The online metal community is not a very forgiving one. A band changes directions, and with the release of the first single “fans” start bashing how terrible the band has become. And by bashing I mean spitting as much hate as possible, with as many vulgarities as they can not-so-creatively come up with.
So, let’s say for argument’s sake, that Gorezombiephobiatopsy puts out your favorite album ever, Deader Than Dead Times A Million Deads. This is your favorite brutal post blackened atmospheric deathgaze metal album of all time. Later, said favorite band puts out a new album, with a new progressive vibe. Inevitably you will compare it to the old one, RIGHT? And if the old album is really your favorite, then the new album, no matter how good, may NEVER live up to that original one! This is what I call the “Curse of the Great.”
Hence, I raise the question – is it possible to listen to a new album by a band that has a classic album and NOT be influenced by the band’s previous work?
For my first example, I submit Carnival is Forever (2011) by Decapitated. As I was listening to this album (which I purchased on the day of its release last year) I couldn’t get past how different it sounded than Nihility (2002). I simply could not get it into my head that the lineup had changed (R.I.P. Witold “Vitek” Kieltyka, and a speedy recovery to Covan) and that this album was not meant to sound the same as something from 2002. I thought to myself, “The musicianship is great, but its just not the same.” Which is the same thing I thought about Decapitated’s 2006 release Organic Hallucinosis! Essentially, just because I like Decapitated’s old albums so much, I couldn’t appreciate newer releases as much as they deserved. Which is entirely my own fault, and I am the only one who suffers as a result of it is myself. And I genuinely feel bad about this.
Next is the obvious one: Cryptopsy by Cryptopsy. Its a solid album. Its better than solid – its a good album. A GREAT album even. But, its by the band that released not only one, but TWO of my top 20 death metal albums (None So Vile and Once Was Not). My unforgiving memory is getting in the way of enjoying Cryptopsy to its fullest potential. But my question is, can this be avoided? It seems that every album after an amazing release will be judged by that key work. Inevitably.
However, there are other bands where their previous work does not interfere with the enjoyment of their most recent release. For example, Origin’s Entity, Atheist’s Jupiter (after a 15 year absence!), Dying Fetus’ Reign Supreme… the list goes on. So, why does the Curse of the Great not affect these bands?! Why is it that I can get on the right path and appreciate these new classics for what they are, while not others?
Feel free to help me answer this question in the comments. Or, I am also interested to hear of other metal listeners that have been affected by the Curse of the Great, and, if so, for which bands and albums.