My Metal Roots March 23, 2010Posted by Matt in concerts, music.
Tags: aggression, hard rock, heavy metal, Megadeth, metallica, Rust in Peace, teenage angst, thrash
add a comment
Those of you who know of my musical inclinations know that I listen to a wide variety of genres and styles – from organic singer-songwriters to the challenging experimentalism of bands like Radiohead to meandering jam bands to the early 90’s grunge music that dominated my teenage years. There is another music form, though, one that rose to prominence in my late 80’s preteen years, hit its zenith in the first half of the 90’s and subsequently disappeared, for the most part, from my listening habits during my pre-millennium college years: heavy metal.
My introduction to this branch of the rock music tree probably came in the late 1980’s when I began to hear and enjoy the innuendo-laden pop-metal hair bands of that time – Poison, Warrant, and the best of the bunch, Motley Crue. At the same time, I also became a huge fan of the album that may be the apex of 1980’s rock, Guns N’ Roses’ “Appetite for Destruction,” a work that easily stood head and shoulders above the hair bands in its profane tales of riotous living on the streets of Los Angeles. It was a real eye-opener for me as an 11-12 year old in small town Arkansas.
At the dawn of the 1990’s, I became enthralled with the hugely successful “Black Album” from Metallica, their offshoot, Megadeth’s, “Countdown to Extinction,” and the great Ozzy. I quickly used my allowance money to acquire their back catalogs on cassette and began delving into metal magazines, where I became acquainted with classic metal bands like Iron Maiden, and Metallica and Megadeth’s thrash contemporaries Anthrax. By the mid-90’s, my metal interest mainly laid on the aggressive driving sound of the band Pantera. Upon entering college I put away most of these interests, but they always remained, lurking just beneath the surface.
I don’t know why I had such a fascination with heavy music. My personality is fairly soft-spoken and easy-going. I don’t like to fight or to engage in risky behavior, which was certainly not in line with the testosterone-driven, ultra-aggressive sounds emanating from my speakers. Then again, maybe that is why I embraced it. Perhaps it gave me a needed outlet for that built up teenage angst.
But, despite the facts that I was entranced by the genre and that I have attended a vast number of concerts over the years, I have seen very few metal shows. I never saw Metallica in their heyday and, due to my dissatisfaction with most of their music over the past 19 years, I haven’t had much of an urge to see them since. I saw Pantera on the “Far Beyond Driven” tour back in the spring of ’95 and it was an amazing experience, as was the Motley Crue show I caught a few years later, long after anyone really cared what they were doing.
Nowadays I’m a thirty-something father of three with a good job and good friends, with little of the tortured feelings of adolescence remaining, yet I still occasionally like to turn on something on the heavy side, an adrenaline-inducing selection with lightning guitar solos and screaming vocals.
Thus, when I first saw the ad for tonight’s Megadeth show I was quite interested. Now, I have not kept up with any of Dave Mustain’s releases over the past 15 years or so, but this show was going to be a different animal altogether. This concert is the Rust in Peace 20th Anniversary show in which they will play the entire thrash classic from beginning to end with some other well-known songs thrown in for posterity. If that wasn’t enough, the opening bands are two lower tier 1980’s thrash bands, Testament and Exodus.
This is going to be an awesome show and I’m pumped about it. I’m ready to bang my head, raise my fist, and release some of that pent-up primal energy. This is gonna rock.