Heavy metal is the idiot-bastard spawn of rock, the eternal embarrassment that will not die. It's music that doesn't care what you think. Like some mythical beast that's part tyrannosaur slow-moving and pea brained and part Hydra multiheaded and malevolent heavy metal just keeps forging on, flattening everything in its path.
Radio, by and large, won't play it, but so what? These bands sell millions of records and fill stadiums. Critics scratch their flaccid quills against the hide of the beast, but even if a... Read More
head should fall, there are ninety more ready to spring up in its place. Punk seemed to offer the kids an alternative in terms of grunge, incompetence and snotty, nosethumbing attitudes. After all, what was punk rock but a revved-up morass of heavy-metal chords? But punk remains a cult taste; what went wrong?
The key to the whole shebang is the Guitar Solo. Punk rock is just too damn smart for its own good, whereas heavy metal, by virtue of its undeniable stupidity, has a built-in survival mechanism that guarantees its astounding regenerative capacity. How else do you explain the ongoing commercial impact of all these groups that possess the exact same idea of what makes a band? The Guitar Solo the stupider, the better. (Though a screeching, ultrasonic lead singer helps, too.) This Is Spinal Tap was homage, not parody.
Heavy metal is boys' music, using the electric guitar as a desperate and obvious symbol of adolescent hormonal hysteria. Heavy metal may not be high (or any sort of) art, but it is heroic, and its heroes assume one of several poses: sexual athletics (AC/DC); the ascendancy to manhood via a pulp-fiction variant on knife-wielding juvenile delinquency (Twisted Sister); insane instrumental "virtuosity" (Yngwie Malmsteen); the good old transcendent rock & roll PAR-TY! ethic (Scorpions, Ratt); or any combination thereof (Mötley Crüe).
AC/DC's lascivious Fly on the Wall utilizes the requisite five-man heavy-metal lineup shrieking guitar, chomp-chomp guitar, thrumping boom guitar, sticks on skins 'n' metal clang, crotch-on-barbed-wire yelping to deliver two solid sides of riff-packed brag along the lines of "This ain't a gun in my pocket/I got the goods in my hand/SEND FOR THE MAN, Yeah" and "SINK THE PINK it's all the fashion." You'd never guess how sexist and politically incorrect all this is if you didn't read the lyric sheet, because you sure can't make out a single word coming out of the dentist's-drill glottis of Brian Johnson (except maybe the song titles, which tend to be repeated like mantras). Angus Young is also in great form, playing the dumbest, most irresistibly repetitive chords in the lexicon.
Moving up the ladder of civility, we find Mötley Crüe waxing philosophic on Theatre of Pain their third and most technically proficient album which owes a lot, if you can believe the press b