A near tsunami of new metal bands came to the forefront of the American music scene in 2014. After Obama signed the controversial law in 2013 that outlawed country music, boy bands and songs by coke addicted former Mouseketeers, metal began to take off as the most popular form of musical expression in the land.
A wave of new bands brought in a flood of popular subgenres. After all, how can you possibly catch the attention of an audience numbed into a near coma by a never-ending stream of cute kitten pictures on their computer without some sort of hook?
Years back, a number of metal bands figured out that by coming up with new subgenres you can effectively con the audience into the belief that they are experiencing something totally state-of-the-art. This was a brilliant assessment, because truthfully, there are only so many ways you can cook an egg. If you take the story out of metal, it’s mostly just a bunch of sweaty, badly dressed people making loud noises for a bunch of sweaty, badly dressed people who are apoplectically staring into The Nothing.
Honestly, how different is one three and a half minute thrash song from another? Is technical death metal really all that unique in comparison to, say, regular old garden-variety death metal? Thus, God created the subgenre and gave us a way to turn tiny, obscure distinctions into whole schools of thought and belief. One man’s doom is another man’s sludge, as the old saying goes. Or something.
When the next civilization digs through the rubble a thousand years from now and finds all the 2014 issues of Metal Maniacs it will be clear, this was The Year of The Metal Subgenre. So, it is with great pleasure that I present to you the best new subgenres created in 2014 along with the band that best represents that style.
New Wave of Soviet Socialist Metal (NWOSSM or NWOCCCP)
When I think about 1980’s power metal, my mind often drifts to the Soviets. Many people would argue that very little great creativity came out of Russia and its satellite states in the 80’s. Clearly those people haven’t heard some of the early albums by Lenin’s Tomb or Khrushchev’s Shoe. As young Russians look back on the glorious days of bureaucratic inefficiency that marked the end of the Soviet Empire, many of them have started playing the music that dominated that era.
Best Band: Iron Curtain
This quirky fusion between the raw, earthy tones of Christian black metal and 1970 and 80’s soft rock caught fire in 2014. Many music aficionados were looking for a way to reconcile their passion for the music of Michael McDonald and the songs of Darkthrone. This cutting edge subgenre gave them the perfect combination. Lyrically, it blends elegant prose from the New Testament with poignant stories about the dreams and inner longings of Yuppies.
Best Band: Captain Trips and Tenille
Proto Originalist Doom
Who would have believed that doom metal could possibly be blended with the text of Supreme Court decisions written by Antonin Scalia in order to create a new style of music? Dark, heavy, Sabbath inspired guitar riffs are used here to celebrate the spirit of unbridled judicial restraint and the idea that just about every thought that was formulated after 1787 is entirely worthless.
Best Band: Woe vs. Wade
Post-Marxist Extremely Technical Progressive Rawlsian Eco Thrash (PMETPRET)
More of a social movement than a style of music, PMETPRET bands have attempted to use technical death metal as a tool of creating social justice and encouraging recycling.
Best Band: Fates Warming
Anatomical Glam Grindslam
Grindcore was a dying subgenre until it caught an infusion of hair metal earlier this year. Something about the idea of putting together the catchy, party rock stylings of bands like Poison and Cinderella with the fierce brutality of early Carcass and The County Medical Examiners struck a chord with the American public.
Best Band: Twisted Blister
New York City Viking Hardcore (NYHVC)As most Americans know, a Viking gang crime wave hit New York City in early 2014. Alienated young teens joined Viking gangs in droves and pillaged many of the stores and homes that were not guarded by people with assault rifles and high capacity magazines. NYHVC has become a way of expressing their rage at our dysfunctional social order.
Best Band: Freyahazard
Heideggerian Ontological Powerviolence (HOP)
If you are like most Americans, you feel deeply offended that you grew up in a culture that has been thoroughly shaped by Cartesian Dualism. You also probably wonder how you can best disclose being-in-the-world as a whole. And you probably own at least the first four Spazz albums (the ones they did before they sold out). It is not a coincidence that HOP music caught on overnight and became the top selling subgenre in metal in 2014.
Best Band: Being-Toward-Death-Angel
Old School Hebraic Nu-Metal
The most surprising comeback in 2014 was the resurgence of Nu-Metal, only this time instead of “borrowing” style and imagery associated with African American culture these musicians began stealing traditional Jewish themes.
Best Band: Limp Brizkit
Symphonic Free Market Hayekia’N’Roll
In an attempt to connect with younger, hipper Americans, The Heritage Foundation, in conjunction with the Koch Brothers, have spent over 30 billion dollars creating melodic death metal records in order to spread the message of free market intellectual titans like Milton Friedman and the guy who invented the chicken sandwich.
Best Band: Children of Serfdom