On September 4th, 476 A.D., the Roman Empire officially began to fall. On that day the last Western Roman Emperor was deposed, which kicked off the Dark Ages. Though this may all seem like useless history to most of us (although I'm sure Joey DeMaio would find it fascinating as a result of all the tight shorts, and oiled male bodies involved), there is a reason why I'm bringing it up. As the title of this post suggests, all empires rise, peak and eventually fall. This is true of musical empires and monopolies.
Although some of our readers may disagree, the United States and Europe have long been the driving force of metal since its beginnings. Having been born in South America, I'm well aware of the worthwhile developments in metal that have gone on outside Europe and the USA, but to be honest, most of these advances were themselves inspired by American or Euro metal. Tankard, Savatage, Doro Pesch, Nocturnus...these are all Euro/American products. As such, the dominance of the west can't be denied.
What am I driving at here? The potential fall of the Euro/American metal empire. Surely many have seen this coming. Some metal historians, in fact, now argue that this fall began long ago. Through carbon dating-like techniques, scientists can get fairly accurate readings as to when metal began to decline, but there is still some controversy about this subject. Some say it began when Scott Ian shaved his head, some say it's when Anthrax stopped wearing shorts. Others say it all ended along with Cliff Burton. Whichever way you choose to see it, we are currently living through the official decline of the western world's stronghold on metal.
While archeologists use carbon-14 dating to figure out how old an artifact is, metal historians and archeologists use the less popular, but similarly accurate Ian-Scale to date metal output. One must merely see how far along Scott Ian was into turning into a complete douche in order to date a piece of metal history. Was he partially balding when said event happened? Had he shaved his head yet? Did he have facial hair? If the event or metal album in question came after Scott shaved his head, it was officially produced after the decline of western metal. This gets into another topic, which I will post about very soon...when metal jumped the shark. But let's not get into that now.
You see, American innovation (like the economy) is down. American bands have turned into tribute acts, merely rehashing thrash of the 80's as irony, unlike South American and (some) Asian bands who do the same thing without knowing its hilarious. What Africa and the Middle East have in store for us we have yet to see. The metal population in these places (developing economies) are more arduous about their love for metal, and mostly lack irony. Irony, by the way, is the end of metal. If you become self-aware, you can't be metal. Why? Because you'd all of a sudden look down at your sweat pant-like jeans and go "What the fuck? Why am I wearing patches on my sweatpants...come to think of it, why am I wearing these awful, sweatpant-like jeans at all? Jesus!"
Look, the fact is that Euro/American metal is collectively asleep at the wheel, while other regions in the world continue to innovate. This is happening in the world of cars also. Who would have thought that Tata Motors (from India) would own Jaguar one day, and be slowly moving to being one of the largest auto manufacturers? You see, these people are hungry for innovation, and they will fight through economic hardship in a way that Euro/Americans no longer want to. So let's get down to business. Who should we fear as possibly stealing the metal crown? Is it South America, with the lively thrash scene? Perhaps Central America with its emrging black metal scene (I'm making this up.) How about metal upstarts in the Philippines. Oh yes. The best of both worlds. Latino-sounding last names and skin color, asian faces, a link to Death Angel..they have it all. Need proof? Please watch the video below, and note the gusto, and pride that these youngsters take in jammin' out to a horrible Metallica song (The Unforgiven.) I know that there are far more metal songs in the world than anything by Metallica ever did, but give it a chance. Unphazed by their lack of talent, or economic means, these guys plow ahead in an environment that most American bands would consider deadly. Watching this video reminded me of my upbringing in South America...bad plastic chairs, stray dogs, bad flip flops, it's all there. But that stuff is unimportant. Look at the commitment that these guys have, and compare it to the spoiled American fatsos who plays riffs on their seven-string guitars on YouTube. This, my friends, is sign of the metal empire shifting. It's time. Get ready. Metal's new kings will NOT wear leather chaps and furry armor (like Manowar), they will wear flip flops, shorts and stained t-shirts.
Manowar represents the old way of doing things. There's a new metal-Sheriff in town...and that Sheriff is wearing flip flops.
Before watching (at the bottom), please note the following:
While many American and European metalers would hide their love for metal in a family reunion, these guys are proud enough to play in their uncles 42nd birthday party. Think about that, most American kids aren't even allowed to wear metal shirts to family events...but these guys are proudly letting their metal flag fly.
While many Euro bands would simply cancel their performance at their uncle's birthday party if it were to rain, these guys went ahead and built themselves a makeshift tent just in case. Did they use proper materials to build said tent? Hell no! This is metal!
American metal fans would never be caught dead wearing shorts and flip flops during a performance, taking a cue from the likes of Anthrax, these guys take a relaxed approach to metal. They don't worry about theatrics, but choose instead to focus on the basics. Rock out.
While hip-hop artists in the U.S. often throw wads up cash up in the air "making it rain" to show their blah-like attitude regarding money (glam and hair metal had a similar approach to money in the 80s), the individuals in this video take a decidedly conservative approach in comparison. Here we see one guy flashing half of a dollar bill with intense pride. While some may mock this, it is precisely this type of thrifty attitude that will make their metal scene thrive. While American counterparts are throwing money away on McDonalds fries, EMG active pick-ups, china cymbals, gongs, corpsepaint, ironic vests and bandanas....these guys are saving up their half-dollars to buy low-end BC Rich Warlocks by the dozen. Now who's laughing?
Taking your bass to the local airbrush shop to get a custom paint job is NOT metal. Making a stencil of James and Lars' faces yourself IS metal. What will he do with the money he saved? I don't know, but whatever he does will be way more metal than anything any so called "metal head" would do in Europe or the U.S. Oh by the way, note that his bass matches his sweet shorts.