Maybe Not So Metal-ica

Sam Blackburn ponders the future of Metal and asks if rock has gone soft after Metallica and Gaga's collaboration

Sam Blackburn
27th February 2017

As you are all aware, weeks ago Metallica performed their single “Moth Into Flame” from their latest release with Lady Gaga on stage. The performance has received mixed opinions with some seeing it as great collaboration bridging the genres of pop and heavy metal together with many others seeing it as a bogus way for both performers to draw attention and for Metallica to show that they don’t respect the metal scene any more.

I must admit, I do think it’s interesting to see musicians of different genres and scenes mix it up with one another. We’ve seen rap and rock fuse together in the form of Public Enemy releasing a song with Anthrax in the 90s and reggae and rock have been fused with one another multiple times within the punk scene. Despite this, I completely see the frustration towards Metallica performing with Lady Gaga and found it rather cringeworthy myself.

"to see one of the pioneers of this genre perform with a pop star, it seems somewhat hypocritical"

You see, my biggest issue is that metal music and pop music have always appeared to be binary opposites of each other, especially thrash metal, the scene Metallica helped create. If you go back to the 1980s, there was this increase in aggressive metal music coming about in places like San Francisco. Inspired by the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and the fast paced nature of t

The punk scene, bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Exodus all formed, opposing the glam rock music produced by bands like Motely Crue, Whitesnake and Quiet Riot. Why did they oppose this music? Because it was music made by corporations, music where they cared more about how good their hair was, music all about making a profit and not a statement. Thrash metal has always been the opposite of this, singing about real issues such as war and politics. So to see one of the pioneers of this genre perform with a pop star, it seems somewhat hypocritical.

Sure, everyone with a brain knows that Metallica are a completely different band to what they were in 1988, the year what marks when they realised their last great album, “…And Justice For All”. They’ve been called sell outs for a good two decades now, and although I am one who finds their success to be a great thing, despite not being a fan of the Black Album, I do feel like going on stage with Lady Gaga is the most corporate thing they’ve ever done.

To me, this signals a real downfall we’ve been seeing in the past two decades regarding rock music. Rock music has always been about rebellion, The Who used to smash up hotel rooms for god sake. But now the corporations have a massive control of the music industry, making safe and boring music. Metallica being one of the finest rock ‘n’ roll institutions in music performing with Lady Gaga is just a sad state of affairs… Mind you, I’m still holding out for Taylor Swift to one day perform Angel of Death alongside Slayer.

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