Carrying the torch

He doesn’t *look* like Bruce… (Photo credit: Iain Purdie)

Just a quick editorial post rather than the usual news and so on, and one I’d be interested in hearing people’s opinions on so please share this around.

I’ve come across a few bands recently who bear quite a similarity to others, but not in a bad way. The ones that spring to mind are Airbourne and Dendera. The latter are the main reason I’m writing this.

Having watched Dendera live the other day, I bought their album after the show. It’s brilliant, and I had it on in the car over the weekend. A friend happened to get into the passenger seat and within moments asked “Is that Bruce Dickinson singing?”

And that’s what I thought the first time I heard them. Ashley Edison has that classic “air raid siren” voice for which Bruce is famous and he uses it very effectively. The band do sound a bit like Maiden (either around the Powerslave era or perhaps nearer Dance of Death – a mix of the two, really), but I really don’t think this is a bad thing as the songs themselves are still original – and, after all, can you have too much of a good thing?

Similarly, there’s no denying the similarity in sound between AC/DC and Airbourne. I’m not for a moment saying that the new band on the block is ripping off a classic act. They sing similar songs about drinking, sex and use dodgy puns (although not as badly as The Darkness!). They’re similarly mad on stage. They’re Australian (which AC/DC kind of are, partially). But, again, is this a bad thing?

Eventually, these rock stalwarts will retire and – sadly, we’re seeing more of this as time goes on – die. Their music will live on, but is there anything wrong in taking that style and writing new songs in a similar vein?

In my opinion, no – not when they’re as good as the two bands I’ve mentioned (and I’m sure there are more). There are only so many new sounds out there, and ways of merging older ones.

Why mess with something that works well enough?

What does everyone else thing? Are these bands lazy or ripping classic acts off? Are they paying homage? Or are they keeping a great sound alive, well and on stage in front of new and old audiences?

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