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’70s Metal vs. Modern Metal – Make Some Noise Debate

Judas Priest Slipknot
Jo Hale, Getty Images / Mary Ouellette, SheWillShootYou.com

Welcome to Make Some Noise, our new weekly debate feature in which Noisecreep’s writers debate some of the key arguments in hard rock and metal. We lay out arguments for both sides of a debate, then leave it up to you to let us know which one you ultimately support by voting in the poll at the bottom of this post.

This week, we ask you which was the better era for metal — the ’70s, where metal was created, or modern metal, where it has since evolved. Check out the argument for both sides and then make some noise by voting for which statement you feel to be correct.

’70s metal is better than modern metal:

(by Joe DiVita)

Judas Priest
Jo Hale, Getty Images

The Case: Things don’t get much bigger than Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Deep Purple. All three of these bands have played some of the biggest stadiums and events in the world and have become household names. They’re inescapable to just about any person who has lived on the planet since these three bands formed.

While proto-metal was still developing, Black Sabbath were nearly a full decade ahead of everyone else in terms of truly defining what heavy metal is. One needs to look no further than ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ in 1973, which still boasts some of the heaviest material laid out, spanning the course of four decades and millions of bands. In just five years, Black Sabbath cranked out six timeless albums that are still hard to contest by any band, especially ones today where the influences are so obvious and less original.

The second band on the true heavy metal scene was Black Sabbath’s Birmingham brothers, Judas Priest. After two albums that align more with rock than heavy metal by today’s standards, they shot forward and pioneered the twin guitar attack. What’s more synonymous with metal than harmonized lead guitars in E standard? Nothing, except maybe wailing high singing. Yeah, Judas Priest nailed that too. Rob Halford brought to metal what Ozzy Osbourne couldn’t. Halford’s incredibly dynamic vocal ability gave metal the extra push to become a true force to be reckoned with.

Now, back to proto-metal. Deep Purple and Rainbow are now considered rock bands, with Rainbow displaying more metal elements than Ritchie Blackmore’s alma mater. Deep Purple made the organ heavy. The organ, keyboard and piano have never had such a widespread major roll in heavy music since the ‘70s. The instrument backed up Blackmore’s titanic riffs, which have had an undeniable impact on metal.

What Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Deep Purple have in common is that they all released a string of unparalleled albums in a short time span. Sure, the industry model is different with the studio album and tour cycles. Time span aside, bands of today are still no contest in a punch-for-punch match when it comes to discography strength. Don’t forget the Scorpions and Van Halen’s shredding, Uriah Heep and their two-note gallop, Iron Maiden’s pivotal ‘Soundhouse Tapes’ and Thin Lizzy’s lead harmonies. Bands of today have not been able to replicate this natural feel and talent. Modern metal bands might have a couple strong right hooks, but the bands of the ‘70s have more of an impact.

The Evidence: Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Deep Purple, Ritchie Blackmore, Iron Maiden

Modern metal is better than ’70s metal:

(by Chad Childers)

Slipknot
Mary Ouellette, SheWillShootYou.com

The Case: Yes, we all can agree that the ’70s was the era where metal truly experienced its growth as a genre, but there’s so much more to what metal is today as compared to what it was back then. Just look at how many subgenres of metal there are — black metal, dark metal, death metal, doom metal, folk metal, grindcore, goth, industrial, metalcore, power metal, prog metal, speed metal, symphonic metal, thrash metal and the list just goes on.

With such a wealth of metal acts these days in all kinds of variations, it can easily be argued that the metal genre as a whole is better than ever. Would we all still love metal had it not grown and expanded upon the sound? If anything, modern metal has not only established itself but also enhanced today’s listener’s appreciation of the ’70s music that began our fascination with all things heavy in the first place.

There are more commercial metal outfits like Avenged Sevenfold, Tool, Rob Zombie, Korn, Five Finger Death Punch, Disturbed and Slipknot that are proudly carrying the metal torch and expanding metal’s fan base into areas where it was never accepted before. Thrash metal vets like Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer refuse to take a back seat to younger bands and are as vital as ever.

Dream Theater have become one of the most technically proficient and beloved acts in prog metal.  Lamb of God, Hatebreed, Killswitch Engage and Children of Bodom have emerged as metal forces in the last decade. And metal has definitely been influenced by surroundings. For instance, Soufly and Sepultura have brought Latin flavor to their metal riffing, while Down also pull from their surroundings to deliver a southern-soaked tinge to their rocking. Meanwhile bands like Gorguts, Ghost B.C., Dillinger Escape Plan, Bring Me the Horizon, Amon Amarth, The Sword, Turisas, Asking Alexandria, The Devil Wears Prada all show that metal’s future is as bright as ever.

Pick your poison — there’s something for all kinds of metal fans with quality all around. The ’70s may have invented the genre, but modern metal has taken that blueprint into the 21st century and given us so much more to appreciate.

The Evidence: Tool, Slipknot, Metallica, Slayer, Lamb of God, Dream Theater.

We’ve voiced our opinions. Now it’s time to have your say. Vote for whether metal from the ’70s or metal from today is better in the poll below and if you feel the need to back up your opinion, hit the comments section.

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