I recently watched a documentary on the late, (once) great Syd Barret whereby after his initial explosion of creative impetus and subsequent popularity he had found himself in what was possibly the most severe state of psychological burnout imaginable, something that has been contemplated time and again by his fans and in general contemporary music culture for the better part of half a century.
I remember they interviewed a well-wishing queer that had taken him in and whom he lived with as a flatmate in the subsequent years that followed as having said he felt he knew exactly what Syd was thinking at any given time (and that for most of the time it was the same thing); Laying back on his mattress in the next room, arms folded behind his head, starring up at the ceiling “he knew he could achieve anything he wanted, but that the moment he set about doing it, it became impossible”.
That’s about as honest and accurate as I think it gets, oddly enough, and to be honest I hate it. Perceived greatness at that time meant that when you hit the brick wall, you either burn out or die at peak. Art as always carries its inherent zeitgeist and in modern times it is all too often immortalized through that brief flash of brilliance (which is more often than not simply what could be) as opposed to a long and steady dedication to a craft, something less desperate and more stable that at the very least will only grow from previous strengths.
Perhaps metal sought out an alternative to this with its constant striving for and emphasis on the eternal and the image of being true. But for the most part this is so thoroughly negated by the almost inevitable phenomena of selling out, in which case I think it probably is better to die at peak.