They can be heard and read again and again: The complaints that metal is in decline and that our scene lacks young blood. If you go to some concerts of bands that belong more to the classical genres, this point of view is quite understandable. However, this is only one part of the truth. Here are two counter-examples:
In December, Aidan and I visited the Black Metal festival Wintermelodei at the Sputnikhalle in Münster. The place was packed – and the audience consisted primarily of people under 40. In addition, it was noticeable that there were also a lot of women around to see bands like Dödsrit, Ellende and Karg. It was no different last weekend at the first edition of the Atmospheric Arts festival in Mannheim: headliners Cân Bardd and Eïs played in front of an enthusiastic, young and diverse audience. The question of why this was the case will not be answered here – we will ask some of the artists who recently performed in Mannheim and collect their opinions.
What is remarkable, however, is that at both festivals there were many bands on the billing who released their debut album only a few years ago and are often at the peak of their artistic creativity – or on the way to it. It should also not go unmentioned that they often deal with issues or generally embody a world view on and off stage that young people can identify with.
To put it briefly: Those who postulate a gentrification of our scene are trapped too much in their own bubble. They exist, the young people who are enthusiastic about metal – even if they hang out at festivals that many older folks don’t notice. So in conclusion, metal is not in downfall – it still has something to say to young people. And these young people will keep our scene alive. In other words, do yourselves a favour and ignore the doomsayers.
Pic: Ellende live at Wintermelodei 2022 (by Aidan)