So its a quarter way through the year already. I haven’t really gotten a sense of where the musical time has gone. I haven’t really been getting new releases or getting into new upcoming bands. I don’t really have a sense of how 2016 sounds, so to say.
What I’ve been spending my money on, is for a large part getting a few holes in my collection filled. I’ve never actually gotten around to getting Nirvana’s Nevermind, despite being into the band since about 2000 or 2001. I got a few Van Der Graaf Generator and Camel albums that I’ve been planning to get since about 2007 or 2008.
I’ve also been listening to plenty of Pop Punk, expanding my Offspring and NoFX knowledge. There was a time in my very early teens I liked the look of Pop Punk, but got a bit snobby and give it a miss to explore Metal instead, and now I’m closing the gap.
In the spirit of closing the gap, I’ve decided to take a bit of a plunge into two bands that are huge in my world but that I’ve been absolutely ignoring. If you go to any Metal concert these days, you’ll find lots of hoodies, t shirts and tattoos for the bands Bullet For My Valentine and Avenged Sevenfold. Heck, if you go to a Metal festival they’re probably playing. If I see their videos I usually skip em. If I see an article in a magazine, I don’t read it. I don’t really know why… when I was in university I knew plenty of people who’d have their posters on their wall or wear their t shirts. I’ve known people who’d learn their songs on guitar. For some reason though, they’re a giant blindspot to me. I have heard two of Avenged Sevenfold albums previously, but I’ve decided to actually make an effort now. Furthermore after literally years of being told how big and important Bullet For My Valentine are for British music and Heavy Metal as a whole, I never really bought that line. To me, it was something for other people and maybe a bit of a scam? I don’t know. I am not a Metal snob who only listens to Slayer and Bathory and refuses to listen to Slipknot because I think they’re kiddie music… but that was kind of what happened with those two bands. Maybe it was the guyliner? I don’t know. Subconscious though. Despite being raised on Limp Bizkit, I live in suspicion of fads and trends with no substance. Somewhere along the way, I got afraid to try something commercial and popular especially if the looked trendy. That must’ve been between 2004-2009 for a while, when Metal credibility seemed so important to me, especially when I was really into 1980s Thrash. It wasn’t a conscious choice but just a side effect of reading the interviews and attitudes of those bands and their fans. When I started growing up and expanding my mind and losing my prejudices, I was able to relearn a bit of the original innocence and just be able to like something because its good and not worry that I might be dissaproved of by some phantom someone wearing a bullet belt.
After spending the last three years listening to all the Posion, Warrant, Twisted Sister and Motley Crue I could get my hands on, I’ve since lost my fear of guyliner and Pop Metal. I feel obliged to give these guys a fair chance. I am forever feeling slightly miffed when someone tells me Korn or Pantera or Killswitch Engage are kiddie music and that the only good music was all released before 1990. It rankles me a little to find myself having a bit of that attitude towards these two bands. Especially because, upon closer listen, Avenged Sevenfold are really rather heavy. Their later day output is a bit more commercial and hard-rock influenced, but the early stuff is like the heaviest stuff off the early Shadows Fall, Trivium and Killswitch Engage independent albums.
Interestingly, having started this, I’ve started obsessively listening to Avenged’ over and over again and what I’m enjoying the most is actually their self-titled album, which a lot of the more ‘Metal’ Metal fans disliked or found disappointing. Their most popular album, City Of Evil, I’m enjoying but the first half is a lot stronger than the second half. I’m not that familiar with it yet. I love the title track from Nightmare, and ‘God Hates Us.’
Of the first two albums, y’know, the heavier ones that I should probably love based on my usual tastes, I’m not that into yet. I think they’ll be growers, but initially, they’re not grabbing me.
So, yeah. Avenged Sevenfold… a much more enjoyable and serious prospect than I’d considered. I’m still afraid of some phantom Celtic Frost fan making fun of me for admitting to liking them, but, hey one bit of personal growth at a time.
Speaking of things phantom judgmental people whould have a go about; I’m listening to Bullet For My Valentine for the very first time ever right now as I type this, and am two songs into their debut album presently, and to my surprise it all seems very reasonable. I was expecting something really poppy, saccharine and bland. This is actually nice, thrashy Metalcore, not as watered-down as I’d imagine either. Similar to Rise To Remain for these first two songs at least. I don’t know why they get so much hate (maybe these first two songs aren’t representative?). Anyway, since I started listening to the Metal Hammer podcast in 2009 I’ve constantly been hearing about how these guys are the biggest and most successful British Metal band since Iron Maiden and its been gnawing at me that I didn’t know anything about ’em, so I thought I’d best check em out, and with three albums in a boxset for the price of one, it won’t be too big a waste of money if its not amazing.
I’m actually struggling to get through music at the minute. I’ve been overextending myself recently; I haven’t slowed down my intake of new albums (and I make it worse for always opting for boxsets and multi-album deals) but don’t have the same free time to take it all in. With my Birthday and Christmas gifts, on top on the big bunch of 2015’s new-releases I got with my first paycheck back in September, I’ve had too much to get through already. On top of that I’ve just constantly been picking up stuff. A random MDC download here, a pair of Rancid albums there, a King Diamond Boxset here, and so on and so on. I’ve now got a musical to-do list that has completely exceeded my available time. With the delivery of all these new Metalcore albums I’ve decided to try and take a month or two off getting anything new and try and actually absorb what I’ve got.
There’s a good twenty albums on my ‘not listened to anywhere near enough’ list and about sixty on my ‘not listened to enough’ list. I’ve downloaded a 7 Seconds album that to my memory I’ve never actually listened to once, at all. Its getting a bit irresponsible now.
I think I’ll use my need-to-buy something impulses on something different, like Batman, and try chill out with the music already.
On a side note, can you believe Cliff Burton died aged 24? I’d have assumed it was 27 like Hendrix and Cobain. Imagine having already written and released Master Of Puppets by the time you’re 24!? What the hell did I ever achieve by then?
Anyway, here’s what I’ve listened to for a quarter of the year:
1.Anvil – 288
2. Rancid -165
3. Trivium – 136
4. Motörhead – 115
5. The Offspring – 114
6. Helloween – 111
7. Tygers of Pan Tang -111
8 Avenged Sevenfold – 107
9. Manowarr – 102
10. Megadeth – 102
11. Saxon – 99
12. Anthrax – 96
13. Queensrÿche – 94
14. Green Day – 88
15. Coal Chamber – 84
16. The Crookes – 84
17. Alkaline Trio- 83
18. Pennywise – 81
19. Jethro Tull – 80
20. Pantera – 79
21. Baroness – 77
22. NOFX – 75
23. Grim Reaper – 73
24. The Fratellis – 73
25 Powerman 5000 – 72