Most rock music fans tend to listen with their eyes first. If they don’t like the look of a band, then odds are they’ll leave the judging at that and not even bother listening to the music. These people are stupid. End of. Now of course, there are intelligent music fans who will listen to bands regardless, and then just not listen to them if they don’t like their music. On the other hand, there are people who make it their life’s work to bash a band to the point where you could serve cold shrimp and oysters on them.
Not that I’m saying rock fans are judgemental, but they are. Nickelback aren’t on this list, because lets face it, Nickelback get the exact right amount of flak…all of it .Lets begin shall we:
#10 – Coal Chamber
Most people remember this as Dez Farfara’s weird band before he formed DevilDriver (who are awesome, go listen to them, go listen to them now) and it only takes a look at the video for the band’s lead single “Loco” to understand why. They looked like Tim Burton went to town on Paradise Lost. But once you got past the Nightmare before Christmas meets the Hardy Boyz look, the music was actually pretty badass! Sway ended up becoming a nu-metal anthem, tracks like “Bradley” and “Oddity” harkened to a darker-sounding Korn and “Fiend” can be said to contain traces of early DevilDriver. They even reformed in 2014 to worldwide appraisal, showing that the flak was indeed unnecessary.
#9 – Static X
Frontman Wayne Static looked like the illegitimate child of Shavo Odadjian and a Super Saiyan. Even in the later stages of his career, the big ol’ block of spikey hair and braided beard longer than a catterpillar’s nightcap (yeah…I don’t know where that came from either) remained a seminal part of Static’s image. Once again, this pushed fans away from some seriously awesome music, as tracks like “Push It” and “The Only” ended up becoming commonplace on every metalhead’s iPod. Even later tracks like “Cannibal” and “Destroyer“, despite Static’s severely receding hairline, turned out to be crushingly brutal. A hugely underrated band of the nu-metal scene.
#8 – Marilyn Manson
The last nu-metal group on the list, I promise. Marilyn Manson is a tricky bag of bones. Largely as any grown adult would view him as a combination of Nikki Sixx, Mick Jagger and Adam Ant. He’s just a flamboyant metal musician. Well, earlier and younger audiences didn’t think that way. His The Joker on speed look was a clear barrier between him and certain unexplorative metal circles, and politicians blamed his music for inciting violence in teenagers and the shooting at Columbine (which is like blaming someone’s promiscuity on them listening to Barry White but there you go). Manson ended up churning out quite a few anthemic tunes during this time though including “The Beautiful People“, “The Fight Song” and “This is the New Shit“as well as weird covers of “Tainted Love” and “Sweet Dreams.” I would say his look isn’t a reflection of his music but it is. Brilliantly ecstatic and the source of an awesome statement. He’s still churning out records, so the sentiments of those who lambasted him didn’t last very long.
#7 – Avenged Sevenfold
They may have looked like My Chemical Romance on TRT, but they sounded nothing like that. You wouldn’t have assumed that from the amount of flak that these guys got from the metal community, based largely on the way they dressed. Yes, guitarist Synyster Gates used to wear a terrible fedora. He realised his mistake and stopped doing it. M Shadows still wears sunglasses when it’s dark outside, but his voice has a beautiful growl, so he is forgiven. However, despite their vampire meets biker look, Avenged Sevenfold’s music has been of a consistently high standard.”Unholy Confessions” is still a must for rock fans, ,“Nightmare” was a beast of an album, and “Critical Acclaim” is the most Pantera-esque thing since Pantera. Even their badass recent record, “Hail to the King” was not spared the flak from rock purists, but for optimists like me it was a modern rock classic. In recent years these guys have headlined both Wembley Stadium and Download Festival to widespread acclaim. Who’s laughing now?
#6 – Bring Me the Horizon
These guys invented emovers, and were the reason that most 15/16 year olds in the UK around 2008/2009 were headswishing like the goth kids from South Park. Hell, if you could understand a word or pick out a riff from their earlier albums, I will give you a cookie. However, 2010’s “There Is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret” (next to having the world’s longest album title) saw a departure from the noise of their earlier work, whilst 2013’s “Sempiternal” and 2015’s “That’s The Spririt” reinvented the band’s sound entirely, to produce some heavily charged electronic rock! A very welcome change if you ask me. Oli Sykes’ emover has now become a …mop, but it’s a small price to pay.
#5 – Green Day
If anybody have been rained upon by more “you sold out” chants than Seth Rollins, it’s Green Day. 1994’s “Dookie” and 1997’s “Nimrod” are viewed both critically and commercially as two of the greatest mainstream punk records of all time. Then came “American Idiot” in 2004, and simultaneously cheered up and pissed off the rock world. There are full on articles and blog posts both ripping Green Day to shreads like a lawn-mower tearing through pulled-pork and defending them with a shield bigger than Justin Bieber’s ego. One thing that cannot be denied is that “American Idiot” was a record that redefined both concept records and the rock world (and it spawned a Broadway Musical, always a winner in my book). That and I dare you to listen to “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and not sing along.
#4 – Babymetal
These would have been higher on the list, but our top 3 received even more flak than Babymetal…yep. Basically, as things stand, Babymetal are just the average J-rock/metal band. Heavy guitar riffs with melodic singing over the top. There’s some choreographed dances too but hey *shrugs* that’s all commonplace with Japanese Idol bands. Que the angry butthurt metal fans who are still shouting “METAL UP YER ASS!” and are probably supporting Phil Anselmo’s “white power’ schtick, lambasting Babymetal on the internet. They’ve been called “a gimmick”, “awful” and “metal for hipters.” These metalheads have clearly never watched any anime.
I was actually fortunate enough to see Babymetal live at Sonisphere Festival in 2014, and they were pretty good! They made people happy and they looked happy performing. Until I heard someone shout “You’re not metal! *clap clap, clap clap clap*” prompting me to say, “if you don’t like it, walk away!” Let’s put it this way, if they’re good enough for Jeff Walker and Bill Steer (from a little band called CARCASS!) then they’re good enough for me.
#3 – KISS
One of the first bands to start using stage make-up, KISS truly have stood the test of time and have been going for nearly 3 decades now. But initially, these rock’n’roll legends received mass backlash from audiences due to their now iconic stage makeup. You can imagine, New York in the 70s was hardly the most welcoming place to a band with such elaborate character. It got to the point where they nearly weren’t signed because Neil Bogart didn’t like their look. KISS responded by going “either the makeup stays, or we go!” and well, they’re still here. Nowadays, y0u can’t left or right at a KISS gig without seeing 17 people made up like Gene Simmons. Responsible for rock’n’roll classics “Strutter”, “God of Thunder” and “Rock’N’ Roll All Night”, KISS took the flak that they received and toasted it over their pyrotechnics (probably)
#2 – Mötley Crüe
Say the words “Glam Rock” and Mötley Crüe follow suit. Bursting onto the scene with 1983’s “Shout At the Devil” Mötley Crüe maintained a great balance of playing octane fueled, Van Halen-esque rock whilst dressed in more leather than Rob Halford’s summer wardrobe. Bassisst Nikki Sixx was once quoted as saying “We may look like girls, but I could still kick your ass!” in the band’s early days. I don’t know about you, but I would not want to mess with a whiskey charged Nikki Sixx. Mötley Crüe have since retired following a near 40 year career, laced with more hedonism than most people see in their entire lifetime. “Shout At the Devil”, “Girls, Girls, Girls”, “Kickstart my Heart” and “Doctor Feelgood” have all transcended the band’s initial flak flinging and have become instant classics! Also they dropped the glam thing after while. As Blackie Lawless of WASP proved, nobody can rock that forever (Google it…I dare you).
#1 – Black Veil Brides
If there’s one band that metalheads loved to hate from about 2010 to 2013, it was good ol’ Black Veil Brides. These guys have been called every name in the book, from “gay” to “posers” to “emo transvestite clowns.” Even All That Remains’ frontman (and all around metalhead idiot) Phil Labonte called BVB frontman Andy Biersack a “faggot” in a Facebook post in 2011 (later saying that he backed gay rights 100% and that people would “forget about this in six months”…it’s been 5 years Phil and nobody’s forgotten, well done). These guys are at the top of the list because they’ve endured. They received backlash at Download Festival in 2012 and have received masses of negative outcry from plenty of “metal” fans. But beyond the initial warpainted visual-kei style look (which the band have since abandoned) Black Veil Brides are just another hard rock band, and a pretty good at one at that. 2011’s “Set the World On Fire” gave us anthemic rock songs like “Fallen Angels” and “Rebel Love Song”, whilst follow-up concept record, 2013’s “Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones” provided one of the best rock records of the year, “In The End”, “I Am Bulletproof” and “Shadows Die” being just some of the tracks off of an awesome record. They capitalised nearly a year later by releasing their self-titled opus “Black Veil Brides IV” bringing resilient rockers “Heart of Fire”, “Faithless” and “Drag Me To the Grave” along with it. Clearly, these guys know what they’re doing.
Frontman Andy Biersack actually acknowledged how cannibalistic and self-destructive the metal/rock world is, as most audiences will berate and bottle bands for becoming successful…very counter intuitive. Black Veil Brides are still a relatively young band, but they’ve displayed enough fight to say that they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, and more power to them!