Report: Hard Rockers Struggle To Find Mainstream Success

March 31, 2007

Todd Martens of Billbord magazine reports:

SHADOWS FALL may be the latest hard rock band to jump from the indie world into the major label system, but breaking out of the metal genre and winning a mainstream fan base won't be easy.

Bands like MASTODON on Reprise and LAMB OF GOD on Columbia may have had their largest debut weeks of their career when they joined the major label ranks, but sales, while respectable, have not yet catapulted the bands to new heights.

"That's going to be the case until one of these bands writes 'that song,"' Relapse head Matt Jacobson says. "It may never happen, but if it does, there's a system in place to push that along."

MASTODON's 2006 effort, "Blood Mountain", has sold 96,000 units in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and has not yet surpassed the act's 2004 effort for Relapse, "Leviathan". Meanwhile, LAMB OF GOD's "Sacrament" got off to a fast start, but the 2006 album's 197,000 units seem on pace to match 2004 major label debut "Ashes of the Wake", which has sold 292,000 units.

Century Media president Marco Barbieri says there may be other factors at work. His label nurtured SHADOWS FALL, and believed it was on the verge of a breakout smash with LACUNA COIL. But the Italian band's 2006 effort "Karmacode" has sold 162,000 and not yet shown signs that the group will find a fan base beyond the 271,000 units sold by 2002's "Comalies".

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