Nothing sucks more than waiting for your favorite band to release a new album. I did it with Rush since Snakes And Arrows came out back in 2007, I’m STILL waiting for Necrophagist to get their stuff together, and I can’t even bear the though of waiting since the first Wintersun album came out back in 2004 (though I discovered them back in 2010). Everyone seems to freak out when a band takes more than the standard 2 years to record and release an album, which is leading to bands putting out EPs in between to hold fans over, which I think is great, but just kind of lame. I don’t want to hear three songs on an EP 15 minutes long; I’d rather wait 3 years and include those songs on their new album, but with the trend quickly growing, and with people getting even more upset about bands going “downhill,” I am here to defend the bands.
The natural cycle for a musician is as such: write, record, tour, write record tour, etc. You get the picture. Mike Portnoy had to leave Dream Theater because they didn’t want to take a break. Some bands just like to keep their name out there, remaining relevant at all times. Others write such great albums that staying relevant isn’t an issue. Case in point, Necrophagist. They did two albums and are still referenced on every one of those damn metal blogs as one of the best tech death bands ever. But I still want more, and while their albums are fantastic, two just isn’t enough. If the band has the ability to record, then I don’t see why they shouldn’t do so. In the end, it all comes down to whether or not the members can all get up and actually do it.
Then you have cases like At The Gates. After the release of their opus, they disbanded, knowing that they could never make an album that people would think surpassed Slaughter Of The Soul, and also because they were completely fine with resting on their past. Some bands have made a career out of their past, while others want to continue. At The Gates still sell tickets to their shows despite not having a record out in 17 years. Hell, I’d still go see them if they ever came to Florida; they are way too good to pass up. Gorguts recently did the Death To All tour, and their last album came out in 2001, and while they disbanded due to the untimely suicide of Steve MacDonald, they continue to play all of the crowd favorites from their old stuff, and are now getting ready to release their new album.
In the case of Winds Of Plague, however, releasing an album too soon can be atrocious. After “The Great Stone War”, many of their fans were unhappy of the more symphonic and progressive leaning of the band, and wanted them to go back to their first record, which was total crap brocore music. But, the band, feeling pressured by overwhelming outcry from their fans, gave in and released an album their fans liked, but the rest of us all kind of went “Whaaaat?” When you have an album that takes a shift in your bands style, you have to prepare for a difference of opinion. It happen to the best of bands who want to try something new, and yes, you will lose fans. But hopefully you can do a well enough job that you also gain new ones fro a different area and are free to explore even more with your musical ideas.
The final case comes with bands like The Faceless. Their last album came out in 2008, and ever since then, all they have done is tour. Michael and Lyle Cooper are the only two remaining members from that release. They were shuffling guitarists and bassists around for a while, and even got a new vocalist in 2011. It’s hard to record an album as technical as something by The Faceless while not maintaining a steady lineup, so they relied on touring until things felt right. Sometimes, the label a band is on is having issues and goes under, causing further delay. Sometimes record companies won’t even release something because it’s not up to their standards. [Ed: Hell, sometimes they just shelf it without explanation. Fucking Danza IV – JR]. Family conflicts, personal lives, busy schedules, producing for other bands, doing guest spots, appearances, etc. are all factors here, and sometimes, it results in a longer wait for an album.
I think it is time we all cut our favorite bands a little bit of slack. Yes, it is their job to put out albums, but people must realize that sometimes it is more difficult than it seems. It’s like rushing something that simply can’t be rushed without it affecting the value. Nobody tells an artist to paint faster; it disrupts the ability of said artist to produce at their potential. And while there are many bands who can put out albums and still be rushed, they are never memorable in any sense other than “Oh yeah, it came out a year ago.” If you want the best out of your bands, let them work. Let them take their sweet time and put out an album they think is worth putting out. Give them the ability to not feel any pressure and record the best thing they can make, because I promise it will be better for both parties in the end.