Music

I was going to write something about Valentine’s Day, but then I realized I don’t care about it at all. So instead, I’m going to talk about music for a bit.

Music is a big part of people’s lives. It doesn’t matter if you’re a casual fan, a fucking addict, or somebody who really isn’t into it at all. It’s everywhere. It’s on your television, in your car, and in nearly every building you’ll ever enter in your life. It’s even outside, blasting out of other people’s cars and stores. It’s all around us, and we can’t escape.

Not that most of us would, even if we could. We love music. I know I do. It’s a massive part of my life. It’s shaped certain aspects of me, connected me with people I probably wouldn’t have ever met otherwise, and is just generally fun.

I don’t want to focus on the negative aspects of music here, so I won’t. I’ll just say this: we all dislike certain genres of music/artists. And that’s fine. Nobody loves everything. I would just advise being open to new music, even if you have misgivings. You might be surprised.

Now, on with regularly scheduled programming.

For me, metal is the genre that drives my musical tastes. And yes, I’m being purposely vague there. Metal. Not any specific genre. There are just too many, and I don’t have the patience or the knowledge to name them all. So unless otherwise indicated, I will refer to it all simply as ‘metal’.

My favourite band, the band that has been my favourite for a lot of years now, is Pantera. I love Pantera. I love their music, I love their lyrics, I love their attitude, I love Phil’s voice. To me, they are the embodiment of metal music. If I could only listen to one band for the rest of my life, it would be Pantera. They were the first metal band I really got into, and I will listen to them until the day I die.

From Pantera, it was only logical I started to branch out a bit. Some of the big names immediately come to mind. Slayer, Megadeth, Metallica, Anthrax: bands who are similar in spirit to Pantera, if not in style. Slayer quickly became one of my favourites as well. Violent, chaotic, and not just the incoherent noise too many people seem to think they are.

It took me a little longer to get into Megadeth. At this exact moment, I would rank them third or fourth on my list of favourite bands, but at the beginning, I just couldn’t get into them. I’m not sure why. Maybe I listened to the wrong songs; maybe I didn’t listen to enough. Who can say? But now, I fucking love them. Dave Mustaine is one of the best guitar players in the world, and unlike some people, I think his voice is awesome. Perfect for what metal is.

In what may be a surprise to some people, I can honestly say I’m not a big Metallica fan. Ironic, I know. They are the biggest metal band of all time. There can be no argument. But I just don’t really like them all that much. I like some of their songs, to be sure; For Whom the Bell Tolls, Master of Puppets, Battery, Welcome Home (Sanitarium). I really enjoy those songs. But on the whole, I’ve never been able to get into them nearly as much as other bands.

I think, if I could really pin down my specific favourite type of music, thrash metal would be it. The attitude that comes with the whole genre appeals to me, on many different levels. But with the way bands sway from genre to genre with ease, the way elements from a multitude of genres bleed into each other, it’s difficult to keep it that simple.

From Pantera and Slayer, and even Metallica, I branched out further. Speed metal, death metal, groove metal, metalcore, even nu-metal; I listened (and still listen) to it all.

Motorhead, Death, Testament, Exodus, Exhorder, Kreator, Venom, All That Remains, Killswitch Engage, Slipknot, Black Label Society, Five Finger Death Punch, Machine Head, Hellyeah, Down, Superjoint Ritual, Avenged Sevenfold, Mudvayne, Stone Sour.

That’s a list of some of my favourite bands. They cover a lot of time, a lot of different periods. What metal is, the very definition of what it is has changed a Hell of a lot during the life of some of those bands. They are all very different; some will argue that some of them aren’t even metal. And that’s a fair judgment, in my mind. To some people, metal has a very specific definition, and some of the bands I listed just don’t fit.

To me, all of those bands have elements of metal, and that makes them metal. Stone Sour is more hard rock than metal, but they still have a certain attitude that I’ve always associated with metal. So that’s where I categorize them. Same with Avenged Sevenfold, Mudvayne, Slipknot, Killswitch, and All That Remains. It’s very easy to scoff at “nu-metal” or “metalcore”. But it’s still metal. Just a different kind.

There’s almost an expectation that comes with listening to a certain genre. If you listen to metal, you’re a metalhead. And if other metalheads find out you listen to a band they don’t consider metal, or is from a totally different genre, they’re more likely to look down on you than accept you. It’s horseshit, in my opinion. I don’t give a fuck what people listen to; if I like them, I like them. That’s it.

But that’s not enough for a lot of people. I have no problem with someone who has a well thought out reason for why they don’t believe a band fits in a certain genre, or why they don’t like a band. But it more often than not turns into “they suck, that’s why.” Everybody is entitled to their opinion, but I think that’s bullshit. If you can’t give me what I believe is a legit reason for why you don’t believe they are metal, then fuck you.

I don’t like Lamb of God. They are metal; there is no doubt there. But I don’t like them. Randy Blythe’s voice is not something I find pleasant. Their lyrics are not something I enjoy. And that is why I don’t like them. It doesn’t matter how much someone argues with me that they’re awesome; I will disagree.

I have a friend who is a metalhead and who does not like Pantera. And that’s fine. We get along well, because he doesn’t start every conversation with “Pantera sucks” or some variation of that. He is aware that I disagree with him, and yet we somehow manage to co-exist. We are, I think, in the minority. Music is a polarizing thing, and it’s easier to be around people who like the same shit as you. I think a lot of people would find it hard to like somebody who hates their favourite band, especially if they do like the same general type of music. Because that means they don’t just dislike the whole style; there’s something specific about the band you love that rubs them the wrong way. And yet we haven’t yet devolved to sending hate-filled emails to each other with hidden links to bands we know the other hates, just to be dicks to each other. Imagine that.

I’ve gotten away from what I was originally talking about. Sorry. I’m running out of inspiration here, so I think I’ll finish this up.

Like I said above, music is a part of all of us, whether we like it or not. It is involved with nearly every aspect of our lives. Couples have “their song”, there are lists all over the internet of the perfect music to listen to while doing this or that, people have certain major events in their life they immediately associate with a certain song. And that’s awesome.

I don’t have a point with this piece. Unlike my other pieces, which are long, rambling, and do have something of a message I’m trying to convey, this one is just about music. How much I love it, how much a fuckload of other people love it, and that’s about it.

So I’ll end on this. I love music. I love metal. I’m sure most of you love music too. And that’s it. This is a music appreciation post. As much as some aspects of music can pull us apart (different tastes, different levels of interest), the fact that there’s this thing that can bring us happiness, entertainment, and so much more is just something that should be fucking applauded.

Later.

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