ZOLTAN BATHORY On Large Metal Bands Such As FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH & DISTURBED: “If Not Us, You Won’t Be Able To Attract People To The Genre”

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When you surf the World Wide Web, you’ll encounter plenty of negative comments directed at bands like Five Finger Death Punch, Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, and that entire segment of metal. Attend one of their live performances and you’ll see numerous attendees thoroughly enjoying themselves. Or analyze their sales figures – quite impressive, right?

In a conversation with Summa Inferno, Zoltan Bathory, the guitarist of Five Finger Death Punch, addressed the band’s recent collaboration with DMX on their track “This Is The Way” and the narrow-mindedness of certain fans.

“There’s definitely that closed-mindedness, this notion… It’s almost comical because the more extreme music you listen to, the stronger the gatekeeping occurs, like, ‘This belongs to our community.’ And if anyone who doesn’t typically enjoy extreme metal appreciates a band, then that exclusive group will disown the band,” as transcribed by Blabbermouth, commented Bathory. “This situation arises when any metal band starts gaining popularity, the original die-hard fans or that close-knit circle will dwindle because they can’t support a band that is also appreciated by their parents or the general public who are not entirely into metal.

“Hence, you witness this decline. So, yes, there’s some of that, but at the same time, these collaborations are beneficial as they open up opportunities. Individuals who are not fans of metal, a significant number of them may listen to this song now, and a portion of them might inquire about who the heck Five Finger Death Punch is, and they might become acquainted with some songs, and some of them, a certain portion, might appreciate what they hear.

Bathory pressed on, underlining that safeguarding truly only harms bands that are striving to make a livelihood. This is reasonable – if fans are going to start deserting artists the instant they release a slightly different tune from their norm, it certainly does not encourage creativity in the arts.

“This is what I would communicate to these metal enthusiasts. It’s like, folks, for your beloved band, especially if they are underground, to create the art you adore, they need to endure. And for them to endure, it means they must sell albums and tickets to concerts. Given that it’s such a niche category, they won’t be able to do so. Therefore, what you observe is, when you support those more extreme bands, they are not making sufficient income, they can’t sustain themselves through this.

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“So the lone method they can prevail is if the audience expands — that’s the only route. So what needs to transpire, metal overall needs to expand, must draw more fans and more attention. In this way, it will filter down, and the subgenres will also expand, allowing your favorite artists to endure. So bands like Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, Five Finger Death Punch, these are what you individuals label as the gateway bands, they undeniably need to prevail. Since without us, you’ll be unable to bring people into the genre. We are the kind of band where metal enthusiasts listen to us, but individuals who aren’t typically into metal might also give us a chance, or we pull in many who are not [into metal].

“And through these collaborations — this track is now accessible on radio channels and other Spotify playlists and in other avenues where it wouldn’t typically be found. Through this, we are influencing people to listen to hard rock, heavy metal, and that benefits the entire genre. If the genre is substantial and the subgenres are expansive… So, by criticizing the bands that are branching out and collaborating with other genres or criticizing the bands that you folks consider as gatekeepers, you’re essentially undermining your own interests.”

Bathory later highlighted a few bands he believes deserve more recognition, such as upcoming Five Finger Death Punch tour companions Slaughter To Prevail.

“Here’s the truth: [I could say] I don’t care. We are doing well. We cherish our fans. We’re content. So I don’t need to worry. But I genuinely do care because I have a strong liking for many of these underground bands, and we bring bands on tour, bands that… Fire From The Gods, a very distinctive band. I adore the band. For a period, I managed the band. We took them on tour. There were numerous bands that we provided a platform to because we admire them and believe they deserve the spotlight. Look, at the tours we’re planning now.

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“We’re inviting bands once again that… Slaughter To Prevail — that’s an intense, fierce band. I appreciate that band. They need to be introduced to a wider audience, in my view. Hence, we are playing our part in this. I find it highly counterproductive when metal fans engage in internal disputes within this genre. To me, it’s actually absurd, and you’re simply harming your own cause. I consider it a major misinterpretation or a substantial — well, not a misunderstanding; a significant lack of understanding of how this entire system operates, if you object to bands collaborating or introducing this genre to mainstream fans.

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