Opinion: Who Will Win the 60th Annual Grammys Rock + Metal Categories?
The 60th Annual Grammy Awards nominations were revealed Tuesday morning (Nov. 28) and the rock and metal categories this year leaned more to traditional harder rock and metal bands rather than filling in with some outliers. With the nominations so strong this year in the rock categories, the Loudwire office has been abuzz with chatter about who will and who should win. So we let our writers have a say with their predictions on what we'll see come Grammy night on Jan. 28 in four of the key categories -- Best Metal Performance, Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Album. Join the conversation below.
Who will win Best Metal Performance? The nominees are:
August Burns Red, "Invisible Enemy"
Body Count, "Black Hoodie"
Code Orange, "Forever"
Mastodon, "Sultan's Curse"
Chad Childers: From a critical side, there’s been a lot of love for Code Orange this year and “Forever” would definitely raise the “cool” factor for the Grammys. August Burns Red are second time nominees, so "Invisible Enemy" wouldn't be too much of a surprise. No one had more of a statement in their work than Body Count with the impactful song “Black Hoodie,” but with Mastodon perhaps missing out in a packed Best Rock Album category, I look for “Sultan’s Curse” to get the nod here.
Joe DiVita: While I'd love to see Meshuggah take home the award (the thought of any unsuspecting audience being subject to the aural beatdown of "Clockworks" is an entertaining one), it's more likely we see Body Count or Mastodon win the Grammy. Despite some major underground attention with this year's nominees, it's difficult to imagine the socially entrenched Body Count (with Ice-T's fame to boot) or Mastodon, who had the highest selling album in America during the debut week of Emperor of Sand, fall by the wayside. In the end, "Black Hoodie" edges out "Sultan's Curse."
Michael Christopher: The Grammys typically shy away from any sort of controversy or so-called “hot button” issues, but in today’s climate, that’s a near impossibility. Therefore, Body Count’s “Black Hoodie” should be the no-brainer for the strongest contender. That said, to play it safe, Code Orange are the odds on favorite with the title track to their stellar effort from this year in “Forever.”
John Hill: This year, the Grammys have absolutely taken a shine and went directly to the underground for this year’s metal nominees. In terms of a direct impact, I don’t think any band has left as much of a footprint on 2017 as Code Orange. Through years of sheer hard work, they’ve proven themselves to be forerunners of a genre thanks to precise heaviness that goes to war with bouts of noise and experimentation. “Forever” is a massive song that packages together ferocity and total attitude. In the song, a pre-breakdown mosh call exclaims “Code Orange is forever.” Them winning would be an exclamation point for that statement.
Who will win Best Rock Performance? The nominees are:
Leonard Cohen, "You Want It Darker"
Chris Cornell, "The Promise"
Foo Fighters, "Run"
Kaleo, "No Good"
Nothing More, "Go to War"
Chad Childers: This is one of the toughest categories to choose, as Foo Fighters are always a Grammy favorite and you have two sentimental choices in Leonard Cohen’s brilliantly self-aware “You Want It Darker” and Chris Cornell’s beautifully moving and poignant “The Promise” potentially being honored posthumously. But this seems like Nothing More’s year and a “performance” victory would be a great start to rewarding the deserving rockers.
Joe DiVita: The safe bet here is that Dave Grohl's awards shelf gets one step closer to collapsing. But the Grammys have been safe and slightly predictable for too long and in 2018 they shake it up. With the ability to connect on a social level of utmost importance in today's age, Chris Cornell takes it for "The Promise." It not only shines a light on an artist we lost all too soon, but bridges film, music and social connections, spreading the reach one song can have.
Michael Christopher: The late Leonard Cohen is sort of the odd one out here, but that’s par for the course when it comes to the Grammys – this is the same category that last year had Beyonce nominated in it. Likewise, Chris Cornell’s “The Promise” would be a posthumous pick, and the two might cancel one another out, leaving the clear choice to be Foo Fighters’ “Run,” which is definitely worthy of the award. Kaleo are my personal favorite, but the Icelandic act might be a bit too far off the radar to snag the win.
John Hill: The Best Rock Performance is a pretty tough battleground of nominees for me. On one hand, it’s hard to deny the insane year Nothing More have had, and much of that is thanks to the power of their lead single “Go to War.” They’re laying the groundwork for the rest of their career, and are working to push hard rock to continue to be a creative platform for musicians. On the other hand Leonard Cohen’s final performance before his death in “You Want it Darker” is a striking, moody song that defines his career as a trailblazer for music. Cohen has accomplished so much through his discography, and thus winning the award posthumously would serve as an excellent end cap to an important career.
Who will win Best Rock Song? The nominees are:
Metallica, "Atlas, Rise!"
K. Flay, "Blood in the Cut"
Nothing More, "Go to War"
Foo Fighters, "Run"
Avenged Sevenfold, "The Stage"
Chad Childers: Rock Performance and Rock Song could go either way, with Foo Fighters and Nothing More perhaps splitting the categories. I went with “Go to War” for performance, and the Grammys love to salute Dave Grohl’s work so the quiet-to-loud fury of “Run” is my pick here. That said, it would be nice to see Avenged Sevenfold get some love with their first-ever Grammy nod.
Joe DiVita: Do I have to choose?! There's some big names in here with two Grammy darlings (Metallica and the Foo Fighters), but Nothing More scored a spot in the War of the Planet of the Apes trailer and have truly begun their ascent as one of the next big things in rock. They get bigger in 2018 and continue an impressive run with a Grammy win for "Go to War."
Michael Christopher: There could be a bit of a make-up in effect by giving it to Metallica for the technical problems which plagued their performance of “Moth Into Flame” with Lady Gaga at the 2017 ceremony. But if there’s any justice - no pun intended - Nothing More’s “Go to War” should take home the prize. Not only is it a standout track from a fantastic album, but would shine a well-deserved light on a band not as well-known as the others.
John Hill: Each entry in Best Rock Song this year highlights a pretty diverse range of what rock music represents. Strangely, it’s the first year Avenged Sevenfold have been nominated for a Grammy, and not strangely at all Metallica was nominated for “Atlas, Rise!” And while K.Flay’s kind of hip-hop doesn’t appeal to me heavily, it’s still neat to see her on the list. Personally, I’d give the win to Foo Fighters. “Run” is a genuinely energetic, enthralling song that pushes Dave Grohl’s vocals to pretty far limits, and the rest of the band comes in with some of their most exciting instrumental work to date. Being “Good Guy Grohl” should pay off.
Who will win Best Rock Album? The nominees are:
Mastodon, Emperor of Sand
Metallica, Hardwired ... to Self-Destruct
Nothing More, The Stories We Tell Ourselves
Queens of the Stone Age, Villains
The War on Drugs, A Deeper Understanding
Chad Childers: What to choose? Even the more alt-leaning A Deeper Understanding from The War on Drugs is a glisteningly brilliant disc. But the Grammys seem to be giving harder rock the chance to truly fill the rock categories this year, and there are some stellar choices. I feel like Nothing More is the right choice here, but it’s hard to imagine the Grammys overlooking Metallica’s epic statement with Hardwired … to Self-Destruct.
Joe DiVita: After the Jethro Tull incident, the Grammys seemingly spent the next few years making it up to Metallica, doling out a host of awards to metal's titans. After forgetting to turn on James Hetfield's microphone during 'Tallica's performance with Lady Gaga last year, a nice golden gramophone for Best Rock Album with Hardwired... To Self-Destruct engraved into the plaque will do well to extinguish any still-glowing embers.
Michael Christopher: Nothing More is the ultimate dark horse here, but the winner should really be Metallica. Hardwired…To Self-Destruct is a surprisingly ferocious effort that shows the old guys can still get it done. Even those music fans expressing the most anti-Metallica sentiment can’t deny the power of songs like “Spit Out the Bone,” “Hardwired” and “Moth Into Flame.” That the Bay Area by way of Los Angeles giants are still putting out relevant music this deep into an already storied career is a testament to their status as legends, and they should be recognized as such.
John Hill: Hell of a world we live in where The War on Drugs and Mastodon are up for the exact same award. When it comes to holistically interesting takes on hard rock, I would have to say Queens of the Stone Age brought a pretty unique thing to the table with Villains. Most of the time when rock acts go intensely pop the result is often middling, but working with producer Mark Ronson (who has worked with Adele, Bruno Mars etc) invigorated their sound with a good middle ground. There’s a solidarity in songwriting throughout the album, resulting in a good statement piece for the group as a whole, and a nice staple for rock music.
Who do you think will win? Get in on the conversation in the comments section at the bottom of this post.
The 60th Annual Grammy Awards will take place at New York's Madison Square Garden on Jan. 28 with James Corden returning as host. Be sure to tune in at 7:30PM ET on CBS to catch the ceremony and stay tuned to Loudwire on Grammy day as we'll keep you up to date with the winners from the pre-telecast as well.
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