If you missed part I of the article, you can find it here!
Before we get to the charts, let me remind you that this chart is about how successful a band is on social media and streaming sites. In short, the more engagement, plays, and views a certain band has on different channels, the higher it ranks.
The English band Electric Wizard took the top spot in the Doom/Sludge category. Compared to bands in certain other subgenres, their numbers on social media and streaming services are much lower, but they’re large enough to put them at the top of our Doom chart. Electric Wizard definitely have cult status among their fans, and their shows are quite often sold out. The band could probably be one of the big ones in Metal, but as they've admitted themselves, drugs and alcohol have been holding them back. The band was probably best described by singer Jus Oborn, who said that they’re the greatest band you’ve never heard of. He also said that they always hoped they’ll be arrested (and become famous) for having Satanic sex orgies. “We’re always having them but no one cares!” he stated for The Guardian.
We could've put Spanish band Mägo de Oz into the Symphonic Metal section, but Celtic-Folk elements are predominant in their music, so they ended up as #1 in the Folk department – mostly because they have a huge following in the Latin market. The band from Madrid has been around since 1988, though first under the name Transilvania. They changed the name to Mägo de Oz by 1994, which still makes them one of the oldest bands on this list. However, I would also like to mention a runner-up. In the last few years, the Mongolian Folk Metal band The HU has become very popular. The band was formed quite recently (2016) and is taking the Metal world by storm. They use traditional Mongolian instruments and so-called "throat singing", which is definitely something new on the Metal scene.
There are bands who use quite a strange array of “Metal singers”. We’ve heard dogs (Caninus) and parrots (Hatebeak) “sing”, the band Stalaggh/Gulaggh got access to an asylum and used actual mental patients as vocalists, and we’ve even heard aliens, if you believe that the band Zolar X actually came from beyond the Moon - just google it 👽.
Italians Lacuna Coil take first place in the Gothic section. They were formed in 1994 and their biggest success was the album “Dark Adrenaline”, released in 2012, which peaked at number 15 on the Billboard 200 chart. Lacuna Coil does have quite a large fan base on Spotify, with almost 700k monthly listeners, which got them to the first position in the genre.
Polish Black-Death Metal band Behemoth is among the most popular Metal bands right now. Formed back in 1991, they switched from Black to Death years ago, but returned to their blackish roots with the album “The Satanist” in 2014. Behemoth got over 1M monthly listeners on their YouTube channel in the last year, which is a mind-boggling number for a Black Metal band. In 2007, they got a lot of media attention when founding member Nergal was prosecuted for blasphemy in Poland. The singer tore a Bible on stage and someone filmed the whole thing and put it on the internet. Nergal was accused of offending religious feelings and had to appeal to the European Commission to stay out of prison.
5FDP were formed in 2005, and they’ve been mixing Groove, Heavy and Thrash since their beginnings. Their debut album “The Way of the Fist” was released in 2007 and almost immediately sold 500k copies. At that time, they were on tour with Korn, which was of course great promotion for them and their album. The band did have quite a tumultous 2016, when vocalist Ivan Moody announced that he was leaving the band, but he soon retracted the statement. Still, soon after, during a concert in the Netherlands, Moody didn’t come onstage for the first song, which was sung by Tommy Vext (Bad Wolves). Moody then left the stage in the middle of the second song. The whole concert was a disaster and all of the members left the stage at one point. Jason Hook (lead guitar) even threw his axe down in anger. To put the cherry on top, Moody stated that this was his last show in the band. Apparently, the problem was that good old Rock n’ roll demon – alcohol. After that particular show, Moody checked himself into rehab, while Vext helped the band out through the rest of the tour. At the time, 5FDP's record label Prospect Park had also filed a lawsuit against the band for breach of contract, which also added to the tension within the band.
Formed in 2004, BMTH started as a Metalcore band, but have since ventured into softer waters. They're still considered a big thing in the Metalcore scene, but have had quite a rocky career so far. They were often accused of being more concerned with fashion than music, but the biggest hit they took was when a fan accused singer Oliver Sykes of urinating on her. The charges were dropped due to lack of evidence. For some reason, there are a lot of incidents involving the band members, who are sometimes even attacked on stage. Sykes, for example, was pepper sprayed by a member of the audience during a show in Salt Lake City.
An iconic band, Dream Theater was formed in 1985 under the name Majesty, but changed the name due to legal dispute in 1986. The biggest shock their fans got was when drummer Mike Portnoy left the band in 2010. He was replaced by Mike Mangini. Portnoy is still considered as one of the best Metal drummers of all time, and a lot of fans were devastated when he left. His admirers were particularly angry when he later said that he never wanted to leave the band, he just wanted to take a break for a while (five years at first, then cut down to one), but the other members wouldn’t have it. Portnoy later said that he would rejoin the band in a heartbeat.
It’s also good to see Opeth on the chart. They did a huge turn from progressive death to pure progressive with clean vocals, which caused quite an uproar from fans, but they're still going strong, and since they’re among the top 5, they must have quite a few fans left.
Metal is an isolated island of sorts, mostly rejecting any cooperation with other genres. Fans of Metal can be demanding, possessive, even offensive at times, but are also known to be extremely loyal, and they faithfully buy albums and other merch from their favorite bands, even if they downloaded a copy illegally first. Though might not be as popular as some of the other genres, Metal is doing better than well. With numerous festivals dedicated to the genre (a lot of which are sold out), it’s probably doing better now than ever before. Genres that used to be underground, such as Black and Death, are now almost mainstream, which not all fans like, but it sure helps a band pay the bills. But more importantly, it helps them focus on their music, which is hard if you have to work eight hours or more and then try to practice, tour and write new songs.
Cover photo: Mike Mangini. Source: official page