Who knows why some bands endure like this? When you think of the supreme vitality required, and the ever-renewing inventiveness, and the hard-won fan loyalty, you have to wonder how any of them even manage it. This is especially true of metal bands, who must remain hard and fast and youthful well beyond their actual youth. You can fake the hair, and you can fake the attitude, but you can never fake the sound. The sound must emerge from a place of total authenticity and vigor.
And yet, in just the past few months, we’ve seen two metal bands of longstanding dominance reassert their credentials. Just this past September, Iron Maiden released The Books of Souls, their 16th studio album and one of the most soulful and virtuosic of their career. And last month, Megadeth released Dystopia, their 15th studio album and one of the most soulful and virtuosic of their own career — not to mention the only one to ever chart at Billboard’s number-one spot.