Monday, November 01, 2010

My Metal History, Part 5: From the Bar Exam to the Present

After law school, I took the bar exam and went a period of about half a year before I got a job. With only one income, a child arriving about halfway into this period, and little outside contact, I got very little new music.

From the bar exam until I got my first real job, I got exactly five new albums (and one of them was blues instead of metal). And in the thirteen months I was at that job, I got zero. That's right, zero.

It wasn't as if I stopped listening to music, though. In the car, I listened to what I had on my iPod. And at work, when I wasn't on the phones or at court, I listened to Internet radio. Kink Aardschok, ChroniX Aggression, and Dark Cloud Radio were about the best I could do, but it was better than nothing. At this time I heard Kingdom of Sorrow's "Grieve a Lifetime" a lot, but that's all I really remember hearing on those stations. Needless to say, at this time I was very busy in my life, and not only my music but also my photography took a back seat to marriage, new home ownership, and raising a baby.

But when I got my current job in the fall of 2008, things changed.

We can't stream music, for bandwidth reasons, but I soon discovered that around a third to half the people there listen to headphones most or all of the day. I quickly became one of them, and started picking up on the things that I missed, like Death Magnetic, Watershed, and ObZen. I got back to looking up things based on music reviews, and found Dååth, Isis, Satyricon, and Suffocation in this way.

In the fall of 2008, I was eating with some work acquaintances, and somebody mentioned something about rap. I expressed my disgust, and then told them the thing to listen to is Swedish death metal. They were surprised that's my preference.

I distinctly remember coming home from work one day in early 2009. While listening to Souls to Deny, everything about it just clicked for me. From that moment on, I've been a pure death metaller.

I also started listening to podcasts, especially The Metalcast. On one episode, they played Nevermore, and I distinctly remember the thought occurring to me that this was the best possible way to discover new metal. I continue to be a loyal listener, and it's exposed me to many different metal styles and bands.

For several months, about half the albums I would get were death, with emphasis on technical death like Nile and Necrophagist. I also started listening to more progressive or technical metal (e.g. Extol, Believer), avant-garde metal (e.g. Diablo Swing Orchestra, Psyopus) and others.

It wasn't until late 2009 and Lo-Ruhamah that I really started to understand black metal, and I've been into it ever since.

After that, I started blogging again, so most of the rest of my musical evolution is already documented on this site. In March 2010 I started to finally discover the metal press (Decibel/Terrorizer) and what they contribute (as well as their shortcomings). I've become more knowledgeable and more open to other metal styles, and currently doom is a favorite. I still consider myself a death metaller at heart, but black metal seems to be coming out with a lot more interesting stuff while death has been mostly stale. It will make a resurgence, but it won't be in the form of deathcore. It will be more like Gojira.

I've started to lose interest in much of the mainstream metal and hard rock that got me into the genre in the first place.

I've started wearing metal shirts again, and I have shirts of Metal Blade, Relapse, and Lair of the Minotaur. I also have posters and cut-out magazine pages up in my workplace, from Mastodon, Ihsahn, Watain, Dio, Black Sabbath, and Cynic. I don't think anyone will be surprised to find out my musical taste again.

That brings us up to today, and the end of this series. Keep coming back to the site for more, as it happens.


  1. These were a fun read. It was so long ago but the Headbangers Ball in the late 80's was my gateway to everything I listen to now. It was from Guns N Roses and Dokken to Iron Maiden & Megadeth to Kreator & Slayer to Morbid Angel & Entombed to Mayhem and Emperor and beyond. I was lucky as I had a bunch of friends that also were into the same stuff and we were always trying to find the next band that was even heavier than before. The expansion of metal during that time was unbelievable and I only now know how lucky I was to be around as it was being released. Although there are tons of great bands around now, not sure there are great movements like there were in the 80's and 90's. That worries me a bit about the future of metal...but probably a different topic.

    1. I'm glad you liked it. I find it's good to hear how people got into metal. It always used to be that all the stories were either "I heard this mainstream band and that started me on a path" or "I was a punk and gradually got into metal." Lately I've heard a few stories of "I was really into prog rock but then found Opeth because of Steve Wilson." That's really weird to me.

      There's not much I'd change about my history with metal, although it was a lot tougher to know what was good before the Internet became what it is.

  2. The internet era has brought a deluge of music, and I almost think it's more work to wade through it all. The ability to preview music on something like youtube is great though. Yet some of the mystery of opening a CD and not knowing what you are going to get is almost gone. I will still every once in awhile make a blind purchase like that...sometimes I win, sometimes not.

    1. Many have written on the topic, and most have mixed feelings.