If you aren’t someone who has ever had the experience of listening to odd foreign metal bands, you may not understand this story:
When I was a freshmen in high school in the dark ages of 2002, I took a Spanish class. Through some odd glitch in the fine Pennsylvania Public School system (that’s not sarcasm either, they were pretty good schools), there were too many students who wanted to take Spanish, and not enough teachers to teach it. The high school I attended shared a campus with the local middle school. At this middle school, there was a group of “gifted” students who were apparently taking a high school level Spanish course. The administrators decided that it would be appropriate for the overflow to walk over to the middle school on a daily basis to attend this Spanish course.
Did I mention this was Pittsburgh? Well it was, and in Pittsburgh, the winters aren’t fun. There’s snow up to your knees at least once a week in the heart of the school year, and as you can imagine, most of my classmates weren’t too fond of walking outside daily to get to the school.
I was not a fan, either. How could you be? I ruined sneakers, clothes, and probably developed cases of hypothermia from the knees down on more than one occasion.
Then one day, everything changed. It was almost fun.
You see, I didn’t mind because it was around this time I stumbled upon a genre of music that most people would have a hard time listening to. Hell, I had a hard time understanding what possessed people to make music like this until I listened to it in the context of being snowed on, while standing in 15 inches of snow. (There was a lot of snow, Jesus)
I’m talking about Swedish Death Metal. This stuff is practically written to be the score of the winter. If there was a movie about winter, you’d probably contract Opeth to do the score.
I suddenly felt like I was really taking some type of anthropology course in Nordic life, because only guys from that region could make music about this stuff. After all… this is what they gotta put up with. The Swedes are to Death Metal as the Canadians are to hockey, by the way. Funny how everyone has their claim to fame.
It was then that I understood the point of death metal and where it was coming from. In fact, as much as I loved hip-hop throughout those years, l went to even more odd metal shows. Punk too. I wish I had pictures on me to show you all too. That’d be something.
I had a lot of time as a kid, is the moral of the story.
(click the images for all photo credits)