Will Metal Survive The Next 10 Years?

The question of metal music and its future is a subject that gets brandished around every year around Award time. As thousands of screaming fans gush over the likes of Kanye and Ga-Ga, it’s a challenge to find a Pantera shirt in the crowd. This has nothing to do with the popularity of heavy metal as there are millions of fans all around the world, but rather a testament to how its continued popularity is dependent on its need to stay well below the mainstream radar.

Sure, our favorite bands are recognized here and there but not nearly as often as our pop-star counter parts are. All you have to do is take a look at the MTV Music Awards history with heavy metal to see how mainstream media tries to destroy the heavy metal genre.
The category, first introduced in 1989, was originally titled the “Best Heavy Metal Video” and given to Guns N’ Roses for “Sweet Child o’ Mine” despite being up against Metallica’s masterful “One” video. While a decent band in their own right, Axl and crew are not singing what most would consider heavy metal. My mom has that song on her iphone, but ask her about “One” and I get a blank stare.

Thankfully it is now just called “Best Rock Video” with no special category set aside for metal heads.

This doesn’t concern heavy metal fans, nor the bands they worship.

As pop music fans jump from Madonna to Britney to Beyonce, metal fans still rock their heads to British Steel. They have more respect for the genres heritage, and use that to keep creating music that is both new and exciting but with that amplified distortion that defines it.

In many ways, some metal bands have been the masters of their own demise by trying to go deeper and darker than even the likes of Black Sabbath. This stray into music that is barely discernible from subway noise turns people off to metal before they can ever be turned on.

The lack of mainstream heavy metal in America actually says very little about its future, for the next 10 years and even beyond. The United States has had a long, unfriendly and sordid history with metal bands and their fans, causing its popularity to remain underground.

Look around the world though and you see a much different story. Rock in Rio is the perfect example of a worldwide acceptance and adoration of all things heavy metal. With Metallica as a frequent headliner at the various concerts held around the world, it will be curious to see what the line up will be like once the city of rock lands in Las Vegas.

Metal will survive the next 10 years in the same way it has survived the last 45. By staying out of the mainstream and continuing to break new ground, test its limits and then fall back on the classic riffs and drumbeats that has made it such a success.


Top 5 metal bands of all time? See if your list matches ours.

Top 5 Metal Bands of All Time

With a history that begins at the height of the 1960’s anti-war movement, heavy metal was the antithesis of the peace and love that had taken over the music scene of that time. Dozens of bands have rocked the world since then, but these five stand out for making a mark that is still being felt today.

black sabbath


Pantera was around during the ‘80’s as what can only be described as a glam metal band. It was 1990’ Cowboys From Hell, with new front man Phil Anselmo, that brought them attention as a hardcore heavy metal band. Heroin induced tensions between the front man Phil Anselmo and guitarist Dimebag Darrel caused the band to split in 2003 prompting Dimebag and his brother Vinnie Paul to form Damageplan. When a deranged fan killed Dimebag onstage during a concert in Columbus Ohio the metal magic was lost forever.

Judas Priest

Judas Priest formed right around the same time as Black Sabbath but did not achieve commercial success until the 1980 release of British Steel which was followed by a string of releases and tours throughout the ‘80’s. This constant in your face scheme made them one of the most popular metal bands in the world. They continued that reign until the departure of front man Rob Halford in 1992. The band struggled as replacement Tim “Ripper” Owens attempted to fill those big boots but regained their crowns when Rob rejoined the fold in 2003. Their 2011-2012 Epitaph World Tour was supposedly going to be the last, but you never know for sure with this Phoenix of a metal band.


Metallica is probably the most commercially successful metal bands, if commercially successful means that even hip hop fans will know a line or two “Enter Sandman”. But it was the 1989 single “One” off of the …And Justice for All LP, and its controversial MTV video that first brought Metallica to the mainstream of heavy metal, earning them a Grammy nomination in the process. Over the years Metallica has gone through a number of changes in their bands lineup, most notably the firing of original guitarist Dave Mustaine in 1983. Very vocal about his dislike for the way in which things went down, Mustaine sought his revenge by forming Megadeth, a noteworthy heavy metal band in its own right.

Iron Maiden

You’re not likely to hear “Run to the Hills” being played on the radio but Iron Maiden is still one of the most successful metal bands of all time. When front man Bruce Dickinson joined the group in 1982 and released The Number of the Beast, the controversial band could no longer be ignored as its album sold over 14 million copies around the world. Known for their use of historical and literal references in their lyrics, Iron Maiden is intellectually challenging to listen to. Despite a number of changes in members over their long career, Iron Maiden is still holding strong with the release of The Final Frontier in 2010 followed by a world wide tour which just wrapped up this past July.

Black Sabbath

The grandfather’s of heavy metal, Black Sabbath was formed in Birmingham England back in 1968. Their desire to create music that instilled fear is evident in the widely successful Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, released in 1973. Original front man Ozzy Osbourne went on to different things in 1979 but the band continued on with a number of different replacements and reunions over the years. The first four reunited back in 1997 for a series of widely successful reunion tours that featured new material “Psycho Man” and “Selling My Soul” along with the 1970 “Iron Man” which was honored with a Grammy award 30 years after its initial inception. Despite still having issues with revolving band members, Black Sabbath still makes music, having just finished another tour this past summer.

This list could go on for miles, as heavy metal has brought to the rock world a unique sound that can only be emulated by the most talented of musicians. With its roots in every genre from blues to punk, these five bands epitomize the very meaning of being a metal band.