MUSIC fans have had their say in the Hottest 100 and Ozzest 100; now for those who like their rock turned up to 11 comes the Hardest 100.
The countdown has been launched by Australia’s heavy music enthusiasts who have become frustrated with hard rock being marginalised on the airwaves and the recent Triple M and Triple J polls.
The poll is the brainchild of Tim Price, who launched The Faction digital heavy music station last year, and coincides with the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, who are acknowledged as the founders of the heavy metal genre.
Price said the poll was planned months before Triple J revealed their Hottest 100 in January to a howl of protest from hard rock fans about the lack of heavy metal artists to make the cut.
This was despite a raft of successful hard rock albums released last year including Mesmer from wildly popular metalcore band Northlane, which peaked at No. 3 on the ARIA charts and the much-anticipated debut The Rhapsody Tapes from nu metal outfit Ocean Grove, which went straight to No. 5 on the mainstream top 50.
Price said the Hardest 100 wasn’t so much a reaction to hard rock losing its presence on the Hottest 100 as it was to spotlight just how strong the audience for heavy music is in Australia.
There has always been a strong fanbase for rock music as evidenced by the success of the sold-out annual Unify Gathering festival in Victoria and the debut of the long-running British festival Download at Flemington Racecourse next month featuring Limp Bizkit, Prophets of Rage and Good Charlotte.
Before its demise in 2015, the annual Soundwave Festival which hosted hard rock acts was the biggest music event in the country.
Price said there was no doubting the appetite for live hard rock music in Australia with three or four tours announced each week.
He decided to launch The Faction station in an attempt to make heavy music hits.
“The idea was to make hits for heavy music in the same way commercial radio make hits for mainstream music by playing those songs on rotation because there aren’t that many outlets for this sort of music in Australia,” Price said.
“There is a weird thing where the fans do kind of thrive on this music being the outsider to the mainstream but there are hundreds of bands out there who always land in the top 5 whether it’s Metallica or Amity Affliction or Parkway Drive.”
The Faction programs 50 per cent Australian music and Price set himself a target of making his playlist 25 per cent female fronted acts.
The inaugural Hardest 100 is likely to become a battleground between heritage acts from AC/DC to Black Sabbath through to local artists including Tonight Alive and Northlane.
“We have put together a reasonably sized library of about 3000 songs but people can nominate whatever they want,” Price said.
“Metal fans love to vote for the most obscure band they can find,” he said.
“But my hope is also to be pleasantly surprised to see a bunch of female voice sin there as well.”
Voting opens today via themusic.com.au and the countdown will be broadcast on The Faction via their website and app on March 17.
Here are 10 tracks Australian metalheads could vote for on the Hardest 100
Metallica — One
Tonight Alive — Temple
AC/DC — Back in Black
Parkway Drive — Vice Grip
Black Sabbath — Iron Man
Dio — Holy Diver
Northlane — Quantum Flux
The Amity Affliction — Youngbloods
Evanescence — Bring Me to Life
Korn — Got The Life