Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"What makes us write good metal music is that we listen to non-metal music."

The above quote was taken from an interview with prolific mastermind behind a few bands, the most notable of which of course being Opeth, Mikael Ă…kefeldt (pictured above). The interview was taken from Opeth's 20th anniversary DVD/CD set In Live Concert At The Royal Albert Hall. This quote really got me thinking about how good metal music is produced. How important is it to have diverse influences? Sure you listen to a lot of Slayer and that's obviously gonna influence your music but without the added influence of different styles of music you're just gonna end up with a band that sounds just like Slayer. That's great but so what? if I wanted to listen to a band that sounded like Slayer I would listen to Slayer.

The problem we have here is that in today's metal culture, you have the people that claim that if you're not listening to metal all the time then you're not a true metal head. There seems to be a mentality that if you listen to a little bit of pop music your love for metal is called into question. But it's when you are exposed to many types of music the music you produce tends to be more unique.

Talk to most bads, not just metal, and ask them what their influences are they normally give you the same answer. Black Sabbath, Led Zepplin, The Beatles, etc... It's naive of anyone to think that these are the only bands that are influencing a bands music. I'm sure the classic bands do influence these artists but I think it's more that bands don't want to admit that they're influenced by modern bands or modern styles of music. But that's why we have new styles of music, it's the natural evolution of things.

The problem I have with the current metal scene these days is that bands seem to have run out of creative influences. Bands are afraid of being labeled as non-metal if the branch out a tiny little bit. So they keep writing the same old thrash metal riff and keep playing the same blast-beat drum pattern without venturing outside the proven formula. Now, of course in the case of straight death metal bands, you're probably not gonna find pop elements in the music. Unless, of course you're in Sweden. But it's not really that that bothers me. Of course death metal is always gonna be death metal. But there is still room for growth. Listen to the original death metal of 90's and compare that to the latest Black Dahlia Murder album. There is a world of difference.

Do not get me wrong, I have no problem with a band staying true to their sound. But you also have to be sure that the music your band is producing doesn't get boring. Find more diverse influences. You might not consciously change the sound of the band but listening to more styles of music will eventually change the way you perceive the music you are writing and hopefully you will grow as an artist.

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