Friday, February 12, 2010

Metal - My Old Friend

So I was 11, in the 6th grade, king of the school for the first time. I was slowly forging a musical identity, allowing myself to be influenced by just about everyone close to me (namely Rob Barton and Phil Abraham in this case). Rob was listening to Metallica, Phil to Pantera and Metallica. I wanted to listen to Metallica because my friends were, they listened because their brothers were. One weekend I was at Cherrybrook shops with my Mum and I got her buy me Metallica: Reload – I believe this was my first CD. Or was it Metallica: Ride the Lightning. Either way, I had both and enjoyed both fully, complete as albums (as best an 11 year old can). I remember lying on the floor of my bedroom listening to the crushing guitars, destructive drumming and loving it every minute of it. I’ve got to say I really loved Ride the Lightning, that album was and is one of the heaviest, catchy and most masterfully written albums I’ll ever hear.

After primary school came high school and with high school I lost my passion for metal for a few years, but in the 10th grade that all changed. Most teenagers use the music they love to define who they are to a degree, the term ‘Metalhead’ is a good example of this. To say you’re a Metalhead is really something, there is no mistaking what you mean – you listen to and you love METAL. In the 9th grade I had been watching CKY with Dean, there were some cool tracks on some of their videos (namely Puritania by Dimmu Borgir). So when I met Brendon Giles in year 10 it was a pretty big deal, he showed me some new bands that finally rekindled the flame and I fell in love once again. Soon enough I would consider myself a proud Metalhead.

Metal has some of the finest musicians you’ll ever hear if you allow yourself. There is a misconception that all the lyrics are gory and evil, this is not the case. Some bands are philosophical, and rather insightful, others are political, and then there are bands whose lyrics are so disgusting I take my hat off to them for being so creative. Rhapsody have created their own world, with its tales woven through their albums. There is even a band that have a song sung entirely in Black Speech - in fact there a many bands inspired by Tolkien in metal.

Lord Worm. Former vocalist for Cryptopsy, he is probably my favourite vokillist/lyricist. I was at this show.

Great lyrics are abundant in metal (though perhaps hard to understand). Psycroptic, Australia’s premier Technical Death Metal band has some nice work. A favourite passage of mine:

You awaken and you're shaken by the dim reality that
becomes you, and consumes your mind
That death is real and you will soon hold it in
An embrace so tight you can't let it go.
You want to believe in something higher...
Social derision...blindfolded vision...need for decision...
Nothings eternal...belief is infernal...your god is internal.
You may not exist soon so enjoy it while you can.

The thing is, these are just young guys like us penning their thoughts to music.

I’m always impressed by just how good some metal musicians are at playing their instruments. George Kollias from the Egyptian themed Death Metal band Nile plays the drums unlike anyone I’ve ever heard (I’ve seen him live… wow). George perfectly exemplifies the double bass drum rolls and the blast-beat drumming that gets my heart rate up. Watch the first two minutes for a taste: George Kollias. Guitar work can be equality as impressive, yet still being catchy (for some!). Check out this guy playing the bass section from song called Finite, the band is Origin (I think the real bassist for the band uses/used a fretless bass) : Origin – Finite: Bass .

These days I only listen to a metal album once every few weeks and I don’t seek out new material. I get the feeling that in time I’ll fall in love again.

To finish this off I’d like to post a track by Metallica off their 1984 album, Ride the Lightning. In fact I’m going to post the title track. It’s a vivid story of a being put to death in the electric chair. Although there aren’t that many words for a 6 + minute song, they truly are some of the most well written lyrics I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. The song is heavy as fuck too.

- Dogman


  1. Holy shit that bass player was insane. im glad vienna circus isnt a metal band.

    Cool article btw

  2. awesome, how good are those Psycroptic lyrics! Great article, so much passion

  3. what the cunt is that bass!

  4. Nice article - some cool Hamish background information

  5. Awesome article. Well written and the experience you write about shows your metal spirit! Doesn't always have to be the music that is the spirit. It's the attitude and outlook that gives someone a metal spirit. Beethoven and Mozart had it...
    I enjoyed the read... Thanks mate!