Metal Mashup 2: Al Son del Bodom Beach Boom (Children of Bodom vs. Daddy Yankee)

This is an interesting mix of some classic melodic thrashy death metal with rrrreggaeton!
Children of Bodom – Bodom Beach Terror
Daddy Yankee feat. Miguelito – Al Son Del Boom (El Heredero)

[audio:http://blog.writenothing.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/01-al-son-del-bodom-beach-boom-daddy-yankee-vs-children-of-bodom.mp3]

Download MP3 here Creative Commons License
Al Son del Bodom Beach Boom by Alex Yule is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

Note that this is still a work in progress, just created it and looking for feedback on how it fits together, but most importantly how to mix/eq to bring out the parts better (so far my only real edits besides slicing have been a volume envelope that changes throughout the song). But its definitely 90% there — a ‘rough cut’, since most of the actual mashing is done.

Another thought would be to redo the mashup using the acapella of Al Son Del Boom, but I think the drums are already minimal enough to work, and in certain parts they add a lot to the song. And it would be a huge pain in the arse.

Please let me know what you think! Can’t get better otherwise…Al Son del Bodom Beach Boom

Foucault is METAL

A  hilarious bit from a conversation with a friend about Foucault being a badass and post-modernism (whatever that is):

Jack: I like postmodernism, but I usually take the radical end out and think it terms of history

me: history?
Jack: Yeah
9:03 PM Postmodernism thinks it has found the tr00 chaos underlying all things
It’s REALITY!
REALITY MOTHAFUCKAS
me: haha sounds like Nietsche

have you read the birth of tragedy?
Jack: I don’t do that
me: the nietzche thing is all about using dionysus as a metaphor for tr00 chaos
Jack: Hahah
Yeah, sounds like the Neech
me: and he claims the greeks weren’t really peaceful or stoic attall
but actually kinda fucked up
9:05 PM Jack: Hahah
me: but we looove our Appolonian boxes
after all, anything that touches the Dionysic void is destroyed
pretty fucking metal


And the real gem:
Jack channeling Foucault pwning someone in a conversation. Any conversation.
9:13 PM “Actually, as we discuss what we’re seeing is that we can only travel back and forth between mediational abstractions created by discourses of power that conflict with one another and make your reality FUCKED!”
Yes Foxy, but
FUCKED I SAY
But
DISCOURSE OF POWER

Continue reading “Foucault is METAL”

Inner Peace Through Metal [Revisited]

Black is the night, metal we fight
Power amps set to explode
Energy screams, magic and dreams
Satan records the first note.
–VENOM, “Black Metal”(Black Metal, 1982)

When metal is viewed from the outside, the observer first sees its titanic rage. The music is so powerful that it is difficult to get past this quick interpretation… [note]Harris M. Berger. Metal, Rock and Jazz: Perception and the Phenomenology of Musical Experience. Hanover: Wesleyan University Press (1999), p291.[/note]

Some have eyes but still can’t see
Their plastic noise is anything but music to me
Mechanized and computerized
Switch off your brain and make sounds that dehumanize.
–KREATOR, “Love Us or Hate Us”(Extreme Aggressions, 1989)

* * *

A Guitar tech tests a majestically evil-looking guitar while the crowd mills about, postures awkwardly, cheering as the nondescript man plays some scales. The venue is small. Dingy would not be an understatement, and we can feel that we are in gritty Worcester, Massachusetts[note]The heart of the Industrial Revolution. Local companies were known for developing: process to extrude steel wire (see: the American West and World War I); the monkey wrench; the first envelope folding machine, and two textile loom manufacturers.[/note]

* * *

It all began some time between the third and fifth grades with the Smashing Pumpkins’, Tonight, Tonight; I was enraptured. And so I did the next logical thing: after having heard one song on MTV I went out and bought the entire double album… Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. I did not understood the title. I couldn’t have… Can one be an angsty 4th grader? Was I weighed down by weariness, my heart heavy with the troubles of the world? What about this melancholic, harsh music appealed to me, not even in my expectedly (clichéd-ly) dark teenage years? Looking back, there is no process to extract meaning from the music. We use our logic and cause-and-effect to posit how I must have felt, what the music would have elicited. The angst seems impossible to miss when you hear the music. I quickly realized I had struck gold; “Tonight Tonight” was just a warmup, quite an epic one at that, but still–very much still a warmup for the main event: the buzz-sawing Zero; the crushingly distorted Bodies; Bullet With Butterfly Wings, with its hilarious chorus, “Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage”.

The social waters chilled as I unwittingly alienated myself from peers with exuberant Attention Deficit-fueled abandon. I didn’t inspire active, aggressive animosity; just a general distancing and idle, abrasive needling, teasing.

I was the fastest kid in school. We played touch football every day at recess, and I’d run for the hail mary, churning past the helpless defense. This was before puberty passed me by but took everyone else with it, leaving me small and irrelevant. I had a classic crush on a girl in my class named Claire.

The boys I played football with had figured out my little secret and so, naturally, they felt it appropriate to use this information for their own enjoyment.We were walking out to the football field one afternoon; the teasing banter continued to rain. I’d accepted futility of defending myself, and so tried instead to ignore.

I am my father’s son, and my mother’s father’s grandson; our blood boils hot and boils fast.

* * *

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.[note]T.S. Elliot, “Burnt Norton,” No. 1 of Four Quartets. Published online by Tristan Fecit, at http://www.tristan.icom43.net/quartets/norton.html (June, 2000)[/note]

* * *

Time blurs; I see myself struggling with forces I do not—can not, will never—comprehend. Turn and face the cackling jokester, watching the last flippant jibe float off his lips into the air between us.

He was down, us both
Reeling, my world
Distilled into edged clarity, a cooling breeze across my neck.

One fist clenched to the gut, as I
Watched; spectator to my own
Actions.

I offered him my hand, and he took it; we exchanged looks of mutual disbelief. Maybe I apologized; told him ruefully that he did ask for it, didn’t he.

* * *

Most adolescents begin to break down the ‘fourth wall’ in their teenage years. Humans are nicely equipped with tools for navigating the social landscape. People like me, with AD/HD, are a bit behind. We get there eventually, I’m told; even now, at twenty-two, I only have carefree interactions with a select few.

* * *

There are several major rock stations that are receivable over Frequency Modulated, full Stereo radio broadcast in the Greater Boston Area. Each tries desperately to define itself as THE DEFINITIVE SOURCE OF ROCK!!! in the area, no matter how similar their mindless blathering DJ’s, or commercialized programming.

[T]he politics of music is grounded in the consequentiality of that music for the lives of the participants and other members of their society, and that that consequentiality is always mediated through the participants’ experiences [note]Berger, 1999. p 301, note 11[/note]

There is no metal radio in Boston. Yet the metal scene is far from dead in Boston’s rougher blue-collar ex-urbs. The western cities of Worcester and Springfield are world-famous for their propensity to churn out solid metal.

[M]ost scholars of metal have interpreted the music as an expression of the frustrations of the blue-collar young in a de-industrializing society that neither requires their labour nor values their presence.[note]Berger, 1999. p169.[/note]

So I moved on to a private mini-prep-middle-school (the only school that could keep my ADD ass in line), a climate where working-class music like metal is alien and strange. So I spent those years listening in isolation to crappy alternative rock/Hard Rock radio.

* * *

A fan: [S]ince heavy metal is set apart from the mainstream, it can be a powerful vehicle for those who feel socially marginalized. From the actual sound of the music, to the lyrics, to the attitude of bands and fans, many of life’s oppressive forces are confronted, from the concrete figures of political and social authority, to organized religion, and then on to more abstract concepts—isolation, fear, violence, death. The theatrical and over-the-top posturing of being “brutal”and “extreme”may be laughable sometimes, especially to those outside the genre, but I think that confronting these negative powers, one CAN have a better sense of how to handle them and to be more independent.

I made the transition from dabbling in distorted guitars to immersion in mainstream hard-rock—and eventually, to full-blown heavy metal— during middle school.

Middle school was a stinking sulfurous hell on earth. A bastion of privilege, entitlement and pestilent wealth. And fucking asshole bullies.

And now I was small; I’d gone from 75 percentile to 25 percentile in both height and weight, and into a world where it mattered more than ever.

By 8th grade, I found myself with one real friend, and more than one enemy whose favorite pastime was to remind me of just how many friends I didn’t have. They were bigger than me, so no quick punch to the gut was going to solve anything.From punk (Offspring) and grunge (Nirvana) to hybrid grooving nü-metal (Sevendust) and gothic industrial (Marilyn Manson), my music darkened with each passing year.

* * *

It was my first real experience in romance, at summer camp the summer before 9th grade. Me and this girl’d been going out for about a week, I’d just been informed of the ending of our little arrangement by one of her friends. Devastated, I returned solemnly to my bunk, crawled in bed shoes clothes ‘n all, and turned up the Marilyn Manson (c’mon, it was the closest I had!). My friend stopped by and asked if I was alright. I said sure and he left. I laughed out loud, sardonically, to myself. Of course I’m not ok, I’m lying in bed, clothed, in an empty bunk, at 7pm, and listening to Marilyn Manson…

* * *

The next year at camp METAL, as I know it today, anticlimactically entered my orbit. There was an animal magnetism to these harsh, strange sounds; from the grim solemnity of growling death metal, to the epic and fantastic bombast of its cheerful cousin, Power Metal.

Jesper was 16, I was 14. When you’re 14, 2 years 5% more of your life than it would be to me now, at 22. Jesper was from a band called In Flames, from Sweden, what I now know to be the second most metal country in the world. He had long dark brown hair and a dry, caustic sense of humor. He owned a stunning guitar: a red Gibson SG. Jesper started a band and recorded a song with them. I tagged along and gained my eventual nickname, “roadie.”

The next summer Jesper showed up with a CD and a story. The opening song on the CD, was their song in a strange new form. Gone were the clean luke-warm vocals and mellow interludes. The guitars were thicker, harsher, and the only voice I could hear was all but demonic. Of course he had used the same main riff from the song he recorded the previous summer. There he was in the liner notes, Jesper Strömblad. But the picture didn’t quite fit. The Jesper Strömblad in the liner notes had long blonde hair and was… a different person. Our Jesper told us about the strict Swedish laws — that prohibited minors from publishing music, thus forcing the band to use a stand-in for the photos (and live shows? So he could goto school or something?). In any event, it’s unlikely I believed him then. I believed parts. I wanted to believe. I also don’t remember when, exactly, the illusion dissolved and he shed the identity of Jesper, but at some point he resumed his identity. But never lost that aura.

* * *

The crowd is filled with an unusual assortment of people. They are mostly men, and mostly white. The air is thick with the dropped R’s of anti-suburbia. Some have girlfriends or wives by their sides. The whiteness of the crowd is accentuated by the blackness of their attire: black shirts, black jeans, black jackets, long black hair. There are a few latinos, and one black man.

Maybe.

If he is there, people come up to him with curiosity and congratulations for upending the stereotypes of those who revel in subverting stereotypes (yet never really escape them).

* * *

While it is not clear to me if the motivating power of death metal is generating a vanguard of energetic youth or drawing artistic and creative young people into a trap of naive individualism, I believe that the political significance of musical sound is rooted in the meanings that the participants constitute and the consequences of those meanings for the participants’ lives and the larger society.[note]Harris M Berger, “Death Metal Tonality and the Act of Listening,”Popular Music 18, no. 2 (May 1999), p175. (Emphasis Added)[/note]

* * *

10 more minutes of standing, shuffling for a better spot, and fighting valiantly to protect the spots that are already had. A restless whisper rises throughout the room, it is not clear where it starts, or to what it refers. The stage is now dark. Necks crane and eyes strain to make sense of the fresh, shifting darkness. The shapes on stage begin to congeal into outlines, and the murmur of the crowd grows louder.

The music begins with a soft, symphonic scape of oscillating synthetic tones. The darkly peaceful chords weigh down on the restless bodies, which grow quiet.

tss… tss… ts ts ts tsh

* * *

Not merely a continuous stream, our experiences of the possibilities of the near future and the certainties of the immediate past exist simultaneously with the experienced events of the hair’s present… This living present is the temporal window of the phenomenal world, the arena within which… experiences exist for us as numerous facets synthesised together, dynamic gestalts moving from protention to retention.[note]Harris M Berger, “Death Metal Tonality and the Act of Listening,”Popular Music 18, no. 2 (May 1999), p168. (Emphasis Added). are referred to as protentions, and experiences that have just passed through the now-point are referred to as retentions. Within this living present[/note]

* * *

six taps of a hi-hat later, the destruction begins.

* * *

Metal. I can qualify it endlessly: Death, Black, Power, Progressive, Avant Garde, Symphonic, Viking, Doom, Folk, Nü, NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal), Pagan, Christian, Shred, Neo-Classical. It becomes absurd if it wasn’t already.
What remains when the modifiers are removed?In my current context, one where metal is an extremely strange and alien concept, most of the people with whom I interact don’t see much of that emotional core. Finding out that I <3 metal can come as a bit of a shock for those who don’t already know a bit about me. But we all have our ways to excise the demons the world inspires within us. So I wonder, is that all this music serves to do? Does my love for metal extend beyond the realms of negativity?

* * *

Alexi Laiho, formerly the most gifted songwriter in the metal world (he sucks now), is a clown with a guitar as he admits during their epic live DVD in Stockholm, “So you see, basically we’re a bunch of fucking idiots… [proceeds to launch into a passionate stream of typically brilliant, pummeling, yet melodic face-melting metal].”

Poise and hubris in extreme. Superlatives ‘R Us.

Death be not proud,
though some have called thee mighty and dreadful,
thou art not so.
–Children of Bodom, “Follow The Reaper” (Follow The Reaper, 2000)[note](quote originally from John Donne, [“Death be not proud, though some have called thee”](http://www.bartleby.com/105/72.html))[/note]

* * *

A certain bleak cynicism. A morbid fascination with the dark, undesirable; a simultaneous familiarity with the emotional equivalents from a life of alienation and depression. A need for personal reality corroboration; art metaphors reflecting and reaffirming perspective validity.

Metal is about action and action denied; it is about frustration and about exploring and responding to the whole emotional complex that emerges from that frustration. Metal is not a mechanical venting of psychosocial steam… [note]Berger, 1999. p291[/note]

In the metal universe, there can be no pleasure without acknowledging first the pain.

[T]o say that people are driven by their emotion is to say that they are determined by them; metalheads use the music precisesly so they won’t be driven by their emotions, precisely so they won’t be driven by rage or held back by depression.[note]Berger, 1999. p291[/note]

* * *

End of serious 2.5 year relationship. Abruptly. Destabilization imminent or already occurring. I lay on my bed in the holistic organic hippie house and listen to my numbness and the tickle of my stereo spinning up to speed.

A gated gauze of steel shredded, spinal cranial pulses alternate with delicate cymbal splash.

SPI
RAL
ING

IN
TO
DE
PRES
SIOOOOOOOOONNNNNN

XXX

The perfect mix of tone and anti-tone: texture and full, pseudoarticulated power. And they resound through, across the void—a gaping maw of negative space—the phantom tempo echos across in protending waves of crushing.

My face defrosts into a demonic grin as the negative space of the bridge explodes into a mechanized chaos of terrible sound; tension, and release; tapping in somewhere deep wounded within.

Still you cannot bear all this pain
Still you cannot bear to walk away
Darkness still rips silently within
Still you cannot bear all the shame

I listen to the album Buried in Oblivion by Into Eternity in its entirety. Twice.

  1. Splintered Visions
  2. Embraced By ‘Desolation’
  3. 3 Dimensional Aperture
  4. Beginning Of The End
  5. Point Of Uncertainty
  6. Spiraling Into Depression
  7. Isolation
  8. Buried Into Oblivion
  9. Black Sea Of Agony
  10. Morose Seclusion

Alone in your circle of despair
Your dreams are discarded
Clinging to a sterile existence
Self-pity and lingering grief
Depleted and beaten
Depleted and beaten

I manage to summon some non-destructive energy, just enough to drag my piteous self down to the kitchen for some much-needed sustenance.

I have stared my pain in the eyes
Breathed its stale breath
Felt the contours of its face
And lived to tell the tale

* * *

By 20, perspective reaches a critical breadth. Introspection becomes transcendental. Not I need more, but is this it?

* * *

I would be lying if I said I don’t enjoy the look on people’s faces when I casually mention that I listen to metal,
Wait, what? But… you’re not… like… tha head explodes

Difference is gold; nobody wants to wear a generic label, fit the mold.

How many hippie buddhist metalheads do you know?

* * *

In life, I have no religion
Besides the heavy metal gods
–Dream Evil, The Book of Heavy Metal

Does music satiate the same urge, the same hunger, as God? I was at Sunday service at a Mongolian Evangelical church where my host father, the pastor, lamented the youth’s finding God in ‘fun’. He used music as his prime example and mimed it out for the crowd, hands cupping imaginary headphones and head bobbing to an imaginary disco beat, he grinned absurdly, “Xogjim sonsdog…!”[note]Listen(ing habitally) to music[/note] The service concluded with the parish band resuming their places on stage behind the illuminated clear pulpit, and leading the crowd in yet one more enthusiastic round of Jesus-loving song.

But their needs were being filled by the Jesus part, not the music, right?

Then why are there Christian death metal bands?

* * *

I discovered Buddhism; the un-religion; the anti-ism. I saw in it the intense introspection and honesty that I’d been forced to learn through years of social self-discipline, trying to learn the unwritten rules of society for which my brian found itself less than ideally suited. Yet there was also a belief in the ultimate power of human compassion to counteract our toxic egos and thought-demons. I felt a fit with my not un-ironic mix of cynical optimism.

Can I be Buddhist — live a life filled with compassion and happiness, and listen to Death Metal?

* * *

Music is cathartic; it allows one to virtualize the expression of emotions without the usually requisite associated experience. Thus pent-up anger is released when exposed to violent/angry music — as the mind sees the musical stimulus as violence in sonic form, allowing the listener its cathartic effects while avoiding its anti-social tendencies (that is, violence).

But now I am a metalhead. Metal is not therapy, it is part of who I am.

* * *

I step through the doorway; the shrine room swallows me in darkness glowing with dim fluorescent tubes, mounted bare to the wall. My eyes adjust to the cool light and suddenly I find myself face to face with a scowling demon — its face twisted in agony. Beneath his feet were tiny people, frozen in their desperate dash to escape his thunderous ego-crushing step. Then it hit me, all at once, in one contained this is metal thought.

* * *

The music excises the demons; so without the demons, can there be meaningful music? Isn’t it all about the music?

It’s not the music, but the feelings of the people we hear playing that are important to us… it is not the music as a physical stimulus that manipulates our moods, but it is using the music as a communicative offering to influence our feelings in a re-creative process.[note]:Oliver Grewe et al., “Listening to Music as a Re-Creative Process: Physiological, Psychological, and Psychoacoustical Correlates of Chills and Strong Emotions,”Music Perception 24, no. 3 (February 2007).[/note]

Good art conveys the message, conveys a message, makes the consume-er feel as though a message was communicated to them. We appreciate that which tells us what we already know.

Death metal is a creative response to difficult conditions with real benefits for the participants’ lives. In a world with little hope for social change, in a world where class is occluded[note](to use the terminology of phenomenological Marxism)[/note], the liberating emotional exploration of death metal performances serves genuine needs…

Picture the scene. Akron, Ohio, was once the tire capital of the world. Hobbled after years of deindustrialization, the children of tire workers stood that night bathed in the sounds and images of a glorious rage. The room itself, once home to a force for labor equality, is not merely crumbling, but completely unrecognized by the participants. All of the elements of social change are present—rage, community, skills, and talent—yet things remain the same. Death metal is neither an example of false consciousness nor a coping mechanism for the stresses of an unequal world. It is a promise unfulfilled.[note]Berger, 1999. p291, 294[/note]

This music acknowledges the darkness of the world; it is dark, but that is ok.

* * *

[The great Tibetan yogi Jetsun Milarepa] lived in utter solitude, in caves and isolated mountains. His clothes were very poor; he had no nice clothes. His food was neither rich nor tasty. In fact, [for a number of years] he lived on nettle soup alone, as a result of which he became physically very thin, almost emaciated… And yet, as we can tell from the many songs he composed, because his mind was fundamentally at peace, his experience was one of constant unfolding delight. His songs are songs that express the utmost state of delight or rapture. He saw every place he went to, no matter how isolated and austere an environment it was, as beautiful, and he experienced his life of utmost austerity as extremely pleasant.[note]The Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche, [“The Reason We Practice Meditation”](http://www.rinpoche.com/reason.html).[/note]

* * *

The tonal dimension of music and the meanings that emerge from it are constituted by the subject’s active, perceptual organization of the sound in time.[note]Berger (1999), p161.[/note]

This is negative space — clusters of machined rips, lip-biting silence punctuates the in-between waiting spaces drawing pulling ears into false-comfort, tension to be delivered cosmically by the protending riff.

* * *

Metal

down

beats

Gods stomping, stampeding, galloping across aural scapes–malevolent keyboards synthesize towards anticipation — and recreate the virtual stimuli that would have instilled such unease.

* * *

What is the meaning of a wrathful Buddha? We see all these wrathful images of Buddhas (gesturing around the temple). But in truth wrathful Buddhas have nine qualities. Their bodies are wrathful, heroic, and frightening. Their voices are laughing, threatening, and fierce. But mentally they are loving, peaceful, and powerful. Like all enlightened beings, their minds are peaceful, compassionate, joyful, and wise. If a being is wrathful on the outside and also angry in its heart, then it is a real monster — not a Buddha. Wrathful Buddhas look wrathful for a purpose: for pacifying, for taming negative forces. [note]Tulku Thondup, “Tulku Thondup’s Talk in India 2003.” http://www.khordong.de/Engl/News/Tulku_2003/tulku_thondup_2003.html (2003)[/note]

* * *

One distorted chord. 1 and 5. Hold.
Channel the oppressive rumble of terrible empty space, of aural impartial Dionysus, the only God in a world of cellular automata. Carve dark the force through air-confined electrocuted sonic chaos. A glimpse of the Dionysian divine.



REVIEW: “Vale” by Orden Ogan

Given the 12 years it took Orden Ogan to release two full-length albums (their first, “Tesimonium A.D.” landed in 2004), the maturity of their sophomoric release, “Vale” is only slightly less surprising than it otherwise would be. Appearing (for me) from seemingly out of no-where, Orden Ogan have rekindled a sense of excitement not often felt in the cloistered world of niche heavy metal.

When “Vale” first landed on my desk(top), I was most intrigued by the band’s strange name, and their unusually cheese-less cover art (this is relative, folks). Then I began to listen. Orden Ogan have been around for a while. While I have yet to hear their first release, I can only assume they spent those first 8 years finding their sound (while releasing three demos, about which I know equally little); now, they are one of only a few bands playing melodic metal with a maturity and skill that gives their work weight and depth. Following the delicate, then epic opening intro, we segway into the sawtoothed intro riff of _To New Shores of Sadness_.

The first track on the album sets us up for what will become a somewhat tiresome series of dissapointments: tight, catchy intro leading to tighter, catchier opening verses, leading to… utterly mediocre chorus… then some catchy bridge-action, and more mediocrity. For those who are unfamiliar, it is simply _not okay_ to have a weak chorus in a heavy metal song. Some of the more extreme or proggy genres can get away with no clearly delineated chorus, but if you _go there_, you can’t go _halfway_.

They are not a power metal band. This is, I increasingly feel, a good thing. Their sound is rawer, harder, heavier; I would say _melodic metal_ if anything. Or so I thought, until the second song kicks into power-cheese mode, and I fast-forward to the third track. But the rest of the album mostly steers clear of any blatant power-metal clichés.

Orden Ogan has the critical element—the ability to write catchy-ass riffs that are fresh and inspiring. The keyboard parts combine with the guitars to create some fantastic arrangements—now if only they could follow thorugh. Good intro, shitty verse, meh chorus, great bridge… so they’re a bridge band. They write great intros and bridges. WTF?

If nothing else, this album has served to introduce Orden Ogan into the field of Melodic Heavy Metal, and should allow them to expand beyond their borders (Germany) to the greater metal community. With time, one can only hope that they find their _mojo_ and manage to balance out their sound, even after 12 years (hey, why not?).

Songwriting: 3.5/5
Musicianship: 4/5
Lyrics: N/A (I don’t care)
Originality: 3.5/5
Overall: B

100 Words towards a definition of Metal

Components: Guitar, Strings, Pickup, Amplifier, Electricity (lots), Bass Drum x2, Snare Drum, Hi-Hat, Crash, Drum Sticks, Metronome, Bass Guitar, Strings, Pickup, Amplifier, Ear, Brain. Optional, but recommended: Larynx, Air, Mouth, Tongue, Microphone, Amplifier, Electricity. Leather, long hair, iconography.

Attributes: Molten, Brutal, Intense, Epic, Uncompromising, Fucking awesome, Distorted, Pummeling, Eternal, Loud, Grating, Polyrhythmic, Not lame, Absurd, Hilarious, Fun, Resonant, Primal, Destructive, Cathartic, Therapeutic, Wrathful, Emotional, Fast, Slow, Extreme, Soul-Crushing, HEAVY.

Descriptors: Heavy Metal, Thrash-, Speed-, Death-, Folk-, Black-, VIking-, Melodic Death-, 80’s-, Nü-, Hair-, True-, Technical-, Progressive-, Gothic-, [Funeral] Doom-, Shred-.

Ideology: Ultra-realist. Ironic. Cynical/Idealist. Fundamentalist.

Inner Peace Through METAL (early draft)

NOTE: This is an early draft of this essay

>heav–y |ˈhevÄ“| adjective ( __heav–i–er , heav–i–est__ )
1. of great weight;
– (of a class of thing) large of its kind : heavy artillery.
– weighed down; full of something : feeling weighed down by weariness
2. of great density; thick or substantial :
– not delicate or graceful; coarse
– (of the sky) full of dark clouds; oppressive : a heavy thundery sky.
3. of more than the usual size, amount, or force; doing something to excess
4. striking or falling with force : a heavy blow to the head | we had heavy overnight rain.
– (of music, esp. rock) having a strong bass component and a forceful rhythm.
5. needing much physical effort :
– mentally oppressive; hard to endure : a heavy burden of responsibility.
– important or serious : a heavy discussion.
– (of a literary work) _hard to read or understand because overly serious or difficult._ [hard to listen to…]
– feeling or expressing grief : I left him with a heavy heart.[^heavythes]
[^heavythes]: New Oxford American Dictionary, 2nd Edition.

>me–tal–lic |məˈtalik| adjective
1. _a metallic sound_ : grating, harsh, jarring, dissonant.[^metalthes]
2. Harshly resonant : _the strange metallic note of the meadow lark, suggesting the clash of vibrant blades_ (Ambrose Bierce)[^metaldict]

[^metalthes]: Christine A Lindberg, ed., The Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), p576.
[^metaldict]: American Heritage English Dictionary, 3rd Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin (1992).

* * *

It all began some time between the third and fifth grades. I seem to remember things from this period by grades, if at all. Each year is divided by that one major change—moving to the next level in school. There is no clear beginning or end. I saw the music video for the Smashing Pumpkins’, Tonight, Tonight and was, for some reason, struck by it. Logically, I went out and bought the CD, _Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness_. I wouldn’t understand the title of the album for at least five years. At least, I wouldn’t know that I’d understood the title. Was I an angsty 4th grader? Was I _weighed down by weariness_, my heart _heavy_ with the troubles of the world? What about this melancholic, harsh music appealed to me, not even in my the clichéd dark teenage years? The meaning is a bit hard to miss when you hear the music. The album was released on October 24, 1995; so I was around 10 years old. Which is like, third grade, right? I always have to recount from the beginning to figure that out. So I bought the CD, a double album, despite the fact that the one song I knew was nothing like anything else on the album. Yet I don’t remember realizing that, or particularly caring at the time. But the songs I listened to most where the heavy ones. Like the buzz-sawing, Zero; the crushingly distorted Bodies; the ever-classic, Bullet With Butterfly Wings, with the timeless chorus, ”Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage“.

* * *

It was 4th grade. I lived in a nice town, went to a decent school.

I was fast. Real fast. The fastest in the school. We played touch football every day at recess, and I’d run for the hail mary, churning past the helpless defense. this was before puberty passed me by and took everyone else with it, leaving me small and athletically irrelevant.I had a classic crush on a girl in my class named Claire.

My ADD was still not quite under control; the social waters chilled as I unwittingly alienated myself from peers with exuberant abandon. It wasn’t active, aggressive animosity; just a general distancing and idle, abrasive needling, teasing.

The boys I played football with had figured out my little secret and so, naturally, they felt it appropriate to use this information for their own enjoyment.We were walking out to the football field one afternoon; the teasing banter continued to rain. I’d long since realized the futility of defending myself, so I tried with equal futility to ignore. But I am my father’s son, and my mother’s father’s grandson; our blood boils hot and boils fast.

* * *

>Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.[^burnt]
[^burnt]: T.S. Elliot, “Burnt Norton,” No. 1 of _Four Quartets._ Published online by Tristan Fecit, at http://www.tristan.icom43.net/quartets/norton.html (June, 2000)

* * *

Time blurred; I see myself struggling with forces I do not, can not, will never comprehend. I turn and face the one who’d started the joke, he’d just launched a flippant jibe into my flank, took it a bit farther than the rest. He was down, on the ground. Both of us were reeling, my world had distilled into an edged clarity and a breeze cooled my neck. One punch to the gut, as I watched, a spectator to my own actions.

I helped him up, both of us in equal disbelief. Maybe I apologized. Maybe I told him ruefully that _you did ask for it, didn’t you_.

* * *

>From our lives’ beginning on
We are pushed in little forms
No one asks us how we like to be
In school they teach you what to think
But everyone says different things
But they’re all convinced that
They’re the ones to see

>So they keep talking and they never stop
And at a certain point you give it up
So the only thing that’s left to think is this

>_I want out–to live my life alone
I want out–leave me be
I want out–to do things on my own
I want out–to live my life and to be free_
–Helloween, “I Want Out” (_Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II_, 1988)

* * *

My friend bought it. Someone brought it into school on their discman. I was addicted. So I bought it. _Smash_ by The Offspring. It 0wn3d me. It still does.

>ad–dict–ed |əˈdiktid| adjective : physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance, and unable to stop taking it without incurring adverse effects [^addictdict]
[^addictdict]: New Oxford American Dictionary, 2nd Edition.

* * *

>Music can be understood as an emotional communication system, and it is essential to learn to understand the communication of the social group to which one belongs. It has been said that most social groups have a certain style of music. If we want to belong to a group, we need to understand their emotional communication, which is partly found in music.[^recreat]
[^recreat]:Oliver Grewe et al., ”Listening to Music as a Re-Creative Process: Physiological, Psychological, and Psychoacoustical Correlates of Chills and Strong Emotions,“ _Music Perception_ 24, no. 3 (February 2007).

* * *

There are several major rock stations that are receivable over FM radio broadcast in the Greater Boston Area. Each tries desperately to define itself as THE definitive source of rock in the area, no matter how similar their mindless blathering DJ’s, or commercialized programming. But it was a start. And WAAF isn’t so bad. Or wasn’t so bad.There is no commercial metal radio in Boston. Yet the metal scene is far from dead in Boston’s rougher blue-collar ex-urbs. The western cities of Worcester and Springfield are world-famous for their propensity to churn out solid metal acts. So I moved on to a private mini-prep-middle-school (the only school that could keep my ADD ass in line), a climate where working-class music like metal is alien and strange. So I spent those years listening in isolation to crappy alternative rock/Hard Rock radio.

>Starting from widely divergent perspectives and serving widely divergent conclusions, most scholars of metal have interpreted the music as an expression of the frustrations of the blue-collar young in a de-industrializing society that neither requires their labour nor values their presence.[^bluec]
[^bluec]:Berger (1999), p169.

* * *

>in–tense |inˈtens| adjective: extreme, fierce; exceptional, extraordinary; harsh, strong, powerful, potent, overpowering; passionate, vehement, fiery, spirited, vigorous.[^intdict]
[^intdict]: The Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus, OSX Edition.

It’s little coincidence that I made the transition from dabbling in distorted guitars to immersion in mainstream hard-rock, and eventually, to full-blown heavy metal during middle school. Middle school was a stinking sulfurous hell on earth. A bastion of privilege, entitlement and pestilent wealth. And now I was small; I’d gone from 75 percentile to 25 percentile in both height and weight, and into a world where it mattered more than ever.

By 8th grade, I found myself with one real friend, and more than one enemy whose favorite pastime was to remind me of just how many friends I didn’t have. They were bigger than me, so no quick punch to the gut was going to solve anything.From punk (Offspring) and grunge (Nirvana) to hybrid nü-metal (Sevendust) and gothic industrial (Marilyn Manson), my music darkened with each passing year. Then I went to Art camp. And METAL anticlimactically entered my orbit. There was an animal magnetism to these harsh, strangely beautiful sounds; from the grim solemnity of growling death metal, to the epic and fantastic bombast of its more cheerful cousin, Power Metal.

>ep–ic |ˈepik|
1. noun: a long poem, typically one derived from ancient oral tradition, narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the history of a nation.
2. adjective: of, relating to, or characteristic of an epic or epics :
– heroic or grand in scale or characterThe quest for inner peace through metal had begun.[^epicdict]
[^epicdict]: New Oxford American Dictionary, 2nd Edition.

* * *

>Liner notes introduction: As a servant of light and defender of life, I’m proud to invite you all to the furthest horizons to fight united against astral chaos, the primordial enemy of the planetary wisdom. So relax your body, relax your mind, turn your speakers up and enjoy the virtual odyssey…–Luca Turilli (_King of the Nordic Twilight_, 1999)

* * *

It was my first real experience in romance, at summer camp the summer before 9th grade (I was 13?). Me and said girl’d been “going out” for about a week, I’d just been informed of the ending of our little arrangement by one of her friends. The important part of the story is that, devastated, I returned solemnly to my bunk, crawled in bed shoes clothes ‘n all, and fetched my disc-man and Marilyn Manson (c’mon, it was the closest to metal that I had). My friend stopped by and asked if I was alright. I said _sure_ and he left. I laughed out loud, sardonically, _of course I’m not ok, I’m lying in bed at 7pm listening to Marilyn Manson…_

* * *

>But metal cannot be conceptualized as a mere steam valve for psycho-social pressures… The notion of perceptual agency is at the heart of the death metal participant’s ideology. While much of metal in general and death metal in particular is energetic and aggressive, the musicians I spoke with were quick to disabuse me of the misconception that metal is merely angry music. Saladin explained that metal was about exploring all the emotions that hold a person back in their life.[^steamvalve]
[^steamvalve]: Harris M Berger, ”Death Metal Tonality and the Act of Listening,“ _Popular Music_ 18, no. 2 (May 1999), p173.

* * *

>One day you’ll live in happiness
With a heart that’s full of joy
You’ll say the world “tomorrow” without fear
The feeling of togetherness will be at your side
You’ll say you love your life and you’ll know why
–Helloween, “Future World” (_Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II_, 1988)

* * *

Jesper was 16, I was 14. When you’re 14, 2 years is a bigger proportion of your life than it would be to me now, at 22. By exactly 4/77 times. Don’t ask me why that is important, it just is. So Jesper was from a band called IN Flames, from Sweden. I would later learn that Sweden is the second most metal country in the world. Though he was from Pennsylvania. He had long dark brown hair and a dry, caustic sense of humor. He owned a stunningly shaped guitar: a red Gibson SG. _Why is the shape of a guitar so important?_ So Jesper started a band and recorded a song with them. I tagged along and gained my eventual nickname, ”roadie“. The next summer Jesper showed up with a CD and a story. The opening song on the CD, was their song in a strange new form. Gone were the clean luke-warm vocals and mellow interludes. The guitars were thicker, harsher, and the only voice I could hear was all but demonic. Of course he had used the same main riff from the song he recorded the previous summer. There he was in the liner notes, Jesper Strömblad. But the picture didn’t quite fit. The Jesper Strömblad in the liner notes had long blonde hair and was… a different person. Our Jesper told us about the strict Swedish laws — that prohibited minors from publishing music, thus forcing the band to use a stand-in for the photos (and live shows? So he could goto school or something?). In any event, it’s unlikely I believed him then. I believed parts. I wanted to believe. I also don’t remember when, exactly, the illusion dissolved and he shed the identity of Jesper, but at some point he resumed his identity. But never lost that aura. He now sings for a leading death metal band in England. Or so he says.

* * *

>I’d sign – a contract with the devil
I’ve tried – for so very long
I’d die – to become immortal
that’s why I sing this song
Am I a wannabe? – have I no dignity.
I’d give up all my life, to be…
In the book of heavy metal —— METAALLLL!
In the book of heavy metal
-—Dream Evil, ”The Book of Heavy Metal (March of the Metallians)

* * *

A Guitar tech tests a majestically evil-looking guitar while the crowd mills about, joking, posturing awkwardly, cheering on the tech sarcastically. The venue is small. Dingy would not be an understatement, and we can feel that we are in gritty Worcester, Massachusetts.

The crowd is filled with an unusual assortment of people. They are mostly men, and mostly white. The air is thick with the dropped R’s of anti-suburbia. Some have girlfriends or wives by their sides. The whiteness of the crowd is accentuated by the blackness of their attire; black shirts, black jeans, black jackets, long black hair. There are a few latinos, and one black man. Maybe. If he is there, people come up to him with curiosity and congratulations for upending the stereotypes of those who revel in subverting stereotypes (yet never really escape them).

* * *

>While it is not clear to me if the motivating power of death metal is generating a vanguard of energetic youth or drawing artistic and creative youngpeople into a trap of naive individualism, I believe that the political significance of musical sound is rooted in the meanings that the participantsconstitute and the consequences of those meanings for the participants’ lives and the larger society.[^motpower]
[^motpower]:Harris M Berger, ”Death Metal Tonality and the Act of Listening,“ _Popular Music_ 18, no. 2 (May 1999), p175.

* * *

10 more minutes of standing, shuffling for a better spot, and fighting valiantly to protect the spots that are already had. A restless whisper rises throughout the room, it is not clear where it starts, or to what it refers. The stage is now dark. Necks crane and eyes strain to make sense of the fresh, shifting darkness. The shapes on stage begin to congeal into outlines, and the murmur of the crowd grows louder.

The music begins with a soft, symphonic scape of oscillating synthetic tones. The darkly peaceful chords weigh down on the restless bodies, which grow quiet.

_tss… tss… ts ts ts_ ___tsh___

* * *

>Not merely a continuous stream, our experiences of the possibilities of the near future and the certainties of the immediate past exist simultaneously with the experienced events of the hair’s present. All experience exists, therefore, not in the infinitely thin present of the traditionally conceived now, but in a temporal thickness that Husserl called the living present. This living present is the temporal window of the phenomenal world, the arena within which experience transpires. The halo of possibilities that constantly lurk before us in the future are referred to as protentions, and experiences that have just passed through the now-point are referred to as retentions. Within this living present, experiences exist for us as numerous facets synthesised together, dynamic gestalts moving from protention to retention.[^168]
[^168]: Harris M Berger, ”Death Metal Tonality and the Act of Listening,“ _Popular Music_ 18, no. 2 (May 1999), p168.

* * *

six taps of a hi-hat later, the destruction begins.

* * *

Metal. I can qualify it endlessly: Death, Black, Power, Progressive, Avant Garde, Symphonic, Viking, Doom, Folk, Nü, NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal), Pagan, Christian, Shred, Neo-Classical. It becomes absurd if it wasn’t already.
What remains when the modifiers are removed?In my current context, one where metal is an extremely strange and alien concept, most of the people with whom I interact don’t see much of that emotional core. Finding out that I <3 metal can come as a bit of a shock for those who don’t already know a bit about me. But we all have our ways to excise the demons the world inspires within us. So I wonder, is that all this music serves to do? Does my love for metal extend beyond the realms of negativity?

* * *

How seriously do we take it? Alexi Laiho, possibly the most gifted songwriter in the metal world today, is a clown with a guitar as he admits during their epic live DVD in Stockholm, “So you see, basically we’re a bunch of fucking idiots… [proceeds to launch into a passionate stream of typically brilliant, pummeling, yet melodic face-melting metal].”

Poise and hubris in extreme. Superlatives ‘R Us.

>Death be not proud,
though some have called thee mighty and dreadful,
thou art not so.
–Children of Bodom, “Follow The Reaper” (_Follow The Reaper_, 2000)[^deathproud]
[^deathproud]:(quote originally from John Donne, [“Death be not proud, though some have called thee”](http://www.bartleby.com/105/72.html))

* * *

__Art appeals to an us that is raw, emotional.__

>Shattered hope became my guide
and grief and pain my friends
a brother pact in blood-ink penned
declared my silent end

>Naked and dying under worlds of silent stone
reaching for the moonshield that once upon us shone.
–In Flames, “Moonshield” (The Jester Race, 1996)

__A certain bleak cynicism. A morbid fascination with the dark, undesirable; a simultaneous familiarity with their emotional counterparts from a life of alienation and depression. A need for personal reality corroboration, art metaphors reflecting and reaffirming perspective validity.__

Raise your hand, your fist in defiance proudSlay the armies of static grey plastic descending

Blood rains, floods low-lying poor as the rich gawk from above

_In the metal universe, there can be no pleasure without acknowledging first the pain._

>bru–tal |ˈbroōtl| adjective: savage, ferocious, wicked, ruthless, sadistic; heinous, abominable. antonyms: gentle, humane.

* * *

_Up next, on Melting Point Radio, “This Week in Metal History”. But first, here is a Maiden classic, “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”_. I toggled off the mic and spun my chair around to where my co-hosts were crouched over a laptop, busy scouring wikipedia for worthy events. _Ohhh, 1945: The firebombing of Dresden?_ I scowled. Could I deny it was not, indeed, metal for an entire city to be incinerated in an immense firestorm? Did this not epitomize the kind of bleak, cynical world view typified by [some of] our beloved music? But the music lifts my spirits, I am blissfully unaware of the words being scrawled across the airwaves. Yet I am unnerved to associate my beloved metal with such a tragic injustice, for fear of it seeming an endorsement of such a horror.

* * *

End of serious 2.5 year relationship with basically no prior warning. Destabilization imminent or already occurring. I lay on my bed in the holistic organic hippie house and listen to my numbness as my stereo spins up to speed. My face defrosts into a demonic grin as the opening track’s blistering harmonized scale runs washed over me, connecting somewhere deep wounded within.

>Spiraling into depression
Spiraling into depression

>Still you cannot bear all this pain
Still you cannot bear to walk away
Darkness still rips silently within
Still you cannot bear all the shame

I listen to ___Buried in Oblivion___ by __Into Eternity___ in its entirety

  1. Splintered Visions
  2. Embraced By ‘Desolation’
  3. 3 Dimensional Aperture
  4. Beginning Of The End
  5. Point Of Uncertainty
  6. Spiraling Into Depression
  7. Isolation
  8. Buried Into Oblivion
  9. Black Sea Of Agony
  10. Morose Seclusion

>Alone in your circle of despair
Your dreams are discarded
Clinging to a sterile existence
Self-pity and lingering grief
Depleted and beaten
Depleted and beaten

* * *

When people reach college, or college age, it seems their perspective reaches a critical openness. The introspection becomes transcendental. I would never feel right saying _I needed more_, but I certainly wondered _is this it_?

* * *

I’d be lying if I said I don’t enjoy the look on people’s faces when I announce that I listen to death metal, _wait, what? But… you’re not…_ ___head explodes___ In this new context difference is gold, who wants to wear a generic label, fit the mold? _How many hippie buddhist metalheads do ___you___ know?_

* * *

Does music satiate the same urge, the same hunger, as spirituality? I heard a sermon in a Mongolian Evangelical church where the pastor lamented the youth’s finding God in ”fun“ things. He used music as his prime example and mimed it out for the crowd, hands cupping imaginary headphones and head bobbing to an imaginary disco beat, he grinned absurdly and continued the service, ”Xogjim sonsdog…!“ the service concluded with the parish band resuming their places on stage and leading the crowd in yet one more enthusiastic round of Jesus-loving song. But their needs were being filled by the Jesus part, not the music, right? Then why are there Christian death metal bands?

* * *

>Some have eyes but still can’t see
Their plastic noise is anything but music to me
Mechanized and computerized
Switch off your brain and make sounds that dehumanize.
–Kreator, _Love Us or Hate Us_ (Extreme Aggressions, 1989)

* * *

I discovered Buddhism; the un-religion; the anti-ism. I saw in it the intense introspection and honesty that I’d been forced to learn through years of social self-discipline, trying to learn the unwritten rules of society for which my brian found itself less than ideally suited. Yet there was also a belief in the ultimate power of human compassion to counteract our toxic egos and thought-demons. I felt a fit with my not un-ironic mix of cynical optimism.

Can I be Buddhist — live a life filled with compassion and happiness, and listen to Death Metal?

* * *

Music is cathartic; it allows one to virtualize the expression of emotions without the usually requisite associated experience. Thus pent-up anger is released when exposed to violent/angry music — as the mind sees the musical stimulus as violence in sonic form, allowing the listener its cathartic effects while avoiding its anti-social tendencies (that is, violence).

_But now I am a metalhead_. Metal is not therapy, it is part of who I am.

* * *

I step through the doorway; the shrine room swallows me in darkness glowing with dim fluorescent tubes, mounted bare to the wall. My eyes adjust to the cool light and suddenly I find myself face to face with a scowling demon — its face twisted in agony. Beneath his feet were tiny people, frozen in their desperate dash to escape his thunderous ego-crushing step. Then it hit me, all at once, in one contained _this is metal_ thought.

* * *

_The music excises the demons; so without the demons, can there be meaningful music?_ ___Isn’t it all about the music?___

Art is communication. An artist encodes a message, an image, a feeling, _whatever_ in a medium which is then transmitted to the consumer who decodes the art. Good art conveys the message, or conveys _a_ message, or makes the consumer _feel_ as though a message was communicated to them. Art acts as a mirror, we appreciate that which tells us what we already know. For metalheads, the music acknowledges the darkness of the world; it is dark, but that is ok.

>It’s not the music, but the feelings of the people we hear playing that are important to us… it is not the music as a physical stimulus that manipulates our moods, but it is using the music as a communicative offering to influence our feelings in a re-creative process.[^recreat]
[^recreat]:Oliver Grewe et al., ”Listening to Music as a Re-Creative Process: Physiological, Psychological, and Psychoacoustical Correlates of Chills and Strong Emotions,“ _Music Perception_ 24, no. 3 (February 2007).

* * *

>[The great Tibetan yogi Jetsun Milarepa] lived in utter solitude, in caves and isolated mountains. His clothes were very poor; he had no nice clothes. His food was neither rich nor tasty. In fact, [for a number of years] he lived on nettle soup alone, as a result of which he became physically very thin, almost emaciated. Now, if you consider his external circumstances alone, the isolation and poverty in which he lived, you would think he must have been miserable. And yet, as we can tell from the many songs he composed, because his mind was fundamentally at peace, his experience was one of constant unfolding delight. His songs are songs that express the utmost state of delight or rapture. He saw every place he went to, no matter how isolated and austere an environment it was, as beautiful, and he experienced his life of utmost austerity as extremely pleasant.[^reasmed]
[^reasmed]: The Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche, [“The Reason We Practice Meditation”](http://www.rinpoche.com/reason.html).

* * *

>The tonal dimension of music and the meanings that emerge from it are constituted by the subject’s active, perceptual organization of the sound in time.[^tdimen]
[^tdimen]:Berger (1999), p161.

_This is negative space — clusters of machined rips, lip-biting silence punctuates the in-between waiting spaces drawing pulling the ear into false-comfort, tension to be_ __delivered__ _by the protending riff._

Would Buddha listen to metal if it touched his soul? Wouldn’t it, by definition, not touch his soul? Were I to become a Buddha, would it cease to have meaning to me?

* * *

Metal

down

beats

Gods stomping, stampeding, galloping across aural scapes–malevolent keyboards synthesize towards anticipation — _and recreate the virtual stimuli that would have instilled such unease._

* * *

>What is the meaning of a wrathful Buddha? We see all these wrathful images of Buddhas (gesturing around the temple). But in truth wrathful Buddhas have nine qualities. Their bodies are wrathful, heroic, and frightening. Their voices are laughing, threatening, and fierce. But mentally they are loving, peaceful, and powerful. Like all enlightened beings, their minds are peaceful, compassionate, joyful, and wise. If a being is wrathful on the outside and also angry in its heart, then it is a real monster — not a Buddha. Wrathful Buddhas look wrathful for a purpose: for pacifying, for taming negative forces.[^Tulku]
[^Tulku]: Tulku Thondup, “Tulku Thondup’s Talk in India 2003.” http://www.khordong.de/Engl/News/Tulku_2003/tulku_thondup_2003.html (2003)

* * *

One distorted chord. 1 and 5. Hold.
Channel the choas and oppressive rumble of terrible empty space, of aural impartial chaos, the only God in a world of cellular automata. Carve and channel this dark force through air. Contained and executed sonic chaos.

Inner Fire (Thread 4 of Metal Manifesto)

One metal cliché I find hard to subvert is

In what capacity do the blue-collar jobless and I, a rich suburban college kid, find emotional common ground? If metal is the realm of the frustrated, angry, working class — then what the hell am I doing there? There’s a reason no-one in my hometown, high-school or college shares my taste in music; there must be.

It was 4th grade.
I was fast. Real fast. The fastest in the school. We played touch football every day at recess, and I’d run for the hail mary, churning past the helpless defense. this was before puberty passed me by and took everyone else with it, leaving me small and athletically irrelevant.

i had a classic crush on a girl in my class named Claire.

My ADD was still not quite under control; the social pressures mounted as I unwittingly alienated myself from peers with exuberant abandon. It wasn’t active, aggressive animosity; just a general distancing and idle, abrasive needling, teasing.

The boys I played football with had figured out my little secret and so, naturally, they felt it appropriate to use this information for their own enjoyment.

We were walking out to the football field one afternoon; the teasing barter continued to fly. I’d long since realized the futility of defending myself, so I tried with equal futility to ignore. But I am my father’s son, and my mother’s father’s grandson; our blood boils hot and boils fast.

Time blurred; I see myself struggling with forces I do not, can not, will never comprehend. I turn and face the one who’d started the joke, he’d just launched a flippant jibe into my flank, took it a bit farther than the rest. He was down, on the ground. Both of us were reeling, my world had distilled into an edged clarity and a breeze cooled my neck. One punch to the gut, as I watched, a spectator to my own actions.

I helped him up, both of us in equal disbelief. Maybe I apologized. Maybe I told him ruefully that _you did ask for it, didn’t you_. Then the principal concerned strolled over, he was outside that day, and asked my _pal_ if he was alright, he said _yes, he’d just fallen down_. Face was saved.

~

It’s little coincidence that I made the transition from dabbling in distorted guitars to immersion in mainstream hard-rock, and eventually, to full-blown heavy metal during middle school. Middle school was a stinking sulfurous hell on earth. A bastion of privilege, entitlement and pestilent wealth. And now I was small; I’d gone from 75 percentile to 25 percentile in both height and weight, and into a world where it mattered more than ever.

By 8th grade, I found myself with one real friend, and more than one enemy whose favorite pastime was to remind me of just how many friends I didn’t have. They were bigger than me, so no quick punch to the gut was going to solve anything.

I discovered heavy metal.

From punk (Offspring) and grunge (Nirvana) to hybrid nü-metal (Sevendust) and gothic industrial (Marilyn Manson), my music darkened with each passing year.

Then along came METAL. I felt an affinity to it all, from the grim solemnity of growling death metal, to the epic and fantastic bombast of its more cheerful cousin, Power Metal.

The quest for inner peace through metal was in gear.

When people reach college, or college age, it seems their perspective reaches a critical openness. The introspection becomes transcendental. I would never feel right saying _I needed more_, but I certainly wondered _is this it_?

Metal is a quick fix, not a sustainable, holistic process or way of life.

I discovered Buddhism; the un-religion; the anti-ism. I saw in it the intense introspection and honesty that I’d been forced to learn through years of social self-discipline, trying to learn the unwritten rules of society for which my brian found itself less than ideally suited. Yet there was also a belief in the ultimate power of human compassion to counteract our toxic egos and thought-demons. I felt a fit with my not un-ironic mix of cynical optimism.

_But now I am a metalhead_. Metal is not therapy, it is part of who I am.

I’d be lying if I said I don’t enjoy the look on people’s faces when I announce that I listen to death metal, _wait, what? But… you’re not…_ ___head explodes___ n this new context difference is gold, _who wants to wear a generic label, fit the mold?_

How many hippie buddhist metalheads do ___you___ know?

Spheres of Madness

>Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.[^burnt]
[^burnt]:[T.S. Elliot’s Burnt Norton, (No. 1 of ‘Four Quartets’)](http://www.tristan.icom43.net/quartets/norton.html)

This is negative space — clusters of machined rips, lip-biting silence punctuates the in-between waiting spaces drawing pulling the ear into false-comfort, tension to be _delivered_ by the protending riff.

>Not merely a continuous stream, our experiences of the possibilities of the near future and the certainties of the immediate past exist simultaneously with the experienced events of the hair’s present. All experience exists, therefore, not in the infinitely thin present of the traditionally conceived now, but in a temporal thickness that Husserl called the living present. This living present is the temporal window of the phenomenal world, the arena within which experience transpires. The halo of possibilities that constantly lurk before us in the future are referred to as protentions, and experiences that have just passed through the now-point are referred to as retentions. Within this living present, experiences exist for us as numerous facets synthesised together, dynamic gestalts moving from protention to retention.[^168]
[^168]: Harris M Berger, ”Death Metal Tonality and the Act of Listening,“ _Popular Music_ 18, no. 2 (May 1999), p168.

Brutality in a cage, contained, precisely machined from abrasive plasmic arcs

>From our lives’ beginning on
We are pushed in little forms
No one asks us how we like to be
In school they teach you what to think
But everyone says different things
But they’re all convinced that
They’re the ones to see

So they keep talking and they never stop
And at a certain point you give it up
So the only thing that’s left to think is this

_I want out–to live my life alone
I want out–leave me be
I want out–to do things on my own
I want out–to live my life and to be free_

–Helloween, “I Want Out” (_Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II_, 1988)

>Death be not proud,
thou some have called thee mighty and dreadful,
thou art not so.
–Children of Bodom, “Follow The Reaper” (_Follow The Reaper_, 2000) (quote originally from John Donne, [“Death be not proud, though some have called thee”](http://www.bartleby.com/105/72.html))

>Liner notes introduction: As a servant of light and defender of life, I’m proud to invite you all to the furthest horizons to fight united against astral chaos, the primordial enemy of the planetary wisdom. So relax your body, relax your mind, turn your speakers up and enjoy the virtual odyssey…
–Luca Turilli (_King of the Nordic Twilight_, 1999)