Rarely do I ever tell the truth on this website. As a matter of fact, the purpose of the site is to declare war on the asinine construction that we have termed reality. However, I feel an unnatural obligation to level with you this morning. I write all sorts of terrible things about strangers, why shouldn’t I write an article that entirely discredits myself as a metalhead and in the process alienates a good 2/3rds of the audience?
I’m going to admit to a few things in this article that may make you uncomfortable. They are all horribly true. I make no apologies for myself. I know what I like and what I don’t like. Unfortunately, many things I like are terribly embarrassing. The awful truth is…I’m a poser.
7. My favorite Judas Priest song is from the Ripper Owens era
Not many people have given the Ripper Owens years their just due. Two excellent studio albums from a vocalist who only years earlier was covering “Turbo Lover” in front of 12 Clevelanders on open mic Mondays. On the first of those albums, he recorded the song “Cathedral Spires” which is one of the most incredible pieces of music I’ve ever heard. He’s not Rob Halford, but besides Rob Halford, who is?
I know the correct answer is to say something from the Halford era like “Hell Patrol” or “Dissident Aggressor” in order to prove the depth of my Judas Priest knowledge. Or I could claim it is “Metal Gods” or “Electric Eye” and rail on about how one of these songs found me at a low point in my life and changed me at a spiritual level. But, truthfully, while I love all of the aforementioned songs, I’ll take Spires any day of the week.
6. I’ve listened to more Tangerine Dream in the past year than Iron Maiden and Slayer combined
I know as a metalhead I’m supposed to get on bended knee every morning and thank Odin that the gods deemed us worthy of hearing Bruce Dickinson howl the chorus to “Aces High”. Every moment of my waking life should be devoted to air drumming the fills from “Seasons in The Abyss”. I’ve listened to these records a million times. People would get sick of ice cream if they ate it everyday for twenty years. These, and many other albums critical to “the metal experience”, bore me to tears at this point. I’m much more interested in exploring music I’m less familiar with than sacrificing more of my time on The Altar of True Metal.
5. I have no idea what is happening in most black metal songs (“The Emperor Has No Corpsepaint” hypothesis)
There are about eight black metal songs I like. As much as I respect the fact that musicians who play this style of music are capable of producing noises that resemble a walrus with indigestion, I can’t say I really know what on earth they are doing. As a matter of fact, I have a theory that no one actually likes black metal all that much. We pretend to because we don’t want to be the one person who admits they don’t see the appeal in a bunch of grown men dressing up like the Wyrd Sisters from Macbeth, shrieking about their love Yog-Sothoth.
4. I really don’t care when legendary heavy metal figures die
I feel bad for everyone who personally knew and loved Dio, Hanneman and Dime. They lost real flesh and blood humans in their lives. However, the outpouring of RIPing that comes out of people based on the passing of people that they don’t know is staggering. I have no doubt that these people and many others had a huge impact on the genre and probably wrote a song or two that made a bad day better, but come on. People die constantly. Everywhere. It’s the one thing human beings are consistently good at. Turning a genuine tragedy for the friends and family of a person you don’t know into your own because the musician wrote a few riffs you liked is grotesque and bizarre. Life is miserable enough without parachuting into someone else’s misfortune.
3. Don’t Call Me Your Brother, Cause I Ain’t Your @#%^ing Brother
This whole “Brotherhood of Metal” thing is hysterical. I meet people all the time I can’t stand. Including metalheads. Generally, I have a low threshold of tolerance for morons, whether they have the first Overkill album or not. The minute you start mentally tormenting some sock-brained metalhead online for spouting off nonsense that would embarrass a self-aware 7 year old or telling some guy with a Deicide tee-shirt that his children will probably have hooves, one schmuck invariably chimes in with the “why can’t metalheads get along” nonsense. Here’s why…because the number of mouth breathing idiots in the metal community is equal to the amount of inarticulate dolts in the world at large. This isn’t kindergarten. I don’t have to be nice to someone because we both happen to like Sepultura.
2a. I dread going to metal concerts
I really don’t like to leave my house much anyway, but the idea of being crammed into a really loud, dimly lit room smelling the armpits of beer soaked strangers is a fate worse than death for me. Usually, the music is way too loud and I get aggravated waiting through opening bands which are often as entertaining as cholera. I was so bored watching Zakk Wylde at OzzFest I actually fell asleep. Which was significantly more enjoyable than having the guy next to me either A. ask me whether I think Phil Anselmo is back on the heroin or B. Tell me about the time he saw so and so open for so and so in some backwater, lice infested bar way before anyone had ever heard of them.
2b. The whole moshing thing embarrassing
Concerts are expensive and, as noted above, banal, disgusting experiences. The single worst part about them is having to spend the time I’d like to take watching a band I came out to see and dedicating it to not having my feet stepped on by some neo-Cro-Magnon lummox who, instead of hashing out his troubles in group therapy, has decided that running headlong into a group of equally troubled delinquents is a way to release the demons.
People talk about mosh pits like they are mystical experiences (“I’ll never forget the night back in 1987 when we made The Wall of Death at a Nuclear Assault concert”). Really, it’s just a bunch of people running around and bumping into each other with mean looks on their faces. It’s not all that different from Black Friday at Target.
1. I Don’t Mind The Last Morbid Angel Album
I debated putting this in here, because to be honest, admitting this is the equivalent of telling a beautiful woman you are interested in that in your free time you like to make masks out of human skin and paint using other people’s blood. This album was so universally panned by critics and fans alike that you would have thought it featured Kevin Costner with gills. I’ve made fun of it on several occasions. If Mother Theresa was still alive, she’d have made fun of it.
I remember reading this interview with David Vincent after the album came out where he said some preposterous thing like “you don’t know it yet, but this will end up being your favorite Morbid Angel album.” I couldn’t even believe he could get that out with a straight face. Yet, honestly, every time that silly “crossing the line since 1989” song comes on my iPod, I end up listening to the whole thing. I don’t even mind the “Destructos” song. Or the one where he starts babbling in Spanish. I’ve listened to those songs much more frequently than I’ve busted out anything else by them…so maybe he had a point.