Where’s the heavy metal, Freddy?

Metalhead Rob Johnson says the Fredericton metal scene is lacking. (Julia Whalen/AQ)

The pummeling riffs and heart-pounding double bass continue to struggle to keep heavy metal relevant in today’s society. Whether metalheads want to admit it or not, heavy metal is a genre that has been struggling for the last decade – and the City of Fredericton is no exception to the not-so-popular sound.

The city’s metal scene is trying to remain intact. Questions have surfaced about whether the metal scene in the city is getting stronger, or whether it’s suffering the same fate as it has been around the globe.

“I think it’s pretty good here actually and getting stronger,” said She Roars! drummer Kyle Clark via email.

Rob Johnson, however, a life-long metalhead, feels the metal scene in Fredericton is pretty grim.

“I’ve been living in Fredericton for three years now and there really isn’t much going on I would say.”

In a generation popularized by rap and dance music, metal continues to dwell at the bottom of the circle pit, getting knocked down on a regular basis. It clings to survival as it gets resuscitated from its death bed, only to be driven into the darkness below once again.

It’s rare for established bands to come through the city, with most preferring to play in Moncton if they even make it into Atlantic Canada. Big-name bands like Megadeth and Metallica are not expected to come to a small city like Fredericton because, as Clark said, “when a band reaches a certain level they have a management team, which books for them and they will book what the best opportunities are for them… and they focus on certain cities to draw in the biggest crowd from all nearby areas.”

Johnson agrees, saying that Moncton is the hot bed of New Brunswick’s metal scene right now.

Questions of Fredericton’s suitability for metal shows have been debated regularly with many feeling there is no suitable venue.

“It’d be nice to see a greater number of venues available to these types of shows, which of course would require a responsible group of mature people who know the scene to organize, run and manage the shows,” Clark said.

He acknowledges that metal’s loud nature turns people away from offering bands greater exposure in Fredericton. One thing the city is doing to keep the metal scene relevant is hosting events like Metal Monday at the Capital Complex, which has seen an increase in popularity over recent months.

Despite this, the lack of advertising has been a persistent issue.

“They could do a hell of a lot better job at promoting,” Johnson said.

Without the necessary management to advertise shows in the area, metalheads are left unaware that shows are taking place.

“Even when there is a band that comes here you don’t even know that they were here until they left.

“I missed a few concerts because I had no idea these bands were coming,” Johnson said.

To keep the metal scene alive in Fredericton, Clark has a simple idea for the city’s metalheads: attend the shows.

“All they need to do is support the bands they love by going to the shows so that they will want to return.”