Not so sure about the metallurgy. I have various and tend to prefer the older laminated Records/Stanleys and a Japanese laminated Smoothcut. Have also Hock and have had LN, LV etc but the newer stuff takes longer to sharpen. I prefer a little and often freehand on oilstones, rather than the elaborate procedures of the modern sharpeners.
The metallurgy is indeed better. As a professional planemaker for the past 30 years I've done extensive research into this and it's my opinion that the metals themselves are better. What may be more important, however, are the skills involved in making the cutters and/or the thickness of the cutters themselves - especially when it comes to sharpening. For instance I have a preference for older parallel cutters in my infill planes, and I'm a real fan of the old Stanley "Sweetheart" cutters from the 20's and 30's. There are always tradeoffs though, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion.