When brainstorming ideas for this blog, I had this one written very close to the top because I feel it necessary that I establish that this is the genre that I listen to the most often and it’s where most of my love for music comes from. There are so many things that I love about it, but I recognize that a lot of people really cannot listen to it without getting a headache. I will establish again that this is my opinion on the genre as a whole and I am not trying to force anyone into loving what I do, just merely trying to express how I listen to it, and why I feel the way that I do about Metal as a whole.
I will have to start from the beginning to show how I came to being the metal head that I am now. When I was a kid, I listened to whatever my parents did. The difference is where I got attached and what I liked. My dad grew up in the 80’s so all the hits were around during my childhood. Motley Crue, Van Halen, Ozzy Osbourne and the rest. I just loved the sound of these loud guitars and how the distorted guitar just rang in my ears. Then we moved into what was popular during the day with Linkin Park, System of a Down, Disturbed and that was where my love started to develop. There was something about that angry/haunting feel of the drums in Down with the Sickness and how raw Chester sounds while screaming in Faint really just got my attention more than anything.
When I started listening to my own thing, Metallica was my jam through and through. Just everything that they ever put out was on repeat. Clearly I was obsessed, and I was totally ok with that. I really don’t know what started that in the first place, but I’m sure that it was just listening to Enter Sandman and wanting to hear more of that aggressive sound and getting the 1991 Black Album and being hooked. Once the hook had set, I knew that I would have to get everything they did. Albums, live recordings, interviews, the whole nine yards. I will still to this day listen to Master of Puppets and say that album is a 10/10. There was a distinct change that happened though, where I remember going to the theme park Lagoon and wanting to feel excited for it, so I pulled up the heaviest song I knew at the time, just those songs that really got your heart racing and adrenaline pumping, being Dyers Eve, Damage Inc., and Battery. It was then that I think that it clicked in my teenage brain that I loved things that were fast and heavy. I loved that feeling of having music that gave me a physical response rather than just a mental and emotional one.
So once high school rolled around, I made different friends and heard that there were bands popping up that I should listen to. Bands like Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Bullet for my Valentine, the Used and others during the MySpace era were gaining popularity. Now, the biggest hurdle for people when approaching metal I would assume is the vocals. They are very harsh initially, but I had the background in listening to a lot of Linkin Park which was a huge gateway into being comfortable with the idea of that vocal style. So I really jumped into this more aggressive sound really dived in. The Poison was the first album that I ever bought and I ate it up. I just remember being so blown away with the pacing of the Intro song leading into Her Voice Resides. Dynamically, it blew my hair back and I loved that. Leading into BFMV was a pretty natural feeling as well, because their biggest influence was Metallica in terms of songwriting and I was all about it. And thus, my love for Metalcore was born.
Once I learned what Metalcore was, I had to have more. All that Remains, As I Lay Dying, Killswitch Engage, August Burns Red and so many others of the time. Then as you did with MySpace, you explore what is on the top charts and 2 bands stood tall amongst the others. Suicide Silence and Whitechapel. Initially, I was just listening to them to have a laugh at the name and to be cool, but then I had another friend that was an actual fan and he showed me more from both and I found myself loving Vicer Exciser. From there my horizon expanded tenfold to open so many other doors to musical exploration.
During this time, I was also going through a bit more emotionally because of my parent’s divorce at 14-15. I think I just never let it show, or was never really aware of how it affected me, but I used all this angry music as a coping mechanism to vent how I was feeling at the time. That, and metal has a lot of emotional connection to the idea of being alone to me as well which was a common theme growing up because of my father’s job which required us to move often. Something in me really loved how it could convey such an aggressive emotional response as well. Your traditional music that is on the radio is either being happy or excited with most Pop, Country likes to settle on being sad or being party driven, and the rock at the time was about relationships. Metal was great in that way, because lyrically it was so vast and open, but had a lot to do with internal struggle and depression. It also didn’t help that I was a teenager full of angst as well who was susceptible to all of those messages as well so I was exactly the demographic they were shooting for.
Once I got through all the coping though, I started really listening to the music itself and loved it for the actual music rather than the feeling. I was a band kid for most of my schooling so I had a basic foundation in music knowledge so I loved sitting and thinking about what was being played and just being enthralled by everything. There are still bands that blow me away today with their technical prowess that make me love it even more and drove me to want to learn guitar myself. Even in the beginning, the guitars always were my go to when listening. As I grow older, I am starting to admire guitar tones, and how it was recorded and mixed and the equipment used and all the little intricacies that go along with playing. Just hearing how and why this music can make an emotional response is a wonderful science to behold and really immerse into.