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by Michel Renaud

evolution n.gradual development, esp. from a simple to a more complex form. - The Concise Oxford Dictionary, 1990 edition.

Alright, this has been bugging me for a while and I need to get it off my chest. The abuse and misuse of the word "evolution" in the metal press. It is not uncommon to run into reviews of editorialised interviews where the writer goes into some form of grammatical masturbation, or verbal diarrhea - call it what you will, it seems to be becoming a norm where writers are more concerned about trying to sound like they're the nec plus ultra of the writing guild, blabbering tons of rarely used words or sentence constructions just so they can sound intelligent - in the end they pretty much just sound pretentious and the result is almost always the same: That was done to the detriment of the subject at hand, and the reader has just wasted time reading nonsense than actually learning anything while reading the offending review, interview or article. I'm an educated man, but if I pick up a metal magazine (webzine, whatever), I don't expect -and more importantly don't want- to read Shakespeare - I know where to find that, and I sure as hell know that the style isn't appropriate for metal coverage, just to name that. Now, I could go on for ages on this particular calamity, but I'm not sure my keyboard would survive, so I'll just focus on that often-misused word, "evolution".

How often have I run into a review or interview where the writer blabbers as to how the band has "evolved" - I should say supposedly evolved since most of the time, the word is used to describe a total change of musical direction that is not necessarily an evolution if you compare it to their previous direction. Of course, depending on the band and one's particular taste, it is tempting to talk about "evolution": You may happen to like the new direction better than the old. That doesn't mean it's an evolution, but simply a change of direction. Coming back to the definition I quoted earlier, evolution is about development, and especially toward a more complex form. Don't get me wrong, it is sometimes appropriate to say that a band has evolved, but not nearly as often as some would want you to believe. Very often, the word is used to describe a band that has moved from a relatively non-commercial form of metal to a more commercial form, when it's not completely away from metal. Everytime I see a reviewer praising a band from its so-called evolution that is in fact a change of musical direction that goes away from metal, I can't help but think of the infamous "When are you going to grow out of metal" bullshit that so many of us have to endure on a somewhat regular basis. That's not evolution... Not in my dictionary anyway. In fact, such changes should require a change of the band's name. In some cases, that's what they did: The Covenant changed into The Kovenant (from good metal to crap, and I still see people calling that "evolution" - shesh...), in other cases, they didn't: Case in point: Metallica. When I see someone referring to Load/ReLoad as an evolution from the band's earlier work, I feel like throwing up. That was a change from very good metal to a pretty bland brand of hard rock. You call that evolution? AH!

Of course all my whining here won't change a thing: Verbal wankers will continue to output useless sentences with no content, and will continue to describe crap as an "evolution" but hey, I spoke my mind. ;) Word of advice: Next time you see "evolution" mentioned in a metal publication, be afraid... Be very afraid...

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