What happened to Heavy Metal?

While listening to my Genius Metal mix recently, I noticed that I most of the songs were at least 10, 20 or more years old.

I may not be up with the scene. Bands may be turning out new metal hits all the time and I’m not aware of it. But, neither are many others. New Metal seems to have sunk to a sub culture status.

When I was younger, I use to wonder why the genres of music that my parents listened to when they were kids had become relics of the past to be played museum-like Oldies stations. Their Rock’n’Roll didn’t sound like my Rock’n’Roll.

But, it occurred to me last week that the same evolutionary forces I described to explain business success, stagnation and even bands that put out one hit wonders may also operate on the scales of musical genres.

Early bands experimented with the sound of metal, people liked it, more bands followed to fill that growing demand. At the same time bands experimented with many other sounds too, people didn’t like those and those bands either served a small following, went away or changed. Their sounds didn’t expand into genres.

Eventually, metal bands created a body of music that made up the Heavy Metal genre and at some point that genre was generating income to make a lot of folks comfortable and reduce the desire and incentives to continue to experiment to push new material into genre.

Much like how Oldies were largely a relic in my childhood, Heavy Metal is pretty much a relic today. Heavy Metal is like a mature business, a past success that becomes the life blood of a bureaucrat.