Enslaved (who I wrote about recently
) are a testament to the ability of artists to grow and change. They were basically the Hanson of black metal in 1994. The members that remain today were 13 and 16. Their technical ability was amazing
. Now they are very different. They kept on trying different things, impressively, not to optimize for audience growth, but to get at what they wanted to express. Every album is different, but not in a stunty way. My guess is that the earnestness of their experimentation that is what keeps them from having regrettable phases.
They also seem really mature as people. Here's what they had to say
about the black metal church burnings, which they probably could have jumped into as teens, had they wanted:
When it happened, it was very tempting to sort of join in on what was spinning out of control. There was a lot of tension, and there was a lot of drama, and all the characteristics of a closed environment for young, restless, and highly driven young men. Whatever the contexts happened to be it was very specifically Satanic, and some people took it very far. The outcomes were pretty limited in that sense. Maybe it had to do with geographical distance or something, but there was a feeling that there didn’t seem to be an outcome from that whole thing. It was just this very alluring sort of gothic building that you could go into and be a part of something else, and it was mysterious and big and dangerous, but it didn’t really seem to have a way out. That’s just the feeling that we got from it, and I still remember for me at least there being that sense of melancholy already back then seeing people go down that path because now, well, there was one individual who was sticking to his guns for a long time. He’s hanging out in France and doesn’t seem to be doing too well these days, and even he seems to be losing that whole thing. He’s got these very dedicated fans, but he doesn’t seem to be very connected to that either. It was just some kind of game where the more you drew out from that part, the more you sort of spent exploring your own future possibilities in a sense. So some people gained a lot right then and there, and then I think they lost people after that.
It seems likely that having this kind of long view probably helps with artistic growth.