I've talked much on here about my love for heavy metal, a love that's actually even greater for my love of video games. See, I've played video games since the late 80's nonstop, and I guess it IS my main hobby. However heavy metal is the hobby I'm most passionate about. I grew up in a family that was heavily into hard rock and heavy metal, so I've been exposed to it all my life.
I wasn't like most younger kids coming into school that were listening to pop music and stuff like Huey Lewis (Though I love his stuff anyway) or Madonna. I was the kid listening to Kiss, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Guns N' Roses. Music was constantly in my house, my dad had and still has a killer sound system and a huge library. Some of my best memories of my childhood involve sharing music with my dad in fact. (Something I still try to do.)
Like most teens I had my dark phase, call it emo or goth if you will. I was in a funk though. I had a string of shitty relationships, was bullied at school and genuinely felt pretty worthless as a whole. I was flunking out of school, took up shoplifting and was constantly getting into fist fights. (I had been taught early in life how to defend myself properly, but unfortunately never really taught much discipline along with it.) At that point in time things weren't great at home either. My dad had an alcohol problem (Which he did manage to fix, and to this day hasn't fallen back into) and him and I got into a lot of arguments, sometimes VERY heated ones and I'd usually storm off and lock myself into my shitty room and listen to music on my portable CD player.
It became cathartic, and in my worst of times when I seriously contemplayed suicide it was the music, the metal that soothed me and what I used to make myself quit thinking like an idiot and put my head back on straight with. A large part of it has to go to Metallica. A band I don't even care for these days, but back then I had their first three albums and would play them on repeat. They single handedly introduced me to thrash metal. Later I got into bands like Testament, Megadeth, Overkill, etc. That stuff seriously pulled my head out from my own ass. It was a major turning point for me in life. As cliche as it is, it literally opened my eyes to life. I quit moping, stopped feeling like I'd been dealt the shittiest hand in the history of teenagers and it changed my entire lifestyle.
I started to play guitar and met a few likeminded guys at school who got me into more and more heavy metal. One fellow in general was the poster child of a thrash metal band's wildchild mascot. His name was Jared, he wore his patch jacket to school, wore a pony tail, smoked cigarettes and weed, drank like a fish and also introduced me to atheism, which at the time seemed so taboo...lol. The dude didn't give a shit about anything above having a good time. I skipped school with him often to go check out new music. But what really made him special was he had a car and a lot of connections to local concert venues. That dude took me to see not only my first real heavy metal show, but many, many more too. We saw so many bands that within a year I'd seen more heavy metal concerts than both of my parents combined.
Seriously, we went to about every decent metal show for 2-3 years straight that came to my town, which was a lot at the time. I was introduced to new genres, death metal, melodic death metal, black metal, power metal and grindcore. Saw some truly legendary bands during this time like Nile, Strapping Young Lad, Dark Tranquillity, Napalm Death, Cannibal Corpse, Dimmu Borgir, Immortal, Manowar, Hammerfall, etc.
It started a lifestyle that to this day I still live. An addiction to the raw thrill of a metal show. I still hop around my tristate area when I can secure a babysitter to see tons of shows year after year. The feeling of being accepted as part of something bigger than you, with zero judgement. That's what a metal show feels like and I still love that feeling. We're all there for the same reason, to enjoy some heavy fucking metal. And the tshirts, I collect metal shirts from concerts, especially good ones with tour dates printed on them. 90% of my wardrobe consists of heavy metal tees, lol.
But because of that breakaway into the metal scene I kind of opened my shell. I wasn't quite as shy anymore in public, I no longer gave a shit what my peers thought about me, in a good way. I made a lot of friends in those years and was constantly expanding my knowledge of music. Life wasn't so bad anymore, in fact it got a lot better, I kind of just felt like I had something to hold onto.
Fast forward to being 19 I met a girl named Christine, first impressions of her, short red hair, big tits, facial piercings and a cool frog tattoo on her shoulder. We clicked easily. We became friends, and went to a local metal show together when she found out I was into heavy metal. Later that night after taking her home I was chatting with her on AOL Instant Messenger (LOL) and she asked me out officially. Over 12 years into the future from this point to present day, she's my wife and the mother of my children. I got with my wife through deciding to see a local metal show (the bands were shitty to be honest)...so metal kind of even worked for me in that way. She's still my regular concert buddy. Her favorite genre? Power Metal, which I introduced her to in our teens with bands like Blind Guardian, Falconer, Edguy, Avantasia, Kamelot and Sonata Arctica.
At this point in life I enjoy almost nothing more than being able to sit down and talk shop about heavy metal with people. Which is kind of what spawned this blog, the Dragonforce article on here today. My son recently turned 3 and I've been actively working to turn him into a metalhead. It's cute as hell to watch him jam out and he seems to have an already serious passion for music. Whails on a kiddy drumset like it's his job too.
So yeah...just wanted to sing the praises of heavy metal today. Let's talk shop!
It needs to be listed her, as I love metal and an OCD habit in my loves making lists too...so here some statistical metal lists from Xeo.
Arch Enemy (Oldschool, with Johan Liiva on vocals.)
Demons and Wizards
At the Gates
Favorite Non-Metal Bands:
Guns N' Roses
Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Rolling Stones
Probably forgot some, but fuck it, it can be edited later.