Throughout my late teens and early 20’s, I was rather involved in my town’s local metal scene. I played in a band, I went to shows, and I hung out with the people who ran in those circles. Outside of work and relationships, the metal scene was my life. It filled my years as a young adult with memories that I’ll never part with. Whether it was an ill twist of fate or a blessing in disguise, life got in the way, I stopped playing music, and I drifted away from the scene.
Even though I am no longer part of the local metal scene, I still attend the occasional show if a friend or a coworker is performing. So, this past Saturday, I found myself in a very familiar venue, surrounded by familiar faces, yet it all felt so foreign. I didn’t belong; I looked different, I carried myself in a different manner, I wasn’t obnoxiously crude and vulgar like the others in attendance. I grew up, while these people maintained the same immature mindset they developed at the age of 17.
I showed up before doors opened, caught up with old friends, and sat on a nearby bench to people watch for a bit. The average attendee looked like they hadn’t showered in days and were outfitted with stereotypical metalhead apparel; donning shirts with images of blasphemy, Mjölnir pendants, gauntlets, leather pants, ill-fitting skirts and cut-off shorts paired with fishnets. I eventually migrated inside and sat at the bar, where the scene was not any better. The entire premises had a stench of bad decisions and misplaced societal hatred.
Eventually, the bands started to get on stage. I had seen the first band play a few years ago and still enjoyed their set, they have a sound that’s a nice mix of Slipknot and Killswitch Engage. The second band, on the other hand, was really nothing more than noise with an obscene name and vulgar lyrics. The guitarist played an 8 string, probably downtuned a full step, so everything he played was unintelligible; the low notes were drowned out by the deep thumping of the drums. Despite popular belief, after years of listening to death metal, your ears become trained and you understand what the vocalist is screaming about. I think it goes without saying that I felt a deep resentment as I listened to this vocalist scream about performing forced oral sex, another testament to the scene’s vulgar immaturity.
Outside of the strange Viking/Skyrim LARP from 2 of the other bands, whose music I actually enjoyed, there wasn’t much else that I considered noteworthy. The show was a carbon copy of every other show; ill dressed people, drunken sloppiness, and sweaty men pushing each other around in the pit.
They say that distance makes the heart grow fond, but in this case, I’ll have to disagree. The local metal scene is a monument to stunted growth, a clique of the broken posted up at a dead end street. My departure from this scene was a blessing, not a curse, and it allowed for me to take the correct steps to move forward in bettering myself and my life. I hope that some of the others are able to come to the same realization.
Oh, I'm a good old Rebel, now that's just what I am; For this "Fair Land of Freedom" I do not give a damn! I'm glad I fit against it, I only wish we'd won, And I don't want no pardon for anything I done.