? Particularly when there is so much other material out there not getting the appreciation it deserves. But some fans are just so biased that Lars and co. can simply do no wrong,and get caught up in all the hype, and trying to get some to see otherwise and look outside the box at other bands is an argument you could probably never win. While I dislike the term "fanboy" the rather odd comments I have read leave me scratching my head in amazement, and of course it's not just limited to those fanatical Metallica fans mentioned above.

Metallica has enjoyed immense success becoming an absolute goliath in heavy metal's ranks and credit to them for that. Having also been a substantial influence on many and given us numerous wonderful metal tracks, but they weren't the only great thrash band from the 80's. Tell me though when was the last time Metallica unleashed a classic CD upon us? Many years have passed by, their fantastic And Justice For All album and its predecessors were easily Metallica's strongest releases. They have yet to match those early efforts, and what can be said about St Anger? Well they certainly stunned metal devotees and really the less said about that particular album the better. Death Magnetic was an improvement, but still fell short in comparison, plus coupled with its sound issues, and once again many were questioning what the band was doing.

On the other hand Megadeth have had numerous line-up changes and dramas, yet stayed closer to that kind of music that made the band famous. Sure not every album has been totally amazing, but there have been many excellent ones. Though even so the metal marvel that is Megadeth will probably always be overshadowed by main man Dave Mustaine's former band.

What about the other thrash bands that barely raise an eyebrow in comparison? And if you make mention then prepare to be immediately shot down as if they don't compare. Well sorry, but many of us like to hear those others and just because a band sells loads of CDs and are hugely popular doesn't necessarily qualify them as the best, if that was the case then wouldn't acts like Lady Gaga rate as one of the top musical talents in this world?. News flash there are so many fine thrash metal bands besides the so-called big four like Overkill, Heathen, Kreator, Exodus, Helstar, Death Angel, Machine Head and Testament to be heard, with some seriously talented musicians pushing the limits further and further. Why shouldn't their better releases receive that same recognition/success?

If this year's exhilarating thrash albums from Overkill, Heathen and Exodus being Ironbound, The Evolution Of Chaos, and Exhibit B: The Human Condition, were Metallica's recordings, imagine the difference in reaction. After all it's not like these bands started out yesterday either. Take Exodus for example, they formed back in 1980 and are showing no signs of slowing down, still pumping out explosive metal albums.

When did it stop being about the music? A band may be as good as their next CD, but of course they do have their ups and downs and you can deal with that to a degree, but how long can they prosper off past glories? I suppose the answer is that many will as long as they keep on going, with so many singing their praises no matter what the material is like. While those other impressive releases and their respective bands will come and go without the success they deserve, while the persistent debates rage on... sad but true.

Scott Jessup


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