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Staff Picks: Modern Metal—Rock or Rank?

The state of modern metal, as discussed in recent (unofficial) PG social media polls, seems to be a point of contention among guitarists. Gus G. joins us in considering modern metal.

Heavy on the Mind

The state of modern metal, as discussed in recent (unofficial) PG social media polls, seems to be a point of contention among guitarists. It wouldn’t be metal if it wasn’t angsty, right? Gus G. joins us in considering modern metal.

Gus G. -- Guest Picker Firewind, Ozzy Osbourne

What are you listening to?
Robert Cray, Joe Bonamassa, Gary Moore. I also dig a lot of American modern rock right now, like Alter Bridge, Five Finger Death Punch, Devour the Day, Halestorm, etc. What is your take on modern metal music?
The metalcore scene has a few leading bands, and the rest sound the same to me. I haven’t listened to extreme metal for a while, so I haven't kept up with newer death and thrash bands. But I love metal. That’s the music I’ve dedicated my life to, and there’s a lot of great metal out there.

Randall Weinsten -- Reader of the MonthWhat are you listening to?
Animals as Leaders’ The Joy of Motion (jaw-dropping proggy amazingness), Exmortus’ Slave to the Sword (headbanging and big, dumb smile ensue), Black Clouds’ Everything is Not Going to Be OK (post-metal that’s, to quote the two great ones, “most triumphant!”). What is your take on modern metal music?
The music being made now continues to push boundaries. It’s a great time to be a metal fan. Of course, there’s also a lot of crap, but there’s always a lot of crap.

Andy Ellis -- Senior EditorWhat are you listening to?
Ragas on Slide Guitar by Barun Kumar Pal. Timeless, trance-inducing barwork. What is your take on modern metal music?
Though I love drop-tuned guitars, Cookie Monster vocals leave me cold, so that rules out a lot of modern metal. And I abhor drums tracked with a slew of mics, mixed with hyper-clinical precision, and panned wide across the stereo field—today’s metal approach. Instead I dig the grinding murk of stoner rock: Arboretum’s “The White Bird” does it for me.

Tessa Jeffers -- Managing Editor

What are you listening to?
U2’s Achtung Baby and Elbow’s The Take Off and Landing of Everything. The latter led me to Denver songwriter John Grant’s Pale Green Ghosts.

What is your take on modern metal music?
Much has gone down a rabbit hole, severely lacking accessibility and melody, with abstract band names and concepts. Some of my favorite heavys (Tool, Deftones, even Led Zeppelin) don’t fit within today’s disjointed subgenres. I pine for a return to form.

Perry Bean -- Nashville VideographerWhat are you listening to?
Cory Branan, Mutt, and The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, Danza 4: The Alpha–the Omega. Both are mind-blowing. What is your take on modern metal music?
I grew up a metalhead, played in metal bands my whole life, and got pretty burnt out on it— until recently. Modern metal bands are starting to incorporate lots of elements from all kinds of genres into their sound, which I’m all for. Get weird and mosh on!

Chris Kies -- Associate EditorWhat are you listening to? Thanks to Spotify’s suggestion, I’ve been listening to acts previously unbeknownst to me: Colour Haze (psych-rock), desert-rock ruckus from Truckfighters, and the stoner-metal rumblings of Elder. What is your take on modern metal music?
It depends on the listener. It’s not cool to be an old fogey griping about the kids and compare everything to Paranoid or Vulgar. If you listen with an open mind, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how angry the youth is today.
Full Slash Interview
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Photo courtesy of Guitar Point (

Photo courtesy of Guitar Point (

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