Mainstream Metal is Necessary, Even If We Don’t Like It

Mainstream Metal is Necessary, Even If We Don’t Like It
Mainstream Metal is Necessary, Even If We Don’t Like It

Mainstream (Marshmallow Fluff) Metal is necessary, even if we don’t like it.. Metalhead Community Breakdown with Nettie Cobalt

Ghost, band photo. Credit: Unknown

It’s all happened to us. You anticipate a new metal album to come out and when you hear the first track release you are wanting to throw a blanket over your head for protection and curl up in a ball.

Maybe you’ve experienced these phenomena when you realized Slipknot's latest track Unsainted sounds eerily familiar to Duality. Or take the newly released Korn track, You’ll Never Find Me. Most of us can hear how much little bits and pieces of older content were influentially mish-mashed into this piece.

I believe this is a very important tool to use in order for great quality artists such as Slipknot and Korn to withstand the test of time. But there is also the other side of mainstream metal (if you can even call it metal) that we change the radio station or channel on. Not even giving it the light of day.

Metallica, band photo. Credit: Unknown

That type of music is the mainstream metal that gets played on the radio because it’s “safe” and “trendy” and maybe even “a flash in the pan”. Most of us have a better discriminating palate than that. But this gives me lots to think about. One might ask- why even have bands out there like that? Is that type of music even necessary? I say it’s time to admit something to ourselves.

And that is that mainstream “metal” music is actually quite important for the health of all metal bands we truly choose to listen to and love. We need it to keep the overall genre relevant and alive to wide masses and bands like Slipknot and Korn need it to use the mainstream as a tool for success. To be able to reach out to as many types of audiences as they can to keep business running well.

For every metal genre that comes out and makes it big, there will always be some marshmallow fluff flash in the pan acts coming out trying to make coin. In my experiences, I was a young teen at the last leg of the 80s hair bands, who I must say a lot of them were pretty mainstream. But some stood pretty relevant in some way shape or form to this day and age and some really just tried to ride it out as glorified nonsense (hey older folks, remember Winger?).

Mainstream vs. Underground

What I’m saying is this- it’s good to know through experience what your ears don’t like. It helps us develop great ears for the metal that we do like and appreciate it even more, even if just in hindsight. And it’s for this reason that I wish to challenge everyone, before putting out your informal or formal review on anything you think is mainstream to take a few minutes to really listen to a song.

Listen to each instrument and lyrics. Note when there is a significant change in the feeling of a song.

If the band is someone you know and love- is there a message that they are sending in the song by presenting a mainstream style song? Better yet, do you think there is a good reason why they would, in a sense recycle some of their older content into a newer song (which even the old dead guys like Mozart did)?

I say art in music is about figuring out through listening what the intention of a song is. And if you can honestly keep these questions in mind while listening you have at least made an artful decision to love or hate a mainstream song. And that, in and of itself, my wonderful audience, is necessary as well.

The expressed written views of Nettie Cobalt do not necessarily reflect that of Metalhead Community Magazine and their employees/affiliates.

Baby Metal, band photo. Credit: Unknown