Australia’s heavy music community reckons the ARIAs need a hard & heavy lesson in what the terms “hard rock” and “heavy metal” actually mean.
Metalheads let rip on social media after psych/garage outfit King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard bagged the ‘Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal’ gong over their (much) heavier counterparts Parkway Drive, The Amity Affliction, Twelve Foot Ninja and Hellions, two of whom had #1 charting albums over the past year.
The overwhelming sentiment from fans is that King Gizz — despite being a top notch band — are neither “hard” nor “heavy” and as such have no business being considered in the metal category, let alone winning it. And it seems, their fellow nominees agree.
Speaking with Music Feeds, Twelve Foot Ninja guitarist Stevic MacKay was candid about his reaction to last night’s result.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t irritated by the only band who shouldn’t have been in the category actually winning,” he tells us. “If any other band in the category had won, it would have made sense.”
He continues: “King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard had great year but they are not a hard rock/ metal band so it feels like the category was discredited somewhat by the outcome.”
Meanwhile, Parkway Drive’s manager echoed very similar sentiments in his own statement to Music Feeds.
“Unfortunately I don’t have too much to say about the situation other then its odd that a band wins a category in which they aren’t ‘Hard Rock or Heavy Metal’,” Resist Records’ Graham Nixon tells us. “Between the success of both Parkway Drive and The Amity Affliction, it’s surprising one of those didn’t do enough to win that specific category.”
And speaking of Amity, they’re definitely not holding back on their distaste for the Awards result, with bassist Ahren Stringer taking to Twitter to let the ARIAs know exactly how he feels about it all:
He also added a bit of comedy gold for good measure —
The latter post was also retweeted by Hellions’ bassist Chris Moretti.
While Stringer’s Amity bandmate, wailer Joel Birch, also raised two middle fingers squarely in the direction of the ARIAs:
— Joel Birch (@JoelDTD) November 23, 2016
I suppose though, in defense of @ARIA_Official I probably (definitely) would have jut pissed on the award…
— Joel Birch (@JoelDTD) November 23, 2016
Meanwhile, there seems to be a whole bunch of confusion across the board over how artists are actually selected for each ARIA category.
“My question is: who decides whether an application to a category is valid in the first place?” Twelve Foot Ninja’s Stevic asks.
Well, we went and chatted to an ARIA spokesperson to try and figure out how the heck it all gets worked out, and it ended up clearing up some (but definitely not all) of our questions.
“The [record] labels submit who they want to nominate for a particular category,” the ARIA spokesperson explains, referring only to the genre-specific ARIA categories like pop, rock, dance, urban, hip-hop, country, hard rock/heavy metal, etc. “The label can submit their artist in whatever category they feel is fitting for their artist.”
“So King Gizzard could go into pop,” he continues. “But a committee will have to decide that they are a pop artist.”
So basically, a label can put forward any artist for consideration in any ARIA genre category they want to, but a “committee of specialists” will have to unanimously vote that the artist actually fits within that category.
“So that means that the majority of people in that particular category [in this case, hard rock/heavy metal] would have voted for that particular album [King Gizzard’s Nonagon Infinity] to be in that category.”
The spokesperson continues: “So for instance, the label could submit Flume into ‘Best Adult Alternative’, but he’s more than likely not going to be a chance of being a nominee in that category because — obviously — all the people on the panel would say ‘No, that’s a bit ridiculous, why the hell is he in this category?’ That’s how it works.”
However, the spokesperson could not confirm to Music Feeds exactly how many specialists were on the committees for each category — indicating that “some have more, while others have less” with numbers ranging in the ballpark of 30 to around 50 — or else what each individual members’ backgrounds or qualifications were.
Anyhoo, once the submitted artists are deemed eligible for each category, the top-voted submissions then go on to become legitimate nominees, and the winners are chosen by specialist judging schools, “which consist of representatives experienced with that genre of music”, the ARIA’s official website explains.
So look: it’s hard to draw any kind of conclusion from all of this without actually having any information about whom the mysterious individuals who make up these judging schools and specialist committees actually are.
But whoever they may be, it seems like they’re at least a little bit out of touch with the Australian heavy music community, both bands and fans alike.
Music Feeds has contacted King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard for comment.
UPDATE 25/11/16: The Amity Affliction have added more saying, “we hate the ARIAs.”
— Jared (@Jared_proudfoot) November 23, 2016
YO WHO THE FUCK IS KING GIZZARD?! THEY SOUND LIKE A COUNTRY SINGER THAT HAS AIDS.
— LONG LIVE DIEGO 🕊❤️ (@RealYungYogi) November 23, 2016
this isn't legit surely? who tf are they?? lol https://t.co/pu0uCFgK9y
— princess brooke (@_purelypoison) November 23, 2016
— Paul 'Browny' Brown (@brownypaul) November 23, 2016
— Mutley (@brad_mulder) November 23, 2016
Considering Parkway Drive released the best metal album WORLDWIDE last year – the #arias have seriously snubbed them
— KJ Draven (@KjDraven) November 23, 2016
— Mark Houston (@Mark1Houston) November 23, 2016
— Sam (@yma6rocks) November 23, 2016
Why isn't there a metal award it's the genre that Australia is best at TBH, parkway drive, TAA, Northlane etc #ARIAS
— Brandy (@Drizzy_Baked) November 23, 2016
— Max (@ByTheGrave) November 23, 2016
parkway should have won internationally killing it absolute banger
— Tudgey (@Tudgey4) November 23, 2016
As much as I was barracking for @TwelveFootNinja to win that award for Outlier, I'm surprised that Parkway and Amity who had #1's didn't win
— Higgo (@Higgo74) November 23, 2016
what a joke?
— Leigh Nairn (@nairnzy) November 23, 2016