Tuesday, 12 April 2011

My Metal Musings

I love music and more specifically I love different types of music.  I am not ashamed to admit to having days where a little pop or indie rock can perfectly quench my thirst for musical gratification.  My musical tastes have been developing over a number of years and, as with many things, the people you spend the most time with are the people who influence you greatly.  I admitted defeat some time ago and started to listen to Doozr's music collection.  It was always a long standing joke within our circle of friends about the weird and obscure bands that he went to see, when no one really took the time to find out anything about them.  Let me tell you though, there are some really amazing artists on his iPod and I have been happily experiencing those and branching out to find my own too.

So yes, you could say I am a metal newbie.  I wouldn't say that I didn't like metal before, but I only listened to those 'commercial' metal bands that made it into the popular charts (in the UK that is very limited).  The likes of Linkin Park, Evanescence, Def Leppard, Metallica and so on.  Discovering a host of metal sub-genres and finding out how utterly amazing they are has been a voyage of discovery and I have no intention of stopping any time soon.

I spent some time today reading up on the various sub-genres that exist under the metal umbrella and was amazed and surprised at how many bands I like that fall into so many of them.  Gothic Metal is without a doubt my favourite it seems with numerous bands such as Epica, Within Temptation, Delain, Lacuna Coil, Nightwish, Theatre of Tragedy, Lunatica, Unsun and ReVamp featuring heavily in my most played lists.

I even have to admit to liking a bit of Metal Core apparently; Bullet For My Valentine's recent album Fever has been heavily played and very much enjoyed.

Arch Enemy
What has surprised me more than the Metal Core though is the fact that I also like bands in sub-genres such as Death Metal (Arch Enemy, Dark Tranquility and Opeth for example).  I like a lot of Folk Metal (Agalloch and Sheffield's own Northern Oak).  I like some Progressive Metal (Devin Townsend Band and Wolverine) and of course the traditional Heavy Metal bands (Avenged Sevenfold, Iron Maiden and Def Leppard).  Three years ago I had no idea so many sub-genres existed let alone taken a listen.

In some ways it feels a shame that so many of these bands will never make it into the mainstream and will continue to be an underground phenomenon.  I wish I had come across these bands years ago though and wonder how I would have discovered them without a guiding hand from someone who had already discovered them himself.

Avenged Sevenfold
Saying that though, mainstream success would probably ruin what makes metal so undeniably awesome.  The knowledge that the artists are performing and recording because of their love of music and not for the fame and fortune that appears to be the driving force behind so many 'popular' artists these days.  I think some bands who happen to make it into the mainstream can sometimes be ridiculed by more hardcore metal heads but I have no qualms in listening to and enjoying a bands music no matter where they fit into the hierarchy of musical popularity.  If I like it, I like it.  End of story.

The metal culture appeals to me because of the level of tolerance and acceptance I feel within it.  Gigs are the most civilised I have ever been to and although I was a little apprehensive at the first metal gig I went to, I had no reason to be.  Everyone is there for the music.  Not to throw beer, push people about or keep pushing past you while they pop to the toilet.  They are just there to listen to the band and soak it all up.  Some are there to jump about in the mosh pit, but they do that 'in' the mosh pit and not at random intervals throughout the rest of the crowd.

Evil Scarecrow
Life is pretty hectic a lot of the time but I do try to go to at least one metal gig a month.  This month is a bit of a metalfest for us.  We are seeing Delain in Manchester and Northern Oak, Sanctorum and Evil Scarecrow in Worksop.  August will see me heading to not only my first metal festival, but my first festival ever.  I have wanted to go to Bloodstock for about 2 years now and this year we are finally heading down there for what is shaping up to be an awesome lineup.

Metal has become such a big part of my life it is hard to remember a time when I didn't listen to it.  I am constantly thinking about where I can find new bands, where I can find news and updates on new releases or upcoming gigs or I'm busy finding topics to write about for here or for the wonderful TheMixEclectic.  I've found where I belong and here is where I intend to remain.