It’s been a week full of outspoken frankness. There was ex-frontman with Swedish thrashers The Haunted, Peter Dolving, setting multiple cats among pigeons in a gigantic j’accuse on Facebook, beginning with the announcement that “I am not actively pursuing a career in music anymore” and continuing with a lengthy explanation, maligning the business practices of specific record labels: “People who work in music just don´t get marketing,” he declares. ”‘The music business’ – one that could really be an amazing thing, with potential for true positive influence in society, is a mess. It should be a based in basic cultural contextual facts that make it beautiful. But instead I found disgust, unwillingness and ignorance. Narcissists, and even psychopaths in far too many positions of power.“
However, Dolving did find praise for some who he identifies as adept marketeers: “I am frequently impressed with friends like Devin Townshend, Randall Blythe and Adam from Killswitch, or… Corey Taylor. People who are here, and now. At least trying to walk the strange paradoxal (sic) razor’s edge of ‘Being public’. It´s part of the job. If you don’t get that, please give that instrument to someone else. Someone who doesn´t have an ego that stands in the way for the audience.” In subsequent responses Dolving was even more candid, describing the new Haunted as “a dork tough guy hockey helmet version of ‘Lifestyle kitsch’” and arguing that “With modern recording, anyone can pretend that they are musicians… Hobbyists have nearly murdered the music business.” It is a fascinating tirade, seemingly the culmination of personal frustrations and resentments stemming from The Haunted’s Bjorler twins reforming At The Gates in 2010; their prioritisation of ATG was cited when Dolving left The Haunted in 2012. “People stood to make more money from At The Gates,” he added. A more marketable commodity, then?
Wherever we find outspoken frankness, there we find Kerry King of Slayer, headliners of the USA’s 2015 Mayhem Festival. After taking aim at the quality of acts on the travelling event’s Victory Records Stage – which he dubbed “that piece of shit record stage” – the guitarist copped flak from Victory artists who leapt to the defence of their label and slammed the indiscreet axeman. “There’s a lot of people, including myself, that have a lot of money invested in this tour,” said Jungle Rot frontman Dave Matrise. “And here’s this guy, and he opens his mouth and sabotages the tour. And then he talks shit about Victory Records. If it wasn’t for Victory getting this stage, this tour would have never even happened.” Joey Simpson of Kissing Candice added: “We’re just trying to make a name – and he’s just slandering it and the Victory Records name.” Now festival co-creator John Reese has released an ‘open letter’ calling for unity: “We are one community. It is vitally important that we all unite, not divide. Without each others’ support the only thing that suffers is metal as a genre… We as a culture have faced ostracism from the mainstream for decades, and we should not let over-sensationalised media hype separate us.“
There’s also a new level of openness about last year’s Megadeth split, but it’s rather more civilised than the week’s other messy bean-spillages. Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover – whose new band Act Of Defiance release their debut this month – have been elaborating on their reasons for fleeing Mustaine’s thrash warhorse. “I wanted to have some creative freedom,” guitarist Broderick reveals. “I was dwelling on my lack of musical creativity in the band. Dave was getting ready to go in and do another CD, and my heart just wasn’t in it. I knew I wasn’t going to have any artistic say in the definition of the album and the music.” Meanwhile, drummer Drover insists the break was wholly positive: “Everybody’s looking for the negative story, but there isn’t one,” he insists. “I was in the band for over 10 years – longer than anybody besides the two Daves. I have nothing but good things to say about the whole experience. We had a really massive break coming up, about a year. I thought to myself that if I was ever going to branch off and have my own thing, it would be a really good time to do it.” So that’s nice.