Heavy Metal


Metallica – Blackened

The very first album I owned was a tape of Metallica’s And Justice for All. It was mine but only because my parents bought it for me. I did not really know much about Metallica, but I wanted to get something different from what my parents were listening to. It is not that I disliked The Rolling Stones or Lynyrd Skynyrd but I wanted to find my own thing too. When my dad let me put the tape in his car as he drove, I felt like my voice was being listened to. The music blew my tiny mind. I had never really experienced the loud, raucousness of heavy metal music. The guitar work was amazing and energetic and I felt like James Hetfield was yelling right into my brain. I felt like we were driving two hundred miles per hour and I loved it.


Black Sabbath – War Pigs

Black Sabbath are often known as one of the progenitors of heavy metal as a genre and in particular, they helped start the doom metal subgenre. Like Metallica, their music and vocals reverberated inside of me. I sang along to Ozzy or Dio as I tried to study and later as I drove my crappy first car in high school. I loved the epicness of each song. One of the first albums I bought with my allowance was the Ozzman Cometh: Greatest Hits. It was actually a UK import that came with some additional tracks including the awesome Faeries Wear Boots. As an angsty teen, I really got behind the darkness in Black Sabbath’s tone and lyrics. It was so unlike everything we had to listen to in school and what my parents listened to.


Flyleaf – Cassie

I would be remiss if I did not talk about the women of heavy metal. The first female metal band that I discovered was Kittie and I was instantly enamored by Fallon Bowman’s classic heavy metal death growl mixed with more melodic singing. At some point, somebody clued me into other bands and I discovered Flyleaf. I figured that them being a Christian band was roughly equivalent to all the bands I listened to that talked a lot about Hell so I put that aside. I now seek out female vocalists in heavy metal and hard rock (I have two Pandora stations for this) as I love the mix of a strong female voice with heavy metal instrumentals. Lately, I have found more modern outfits like The Agonist, Battle of Mice and The Birthday Massacre all of which let their genres bleed a bit.


Iron Maiden – Number of the Beast

As I got older, I not only sought out new stuff but I looked for stuff from the past that had not been played on the radio. I became a big fan of Iron Maiden and some other great bands from overseas. I had already been a fan of bands like The Scorpions and Pantera but I was deep into discovering stuff new to me. I really got into Rammstein when they briefly poked their heads into the American mainstream. I discovered Dio’s post-Black Sabbath band Heaven and Hell which quickly became a favorite (along with his solo work, of course). Thanks to Chris Jericho and the video game Brutal Legend, I found even more new and old heavy metal bands to listen to. I discovered all sorts of different flavors of heavy metal and I am still discovering new stuff.


LADYBABY – Nippon Manju

Of course, as music continues, genres keep bleeding into each other. Artists seek out new takes on older musical styles and try to produce new stuff. It was one day on Facebook of all places where somebody posted a band called Babymetal. Their intention was to mock and surprise us about what the music industry has come to. I was actually inspired. I had already been sort of a fan of vocaloid and Japanese pop music since the early 2000s but the two genres had a baby called “kawaii metal” which also includes Ladybaby and Dazzle Vision among others. Around this same time, I also got into the combination of heavy metal and comedy, mostly through the band Steel Panther. A lot of heavy metal bands go on about satan or dark powers in their lyrics to evoke the forbidden for the sake of rebelliousness (and probably to scare parents). Steel Panther does much the same with rampant misogyny. It is a parody of the oversexualized lyrics of bands like AC/DC or Van Halen. I have to say that if these lyrics were not done as parody then I would be boycotting them no matter how good their instrumentals are. They are not for the lighthearted but they can be pretty funny.


Steel Panther – Death To All But Metal (Explicit)

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