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Detroit Free Press, 8/10/90

The latest metal band trend is really heavy
By Gary Graff

   Though parents and religious fundamentalists might argue otherwise, heavy 
metal lost a bit of its mettle during the  80s. With bands like Poison, 
Motley Crue, Whitesnake, Bon Jovi, Warrant and Winger laboring under its 
umbrella, metal became a home for mousse-modeling groups that played 
whomped-up, hit-oriented pop songs.
   Perhaps it's time to change the categories. Call those groups metal 
lite; the full-calorie brand of heavy metal is on the rebound, and it may 
be bigger than ever.
   "This is the new wave of the (Black) Sabbaths and (Led) Zeppelins," says 
Columbia Records talent scout Nick Terzo, invoking the names of metal giants 
of the 70s. He's talking about groups like Soundgarden, Faith No More, 
Danzig, Prong, Warrior Soul and Alice in Chains - bands of differing 
approaches but whose power and intensity pulverizes their more commercially
successful counterparts.
   Their sounds are gritty, aggressive and dark, mixing heavy metal and 
punk conventions with lyrics that embrace politics, religion and metaphysics. 
While the Poisons and Def Leppards of the world dress up their conventional p
op songs with distorted guitars, volume and visual pizzazz, these other 
bands - described within the music industry by words like fringe, underground 
and alternative - offer little to strip away.
   "These guys are no-frills, kick-a** rock n'roll," says Andy Secher, editor 
of the hard rock magazines Hit Parader and Power Metal, and head of the 
Titanium Records heavy metal label.  "They wear T-shirts and jeans. They wear 
black leather - in the summer, when it's 95 degrees. I don't know if it's 
going to be a major trend, but it's certainly growing."
   Remarkably, that growth has been without much radio play or support from 
MTV and other video outlets. It's been accomplished almost entirely by fan 
support, and when the mass media has picked up on any of the songs - such as 
Metallica's "One" or Faith No More's "Epic" - they've been reacting to sales 
rather than to music itself.
   There are signs that the doors are opening, however. Danzig's just-released 
second album, "Lucifuge," is climbing the Billboard charts. There's heavy 
mainstream media anticipation for the new Anthrax album, "Persistence of 
Time." And Secher says that in his magazines, articles on these groups are 
getting better reader response than stories on more mainstream fare like 
Lita Ford and L.A. Guns.
   "You can't keep it away from the kids," says Glen Danzig who, as member of 
the groups the Misfits and Samhain, was an influence on many of the new metal 
heroes. "The fans for this music are some the most loyal and voracious you 
can imagine. I think they're pulled in by the sense of rebelliousness about 
it. They see we don't knuckle under for anything. We're not going to put on
 makeup or silly rock'n'roll clothes. I think kids respect that."
   Record companies, not surprisingly, understand the sales potential of this 
strain of heavy metal, which is why they're scrambling to sign the next 
Metallica, Faith No More or Soundgarden.  Among the up and comers: Mother 
Love Bone, Dark Angel, Death Angel, Flotsam & Jetsam, Artillery, Watchtower 
and Defiance. And, according to Columbia's Terzo, there should be more
on the way.
   "In a stage like this, which is kind of young, you don't know exactly 
what's going to happen," Terzo says. "But I think there's a little less fear 
involved on the part of the labels."
   Adds Danzig, "I think (the labels) are finally understanding that not 
everybody wants to see Poison or Warrant. That's what keeps me going; there 
should be an alternative out there. I think there's big enough audience out 
there that if someone gets behind one of these albums, they'll just go 
through the roof."

ON STAGE: Danzig, Soundgarden and Corrosion of Conformity will perform at 
7:30 tonight at the Latin Quarter, 3067 E. Grand Blvd. Call 873-3777 anytime.