Love it or hate it: Heavy metal

by Patty Templeton

Love itRight now, I’m listening to Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” and it’s rocking my face off. Next on the playlist? “Ace of Spades” by Motörhead – because MOTÖRHEAD. Lemmy was a guitar god and is, probably now, an actual God who sips Jack, wears jean short-shorts, and hangs on lampposts in Thrasher Heaven while big-tittied angels with Pat Benatar voices quake by.

Metal has given me a glad heart. All kinds of metal. Mötley Crüe’s “Shout at the Devil” reminds me of night driving through cornfields with my big brother. Def Leppard brings me back to go-go dancing with my pal Steph. Finntroll reminds me of my first love and his lovely family. “Psalm 69” by Ministry is a GD masterpiece that I don’t think I could’ve survived that breakup without.

There’s a metal subgenre to fit any mood. Folk metal is a focusing favorite for me because it’s usually in a foreign language and I’m not distracted by lyrics. Glam metal puts glory into a slow morning (because come on, who doesn’t like Alice Cooper, Twisted Sister, or the New York Dolls?). Thrash like Anthrax will make any treadmill experience better. Dragonforce and other power metal can coax all manner of fantasies into being. Tool and other progressive metal bands never fail to set me to a creative, thoughtful mood. Death metal? Yes, just yes.

Am I metal expert? Hell no. I’m slapdash as shit in what I know about metal. It’s not the genre I spend most of musical time, but my ears have hit it often enough to know I love a helluva lot of it.

Patty TempletonHate itWhen it comes to food, there are a few that I just can’t get the taste for – raw tomatoes, for instance. So every year or so, I try them in earnest, hoping my tastes have changed.

This is heavy metal. It seems like I would like it: Uber-technically sound musicians, quick tempos, and a bit of darkness, which is fine for me, a guy who can embrace the dark at times.

But I don’t just not like it, I hate it. I may understand why people listen to it, but can’t understand how. One song will usually raise my blood pressure as if I’d had four cups of coffee then gotten into a fender-bender. The doom-strumming, drones-of-darkness guitars, the shrieking or serpent-lord-satan vocals, it’s too much.

More than that, it’s seems like a lot of metal bands are weird to be weird: Comically-gory or obtusely-violent lyrics, band logos written in fonts designed so you can’t read them.

So yeah, if there’s one genre in the entire universe of music that I could strike from the face of the Earth … sorry metal.

David Holub


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