Sure, there's a lot of music out there today that's bringing loud, distorted guitars and harsh, screaming vocals to the table in a straight continuum.
But is it metal?
Let's rewind. (because that's what we do in this blog) 70's and 80's. Then, there was metal. Whispers in the parliament's office about bands like Black Sabbath and Twisted Sister, a public disease, suicidal lyrics that manipulated our poor teenagers, video violence and danger, censorship.
Metal was dangerous. It was provoking. It was a seagull's crap in Tony Blair's eyes.
Is that today's climate? Sure as hell, it isn't. The harder metal gets, purely musically speaking, the more it seems to diminish into corners of the earth that it's unlikely to provoke anyone.
When japanese children's programs contains screamo vocals a lá Silverstein, something's wrong.
Today, we simply are harder than ever to provoke. As someone said, how the hell are we supposed to provoke the youths when their 4chan virginity is lost by the age of 9?
Stockholm's 'friers' (rich people living a rich lifestyle, golfing, pretty ladies and.. yeah, 'brats' essentially) is playing thrash metal on Sundays, pig-squeals goes hand in hand with those goddarn fringes and even bands like early The Faceless makes us giggle.
We're hardened, simply. There is moments on Vildhjarta's 'Måsstaden' that is some of the most provoking tunes I've heard in a long time. Dissonant, jarring noises that provides the mental image of Dan Bergström tilting scyscrapers over Good Taste, while thalling God in the nuts. It's music that should've made them banished in several countries - instead it makes Indian boys buy their first Line6 pedal.
So we can ask ourselves - what IS provoking, today? I'm surpressing a yielding sigh at the thought of starting something like a racist deathcore band or singing about feminism just to get behind bars.
Because that's missing the point. Although metal was long considered the modern plague for youths, most of it's more vile perpetrators went free. And that's because metal is no, was not, and will (perhaps) never be dangerous. It's a completely harmless style of music with a thornful surface.
And the growing acceptance for metal today is simply a product of population realizing this. And what we await in the future, in the next extreme musical genre, is nothing but the same kind of awakening.