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Metal Grammy nominees announced, continue to confound

Posted by on December 5, 2014

Earlier today, the 2015 Grammy nominees were announced. And if you’re expecting the organization to come around and be a little more progressive, you’re going to be disappointed once again. We’ll discuss this Headbangers Brawl style after the list, asking Metal Insider staffers their thoughts on the nominees and who we think will win. To sum things up, it’s another odd year of nominees, with many artists being completely overlooked, some bands continuing to get nominated year after year, and the organization attempting to tiptoe into relevancy and missing the mark. Here’s who was nominated this year:

“Neon Knights”
Anthrax
from Ronnie James Dio – This Is Your Life

“High Road”
Mastodon
from Once More ‘Round The Sun

“Heartbreaker”
Motörhead
from Aftershock

“The Negative One”
Slipknot
Roadrunner Records

“The Last In Line”
Tenacious D
from Ronnie James Dio – This Is Your Life

Bram: Well, here’s another example of the Grammys being tone deaf. No offense against Dio. His music speaks for itself. No offense against Anthrax either. But there’s no reason whatsoever why two songs from a tribute album should have been nominated. There’s so much great metal that came out this year. It’s not like I was expecting anyone to nominate At the Gates or Pallbearer, but I would have thought that at least Judas Priest, who put out one of the best comeback albums of the year, would be nominated. The Grammys sure love Anthrax. It’s the second year in a row they’ve been nominated for a cover song.

As far as the other nominees, I understand why Motörhead would be nominated, especially given Lemmy’s health concerns, even though the album was released last year. Everyone loves a comeback. And it’s cool to see Mastodon get nominated again, especially for “High Road,” which is a great song. Slipknot put out a solid album, and it wouldn’t be super surprising to see them win, even if it’s from a song that was submitted before the album was out, which means they could be nominated next year for a song from .5.  Tenacious D? Seriously? Tenacious fucking D? They’re a great comedy act. Jack Black seems like an affable dude. But watching the show or film, the joke is that Kyle and Jack are an acoustic duo that think that they rock. They’re not really supposed to rock. Why not just make all five nominees from the Dio tribute album while you’re at it?

I’m pretty sure Motörhead is a lock, given the career longevity that Lemmy had and the realization from everyone, including him, that he’s getting older. Slipknot might win, since many know that the album is a tribute to Paul Gray. People love giving props to their dead homies, which might explain why Dio got two nominations a few years after he died. No one looks at the list of metal nominees expecting to be pleasantly surprised, but this year’s just more of the same.

 

Nick: The Dio tribute stuff is a nice touch, but year’s best? I love Tenacious D as much as the next guy, but in fact sometimes it’s not right. “High Road” isn’t even close to the best OMRTS track, and that Motörhead record came out last year! I’ll contend that the Slipknot record far exceeded expectations and is genuinely very good, but in context it feels like it’s just in there because the kids like it. I can’t tell who this list is for: between the clear and obvious pandering to the classics that can only be a result of the suits not having a clue about anything that’s happening in niche genres to the equally blazing neon bone being thrown to the younger crowd, it feels like throwing darts at a big  dartboard of demographics and hoping not to outrage anyone.

I’m certainly not expecting, say, Anaal Nathrakh to scoop up a Grammy, but there was accessible enough stuff in our world this year that makes far more sense. That being said, I don’t have a choice, since the Grammy nominating committee clearly have way more of a finger on the pulse of the industry than I do and should no doubt be speaking for us, I have to make the best of it, so I’d cross my fingers for Mastodon. Once More ‘Round The Sun was arguably one of the best records to come out this year. There’s a chance for it to happen: They’re on Warner, sell well and play some mainstream-friendly appearances regularly. My dad likes Mastodon, so the crossover appeal is there. But not everyone’s dad likes Mastodon, so I know better than to hope for justice on this one.

 

Chris: As usual, the Grammys have left me disappointed and unenthused. Two of the nominees for this year are covers, which is a cardinal sin that the Grammys continue to commit every year. The other three nominees are all “safe” choices, bands that are household names and unlikely to stir the pot at all. And of course, there is the one band listed among the nominees that is clearly NOT a metal band. Don’t get me wrong, I love Tenacious D, and I think it’s great that they’re nominated for a Grammy. I just don’t like their nomination for this Grammy, because their back catalog is anything but metal. In the end, though, I got what I expected from the pool of Grammy nominees – safe choices, non-metal choices, and even more proof that the Grammy nominating committee is completely out of step with the pulse of music today.

If I had to choose from these five choices, I’d most like to see Mastodon win. They’ve been nominated twice and haven’t won yet, and I feel like a win for “High Road” would serve to remind people that there’s a lot more to Once More ‘Round the Sun than just “The Motherload”. However, I’m not holding my breath for this one, because past experience has shown that the Grammy committee rarely gives the award to the most deserving artist, and instead will give it to the most well-recognized name. As such, I’m predicting a win for either Anthrax or Motorhead.

 

Zach: Two tracks off of a Dio tribute album… really? I mean, congrats to Anthrax on getting another nomination but… really? And I love Tenacious D, but are the Grammys really gonna nominate them and exclude ACTUAL metal bands? Really?!

Ok, let me stop moaning for a second. I would love to see Mastodon win this. Mastodon constantly release stellar music, and “High Road” is proof of that. But I also would have no qualms with Slipknot winning with “The Negative One.” It’s a great comeback single for Slipknot and worthy of earning them Grammy #2. But who will actually win? My money’s on it either going to Slipknot or Motorhead. Both have won the award before, giving them the advantage. However, as I’ve explained before, the Grammys typically give the award to the oldest group (whenever a Dave Grohl band isn’t nominated, and luckily for everyone nominated Sonic Highways isn’t eligible this year). With that in mind, Lemmy and co. probably have the advantage given their seniority. Plus, there’s no denying Motorhead’s influence on metal and that they’re worthy of winning the Grammy… even if it is for a single that’s over a year old.

 

Matt: I find it odd, funny, and a bit sad that two of the nominations are for covers of a legendary vocalist who never received a Grammy nomination himself as far as I know. That’s not to say they aren’t good covers, but it feels like the line of thought was “Hey, there was a tribute album for some dead famous metal guy that features some famous metal bands, lets pick two tracks from that so we can prove we improve our cred.” And are they at all aware that Anthrax actually make their own music and not just covers? Because four out of five of their nominations have been covers or covers related. Ugh.

Anyway, I think this is a win for Slipknot hands down. The band has had such a successful return that I’m surprised they aren’t the ones taking up two spots on the nomination list. And why shouldn’t they win? They deserve it I think. The Mastodon fan in me wouldn’t mind seeing “High Road” take the award either, but at this point talking about who you want to win the metal Grammy is like hoping to win a senior superlative: a novelty at best, but voted on by people who will forget you exist a year later.

 

Seth: The most talked about thing with the Grammys in the metal world usually seems to be the “what the heck are thinking?” selections. Or leaving Jeff Hanneman out of their “In Memoriam” video.  Unless someone is getting arrested for climbing the set or yelling  “hi, Axl” from stage, it’ll be another forgettable night in the procession of energy drink sponsored, online voter poll wankery. Click to vote for your favorite left handed doom metal bass player!

All my cynicism aside, anyone but Tenacious D, please. I’d love to see Mastodon win, just so we can start reading “Grammy Award winning” at the top of the press releases for their next (hopefully) four albums.

 

Chip: 

The lunacy of the Grammy Awards has reached new levels if two songs in any category are from a Tribute album.  I have never seen a body of voters in anything be so out of touch with their subject matter.  The Grammy Awards are the most ridiculous waste of time in all of the entertainment world.  Personally I don’t care who wins any of these stupid categories.

 

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Categorised in: Awards, Columns, Headbangers Brawl, News

  • old metal man

    The Grammys are the most illegitimate award system ever. It’s all about sales, not artistic worth as anybody with a set of ears and a brain larger than a pea can tell you. Musicians suck up because it means more albums sold, and we know mainstream music is dictated by teenage girls and hopeless tone deaf hipsters who desperately try to remain young and with it by convincing themselves that sucking up to whatever’s hot is some sort of fountain of youth.
    Metal suffers from a certain degree of hipsterism too. We have to tolerate mall metal, metalcore, which is nothing but two note noise and screaming to cover the fact that the bands are manufactured and processed like a car on an assembly line. Avenged Sevenfold makes a career of ripping off other bands and images. The bat is a ripoff of Overkill’s “Chalie”, and if I were Bobby Ellsworth and “Chalie” was trademarked, I’d sue for copyright infringement.
    But it sells, and people will make them rich because they don’t know the difference, only buying it because it’s popular.
    Motorhead and Mastodon are the only good nominees, and I’ll venture while they won’t complain about a Grammy should they get one, they probably don’t give a shit either. There must be some more meaningful way to express our appreciation for the contributions from Lemmy Kilmister other than the Grammys. But that’s how it goes, I suppose.

  • cpt howdy

    I’m not a big fan of the Grammies either, but a few clarification points are worth noting.
    1. The Grammy’s electorate period is not from Jan 1 to Jan 1. People are often surprised when an album that seems like it came out a long time ago are considered candidates….that’s one of two reasons. The other is that singles are often chosen instead of album tracks, with many singles being released after the album. That’s why Slayer had two songs off the same album nominated in two consecutive years, for instance.
    2. Record Labels, generally RIAA-member record labels, submit the singles, not the bands. It goes without saying that bands on major labels get chosen more often. That’s why only a very small pool of bands are chosen year after year.
    Also, I think the arguments here are solid but I don’t understand how giving Slipknot a nominee is a “neon-bone” being thrown to the younger crowd. I’m not a Slipknot fan but they have been around a lot longer than Mastodon and I’d argue that most of their fans are actually a little older than the crowd you’d see at a Mastodon show. The “any band I don’t like isn’t legitimate” mentality is unprofessional and is one of the reasons critics outside of metal look down on our genre. Very unfortunate.

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