|Ozzy with Black Sabbath|
Thrash metal was a reaction against glam. As Bobby Blitz of Overkill said, referencing Slayer’s early days in L.A., “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Yet despite its protestations thrash was never fully an everyman’s genre. There were still the bullet belts, the devil horns, the denim jackets, the logos, etc. The difference, I think, is that for thrash metal these theatrical elements were contingent aspects of its success; but for other parts of the metal scene the theater was a central element. For theatrical bands…you take away the theater and you take away the show.
|Overkill: Denim, Leather, Bullet Belts...metal!|
Which one wins?
So what are we to think of a tour which encompasses both thrash and theater?
According to a recent press release, thrash metal icons Megadeth and horror-show producer Rob Zombie will co-headline on a tour beginning in May 2012. This interesting pairing pits the two aforementioned aspects of metal against each other.
I saw Rob Zombie (then White Zombie) perform with Pantera in Wichita, Kansas in 1993. White Zombie had just released their highly successful La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1 and put on a thematic show, complete with large movie screen in the back center-stage – depicting horror show clips. It’s a cool gimmick and one that goes well with Zombie’s nonsense-lyric groove metal.
|Rob Zombie: Metal Theater|
Megadeth, whom I've seen multiple times, are more straightforward and forgo even pyrotechnics in favor of letting their guitars and crowd interactions thrill the audience. Their music has, for the most part, stood the test of time - and are now enjoying renewed interest from audiences all over the world.
Here’s what I think. Rob Zombie will put on a good show. Megadeth will put on a good show. Yet, several years from now those in attendance will be happy to say they had seen Megadeth live since Megadeth’s music will still remain relevant. Rob Zombie’s show will, like all good horror gimmicks, fade in one’s memory.
It is probably not coincidental that White Zombie became commercially successful during the 1990’s, a decade that almost killed thrash metal. At that time, people were suckers for musical gimmicks that, in retrospect, were simply the flavor du jour. Remember grunge, rap metal, and Load/Reload?
So for those of you metalheads lucky enough to go to this undoubtedly entertaining show, please remember that metal comes in a wide variety of flavors – to include both thrash and theater. In a few years, however, don’t be surprised when popcorn metal seems but a distant memory to thrash at its finest.
|Megadeth: Thrash Masters|