Can a Band Truly Redeem Itself?
All too often we see a band start off their career with a poor release that permanently tarnishes the way they are viewed and even if their subsequent efforts are strong they never get the respect of a significant portion of the metal community. It is not unusual either to see a band ruin their once positive reputation with a serious of bad decisions or records. This leaves us with the question, can a band managed to salvage the majority opinion if them once a blow to their image has been inflicted? Here we'll go over a few bands that have encountered these difficulties and make a final judgement as to whether such redemption can be achieved or is it a lost cause once you're painted with a particular brush.
The first band we'll examine is Korn, who at one time were the kings of modern metal with their inventive nu-metal style. In the mid to late 90's Korn could do no wrong, they were viewed as the epitome as cool and perhaps other than Metallica and Limp Bizkit, they were the most mainstream a metal band has ever become. However, after the departure of lead guitarist Brian Welch in 2003, the band hit a steep decline and rapidly become the butt of jokes across the metal scene. At this point both the bands critical perception and concert attendance severely dwindled. Much to the credit of Korn, they never relented and continued to release record after record trying to innovate and regain their lost prestige. Many bands would have given up and surrendered with their damaged legacy in hand, but instead Korn once again linked with Brian Welch and began to slowly rebuild themselves back to legend status. Now three records into Welch's return, Korn is back to headlining arena's and has re-found the respect of a large portion of the heavy music audience proving that with hard work it is possible to reclaim former glory.
Another once beloved band that encountered a sharp turn in opinion is deathcore icons, Suicide Silence. After three records of being the end all be all of the bustling deathcore scene, sadly the bands star frontman, Mitch Lucker passed away in 2012. The band then recruited former All Shall Perish vocalist Eddie Hermida, and proceeded to record and release their first post-Mitch album, "You Can't Stop Me", which charted highly but overall was very average. The critical blow came with the bands second Hermida lead album, the self-titled "Suicide Silence", which featured a huge departure in the groups style and some of the weakest songs of their career. Following this album the band become very confrontational towards the negative reaction and fan support quickly began to die off until the band became a shell of their former self. Sadly it looks like the band will never be able to recover from the damage they have taken. While we will always love the bands first three legendary records, it may be time for Suicide Silence to come to an end.
The final band in our discussion is England's, Ocean Ate Alaska. The band first came onto metalcore fans radar eight years ago with their single and music video for the song "Clocks". This music video was the epitome of everything people hated about scene metalcore swoopy hair, squatting and all. The band was immediately mocked and painted with a negative brush. The label of trendy scene metalcore might very well be the hardest to escape from. Somehow Oceans Ate Alaska was able to return three years later with a drastically different sound and completely and utterly erase the mage that had formerly been thrust upon them. The band was now extremely technical and crushingly heavy, almost as if Rings of Saturn had clean singing. The group followed up with their second record, "Hikari" in 2017 and cemented a reputation as one of the most skilled core bands of their era, making for one of the most remarkable turn around in metal history.
In conclusion, it has been proven on several occasions that a band can in fact rescue a seemingly permanently damaged reputation, however it is just as easy to tarnish a once positive public opinion. It is undoubtedly a difficult balancing act to try to stay fresh and interesting but not drifting too far away and losing a majority of your fanbase. It is always very upsetting to see a once fantastic act fall from grace and sputter into a shell of what they once were. It is equally thrilling however to see a band rise up and make a tremendous committed effort to change for the good and gain the respect of a mass audience. After reviewing all the contenders for this discussion, it is fair to say more often than not a band can not change the perception that has been cast on them and it is usually sadly unshakable. There will always be a select few that can manufacture a solution and resurrect themselves. That leaves us with our answer, yes a band can truly redeem itself, but is is supremely challenging to do so.