A friend brought up a very interesting point to me today after he was reminded about Michael Jackson‘s birthday. We know who the ‘King of Pop’ is (Michael Jackson) and we know the ‘King of Rock’ (Elvis)… so why do we not know who… or better, why don’t we have a ‘King of Metal’?
My response initially was that in the metal culture we’re more polytheistic in how we refer to our ‘metal gods’ and there’s this mutual respect for the founding fathers of the genre. He then came back asking of Ozzy would be the actual ‘King of Metal’ with his overarching reach and fame… so again I responded talking about various different artists who are right up there with him and even so, might be better fit if it were just one individual.
Is that accurate? Up there with the King of Pop and the King of Rock, is Ozzy Osbourne the King of Metal? Is he the guy who is essentially the undisputed king of metal? I don’t think so. I think that if I was forced to pick a ‘King of Metal’ they would have to be the person who represents all that is metal, and define a wide array of subgenres which in their primes, each the other kings didn’t really have to claim responsibility for.
So with that in mind could there really be a ‘King of Metal’? Is it possible to hand the crown over to just one person? Am I bold enough to even attempt to dub any one individual the ‘King of Metal’? Hell yeah I am, I started this fucking site so I could spew my retardation all over the internet and let everyone laugh at how stupid I am. So let’s do the math:
By definition, a king is “a person or thing preeminent in its class.” I suppose both Elvis and Michael Jackson did have that in common on some levels and so I will use that also in my analysis. MJ & Elvis also had the singularity of essentially being the whole project. In metal you don’t really see that so we can easily weed out a lot of bands.
I’m also going to go ahead and omit 80’s ‘hair metal’ since it’s really not metal in my opinion (it’s hard rock, deal with it). Everything that is actually heavy is what I will be considering.
So now, Ozzy does make the finalists list because he is Ozzy Osbourne from, ‘Ozzy’, and by that same account we can add Dio and Halford. It would seem odd to not include the biggest bands and the biggest artists from those bands and so Metallica is easily in the running and James Hetfield is the frontman. We can add Slayer and I’ll pull Kerry King out as their representative.
Mikael Åkerfeldt is kind of a wildcard for me but only in the sense that he’s not nearly as popular as some others on the list. I think for the purpose of titling the King of Metal, popularity does matter. I’m also adding Dime because he is essentially the default winner of the title anyway. I’m going to ruffle some feathers but Maynard James Keenan is on my finalists list. Tool is heavy… heavier than a lot of Ozzy‘s shit, so I’m standing by this one.
Let’s add in the legendary bassists Lemmy and Steve Harris. And finally some stragglers who need to be considered, Zakk Wylde, Tony Iommi and Marty Friedman. Let’s see what the list looks like:
Ronnie James Dio
Maynard James Keenan
How fitting that at random, the initial list comes out to 13 in the search for the King of Metal. I think this is a pretty honest list that really stretches outside my personal opinion. Let me know if you think I missed anyone before I narrow this down. I’m going to put some thought into this and see where we land in part two of, “Who Is The King Of Metal?”