I listen to a lot of metal. I listen to a lot of everything I tell myself, and sometimes that’s true. Sometimes, I’ll listen to some country, though only if im with my lady. Sometimes, ill bump ICP because fuck it why not, I live in the midwest now, and faygo is delicious and cheap. Sometimes I’ll even get down with some 80s inspired new retro wave or whatever you want to call the genre that that falls in.
Almost all day, every day at work though, whether via my DT770s or more commonly now, my chi-fi IEMs, I’m listening to metal of one subgenre or a nother off of YouTube or Apple and letting their over-invasive AI algorithms at least earn a look at all the personal data they siphon off of me every day.
Typically, what I’ll do is pick something I know I’ll like. LIke this morning, iw as driving into work and had a line from Blood Ceremony’s Olvier Haddo pop into my head and thus it was decided that that was what I was going to feed youtube and let it take me on a journey. I did that, but it quickly petered out when it started playing aerosmith (seriously wtf). Aerosmith is good music, but the transition direclty from slasher inspired witch metal sung by a soulful lady to Steven Tyler screeching dream on is more jarring than you would think.
Its in these dark times of what I can only describe as musical listeners block, that I’m forever greatful for the incredible brotherhood and community that forms around fans of metal. I’ll wax poetic about that at some later date, but for now, let me just say that one such micro-community that formed over a common bond of the desire to annihilate our eardrums together at an old job saved me from an entire day of re-listening to stuff that would fail to arouse even a slight reaction.
That community consisted entirely of a single slack chat that we set up when I left the company we all worked at so we could still talk about metal and shit. It was basically 3 guys who would post links to stuff they find. That day, one of those links was to Exmortus. RIP in peace, grandpas guitars.
I can’t believe I live in a time when i can start marathoning a bands entire discography the second one thing they’ve ever written gets its hooks in your ear. I started doing that, and went about my work, happy that I had something new and cool to listen to. About 2 hours in, the benevolent youtube gods had cycled me through 1 and a half of their albums. I was driving around coming back from lunch, and I had one of those moments where I remember why it is that I listen to metal more than any other music.
Theres no good way to describe what the exact feeling is that only metal so far has been able to reliably illicit. Its almost like a high, though not being one who ever experimented with many drugs, I cant say for sure. I think it may be something that you need to have some shared experiences to really grasp. Metal obviously overwhelmingly appeals to men, especially those who have felt like outcasts at some point or another in their lives. Or maybe those who have ever felt helpless or bullied or ostracized in any way. Its almost like when you hear a song of the glory of battle and meeting odin in valhalla, any shred of norse practicing ancestry you may have, or have adopted as your own anyway, starts to reach the surface. Your steering wheel becomes the handle of mjolnir and your grip tightens as the gods of metal bequeath a gift upon you.
When you lead a relatively bleak existense that consists of going to and from work, then being subject the demands of being an excellent provider and father you have placed on yourself in order to improve the lives of those you care most for, music like this can provide the momentary escape and feeling of triumph over impossible odds that you need to avoid driving straight into the semi going the opposite way in traffic.
Yeah, that’s right, listening to metal has probably saved my life on more than one occasion.
So here I am, sitting in work, and while im just some fat fuck sitting here writing software and this blog post, I’m also on a journey on a longship off the coast of midevil england about to go ashore and pillage my way to Valhalla.
Pretty sure this was the album in question: