Thanksgiving is literally just around the corner. It’s a day to be thankful for all you have and to spend quality time with family. In truth, though, it’s likely that time of year when you watch football while guzzling beer and turkey with a few cousins as the rest of the family fights in the kitchen. Well, maybe not as much football, since Nickelback will be performing at the Lions vs. Packers halftime show. But with Thanksgiving in mind, we thought that we’d list the top 5 events that we’re so ever thankful for happening this past year.
While music streaming service Spotify has only been legally available in the U.S. since July, it’s already attracted its fair share of controversy. Upon its launch, U.S. users found it lived up the hype that Europeans had been rhapsodizing (no pun intended) about. It’s easy to use, and even with the free version, a great way to listen to unlimited music. In short, instead of downloading music illegally, listeners could check out all the music they want, and the artists get paid. It’s what the artists get paid, though, that started the trouble. Independent labels, including Sumerian, Century Media, Prosthetic and Metal Blade, pulled their catalogues off the service, claiming there’s no real business to make fractions of pennies per spin. Apparently, an independent artist would need four million streams per month to earn $1,160. Even major artists like Coldplay chose to not have their newest album on Spotify. The album still debuted at #1, taking away the argument that people wouldn’t buy a record if they couldn’t hear it. So while it’s a good service for music fans (maybe less so for metal fans), we’ll definitely have to take a ‘wait and see’ approach to see how viable it will remain.
Fans had been patiently awaiting albums from the three bands mentioned above for a while. And no one was disappointed with the final products. In addition to Machine Head, Mastodon and Anthrax’s kick ass releases, new albums from Trivium, Chimaira, Opeth, and many others also gave fans lots to be thankful for this year.
After so much gossip in the past few months, Black Sabbath announced that they were not only reuniting for a world tour, but also working on a new album with producer Rick Rubin. And while nothing has been confirmed, Van Halen’s new record deal with Interscope Records makes it highly likely that a new album could follow in 2012. Add in the fact that C.O.C. just signed a new deal with Candlelight Records, and now we have a lot to look forward to next year.
2. Iconic Albums Turn 25
If there’s any question as to how viable metal is as a genre, all we need to do is look back a quarter century. In 1986, Slayer’s Reign In Blood, Metallica’s Master of Puppets, and Megadeth’s Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying were released. Those three albums are still classics, as relevant and vital now as when they came out. Most metal fans under 25 are even aware of these albums. And while metal is always a genre that leans towards the young, many metal fans grew up with these albums. And as underground as those three albums were in ’86, they’re essentially mainstream now. Look no further to “Master of Puppets” featured in Old School. And while nobody could have guessed how enduring those albums would go on to become, there was still plenty of popular ‘metal’ that came out that year. Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet influenced the next five years of hair metal, and the next time you ironically listen to Europe’s “The Final Countdown,” bemoan the fact that Sammy Hagar made his debut in Van Halen, or listen to the debut albums from Sepultura, Tesla and Cinderella, know that those all happened in 1986 as well.
Why do European festivals get to have all the fun? When the long-rumored “Big 4” (aka Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax) got together to play some Sonisphere shows in the Summer of 2010, American fans were pissed – then they shelled out money to see screenings of it in a movie theater. Finally, they made a big announcement, only to disappoint further by saying it would only be one show in California. Ultimately, they wound up playing an East Coast date as well at the equally iconic Yankee Stadium, and while that doesn’t make up for those nowhere near a coast, it was still a historic event that was long in the making and, for the most part, was worth the wait.
Many may not hold Slipknot’s first performance since the death of bassist Paul Gray this past Summer as a “major event.” However, considering drama that has occurred regarding the band’s future (mainly between Taylor and Jordison), it was a major relief to many fans when Slipknot first hit the Sonisphere stage in Athens, Greece, even for those who weren’t in attendance. It was the first step for Slipknot towards coming back in full force, with the band planning to return to the States this Summer for a full tour.