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The Future of Heavy Metal and the Big Four's Legacy: From the Bay to the Mountains

It’s hard to fathom what the state of metal world is going to be like in 15 years’ time, but by affording these bands so much praise we make it incredibly difficult for new bands to break through.

The Future of Heavy Metal and the Big Four's Legacy: From the Bay to the Mountains

From The Bay To The Mountains

It’s hard to fathom what the state of metal world is going to be like in 15 years’ time. As metalheads we still look to those bands who set the bar in the 80s, in particular thrash, and time and time again we discard new takes and variations on the formula set by the likes of Metallica, Megadeth or Anthrax - “what’s this fake stuff, that’s not metal!”. Now this of course is testament to the legacy created by the pioneers of the genre, but begs the question, what is going to happen when they start falling by the wayside?

By affording these bands so much praise, it is incredibly difficult for new bands to break through and the chances of them reaching the same heights are slim to none. The first wakeup call that these bands, whilst it feels like it, won’t be around for ever should have been Black Sabbath retiring last year, and if that wasn’t enough Slayer's revelation last month only reinforces that many of the heavyweight’s days are coming to an end.

On tour! Get tickets for Testament

Some solace should be taken from the fact that most of the veterans are producing great music still, for example Testament, who hit our shores next month to finally support 2016’s Brotherhood of the Snake with a full tour, have managed to release one of their finest works to date.

Songs such as “Pale King”and “Stronghold” sit naturally in the set, so much so that Chuck and co already went down a storm at Bloodstock last year. Furthermore, Testament have been announced as one of the support bands on the North American leg of Slayer's upcoming farewell tour - 2018 looks like it’s going to be a great year for the band.

Completing arguably one of the best metal bills this side of the pond this year, Testament bring with them Canadians Annihilator, who have once again found their thrash roots on “For The Demented”. Whilst the rest of Europe have Death Avenger to kick affairs off, we are lucky to have Polish legends Vader.

Vader, whose 2016 release “The Empire” showed they still had the aggression and ferociousness that fans have become accustomed to in their genre defining death metal sound. With all bands riding high and in fantastic stride this bill has all the makings of a stalwart classic, and one certainly not to be missed, but it still fails to address the issue of age. All 3 bands were formed in the 80s meaning, we are at the same impasse we find with the Big 4.

Well, all hope is certainly not lost, as we turn our attention away from the California beaches, up to the Colorado Rockies and look to Havok.

On tour! Get tickets to see Havok

Whilst Havok are not alone in keeping the genre alive, it would be remiss of me to fail to mention Municipal Waste, the true roots of thrash lie deeply embedded in Havok’s sound, just look at “Point Of No Return” and tell me you don’t hear early Big Four riffs.

With 6-8minute songs which are laden with huge riffs, ripping solos and satirical commentary, Hang Em High being a prime example, Havok have managed to capture the sound of the 80s, but modernise it in a way that doesn’t seem forced or simply ripping off the sound that came before. 

Most importantly Havok formed this side of the millennium and each release has seen them grow from strength to strength. Line up, now solidified with Nick Schendzielos on the bass, Havok are making metal exciting again and proving that there is a future for thrash in the modern day. 

Last year’s conformicide, which was my album of the year, largely tackles politics and in particular the presidency and the intervening nature of the government (album opener “FPC” is well worth a listen) and has given them a horde of new songs, which when coupled with their strong back catalogue and intense live shows, should put them at the top of your list of bands to see this year.

Havok return to the road this April alongside Darkest Hour and the tour promises to be intense, particularly as they are pumped with energy whilst they begin wrapping up the KillThrax (Killswitch Engage/Anthrax) tour stateside. I hadn’t properly listened to Havok until my mate had a spare ticket this time last year in Manchester, safe to say, I haven’t stopped listening since. Take a punt, you will not be disappointed, after all, my one and only criticism of the band is the lack of a Manchester show on this run!

Find tickets for Killswitch Engage below, or search for any of the bands mentioned to above to compare sellers and get the cheapest tickets available. 

Written by
Elliot DaCosta
19th February 2018

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