.Editorial - Band Loyalty
Metal Reviews

Release year: 2004
Reviewed by Ben

About three months ago I did something I swore that I would never do. For years I had lambasted a certain band for turning their backs on their fans, for suing their fans, and for putting out one of the worst albums ever in the summer of 2003. Other than their fourth long player which I kept solely for sentimental reasons, I had sold the rest of the catalog that I owned back to a used cd store and thought I made out like a bandit walking away with a mere twenty one dollars for five cds. I never looked back. Then, something strange began to occur. I was flipping through the channels one day and landed on a marathon that the band was hosting. I saw just a couple of videos that were played, none were any for songs that I used to love so very much, but when I was watching the tepid and limp clips for their money making years the songs from yesteryear began to play themselves in my head. Nonstop for the next two days I would be hearing bits and pieces, sometimes whole songs, from the albums that I used to love over and over and over, I couldn’t escape them. It all culminated however when I sat down and asked myself a simple question, “I know you promised to never give those bastards another dollar but the fact is… do you like their old music?” The answer was yes. “Do you want it back?” Yes. Longstanding grudge be damned, I proceeded to go to the music store and scoured the shelves for used copies of the albums I was looking for. I found only one and it had apparently been used as a Frisbee / beer coaster as it was scratched beyond all recognition so I broke, I decided to purchase three albums from this band new. When I was at the register I kept looking around nervously hoping that no one I knew would come in and witness my purchase, I even told the clerk to sack them immediately. As I walked out I felt dirty, like I had just bought a DVD of midget porn and I imagined that at any second an elderly lady would point at me and call me a sick minded hooligan. In the sanctuary of my truck I peeled open the packaging and I looked through the familiar sleeves and when I slid that first album in and those oh so familiar guitar chords hit my ears I couldn’t help but smile. I had rebought the first three Metallica albums and I was in some serious metal ecstasy.

So why the hell did I feel the way I did? Why didn’t I just go down to the store and buy those cds back years ago, or more importantly, why did I sell them in the first place? I was talking to my friend about my purchases a few hours after I got home and he told me something that I just could never get through my prideful mind, “It doesn’t matter how shitty their music is now or how they became greedy assholes, Metallica made some great shit back in the day and even if they try to act like they didn’t, its still there on cd for you to listen to.” I thought about this and even though I do indeed love songs like Motorbreath and Escape as much as I love The Trooper I still feel dirty playing Metallica. Unlike every other cd I have in my truck I never blast my Metallica mix, especially in parking lots. I don’t want someone in any way to think I support the band and their latest endeavors. I know that sounds arrogant and elitist but its true. Sadly, the same situation has happened with another former love, In Flames. I remember not too long ago I would sport their shirts with pride but now you won’t catch me dead in public with one on (other than at the gym). I’m still how I was with Metallica a few years ago, I can’t listen to Whoracle or Lunar Strain without imagining dreadlocks of doom flailing at me and no matter what song that I hear I always see a vision of Anders whining into a microphone as if he’s about to cry, bent over with one hand behind his back wearing a jumpsuit. I don’t think I’m alone out there in this regard either.

I would pinpoint this mindset on the fact that metalheads are fiercely loyal to their bands. We seem to establish a connection to them over the years that we listen to their music, they become a part of our family. We invite them in our homes, to tailgate parties, and we even let them tag along with us when we go out on a date, and I don’t know about most of you guys out there but I wouldn’t be too thrilled with the idea of having my other friends come with me if I was trying to get with a chick, but Edguy, Pyramaze, Virgin Steele, Pretty Maids, and countless other bands always make an appearance with me and the lucky lady. This connection to these bands is highly potent, yet extremely fragile. One misstep is all it takes in some cases for a fan to sever his ties with his former musician friends and put him to the point that if he saw them burning on the side of the road the most help that they would receive is a “HA HA! FUCK YOU, SELLOUT!” before happily skipping away. To betray us as a musician is something deadly, once you cross that line in our minds and become a corporate pawn then there is no turning back. Tell me honestly, do you think Metallica will ever be accepted back into the scene as a real metal band? There’s no maybes about it, the answer is simply no. We are as loyal as you are and if you decide to betray that trust then we will leave you behind in the dust. Is this line of thought a rational one? I don’t know. I’m certain there are several of you, probably more, that are reading this and thinking that I’m just an elitist asshole and maybe it does come across that way but that’s just the way I am. No, that’s the way WE are.

I think about what my friend said a lot nowadays. I really do, especially when I try to play some In Flames or Soilwork and after my initial happiness of getting my old Metallica back dissipated, I feel weird again for liking them. I just can’t help it. Another thing my friend said was “You can’t give these bands too much power like you do. I hate Metallica now but I have ten different versions of Fade to Black and I love every single one.” Maybe I do give these bands too much power, but I know that I’m not the only one.

Killing Songs :
Ben quoted
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