Heavy music has always played a large role in my life since I was a wee little bastard rocking back and forth in a diaper to AC/DC and Van Halen, which was last week of I remember correctly. Unfortunately during most of my youth there was no internet, and thus no way to constantly keep up with every little piece of news like you can easily do with today’s technology. Hell, if someone burps on camera these days it makes headlines.
It’s no question that there is over-saturation when it comes to music news in today’s media, so much in fact that often times websites will struggle to find relevant topics. However, that just helps me appreciate the more memorable metal moments which happened long ago. They made headlines for a reason, and these are just a few that I will never forget.
The Black Album
After Metallica had blown everyone away with “And Justice For All” it was only natural to bask in the enthusiasm for their follow up release. When the album dropped I bought it on cassette tape, and could not stop listening for weeks. I have vivid memories of mowing my parents lawn with my Walkman glued to my ears whilst I continued to play that album repeatedly. Only when the internet became more prevalent was when I noticed people trashing the band for supposedly selling out or going soft. Despite all the negativity, I always considered it to be an amazing album.
The In Flames
Yes that’s correct, for the first year after hearing them I referred to them as “The In Flames” and I’m quite ashamed of it to be honest. My friend Nick always strolled around school from class to class with a Walkman blasting metal from his headphones, and one day I finally asked him what he’d been polluting the hallways with. He played me what I believe was material off the Lunar Strain album, and I was thoroughly impressed. Although I continually fucked up the band name, In Flames went on to be one of the biggest inspirations for everything Ive ever recorded with a distorted guitar to this day.
The Truth About Axl
Guns N’ Roses was a staple of my childhood, and it brought a deep sense of sadness and embarrassment when the media would slowly reveal what an asshole Axl Rose was. There were numerous reports in magazines and on television which painted the GNR singer to be a delinquent self-indulgent jerk, but I never wanted to believe it until I saw with my own eyes. Several interviews and concert video recordings were released to the public which showcased the lead singers rude and selfish behavior. Not shortly after it was revealed that the band was completely uninspired while making the new record thanks in part to Axl’s enormous ego striving to have the band become an ill fitted image of Axl’s warped rock and roll fantasy. Despite the turmoil and eventual breakup, I still enjoyed some of what turned out to be the double album “Use Your Illusion”.
The Church Burnings
I was never too familiar with what was going on across the pond with those zany Norwegians, but once news hit that churches were being set ablaze by local angry metal heads, my curiosity could not resist. Looking back on it I have a completely different perspective, as I now have respect for people’s beliefs no matter what they are. Everyone is entitled to their faith and to believe what they want, and most of the people who defy that end up becoming more preachy than the people they preach against. Unfortunately that wasn’t my mindset back when the churches burned, and I often defended the reckless behavior as a sign of strength. Thankfully I’ve grown out of that immature mentality, as my life would be a miserable one had it been shrouded in such stupidity and ignorance.
The Cunt Shirt
If you’re a Cradle of Filth fan, or even just aware of this band, you know exactly what I’m talking about. For those not informed, it was a shirt that pictured a nun masturbating with a bloody cross and the phrase “Jesus Is a Cunt” printed in large text on the back. Being a rebellious metal head who was hopelessly in love with black metal, this shirt was a glorious revelation at the time and sparked a reaction similar to this when I first viewed it with my own eyes. As much as I’d love to have held on to all my offensive metal shirts from yesteryear, my disposable instinct took over and the relics are all but a memory now.