Archive for category The One Time I Left The House

The Ten Best Metal Songs To Play When At A Fast Food Drive-Thru Window

heavy metal drive-thru window

There are many hidden pleasures in being a metalhead.  That moment where you start talking to a stranger and realize he actually knows that Peter Steele was in Carnivore before he was in Type O Negative.  The moment where you are at the gym and you see a person on the workout machine next to you wearing a Carcass Heartwork tee-shirt.  That feeling you get when you are watching a bad, 1980s made-for-television movie about high school and notice one of the extras wearing a jacket with a giant Nuclear Assault patch on the back.  You’ll meet a ton of people throughout your life who think metal is nothing more than bad hairstyles, ripped up jeans and “Enter Sandman”, but that moment when you really feel the presence of another member of our bizarre little community is truly a compelling experience.

There is another type of joy that being a metalhead can produce.  Very few things are as invigorating as the feeling of completely freaking out unsuspecting strangers with your music and all of the insane, preposterous imagery that surrounds it.  A bunch of senior citizens walk by you in the mall.  They notice you rocking that vintage Cannibal Corpse “Eaten Back To Life” shirt and quickly avert their eyes.  You imagine them wandering around Sears twenty minutes later muttering about how society is in the brink of collapse and decrying the death of all that is sacred and humane.

I’ll admit, it’s a bit of a cheap thrill, but there are some days that this sort of savage and surreal amusement can fill you with a genuine zest for life.  Over the years, I’ve learned how to create and actively seek out these sorts of situations.  I’ve experimented with many different methods of achieving this sort of “gore-vana”, in some cases with disastrous consequences.  However, the one sure-fire place I know I can count on creating a minute or two of total metal-induced awkwardness and not be forced to spend an evening in the county lock-up is at the drive-thru window at fast food restaurants.

You drive up to the window with the first track of Suffocation’s “Effigy of the Forgotten” (Liege of Inveracity) booming through your speakers.  The person working there has probably spent most of the day having their humanity completely ignored or, even better, being scolded by vengeful, self-righteous morons deeply scarred by the fact that two weeks ago the Wendy’s forgot to include packets of ketchup with their Value Meal.  They are in that mode we so often see in consumer cultures, where the employee is simply treading water in the hopes of surviving the low wages and disrespect that are supposed to one day connect them to that shining pot of gold that politicians and suckers like to refer to as The American Dream.

Then you come along, blasting Frank Mullen’s doglike vocals and Mike Smith’s demented blast beats.  That blank stare quickly changes into an expression of total confusion.  What sort of person listens to this madness on purpose?  Is this person a psychopath who feeds on the blood-curdled screams of the children locked in the trunk of his car?  What does this unshaven weirdo hear in this music that I can’t?

You are the great and frightening Other.  The Alien.  The one who awakens them from their post-capitalist, slumbering nightmare for a brief second in order that they have something to post about on Twitter before they collapse into the awful sameness of reality television and quiet rage.

Over the years, I’ve accumulated a few songs that I believe are perfect for these moments.  If you are having a boring afternoon and want a little more adventure in your life, try blaring one of these the next time you are picking up a cheeseburger.  (For added effect, wear corpsepaint and sing along loudly and off key)

10.  Anything From Gorguts-Obscura.  I say anything because, as much as I love that album, I have no idea of the difference between any of the songs.  (This also applies to most pre-2000s black metal)

9.  Vader-Decapitated Saints.  Those fast, indecipherable vocals are great, particularly if you are able to bug your eyes out and work up one of those Charles Manson looking stares.

8.  Misfits-Bullet  (Before you start whining about the whole it’s not metal, it’s punk thing, please understand that I find that conversation almost absurd and pointless as listening to someone describe how to properly prepare hog maws)  The lyrics from this one are bound to at least elicit a smirk from your mark.  Particularly when you get to the part where he starts saying, well, you know….

7.  Slayer-Altar of Sacrifice.  This one is a bit tricky.  It involves timing.  If you can manage to have Araya bellowing “Enter To The Realm of Satan!!!” right as you are presented with your jumbo-sized Diet Coke, you will achieve maximum effect.

6.  Metallica-Creeping Death.  Same as above except you need to sync it up with “DIE…BY MY HAND!!!”.

5.  Suffocation-Liege of Inveracity.  We’ve discussed this.

4.  Manowar-Black, Wind, Fire and Steel.  It’s not the most intimidating song on this list by a long shot, but something about that note Eric Adams holds for a half an hour at the end of the song really works for the situation.

3.  Cannibal Corpse-Hammer Smashed Face I’ve tried many different options when it comes to inducing Cannibal Corpse freakouts, but for my money, this is the one that produces the most terror.

2.  Morbid Angel-Hatework  Part 70s horror film score, part growl from the depths of Hell, this song has a way of leaving lasting scars on the uninitated.  For years, I used the last three minutes of God of Emptiness, but this seems to make more of an impact.

1.  Deicide-Dead By Dawn  This song, by far, has gotten me the most perplexed, stupefied looks.  Glen Benton isn’t good for much, but making some high school wage slave drop a Frosty all over the register is an area in which he excels.

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Friday Night At The Masquerade With In Solitude

Photos by Shannon Mcginty-Spillett

The first thing you need to know about seeing a metal show in the American South, Atlanta in particular, is that almost every person in the audience is going to look nearly identical.  It’s beyond bizarre.  Standing there in the middle of the ballroom floor at The Masquerade, my wife and I could have easily been at a casting call for actors looking to play Slayer’s Kerry King in a movie.  Short, squat, bald with scruffy beards, tattoos and black shirts.  How do the police ever tell them apart?

The evening started promisingly enough.  My wife and I were accosted by some inebriated, bearded lunatic in a panel van who slowed up to tell us his motor was dying, then drove off when he noticed the can of mace my wife was clutching tightly in her right hand.  The van, which had an ominous Mothers For Palin sticker emblazoned on the back, had clearly been used in some sort of white slavery ring that we collectively wanted no part of.  But these things happen from time to time.

Dressed For Excess

We were there to see In Solitude, but most of the throngs of concertgoers were there to see Down.  We had no such plans.  We are two middle-aged adults who have learned to value a good night’s sleep over the wild excesses of staying out past 10 to see a band.  The original plan had us dipping out by 9 o’clock after the In Solitude set so that we could collapse into an orgy of Chinese food and Friday night re-runs.  Unfortunately, The Masquerade pulled the old bait and switch on us and put some highly talented but unfortunately named band called “Pony Killer” on before In Solitude.  My wife and I retreated to the benches outside where I was given a Nobel worthy dissertation on the entire life history Jeff Loomis, formerly of the band Nevermore, by some complete stranger with a broken leg wearing a shirt featuring Jesus smoking a cigarette.

As we walked into the club, I noticed Crowbar singer and Charles Addams cartoon character Kirk Windstein standing about 15 feet away from me.  I have always loved Crowbar and I thought strongly about getting a picture with him, but I had some concerns.  I had met Windstedt once before in Albany, New York when they were opening for Sacred Reich in the mid-90s.  Our brief meeting took place as we stood next to each other at a urinal before their band went on.  I excitedly stammered, “YOU’RE The GUY from CROWBAR!!!!!”  Windstein silently looked straight ahead at the wall and tried to escape my glowing gaze.  When I reached my hand out to try to pat him on the back, he sprinted out of the restroom with a terrified look on his face.  It was a highly awkward moment that I had repeated over and over in my mind for the last 15 years.  Out of sheer concern he might have remembered my poorly timed outburst, I put my head down and kept walking.

I was horribly bored standing in the audience before the set.  The thing you forget about shows when you are not there is the pure tedium between bands.  Standing on your left foot, then your right, smelling the guy next to you who hasn’t washed his Watain shirt in about five concerts, watching the one lonely guy in the Incantation shirt pace and talk to himself, randomly thinking about how your 401K performed last week.  You get a brief rush when the guitar tech comes out to check the levels, then, nothing.  Ten more minutes of overhearing conversations about what the real meaning of Black Metal is.  Sheer mind-numbing misery.

Pelle The Conquerer

All of a sudden, I felt my head snap backwards.  In a wild rush of incense and power, In Solitude appeared on stage and launched into a violently surging version of “The World, The Flesh, The Devil”.  Adrenaline shot through my veins.  My pulse went from a calm, resting 60 to an unrestrained, thumping 180 in a fleeting span of seconds.  I felt like a had been sleeping in the middle of a highway and raised my head up only to see an 18 wheel tractor trailer bearing down on me.  IT had begun.

The way they started out was pure magic.  The first thing you notice about In Solitude is presence.  Some bands act like they plan to spend the entire show apologizing to you for being up there.  Other bands act like they completely and unquestionably belong where they are.  They command your attention and hold it unreservedly for the duration of their set.  In Solitude falls squarely into the latter camp.  They are there for a reason and you WILL understand that reason before they are finished.  The stage was simply too small for them.  They were hooked uncompromisingly into the Master Cylinder, bringing a message that transcended all other thoughts and ideas that had existed in me up till the moment of their arrival.  They demanded complete and total connection and, with their every action, settled for nothing less.

Their set covered most of the critical material from their two albums.  The crowd, which was clearly more inclined to listen to slow, lurching southern metal riffs, was won over by the third song.  Wild-eyed singer Pelle “Hornper” Ahman managed to work the crowd into a bloodthirsty frenzy through a series of high-pitched shrieks and animalistic antics that ran the gamut from spasmodically shaking his thin frame to ramming the microphone into his head.  The only thing I could possibly compare his energy level to are the few live recordings I’ve seen of Paul Di’Anno fronting Iron Maiden at The Ruskin Arms around the time Killers was out.  Ahman simply hemorrhages sweat and intensity to the point where you are concerned for his well-being.  By the time Down front man and metal legend Phil Anselmo strode out on stage in a Ghost shirt to bellow a few bars of “To Her Darkness” with the band, their was no doubt that this was an act on the precipice of greatness.

Anselmo Tears It Up

There is simply something unique and memorable about In Solitude.  They are cut out for greater things.  Even my wife, who finds the B-52s to be a bit on the heavy side, seemed deeply impressed with how they carried it.  We witnessed something arrestingly powerful last night at The Masquerade and everyone there knew it.  The performance seemed to be part of an elaborate first act in a career that will have a lot to say about the direction metal music is going in.

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