First week album sales have been plummeting year after year and heavy metal has not been immune to this. With that being said, some bands have taken more of a hit than others and there are bands that are selling more and more with each release. Just look at Five Finger Death Punch. Is it fair to blame dropping album sales and the pirating of albums? That is what bands and labels will want you to believe and in some cases it is true. But in more cases than not, illegal downloading has become a scapegoat for the mediocre quality of albums released today.
Take Mudvayne for instance. The band has been on a nice steady slide of suck since their 2005 release, "Lost and Found". The album debuted at #2 on Billboard selling over 152,000 copies in its first week. From there, the band went on to release "The New Game" in 2007 selling 48,000 copies the first week. The bands first week sales for 2009's "Mudvayne" were just announced today and the band only sold 32,000 copies. With each album, the band has lost 1/3 of the important first week sales.
Although the band hasn't commented yet, I am sure they will be releasing a statement soon thanking fans for the 'great numbers' and chart position, but is having 20% of your first week sales from four years ago something to crow about? I am sure the band would probably agree that they are on their way out as they have decided not to tour around this album.