So this week (and possibly for some time to come) I’m trying to take a break from my usual soul-searching and complaining about my current struggles in favor of thinking about some stuff I like. The first of these things is something that permeates me life to such an extent I hardly think about it a lot of the time. But what is this that is to me as a spice is to the navigators from Dune?–Music, more specifically heavy metal and hard rock
When I first began really listening to music it belonged to my, brother and I suppose could be categorized as emo stuff, songs teens who felt like strangers seemed to gravitate toward. Mixed in with the soft rock and angst-rock I found a couple of songs by Metallica–“Enter Sandman” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. I remembered the name from somewhere, and I didn’t see why not so I gave them a try. A few listens… then a few more. I liked them. I liked them quite a bit. Honestly, there is something in the heavy and grim so that even then all the teen angst in the world couldn’t compare. I didn’t stop at the Metallica though. In fact, being the inquisitive sort I set out to find the other names I remembered hearing alongside the sound of those dark guitars and heavy drums.
At first it was just the metal where I could understand the vocals–Classics like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, as well as newer bands like Dream Theater and Silent Force… the list goes on and on. Over the years my interest in the genres of the heavy music went on expanding. Eventually I even took a liking to stuff I never thought I’d like, in the form of death metal bands like Opeth and black metal like Amorphis. Many of these bands led to others and the rabbit hole just kept going.
My nerd proclivities led me through Ayreon’s “Human Equation” album to a particular vocalist–Canada’s Devin Townsend, and the various bands he’d been in beyond that one sidegig I’d first heard him screaming on. He’s now one of my favorite vocalists, a guy who can sing or scream and it can be hard to predict what he’ll do next–That and his story of getting clean of drugs after so many years as a fundamentally addicted rocker-type person, and how he went on making music, really grabbed me. In my opinion he only keeps getting better, but I’m sure his challenges didn’t just go away, and new problems keep cropping up I’m sure. It’s funny how much I love self-improvement stories. Even my favorite metal artist has one.
At a risk of taking too much from this, I think this is a core aspect of human nature. Everyone has challenges to confront, and if we really try, we can change ourselves.
As a final note in respect to the date of this posting, I’d like to say that the incident on 9/11/2001 was and is a terrible thing. But the principle that two wrongs don’t make a right seems sound in this case.