You may have heard recently about Shadows Fall’s planned hiatus and more recently Chimaira’s breakup. It’s probable that you have also heard these bands being referred to as part of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal. If after hearing these things you’re left staring at your computer screen with a perplexed expression then I take it you were either not born yet or too young to recall the metal resurgence of the early 2000’s. Quick history lesson: metal was forged in the 1970’s, got huge in the 1980’s, suffered a massive blow in 1990’s, and came back with a vengeance in the early 2000’s. A big part of that “revival” were a group of bands that at one point were labeled the New Wave of American Heavy Metal, which included the aforementioned bands as well as Trivium, Bleeding Through, and God Forbid among many others. In the past year some of the more prominent bands of that era started to hang it up. The first of these was God Forbid last year, followed by Bleeding Through, and more recently the two mentioned at the beginning of the story.
If you tread around the pages of MetalSucks you may have come across articles posted by one Doc Coyle. Mr. Coyle was one of the founding members of God Forbid who back about a decade ago seemed destined for greatness. However, ultimately, that was just not the way the story went for God Forbid. He still makes contributions to music in the form of his blog, Twitter, and more recently another go at making music. His articles are well written, level-headed critiques and thoughts on the current state of heavy music. In light of these recent events he gathered his thoughts and wrote a great piece on why things went the way they did. It’s a hell of read in which he makes some really good points, definitely recommended if you’re interested in the perspective of someone who lived it.
If you’ve made it this far in the post thanks for sticking around, as a reward here is the link to Doc’s post on this unfortunate turn of events along with an excerpt from the post citing one of the reasons for what happened.
“The world changed
The world always changes around any musical or cultural movement, but unlike Punk killing Disco or Grunge killing Glam Metal, our group of bands came up in a completely anomalous era. In that we existed right on the fulcrum of the pre and post internet ages. This fact had mostly downsides. Because we didn’t exist in a world without internet downloading, which completely shrunk the size of the overall music economy, in turn we missed out on the million dollar record deals metal bands signing to major labels, gold and platinum sales benchmarks being commonplace. Hence, we missed the runoff from the river being bigger, which led to better tour support, artist development, more well produced albums and videos, etc. This also led to a bigger band peak. The bigger a band’s peak is, the easier it is to survive when you hit a valley. This is why Anthrax, Testament, Megaeth, and Overkill probably still exist.
But on the other side of the shit sandwich, we also didn’t grow up in a completely digital world. We had to learn on the fly how to run a Myspace page, or promote via social networking, or record demos or albums out of our bedrooms with no budget. Bands like Suicide Silence, Job For A Cowboy, and In This Moment got record deals from blowing up on Myspace. A band like Periphery has rewritten the book on how to promote your band, and capitalize on other revenue streams like online and on-tour lessons which subsidize your band business. Bigger bands had management and label people to help with the transition, but smaller bands had to figure it out on their own, with varying degrees of success. This was as Darwinian, sink or swim, a moment as we have had in recent history, comparable to subsisting during the transition into the electric age or horses to cars or radio to television. There is always collateral damage in evolution.”