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Breakups & Shakeups

GOD FORBID Guitarist Speculates on Demise of New Wave of American Heavy Metal

Posted by on September 9, 2014 at 12:26 pm Follow on Twitter | Follow on Instagram

A group photo of the seminal Headbangers Ball Tour 2004 featuring Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, Unearth and God Forbid

In the last few weeks, New Wave of American Heavy Metal bands have been dropping like flies. Shadows Fall are calling it quits. Chimaira is over. Last year, God Forbid officially ended their run.

Self-defined O.G. quitter and God Forbid guitarist Doc Coyle took to his blog to try to figure out why all these bands are quitting. The eloquently written blog is a must-read for any music fans on the cyclical nature of the beast. Coyle attributed it to many factors: getting older and wanting a stable life, inability to gain new young fans and this one part that really stuck out for me:

In the 2012 Olympics 100m Dash, the difference between being the gold medal winning, fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt, and going home with nothing was .17 of a second. This is how I explain not being good enough, regardless of what you’re involved in. Not being good enough to be the winner, does not mean you aren’t really, really good at your particular craft. John Boeklin from Devildriver and I came to this conclusion during a long bro-hang, music listening session on a European tour bus in 2007, when we were trying to figure out why our bands weren’t as big as Lamb of God and Killswitch Engage. “Maybe they are just better”, he said. I couldn’t argue with him.

Fans of God Forbid or Devildriver or Chimaira don’t want to hear this because it is 100% subjective. There is no definitive metric for what is “better” in terms of art. And, there is no justice that just because something is “better”, it should be more popular. I do believe that music has become more of a meritocracy. The cream will rise to the top, and if you are on to something special, people will connect to it, share it, and it will spread organically. But you still need to have a good live show, run a solid business, and a have a few other stars align for it to work out. Nothing is given and there is no entitlement. To paraphrase the wise music industry writer Bob Lefsetz, there are only a few winners in today’s world. There is only one Google, one Amazon, one Walmart. People just don’t have time in the day to spend on the 8th best Metalcore band.

The man makes a great point. There are only so many spots, and as great as you may be, there may be somebody greater out there taking that spot. I highly recommend reading the entire post on Doc's blog.

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