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How important is it to go out on top?

By Ben Apatoff

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Any metalhead with a computer knows by now that JUDAS PRIEST are planning their final tour. Of course these things are always dubious (although Priest seem more sincere than KISS,) and I expected to see a lot of arguing over whether or not HALFORD and the gang were actually putting the band to rest.

But all anyone seems to care about is "going out on top." As in, "It's a good thing that Priest are retiring at a point when they're still playing great shows and releasing good music." Or, "It's a good thing that Priest are retiring in time to stop embarrassing themselves."

So are the Metal Gods going out on top or not? Clearly, there's only one correct answer.

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Who cares?

Why is it so important for bands to "go out on top?" Why is everyone so hostile towards artists running out of ideas? Obviously, we hold the best bands to high standards. But is your enjoyment of "Living After Midnight" ruined forever after you heard "Turbo Lover?"

This is one of the silliest things that people argue about in music. Of course it sucks to see a once-great band release a pile of garbage, but does it soil their legacy at all? Slaughter of the Soul wouldn't lose any luster if AT THE GATES put out a mediocre comeback album. The fact that RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE never released a bad album and METALLICA have does not make Rage a better band. No one ever claims that SLAYER is better than MEGADETH because Reign in Blood completely smokes Risk. Reign in Blood vs. Rust in Peace, there's an argument.

No one wants to hear a good band make bad music, but when it comes down to it, does it affect your opinion on the good stuff? Why should it?

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