Oddsmaking: Will The Grammys Declare Sum 41 To Be More Metal Than Megadeth And Mastodon?


The 54th Grammy Awards mark the combination of the Best Hard Rock Performance and Best Metal Performance awards into the single category Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance, which is why Mastodon and Sum 41 are up for the same award. Historically, the metal category has been one of the most confounding, with oddities like Judas Priest winning for a new live version of a song originally released 23 years earlier, Motörhead winning for a cover of a then-22-year-old Metallica song, and Metallica actually being honored for a track from St. Anger.

In addition to the pros and cons of each nomination, we’ve helpfully included whether each group is listed on, a database that serves as the genre’s gatekeeper by barring its doors to those bands deemed not brutal enough to ride to Valhalla.

Dream Theater, “On the Backs of Angels”
WHO: Your Dungeon Master uncle’s favorite band.
PROS: The choral swells and lack of screaming could make this track more palatable to voters than the others. The band has never been bashful about its musicianship, so maybe they’ll steal this one on chops alone.
CONS: Jesus, those keyboards. It’s Spinal Tap’s “Rock and Roll Creation” gone prog. And who has nine minutes to spare anymore?
ODDS: 12-1

Foo Fighters, “White Limo”
WHO: Your cool uncle’s favorite band.
PROS: It’s the band’s first song in ages that comes close to qualifying for the “metal” category, and the video has goddamn Lemmy in it.
CONS: They’re nominated for a bunch of other awards, including Album of the Year, so this one may be allowed to go to someone else.
ODDS: 5-2

Mastodon, “Curl of the Burl”
WHO: Your drunk uncle’s favorite band.
PROS: With The Hunter Mastodon returned to tight, compact song structures, kept the space jams to a minimum, and put out some of their most punchy work in a decade.
CONS: Guitarist Brent Hinds doesn’t have a great track record when making appearances at awards shows.
ODDS: 6-1

Megadeth, “Public Enemy No. 1”
WHO: Your imprisoned uncle’s favorite band.
PROS: Metal Grammys often go to legacy acts, and Megadeth has yet to win despite being nominated 10 times. With three of the other bands being relative whippersnappers, Dave might finally get his due.
CONS: But hey, they didn’t win with either Rust in Peace or “Hangar 18″—the award went to Metallica both times.
ODDS: 4-1

Sum 41, “Blood in My Eyes”
WHO: Your nephew’s favorite band 10 years ago.
PROS: They’re still around! Actually, “Blood” is pretty damn catchy; its heavy power-pop foundation brings to mind Weezer waking up on the wrong side of the bed.
CONS: Even though he uses the word “dead” a lot, which is pretty metal, it’s in regard to feelings. Aww.
ODDS: Really, LOL. But over their career they have gone out of their way to make sure we know that they’re sincere metal fans, so we’ll at least acknowledge the effort.

FINAL PREDICTION: Dave Mustaine and Megadeth finally winning after 10 nominations would be a nice little bow on the last few years of career rehabilitation. Who doesn’t love a “bitter sociopath junkie turned good” story?