Who will ever forget the inaugural year of the Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Grammy when Jethro Tull beat out Metallica. With an uproar from fans and critics alike about Jethro Tull really fitting in the category, the National Academy of Recording Arts & Science, smartly, split the category and separated the two genres giving us Best Hard Rock Performance and Best Metal Performance, never allowing a similar faux pas to happen again. The 2014 nominees for Best Metal Performance look to be an extremely exciting and difficult year, with mix of thrash pioneers, a progressive rock outfit, two relative newcomers in a more metalcore band and a Danish import, and the Godfathers of Heavy Metal themself.
Thrash pioneers Anthrax have had an incredible last couple years, with original lead singer Joey Belladonna coming back in the fold for their first album together in over 20 years Worship Music, one of their most critically acclaimed albums in their 30+ years together as a band. The band released an EP of cover songs called Anthems, and their cover of AC/DC’s 1976 classic “T.N.T.” which has given Anthrax their first nomination since 1995’s “Bring The Noise” with Public Enemy.
Progressive rockers Dream Theater are up for their song “The Enemy Inside”, the first single off of their self-titled 2013 release. Garnered as one of their most ambitious and dynamic albums to date, the album Dream Theater saw its second highest ranking on the Billboard 200 charts, debuting at No. 7. Unlike their last album A Dramatic Turn of Events, which saw guitarist John Petrucci handling drum parts on a drum machine, the acclaimed self-titled album, also saw the integration of touring drummer Mike Mangini, which many have said made a difference.
The metalcore act Killswitch Engage has actually been knocking around for the past 15 years but really caught everyone’s attention with their latest effort Disarm The Descent and their song “In Due Time,” which saw the return of original lead singer Jesse Leach. This is also the band’s first nomination with Leach at the forefront, and second nomination in the category for their song “The End of Heartache,” their 2004 hit that was also featured in the movie Resident Evil: Apocolypse.
The Danish import Volbeat really burst on the scene only a couple years ago, with their heavy fusion of metal and rockabilly and their song “24 Rooms” with King Diamond off of their fifth album Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies is nominated. Following their fourth album Beyond Hell/Above Heaven, Volbeat landed a key slot in America opening up for the “Big Four” concert series, featuring the four bands that pioneered the thrash genre, Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer.
The reason the “Big Four” even started, and quite possibly, every other band in any heavy genre of music, Black Sabbath are up for their song “God Is Dead?,” their first single from their album 13 featuring three of the four original members; Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, and Geezer Butler. The album is their first studio record with Ozzy on vocals since 1978’s Never Say Die. “God Is Dead” is also nominated for Best Rock Song, and 13 is up for Best Rock Album.
Who will win? Black Sabbath is by far the front runner but Grammy can always be unpredictable. The 56th Annual Grammy Awards airs January 26 on CBS at 8pm.
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