Why Does Hard Rock Music Suck Today?

You might find yourself asking the question:  Why does hard rock and heavy metal music suck today?  Or:  Why are the old bands so much better than the new bands?  In this post, we will look at the mistakes commonly made by hard rock bands in the current era.

Overproduction

Bands today fall in to the trap of overproducing their albums and songs.  This includes too many instrument tracks and overdubs.  If your band has two guitarists, there should not be six guitar parts on each channel.  There shouldn’t be too many vocal tracks either.  Vocalists must stop hiding behind layered and muddied mixes.  In the end, the listener is cheated with artificial garbage.

During the recording and mixing process, bands need to turn off the goddamn computer at some point.  Stop it with the Pro Tools and Logic Pro, or other fancy editing software (this software is great for DIY recording, but bands must exercise constraint).  Also, if the instrument cannot make the noise naturally through the amplifier or microphone, then the performance is not authentic.

Far too often, rock and metal bands are guilty of performing live with parts of the song on tape.  That is perfectly ok for band intros and certain song intros, but the taped sounds should never be heard during the actual performance of a song.  Hard rock music should never be fake.

Loss of Emotion

Much of what was discussed above has caused bands to lose the essence of what hard rock and heavy metal is all about.  It is very challenging to find new bands that play with heart.  Back in the day (1970s-early 90s), rock bands put everything on the line during the song writing process and the live performance.  They plugged in, stepped on the stage, and played like their lives depended on it.  Whether it was to a packed arena of 50,000 or a room with 8 people, the fan got their money’s worth.

Open Challenge to Hard Rock Bands Today: Get Back to Basics

The Gears of Rock would like to issue a challenge to any hard rock and heavy metal band willing to accept.  Here it is:  When recording your next album or song, ditch the digital crap.  See what your band is really made of and limit each song to eight tracks, preferably on an analog recorder.  Find the right instrument sounds in the room – in that moment – and let it rip.  Don’t overanalyze.  Let the song write itself, rather than allowing yourself to overwrite the song.

Every new hard rock and heavy metal band does NOT suck.  That is not the point of the post.  What was discussed above simply represents a harmful trend in hard rock that has lasted for a couple decades, and with a little effort can be repaired.  Go out there and fix it!

2 Comments

  1. Another reason I dislike so much modern metal is that bands try so hard to sound hostile … because they seem to think hostility equals cool. That’s part of the reason a lot of European metal bands appeal to me. Here’s Sabaton with an entire musical catalog about war and battle, but they are very cheerful onstage and really cool to fans. Hammerfall, Nightwish, even Amon Amarth just seem a lot cooler and less dour than the American bands I’ve seen. I remember once accidentally winding up a Down gig, and the entire band seemed genuinely pissed off to be playing in front of people. That’s so not the vibe I want out of a band.

    • @Wandering Justin – You raise a great point which could be my next post: Why are American modern metal bands so pissed? It’s America, the world’s largest economy and one of the wealthiest nations per capita in the world. This isn’t Haiti or Yemen we’re talking about. So what do American bands have to be angry about or try to uphold the toughness act all the time. It reminds me of that tongue-in-cheek Ben Folds song “Rockin the Suburbs.”

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