Op Ed: Genre Hopping and Jumping the Shark


My friends, I’ve got some beef with you. Over the course of these four or so months, I’ve grown very fond of this warm little toilet and its delightful denizens. I feel at home here amid the scum and the filth. But lately, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend rearing its ugly head from deep in the bowels of the toilet, clogging up the joint and emanating an unpleasant odor. Comrades, indulge me for a minute while we talk about the pointlessly prevalent accusation of genre hopping.

Before I dive into my thoughts on that topic, though, I need to clear the air about how I feel about metal genres. I’ve seen a lot of bands lately whine and moan about being pigeon-holed into a particular genre even though that is precisely the style they play. “We don’t play black metal, we play transcendent butt-gaze” or whatever. Here’s the thing. Metal genres and subgenres exist for a reason. They allow us to sort and classify the multitude of bands that are clamoring away on basement demos over at bandcamp. They give us a handle for choosing between the glut of new projects (half of which are typically from Mories or Justin Broadrick) and determining how we should squander those precious few dollars and hours that we’ve squirreled away rather than spending them on healthy foods or exercise, respectively. Metal genres have typically been defined both by innovative bands labeling themselves or by journalists establishing the term to describe a groundbreaking scene. Essentially, these brackets have been laid in place by the experts, and we as humble listeners must respect those foundations because they give each of us a communicable language with which we can discuss our interests. Additionally, genre tags provide us with an expected product. We don’t call Metallica death metal because we know not to expect tremolo picking, growls, or blast beats. Similarly, we want to know which sounds to avoid; we don’t call Cattle Decapitation tech death because we don’t want people to be turned away by thinking they play weedly deedlies like Rings of Saturn. Plus, every single one of us here has suffered the indignation of being accused of listening to screamo. Let’s all just agree that genre labels are important and that we should use them wisely and appropriately. Therefore, if you’re in a band and don’t want to get pegged in one subgenre, incorporate elements from a different one rather than coming up with some absurd moniker for your style of music that plenty of other people in your subgenre are playing.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about this insult I’ve seen a number of you (and other bloggers/readers) bandy about. Many of you are quick to slander any band that shifts between genres and releases an album in a decidedly different style than previous efforts. This honestly baffles me because we as metalheads often profess that we love “progressive” music or that we enjoy when bands “stylistically evolve.” So I’m confused about something. Is the progress only supposed to be made within a particular genre that we enjoy? If a band we love dabbles in some other genre, are we too narrow-minded to appreciate it? Or is the problem more of an issue with control? Are we afraid to let the musicians we idolize, on whom we place an unrealistic amount of expectation and longing for fulfillment, construct art that they think is meaningful? Perhaps, and I think that’s the reason why you’ll often find the same fans who lob accusations of genre hopping also whine that their favorite bands are suddenly releasing a new album. Some of us have grown far too accustomed to the categorization system laid by our forebears, and rather than using genres as a constructive language tool, we use them as a fetter to bind the artists we adore to our own strict guidelines.

As you can hopefully see, there’s a cognitive dissonance here. We can’t claim to be open-minded while simultaneously eschewing the experimentation and boldness that helped define this genre we all love. We can critique a band as they work within the boundaries of a particular subgenre, but we have to add some more descriptive handles to our criticism if they choose to straddle the lines. Honestly, I think more bands should play with the boundaries and not allow themselves to stagnate while working within one predefined set of rules. Think of your favorite band this year. Do they stick to the template of their home subgenre? I assume not, and thus, musical progress is forged.

Let’s examine some common targets of genre hopping. I’m going to provide several exhibits and explain why the accusation is both lazy and disingenuous. The most consistent target for this insult is Machine Head, and honestly, I think that’s a bit silly. The band has really only ever played two styles: groove/thrash and nu metal. I find it humorous that people accuse them of genre hopping when there are other bands who have changed styles more frequently and less effectively (looking at you, Trivium). But when you get down to the core of the attacks on Machine Head, I think what you find is that people dislike the fact that they’ve changed genres when each scene was burgeoning, and thus appeared to be trying to cash in on popular trends. I honestly think that’s a much more legitimate criticism, but I’d still prefere the band that wrote “Wolves” rather than the band that wrote “From This Day.”

Another band I’ve seen accused of being genre hoppers is Job for a Cowboy. I’ve never been a huge fan, but I do think they’re a perfectly inoffensive death metal act. Unfortunately for them, they’ve been forced to eternally feel the backlash of writing one deathcore album. What’s strangest about this, though, is that it almost seems that people resent them now for playing a more credible style, as though the fact that they started off playing deathcore somehow ruins their legitimacy and permanently grounds them in the Myspace scene despite any musical progression they may have made. This is absurd. Like them or hate them, they should be judged on the trajectory of their career rather than their origins.

The last band I often see maligned as genre hoppers is Mastodon. Of the three exhibits I’ve presented, Mastodon have easily made the most career shifts. From sludge to prog to hard rock and everywhere in between, Mastodon has rarely spent much time in any one genre. This has had a polarizing effect on fans, with groups of acolytes seemingly splitting off at every new release and demanding the band go back to the style of the previous album. Essentially, arguments about this band genre hopping tend to be from people who want to pigeonhole the group into one genre and who have an unhealthy nostalgia fixation with Leviathan. Interestingly, though, I don’t think you could ever claim this band has attempted to follow any trends. Each new progression has been at the whims of the artists themselves and not due to some emerging scene in heavy music. Therefore, I think it would be more genuine to simply state that you don’t like some of the band’s output because it isn’t in your range of subgenres that you enjoy.

Before I conclude this discussion, I think I would be remiss if I neglected the fact that several metal bands have successfully hopped genres and are typically praised for those progressions. Carcass have morphed from a goregrind unit to a full-on death metal band, dabbling in melodeath along the way. Neurosis began playing hardcore music but eventually spawned post-metal. I’d mention the genres Devin Townsend has played, but I don’t have enough space here for that.

One final thing I’d like to mention is that there is a reasonable counterargument to my assertions here. While discussing this topic, the Masterlord pointed out that some bands might hop genres in order to play a more lucrative form of metal. This in turn may indicate that the band is writing music for the wrong reasons, and those poor motivations will in turn permeate into the quality of their sound. I think this is a fair counterargument, but I don’t think most of the bands that get called genre hoppers are guilty of this. Of all the bands I’ve listed, I think Machine Head may be the only reasonable example of this with their swap to nu metal. In my opinion, the transition back to thrash was a return to their roots, and the genuineness of their intentions is evident in the quality of The Blackening. Moreover, accusations of trying to make money are not what I’m addressing in this post. What I am discussing is the propensity for certain metalheads to get butthurt when bands they like change subgenres. Therefore, I believe my arguments still stand.

As you can hopefully see, genre hopping shouldn’t be an insult. Instead, I earnestly think we should be praising bands for experimenting outside of subgenre confines. If an attempt fails, then so be it. At least the chance was taken. Labeling a band as a genre hopper simply smacks of the fetid elitism with which we in the metal world have been accused of for a very long time. Let’s take a step today to shake off those shackles. Let’s use genre tags wisely and meaningfully. Let’s praise bands for taking chances and weigh them on their merits rather than on what genre they used to play. Let’s make our metal world a better place and stop calling bands genre hoppers. Are you with me?

P.S. I liked Shogun.

(Photos VIA and VIA)

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  • Wolverine Blues kicks ass, you twerps.


    • RustyShackleford

      I can verify this statement. Yep!

    • Death

      I disagree with you peacefully.

      • You need to play Chess with a lot of friends here!

        • Death

          I have no friends!

          • Edward


          • Death

            Okay, I have two human friends.

          • W.

            I’m your friend, matey.

          • Death

            Okay, three! God dammit!

          • can I be your friend too? If you came to Venezuela to kill thugs I can cook some arepas for you..

          • Death

            Well you do seem like a nice fellow. I’ll have to think about it.

          • W.

            Mr. Leonhart is probably the nicest guy you’ll ever meet.

          • Brutal! Give this ex-president an arepa too!! 😀 Arepas for all the toilet!

          • PrincePoopyPanties
          • nom nom nom 😀

          • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

            A whole two!

          • Death

            Don’t worry, you’re not one of them.

          • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

            I’m not a man. I didn’t think for a while you would have included me. I was surprised by the vast numbers of them.

          • What about m shadows? I know you two are bros.

          • Death
          • YourLogicIsFlushed

            Can you stop posting this guy. Please.

          • Death

            Okay. I’m sorry

          • do Steam friends count?

    • I’M NOT STUPID I’M INSANE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uh1zqIIJsk

    • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

      shit on all fox media—-

      accessories to 911

      social conditioning–towards anti family statist –totalitarian forced atheistic—

      animal thought based psychology

      shit mongers((repeated======

      homer simpson as “power metaphor source”(controller of nuclear church worship)
      tv “empowered” everyman

      too inept to have children—slave of needed govt supervision
      a “lie”—that is promoted as “you”

      (watch with the entombed vid–both at once)

      • I am going to create an entirely experimental, genre-bending, metal album using your posts as my lyrics. You want in on this collab?

        • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

          haha thanks friend

          • Hey, can you and W. come to a truce so we can move ahead with our powerhouse supergroup? We can’t have creative differences breaking up the crew already. The world needs us. It will be like this, except it will reach further than even our own planet. It will be the song that finally brings us together with out extraterrestrial neighbors.


          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            “environmentalism came to a fork in the road–and rhetoric went one direction–and agenda went another”

            dubya is a supporter of getting rid of private property,and taking the rights of the people in the name of “environmentalism”—and tries to sell it like there is no other way—environmentalism as excuse for u.n. totalitarianism—not helping the environmen

            and now they have been attacking america–with attacks like 911 and okc—to create “excuses” to destroy the affluent middle classes in america–and constitutional obstacles

            to world domination–no more private land ownership–control over every aspect of human life—down to taking a shit

            the followers claim it is for “sustainable development”–yet they ignore the “power grab” aspect–of a select few–to try to have over others

            and most importantly –the pro u.n. operatives–are willing to murder citizens/babies at the drop a hat –for the sustainable development agenda

            it says “you can judge a tree by it’s fruits”—and the yields of these motherfuckers have been nothing by blood of the innocent

            you dont want a future with those types—-dubya is either knowledgable of this –or just doesnt care–cuz of his personal education or whatever—or is a shill (just like the entire msm)—there are lots of these in internet forums–who try to steer things in a pro agenda 21 manner

            un agenda 21 did 911—to fire up america–to be the international enforcer of sustainable development (misguided tyranny)–into ww3

            fuck those motherfuckers—and fuck dubya’s ignorant ass!!

            agenda 21 -short overview


        • W.

          Need someone to hit a keg with a baseball bat? I can handle that!

          • Cock ov Steele

            can we take that up a notch with maybe TWO kegs, and TWO baseball bats? Pretty pretty pretty pleeeeeeaaaaaaase.

          • W.

            How about just a band of people hitting stuff with baseball bands while the Deputy recites zzzzzzzzzz’s theories.

          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            not a theory—-

            bill clinton did the okc bombing—-(google mike loudenslager–said to have been killed in the blast–while documented as being across town–at his own state court case –“impossible”—also warned everyone to get their kids out of the daycare cuz of armaments being massively placed//stored in building—also witnessed as getting in a huge fight with atf agents—at the bombing site

            w=passive aggressive libtard shiteater–who always states “metaphors’ where “normal” people always “misunderstand” or “dislike”–lowly heavy metal

            anti metal—internet shill –libtard—who jerks off over dubya bush everyday—self doubting—-snivelling—shit fer brains

          • W.

            I’m a bit confused here. Am I a shill? Can I get payment for all that shilling I do?

          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            nah…yer one of those ones–who does it for free—cuz of yer college dream==requires you support it—

            yer personal shithole–that you hope to inflict on everybody—cuz you must be “so smart”—even though you aint shit

            and those proztitutes you pay-called professors–are stroking yer commie vagina—all the way to their bank

            no yer not the only one who is “educated” at this motherfucker—
            yer just a pc wannabe—who would get their panties in a wad–cuz of someone not obeying the tv—and expressing actual thought
            oh my god—yer thinking—“this guy is a racist”—cuz he called me a nigger—–oh gosh”—

            grow up

          • W.
          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            baby born with one eye,penis on forehead

          • W.
          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            you are a loyal,unflappable,libtard cyber light


          • W.

            I’m enjoying the video contest. But tell me, dear zzzzzzz, what’s a cyber light?


          • The Anus That Ate Detroit

            Now I’m terrified of being Rick-rolled on here……..

          • PrincePoopyPanties
          • Pagliacci is Kvlt
          • Yikes

          • I’m a fan of your screeds but this is a bit excessive.

          • agree

          • Jöhnny Crünch™

            You get a schilling as payment

          • Steve Smithwick

            Woah woah woah, Zzzzzzzzz, I’m the foremost libtard shill around here, we got beef bruh?

            Liberals > Conservatives, always and forever. Objective and irrefutable fact.

          • The Satan Ov Hell

            just took it from shitknot to advanced avant garde noise.

          • Bucket ‘o Blood

            Y’all need to look up the Canadian avant-garde death metal band UnexpecT. A lot of their music is written using absurdist principles and its awesome.

          • W.

            There are some UnexpecT fans lurking here (myself included).

          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            hey…yer the guy at metal injection–who tried to rip on me for commenting that the whole okc devil statue thing==was scripted–so they could just get rid of all “religious metaphor” statues in buildings—regardless if they are or arent actually promoting religion—but just neutral philosophical points

            anyways—i live in okc==and i know this girl that is in the “devil’ group–and she is introducing me to their leader–who is just quitting—cuz he was told by the undercover feds–(apparantly) that he’s working for—that his criminal record–makes it where he wont “Work” for the rest of the psyop===that theyre trying to do

            he’s pretty pissed–but he has enough evidence–to bring down the whole network of false flag attacks that have been going on—since 1994—

            anyways–it’s pretty exciting—so you know00″fuck you”–and all that

          • more beer

            Dammit W didn`t learn in your coke sniffing drunk driving days that you return the keg so you can get the deposit back to buy more beer. It is not an instrument.

          • Lacertilian

            need a really good mask for that though, otherwise people will confuse you for a clown….oh wait.

        • Stockhausen

          I’m getting the deluxe preorder package for every album.

    • The Satan Ov Hell

      it’s actually my favourite entombed album. Mosh worthy riffs all around.

  • Ahhh, that fine line between express your art with other palette sounds as a band or doing it for the $…

  • RustyShackleford

    I hate when bands get accused of “genre hopping.” I love when bands go beyond what we expect from them based on a label that, at the core of it, doesn’t mean all that much. Have you ever used metal subgenre names among non-metal fans? It makes me look like a fucking idiot when I try to explain to my girlfriend that there’s a thing called sludge metal. I like to debate about genres, but I also know that the terms get a little/a lot ridiculous.

    PS – I fucking love Mastodon. Yep!

    • W.

      Honestly, I enjoy talking metal, but I hate talking extreme metal with non-metalheads.

      • RustyShackleford

        Me too haha. Makes me look a little stupid cause it’s just hard to show them how deep it is. Anytime extreme metal comes up, they often say “so like Cannibal Corpse?” Dale…er…Rusty…can’t say yep to that! (Disclaimer: I do really like Cannibal Corpse)

      • it’s all metal, right!?

        • W.

          Yesterday I told a guy who sponsors a lot of our research that I write for a metal blog. He asked me if I went to the last Five Finger Death Punch concert.

          • Edward

            That’s an extremely common phenomena when discussing “heavy metal” with non-metal fans. Happens to me frequently and I just sort of chuckle and keep moving.

          • Death

            I had to explain grindcore to one person. It didn’t go too well.

          • W.

            I just tell people that grindcore is like audible crack. Seems to work well enough.

          • Sponge Of Mystery

            i often times use horrible examples on purpose when explaining metal bands to people because i know they know very little about metal (and music in general) and its the only way they’ll even begin to understand what i’m talking about. Like, I was trying to explain what progressive metal was and they got confused so i told them it was like pink floyd metal just to end the conversation

          • This is more of me being an elitist dick, but still made me angry.

            I went to pick up a pizza from Domino’s wearing my long-sleeve Inquisition shirt. Dude was like “oh man, I love that music!”

            I got excited, thinking I found a fellow Inquisition fan! “Did you see them last Tuesday?”

            “No, I don’t get to go to too many concerts. There’s a huge concert coming up in Winston-Salem that I’m going to on x date.”

            “Oh yeah, who is coming?”

            “Within the Ruins! are you going?”

            “…. No, I’m not really a fan of that kind of music.”

          • My inner poser will be showing, but I like Within the Ruins…

          • Elite rips, fuck everyone who takes issue with this

          • Lacertilian

            those guys can play, I liked Creature upon release.
            Lots of funny noises and enough anger to prevail.

          • Keegan Lavern Still

            I get that a lot on campus when I get comments on my band shirts. There were two separate instances where the people I’ve talked to who’ve asked me if I’d ever heard Led Zeppilin’s “Iron Man.” That pretty much killed any interest in talking metal with people outside of shows or who could otherwise name a metal band not from the 80’s or earlier.

            Now that I think about it, I’m going to have some explaining to do when I wear my new hoodie from Mick Kenney’s Misanthropy brand to work tomorrow night.

          • W.

            My wife is awesome enough to bear with me when I’m talking metal, but I know that deep down she only cares because it’s something I care about. The subtle differences between genres are lost on her.

      • My boss calls it all “obscure music”. He is correct.

    • crazytaco_12

      Just yesterday I was talking to a dude at a gas station about metal and I mentioned “skronk” and had to check that he knew what I meant just to make sure I didn’t sound like an idiot.

  • It always annoys me when people hate on bands for changing their sound. To use one of your examples, if jfac had never evolved and had stuck to one genre then the beast of an album that is sun eater would never have existed. Sure it took them a while to find their sound but I’m glad they did.

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      I just wish they would do some band name jumping as well.

    • RustyShackleford

      And that shit is fucking streaming and it fucking rips me a new one I tell ya what!

    • Death

      They’re still bad.

      • Go listen to Britney spears then.

        • Death

          You know I don’t like her music.

          • I know that because you don’t like anything.

          • Death

            I at least like Univers Zero and Magma.

          • No I clearly remember you saying “I’m death I love Britney Spears”

          • Death

            You can’t prove shit!

          • You are frustrated because it’s true. Were it not true you would simply discard mine comment. Thy will hath been revealed, and all of tamriel will know you are a slave to Britney as I am but a slave to the sword. Bow before her shadowcleavage!

          • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

            I like her, with or without shadowcleavage (with oreferred) I used to have a couple of her albums.

          • Lol I think you are losing a lot of points in deaths book today. Her old old stuff isn’t too bad but the new stuff is all auto tune and awful

          • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

            I am already in the lowest dungeon in his eyes.

          • Death

            He can’t lose any points, he’s so way too low.

          • I’ll just leave this here, then…

          • Death

            You and Jimmy have both done this to me now. Shame on you!

          • great minds and such

          • Bahaha

      • To say you don’t like them is one thing, but don’t just generalize them as bad for that reason. I recognize the talent of a lot of your bands but I don’t enjoy it.

  • Stockhausen

    More bands need to be like Tom Waits.

    • W.

      He’s all over the place in the best possible way.

      • Stockhausen

        Yeah he is. He hasn’t really genre hopped since his early days, because after Swordfishtrombones he wasn’t in one place long enough to figure him out.

    • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

      Hell yeah!

  • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

    An artist makes music all the time (maybe not literally). He progresses as he makes new music. Or he decides to stay where he is, possibly tweaking his approach a little. We the fans don’t know what he has listening for inspiration lately. We may not even like this. He may have decided that the best way to express his feelings and inspiration is something he hasn’t done before. We can’t get inside his mindset, we don’t feel as he does. We are not part of this process. We do not regard it as evolution, unless it is much slower than naturally. So slow that we can hear every bit of it on albums. When we do not, it is easier to shrug it off as genre hopping or money chasing. Than to face the fact that we do not really matter in the process of music making. That his talent does not exist for us to exploit it.
    -a musician

    • W.

      This guy gets it. If you don’t like a musician’s art, fine. That’s okay. I just think most people who quickly leap to “genre hopping” as an insult are being lazy and can’t actually provide a good reason for why they dislike something.

      • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

        I may have been guilty of that myself in ancient times. But above kinda explains it. I di always feel bad when a band is accused of genre hopping. And equally as bad when they try to make a new genre for their osdm. Or when wolves in the throne room claimed they were doing something completely new and unique. Especially as I try to treat all music only as good or bad.
        Indeed peopele accusing of genre hopping just wished that the band would not have changed but delivered the same, only better.
        I think this is because a human always wants something else/more. We complain when a band changes and when they stagnate. We want each album to be better than the last, but this is not possible and soour wishes are never met. So we complain and try to make up excuses for our unfounded opinions.

        • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu


      • Cockypock Aioli

        I also like shogun. I like the crusade even more. Also, would me calling my throat lube aioli instead of mayonnaise be genre hopping?

        • W.

          I rustled some jimmies with my Trivium comment, and although I won’t call myself a fan, my point was that I don’t really think genre hopping is a fair accusation against any band.

        • Lacertilian

          Crusade got some listens when it came out but Shogun, not so much. Had to revisit after the nostalgia-train came to every metal forum going, still no good.

      • Jöhnny Crünch™

        A+++ article W

        • W.


    • OldMetalHead
      • EsusMoose

        loved the ending solo, guitar harmony, I haven’t listened to the first record in a while and as it was my first death metal album probably should give it a listen again

        • W.

          Wow. That’s a cool place to jump into DM. What are you listening to now? I’m genuinely fascinated by what trajectories peoples’ musical interests take them on.

          • EsusMoose

            At this point avant-garde black/blackened shoegaze, post-metal, tech death, djent, some doom, most strains of prog metal, mathcore, death, recently got into hiphop. I’ve touched grind a few times but never got really into it, I looked through my history of music and had the following path comma’s refer to an evolution in taste alt rock/radio rock,hard rock/radio metal/nu metal, thrash/prog/sludge/popular metal (this was the dethklok introduction), death/mathcore/ post-metal, djent/avant garde styles/folk, black/doom. I have started to listen to a lot more lighter stuff found post-rock, math rock and modern prog rock to be nice palette cleansers, with rap and hip hop becoming enjoyable. Pretty sure the first time I was really shown metallica was through the web browser on a playstation 3.

          • W.

            Sounds like this is just the place for you. By the way, there are several of us here who dig hip hop.

          • The Prophet Mohammed

            Don’t skip out on stoner metal!

          • EsusMoose

            I’ve hit up sleep’s dopesmoker, and I’ve meant to listen to electric wizard but I got distracted with looking into black

          • The Prophet Mohammed

            Sleep is amazing, and so is Electric Wizard. I would also recommend Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats (think Sabbath crossed with the Beatles when they did acid), Graveyard, Bongzilla, Kadavar, American Sharks, and Sons of Huns. They aren’t all stoner metal, but they give off a similar vibe. Also, you owe it to yourself to listen to Clutch if you haven’t done so already.

          • EsusMoose

            Yeah clutch has been given a few listens, thanks for the list I’ll make my way through it over the few weeks, pretty sure nothing I’m aware of is being released so I have time

    • Count_Breznak

      It’s less a matter of the change of style, but more of how and how sudden it changes. And the reactions of the band when old fans don’t like their new material. I wouldn’t call Mastodons shift “hopping” for example, they just slowly changed (into something I don’t care about starting with Leviathan). ..and then there are cases like Load, One Second (or more drastic Host), Illud Divinum Insanus, Unspoken King…..

      Agoraphobic Nosebleed changed their style with Agorapocalypse, only from one subgenre to another, but rather drastic nontheless. It worked out pretty damn fine.

      • W.

        I certainly prefer Agorpocalypse to a lot of their other stuff.

        • Count_Breznak

          I like both, but the earlier albums aren’t for everyday use.

  • Cock ov Steele

    I’ve been a fan of all of Mastodon’s releases (Well, mainly Leviathan and Blood Mountain) I just see their latest ideas becoming a little stale.

    • W.

      I haven’t disliked any of their albums, but Crack the Skye was their zenith for me.

      • my 7 year old son agrees about the CtS point

      • Lacertilian

        same but Leviathan = zenith. With Blood Mountain being one step down.
        Remission is a crusher.
        I was a bit disappointed when CtS came out but after The Hunter, it looks pretty pristine.

      • Each album tickles an individual zenith boner for me. Their variety while still maintaining their ‘don DNA is what makes them one of the best around and ever.

  • so is this article like, an apology for that stupid talyor swift review?

    Edit: the review was not stupid. TS and her music are stupid. (but I’d still crush it)

    • Antonius Block, A Knight

      You must never apologize for that which makes you happy!
      -(someone help! I don’t recall this philosophers name!)

    • Not sure what we have to apologize for.

      • The blatant lack of Katy Perry

        • Antonius Block, A Knight

          How can they apologize it with an article that features even less Katy Perry?!

        • Jöhnny Crünch™

          Fuck. Yeah.

      • Lifeloving

  • Holy crap. Like Trivium or not they never sold anywhere near the fuck out as Machine Head. Also jumping from thrash/groove to nü metal/rap-rock is a far more egregious and jarring change than any in Trivium’s career.

    Edit: also Machine Head hasn’t really written more than two memorable songs since Burn My Eyes.

    • W.

      I think you missed the point of this. Accusing someone of selling out is exactly the sort of thing this was addressing. Trivium most definitely have changed genres: metalcore->thrash->prog->hard rock. I wasn’t saying that either band changing genres is a bad thing, but let’s call a spade a spade. They’ve definitely done it.

      • Not sure what Trivium did that’s merely “hard rock” but any stylistic changes they’ve had are forgivable. Robb Flynn just started rap-rocking for the cash. He even said as much. At first he said it’s what he wanted to do and recently he blamed the record company for pushing him to it.

        He has no integrity and a stupid mouth. Trivium’s changes are far more subtle and remain within the realm of conventional heavy metal…even under the influence of Draiman. That’s always been there thing and they’ve said that much: “we’re not going to make the same album over and over. Each one is going to be different and have its own identity.”

        …not whatever identity is presently selling go twist up your hair and wear an orange jump suit.

        • W.

          Jay, you’re my friend, but I think you’re getting way too riled up about this. I don’t like Trivium. You don’t like Machine Head. That’s fine.

          • No, I don’t think giving Machine Head a pass and saying Trivium was worse (with genre-hopping) is accurate. Else I’d not bother arguing about it.

            I love Burn My Eyes so I’m not blinding myself with fanboyism. I don’t like Ascendancy that much at all but I actually own a vinyl copy of Burn My Eyes. It was really difficult to find in that format because records weren’t even really being pressed when it was released. It’s a ltd Euro edition or something.

            …and yes were’ friends. I respect you and we’re not always going to see eye-to-eye. I’m ok with that.

          • W.

            Fair enough. I respect your opinion on the matter. By the way, I wasn’t saying Trivium don’t deserve a pass either. In my opinion, when comparing the latter day material of both, I find Machine Head’s current state more convincing. I do, however, like Shogun, as I mention in the PS.

          • Yeah MH’s latest output is definitely heavier than Trivium’s. VF was a bit controversial.

        • Robb Flynnsaid that he did it for the CA-CHING $$$? Woah!…

    • I will always be there with you defending trivium JAG. however I also love post ashes of empires machine head.

    • MoshOff

      I agree about MH selling out, but it seems to me like they did it naturally, if that makes any sense. The Burning Red was kind of a natural progression after The More Things Change. People tend to love the latter and hate the former, but tell me “Take My Scars” isn’t just BEGGING for saggy pants and wiggerish hand gestures.

      I think the direction they were going in just sort of naturally coincided with what was popular, so they embraced it full on and tried to make money off of it. I think they half sold out, is what I mean.

  • Can I bring up Abigail Williams? A band I’m very fond of (I even own an offensive hoodie, which speaks to my cred, bro). Their latest album wasn’t so much a genre hop as a genre . . . side step? two-step? Either way, they went from mediocre to something I make sex to. People hate them for it but they won, in my opinion. People generally get butthurt when people succeed. I think that’s what a lot of it boils down to.

    • W.

      Actually, Masterlord and I talked about them and how they don’t deserve all the bashing they get.

      • Every +1 I can muster to that. There are others, like Pig Destroyer’s newest/older Mass & Volume, which mark a temporary/semi-permanent paradigm shift. Everyone wants to kill Scott Hull but if he put out a grind album and a doom/drone album every year I would only continue to think highly of him.

      • crazytaco_12

        See, this, I don’t get. I didn’t even know Abigail was hated, but I fucking loved “In the Absence of Light” and anyone who hasn’t heard it yet wants to condemn it is fucking missing out; that album is a fucking beast.

      • Lacertilian

        I haven’t heard much from them.
        I disliked the band name immediately and as soon as I read something negative, I hit ignore.
        2 strikes and they’re out type deal.

        • Jöhnny Crünch™

          Good to see I’m not the only one

    • Pagliacci is Kvlt

      I like the cut of your jib, Blackbeard!

    • Simon Phoenix


      Becoming was a fantastic record. But because it came out in the midst of the whole Cascadian black metal period where seemingly every USBM band wanted to sound like Weakling/WIITR, people called them trend hoppers. It was a pretty unfair accusation.

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    I sometimes talk about acts genre hopping but I don’t really see it as a negative term, just a descriptive one. I might say that someone has sold out, if they seem to have changed to a blatantly commercial direction while losing their earlier fire/songwriting prowess, but when I think of genre hopping I think of awesomeness like Soulside Journey to A Blaze in the Northern Sky.

  • Gurp

    I happen to love at least one “sell out” album.


    • crazytaco_12

      This album’s badass, I don’t see it as a sellout

      • Same. I remember this as one of my transition albums as a youth.

      • Gurp

        Ain’t it? Its one of the best groove metal albums ever.

  • Xan

    Personally, I love when I band mixes genres. For example, I really enjoy the black/death subgenre because I like vocals, drumming, and intense tremolo picking of black metal but I hate it’s think production. Death metal is typically pretty hard hitting and intense (if you don’t listen to bitch bands). I find bands that combine the two to be some of my favorite bands. Belphegor would be an example of a band I really love that crosses over. As far as genre hopping, as long as what the band releases doesn’t sound like another band released, I’m usually fine. I’ve seen a crap ton of people bitch about Dark Tranquility for having clean vocals and being less heavy than they were in previous years. I absolutely adored their latest album. It was a piece of art. Some people want more of the same, some people want change. Some people don’t give a fuck. There are some bands that don’t need to change. For one, I think Amon Amarth sounds excellent in their current state. Because I’m a kvnting lifelover, their most recent album was my number one album last year (though I’ve since discovered a couple that could dethrone it but I only found them this year). I think if a band finds that they are making good music, they should stick along that path. For a band that need to progress and add new elements to avoid becoming stale, they should follow that path.

    • Xan

      Even in my joke band that my friend and I record all the time, there are genre shifts. Most of what we do is power metal but we have tons of harsh vocals. We’ve done rap songs, country songs, jazz songs, and we even did an EDM song (The song was called Midnight Confession and involved confessing to a priest that we had throbbing erections). We do whatever we think will fit the lyrical content.

    • W.

      1. I’ve got no beef with Dark Tranquility. 2. I love Amon Amarth.

  • Simon Phoenix

    You hit the nail on the head about JFAC, Dubya. They literally made one deathcore album and people deemed them the Antichrist, when they’ve been releasing solid modern death metal for nearly a decade now. Hell, even the Doom EP material sounds great when played by the current lineup. I back Job till I die, and I give no fucks about how much of a “poser” that makes me.

    As for Machine Head, the only real problem they have is having a pretentious douchenugget with rockstar ambitions for a frontman. But you could say that about 90% of bands. Musically, 2 bad albums out of 8 isn’t a bad record at all.

  • J.R.

    That JFAC “DOOM” EP was the first death/grind/core/whatever album I had ever owned. I was in……8th grade? I felt trvly brootal.

  • As someone who adores Mastodon and hates Machine Head: This has more or less been covered by W. already (if I ever went out of the house on election day I’d probably vote for you) but a line must be drawn between “genre hopping” and “trend hopping”. Remission and Crack the Skye are vastly different albums, but they’re clearly both Mastodon. They are both original. Their mojo is there. Bands like Mastodon are way more transcendental than the time period their music was released in.

    Now, let me vent off about nu metal. Nu metal is a completely manufactured thing. Unlike grunge, where the man came, nabbed something awesome and took a giant shit on it (recommended viewing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OepCNeWmlLQ), nu metal came not from feeling but from the need to have a “next big thing”. It’s the kind of “metal” that holds hands with the zeitgeist for profit. Bred from payola and sponsored to the marrow. It’s as much about music as it is about selling adidas tracksuits, hair gel, chains, hot topic pants, etc. and a certain lifestyle to dumbasses. If someone’s life got changed by “Chocolate starfish” that person is an idiot. What’s Rob Flynn’s excuse to go around on a red jumpsuit and pigtails? That’s what a tool looks like. You could say whatever about “artistic decisions” mumbojumbo, but unless you’re into theatrics, there’s no point for a artist to dress or behave a certain way. It’s not only that the music was derivative of what was going on the charts, but that they made a product instead of an artform. It’s kitschy and there’s no way someone is attracted to it from his or her own niche for creative reasons.

    I guess I hate it because the angsty teenager inside of me can’t take that mockery of his spiritual release, but I think I’m being objective when I say there’s no reason to call trendhoppers real musicians.

    • W.

      I think you and @jayalanbadfail:disqus make a valid point regarding Machine Head’s nu metal days. That definitely does seem like a cash grab. After thinking on it, I think what bothers me now is that people can’t forgive them for it after they went back to their thrash/groove roots and have released three consistently heavy albums.

      • well I find it too suspicious that they changed when being all dark and gritty was becoming popular. Locust sounds exactly like what the revolver golden gods craving demographic loves to dry hump

  • Further Down the Metal Hole

    I’ve always tried to be tolerant of and at least try to understand “artistic intentions”. Maybe that’s because I’ve been a nu metal listening poser from day one (it got me into heavy stuff and I still enjoy it, albeit less than I used to), but I can usually get behind a dabble in a different genre. What helps is there still being at least some shred of the original artist that you can totally recognise.

    For exactly those reasons I like every Trivium album. The sound changes, but it’s still Trivium at the core and it’s still metal. Yes, even Vengeance Falls.

    • W.

      I was intentionally trying to stir the pot with my Trivium comment, but if you read closely, I don’t knock them for their genre changes.

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    genre hop–away from communist u.n./internet shills—

    they are not “smart”—–more like human trash

    fuk those motherfuckers!!!

    rise of the people of the world
    clinton vid 100% vol–
    booing at 25% vol
    phil collins at 50% vol—
    all at once

    bill clinton lies to world and begins 911 kabbalah ritual for u.n. ww3
    12 hours of crowd booing
    phil collins – against all odds

  • Max

    Man…that’s the first time I’ve ever watched/listened to the nu-metal incarnation of Machine Head….

    That is Cold Lake-level miscalculation, easily. I’m genuinely astonished people don’t talk about this when discussing Machine Head as often as they bring up the subject of Cold Lake when Celtic Frost is mentioned.

    Wasn’t there ANYBODY at their record company or in their management who, at any stage, said something like “Uh, Rob…when we said you should “stay relevant”, all we meant was that you should write a few songs like “Stain of Mind” on Slayer’s Diabolus in Musica album! We weren’t implying you had to go the whole distance…”

    • W.

      Thankfully, I’ve completely ignored those albums. I’m aware of them, but I’ve never actually listened to them.

  • PrincePoopyPanties

    Russian folk-polka metal in Swedish. NYAH and neener neener!!!!!


  • JamesGrimm

    The art trumps the artist making the art and the consumer.

  • The Anus That Ate Detroit

    Haven’t quite figured out what specific genre(s) to put these guys in, but here ya go:


  • str8jacketx

    I don’t decry anyone for ‘genre hopping’ but I also will not keep listening to/being interested in bands that lose their edge, typically the thing I liked about them in the beginning.. The good news is, there are so many new bands coming out in the metal sub-genres that you wont have to wait long until you find a band that gets your head nodding again.