Among music fans/geeks, the news circulated quickly (mostly on Twitter)`that the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences – the folks that run the Grammys – plan to eliminate 30 of its categories , mostly to avoid redundancies among categories. Fair enough, right? Best Hawaiian Zydeco Instrumental Duo will probably only have one nominee every year, correct?
But as a metal fan, I’m both amused/slightly annoyed at the news that the best Hard Rock and Metal performance categories would be combined.With this new change, bands like Velvet Revolver, Buckcherry and Nickelback will be considered as the same genre of bands like Slayer, Iron Maiden, Mastodon and Dragonforce. According to the Grammy’s, attempting to distinguish bands between the two genres was “splitting hairs.” To that I say, sure it’s splitting hairs if you only listen to metal from the 1980’s.
The hard rock/metal category was always rife with controversy from the very first award in 1989, when the Grammy’s infamously snubbed Metallica in favor of Jethro Tull. Actually, it’s fair to say the Grammy’s never understood anything about metal considering they only just awarded Iron Maiden this year. But I have long hoped that the existence of a metal category meant at some point when the old industry vets finally retire, the award could actually mean something for the genre, in a small way, that the best metal releases of the year would MAYBE be nominated, and MAYBE win and MAYBE turn on new fans in the process. Silly thought, I know, but a girl can dream.
Instead, I anticipate a lot of Kings of Leon and Daughtry to take up space in that category in the coming years. In the meantime, there’s definitely room for metal publications/blogs like Decibel or MetalSucks or even *sigh* Revolver to play the role of tastemaker while reflecting the scene more accurately.