My Metal Evolution

All images courtesy of Getty Images

All images courtesy of Getty Images

Lately, I have been retrospectively examining my relationship with music and how listening primarily to records has affected that experience. The catalyst for this reflection? A playlist I made on Spotify and the resultant discussion I had with a friend. I know, I know, this is a record group and I’m talking about streaming music. I promise that it has a valid place in this discussion.

The playlist was one of the various Metal songs for working out. I thought it was bad-ass, and so I sent it to my friend Andrew. He also thought it was killer. Andrew asked me how I came up with the songs. I became lost in thought, as I often do, trying to think of a quick and satisfactory response to his question. I realized a legitimate and complete answer was complex in nature.

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Metal music is a category that I have only begun to delve into and enjoy over the past year or so. The same can be said of several other categories of music over the past few years. Music I never thought I would listen to even a few years beforehand. Over that time, only one thing has changed: vinyl has become the primary way I consume music. Records have fueled this flood gate of broadened musical horizons for the better. It seemed obvious, but I never stopped to appreciate how important the medium was to my discovery of new music.

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From a young age, I loved bands such as KISS, Led Zeppelin and ACϟDC. You would think metal music would be a natural and given evolution. Yet, somewhere along the way, I decided that Metal as a genre wasn’t for me. As I grew older, my tastes in music continued to evolve, and yet I still never revisited metal. Thinking about it, it’s hard to say why this was other than that I had hung on to my preconceived notions of the genre.

Finally, a few years ago, I started seriously collecting and listening to vinyl again. My friend Andrew urged me to listen to some classic Metal bands. I relented and listened to some Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Motorhead. My entire world opened up.

“Holy shit!” I thought to myself, “I’ve been missing out.”

I started grabbing albums online, at records shops, and at record shows. It was exciting to delve into a genre I knew nothing about. Discovering new sub-genres and bands I have never heard of. As my thirst for all things Metal continued to grow so did the ways in which I discovered new Metal albums on vinyl.

So, allow me to revert back to the aforementioned Metal playlist, and explain how I came to put it together. Grim Reaper’s See You in Hell and Metal Church‘s debut album, are two I picked up at a record show because they looked like something I should have (sometimes you have that sixth sense). The band’s Duel, Helloween, and Black Viper, I first heard after a member posted them to a musical-related Facebook group. Red Wizard’s Cosmosis, is an album my friend Andrew gave me for my birthday this past year. Black Death is an album I picked up at Aux 33 Tours, in Montreal last year, because it had some of the coolest album art I had seen in a while. Black Rainbows, and Traveler, are two I discovered on Bandcamp while looking for interesting indie Metal bands who had albums pressed on vinyl. I could continue but I don’t want to exhaust you with examples. You get the idea.

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My favorite thing about getting back into records has been the explosion of new music that has burst into my repertoire. Countless genres including Metal are continuing to be explored, and I heavily rely on the rest of the vinyl community to help me continue to do that. I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my favorite songwriters and huge Metal head, John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.

“Metal has its own code of cool, but it’s not really trying to be cool. And that was very refreshing to me, that metal is very much about expressing something that seems awesome to you even if, at the time, much of the world was going to mock and reject it.”

My “Metal Workout” Playlist:

  1. KISS– “Rock and Roll Hell” 
  2. Manowar– “Hail and Kill”
  3. Judas Priest– “Jawbreaker”
  4. W.A.S.P.– “Hellion”
  5. Motörhead– “Stone Dead Forever”
  6. Iron Maiden– “Aces High”
  7. Black Sabbath– “Children of the Grave”
  8. Black Viper– “Metal Blitzkrieg”
  9. Traveler– “Starbreaker”
  10. Iron Reagan– “Miserable Failure”
  11. Toxic Holocaust– “The Lord of the Wasteland”
  12. Metal Church– “(My Favorite) Nightmare”
  13. Duel– “Astro Gypsy”
  14. Black Rainbows– “The Prophet”
  15. Barbarian– “Absolute Metal”
  16. Night Demon– “Screams in the Night”
  17. Angel Witch– “Angel Witch”
  18. Grim Reaper– “Liar”
  19. Anthrax– “S.S.C./Stand or Fall”
  20. Megadeth– “Rust in Peace…Polaris”
  21. Red Wizard– “Blinded”
  22. Dream Theater– “Panic Attack”
  23. Fates Warning– “Seven Stars”
  24. Sons of Huns– “Alchemist, Part 1”
  25. Mötley Crüe– “Take me to the Top”
  26. Savatage– “Hall of the Mountain King”
  27. Dio– “Holy Driver”
  28. Danzig– “Am I Demon”
  29. Helloween– “I Want Out”
  30. Black Death- “Night of the Living Dead”

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