Headbangers’ Brawl is a weekly column where Metal Insider’s Bram and Zach take a moment to debate and analyze two opposing sides of a topical issue occurring in the world of metal and/or the music industry.
The Grammy Awards are comfort food for the music industry, a way to look back at the past year amid declining record sales and shifting paradigms and pat each other on the back for a job well done anyway. Usually there are few surprises, and this year is no exception (“New York State of Mind” nominated for Song of the Year? NO WAY!). This is especially true when it comes to the Metal and Hard Rock categories. There’s nothing particularly wrong with any of the artists nominated, but when the biggest upstart band in any of the categories in Lamb of God, who formed in 1994, you sort of know what you’re in for. And the nominees are:
Best Metal Performance:
Iron Maiden, “El Dorado”
Korn, “Let the Guilt Go”
Lamb of God, “In Your Words”
Megadeth, “Sudden Death”
Slayer, “World Painted Blood”
Best Hard Rock Performance:
Alice In Chains, “A Looking In View”
Ozzy Osbourne, “Let Me Hear You Scream”
Soundgarden, “Black Rain”
Stone Temple Pilots, “Between The Lines”
Them Crooked Vultures, “New Fang”
Also, in other metal-leaning nominations, Steven Wilson picked up a nominee for his band Porcupine Tree’s The Incident for Best Surround Sound Album. See? We told you. And Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage got nominated for Best Long Form Music Video. So who do we expect to win each award? Bram and Zach make their predictions of who will win in this week’s Headbangers’ Brawl.
Bram: We’ll tackle Metal first. All five bands are pretty safe, predictable and conservative. That said, there’s nothing particularly wrong with them, with one glaring exception. Lamb of God are nominated again. For an album that came out in 2009. And they were nominated for another song off that same album last year! Really Grammy voters? There were so few metal albums released this year you had to go back to the well for one that came out last year and was already nominated?! That’s a huge fail on your part.
Korn still have a fan base, but there’s tons of other bands that could have gone in their place. Deftones put out their best album in a decade. I doubt even their die-hard fans could say that about Korn III. Maiden is a fan favorite, and they also put out a good album too. “El Dorado” takes half the song to get to the chorus though. It’s pretty interesting that Megadeth was nominated for a song that’s only available on a video game, which might be the edgiest thing about any of the nominations.I’ll go with “World Painted Blood” for the win. Not only are Slayer an institution, this is the best of the five songs nominated, in my opinion. It’s a title track, has a riff that’s instantly identifiable as Slayer, and a chorus you can yell along to.
Zach: All the nominees are safe bets, but at least each song is an original. I always hated how Metal award has sometimes been given to live tracks or b-side songs. That’s not always the case, but it was last year when Judas Priest won it for a live song (and every other year before that). However, I also have a bit of beef with Slayer and Lamb Of God being nominated. I love both bands and both albums, but those albums were released in 2009. Seriously? They couldn’t nominate a band who had an album out in 2010? With all that said, my money is on Iron Maiden. “El Dorado” wasn’t the strongest track on The Final Frontier, but it’s still a song that came off of one of the best albums of 2010. Plus, The Grammys have a knack for giving awards to elder/recognizable bands, giving Iron Maiden the edge.
B: As far as Hard Rock, again, very predictable. All of the bands could have been nominated for the 1993 Grammy Awards for Hard Rock. Well, except for Them Crooked Vultures. They’re a totally new band – WITH THE BASSIST OF LED ZEPPELIN IN THEM. I think everyone that likes Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, and Zeppelin kind of liked Them Crooked Vultures, then forgot about them about 10 minutes after hearing the album. As for the others, its basically Ozzy lording over Seattle. Alice In Chains had an amazing comeback against all odds, putting out an album with a new singer that exceeded expectations. Also exceeding expectations was “Black Rain,” a previously forgotten song from the Badmotorfinger sessions that reminded people why they liked Soundgarden so much back in the days of the first Bush. As for STP, it feels like they broke up, went to rehab, reformed again and broke up since their last album came out. And Ozzy pretty much wrote this song so it could be played at sporting events. It’s a fine song and all, but it’s pretty slight. I’d give the edge to Alice In Chains, but only due to their back story.
Z: I don’t know why you think everyone has forgotten about Them Crooked Vultures, Bram. They’re arguably one of the best supergroups to come out in a long time, and had one of the best albums of 2010 (well, at least one of my favorite albums). Their debut album lasted on the charts for a while, and they’ve still been getting quite a buzz from critics and fans. With that in mind, my money is on Them Crooked Vultures to win the Hard Rock award. Plus, another thing to keep in mind: not only does the band have the bassist of Led Zeppelin, but they also have Dave Grohl, a Grammy favorite (proof by the amount of times The Foo Fighters have won and performed at the Grammys).