It is fairly obvious that the creators of Metal Inquisition are slowly falling out of touch with their hip, young readership. As Sergeant D's elderly mind slowly waddles off into territory best left unexplored and Lucho Metales spends more and more time pontificating on crates of garbage from his youth, M.I.'s so-called "fan base" is losing interest quickly. That's why I'm here. You see, I'm only 30 (a "spring chicken" by comparison) and had a completely different experience in my metal education. While the creators of Metal Inquisition grew up attending the earliest Milwaukee Metal Fests and tape-trading with dudes from Impetigo, I grew up in a small town completely devoid of any sort of metal element whatsoever (Eureka, California - an hour south of the Oregon border with a population of roughly 25,000). With all due respect to Sr. Metales, Eureka was every bit as isolated (metal-wise) from any sort of cultural center, 5 hours from San Francisco and 8 from Portland. Lucho often complains that he had to subsist on 3-year-old copies of Metal Hammer, but we couldn't get Metal Hammer AT ALL, 3 years old or otherwise. It was a lot like Footloose, except with metal instead of dancing. Eureka was a cultural wasteland, devoid of access to "underground" music (besides our own little sheltered scene) or cool places to buy T-shirts. The closest (decent) record store was 20 minutes away in Arcata, and while their "punk" selection was decent, their "metal" selection was limited to stuff like Barren Cross, Cold Lake, and Stryper. While a few death metal bands existed in the area (such as Empire of Dust, Locust Furnace, and Transi), Hessians at the time were usually big, scary, leather clad barbarians, with swastika tattoos and goats living in their kitchen (this is NOT an exaggeration). As a result, me and my friends were denied access to all but the most "mainstream" metal bands of the early 90's, causing my metal upbringing to be backwards, scattershot, and most of all, embarassing. For example, I heard Cryptopsy WAY before I ever heard Broken Hope or Morbid Saint. My first exposure to At The Gates was on the flipside of a dubbed cassette copy of Stikky's Where's My Lunchpail?. I heard Formulas Fatal To The Flesh YEARS before Blessed Are The Sick. As Mike Browning could tell you, time was moving in the WRONG DIRECTION. By the time I heard Butchered At Birth and Legion in 1995, it was already too late. So here's a list of my 5 most embarassing secrets concerning my "metal education". I'm sure that not all of you can relate to the rich metal upbringing that the senile old codgers at Metal Inquisition were fortunate enough to be exposed to. But maybe some of you guys can relate to MY embarassing past, and the sad events that served as milestones for me.
1) MY INTRODUCTION TO "METAL" WAS D.R.I.'S THRASH ZONE This is tough to admit, but Thrash Zone was the album that actually GOT ME INTO METAL. In my freshman year at Eureka High School, I was listening to some really weak shit, like Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains. So when my buddy Julian showed up one day with a copy of Zone, it seemed like a breath of fresh air. Although the songs were way too long, unbearably stupid, and featured dudes in their 30's spouting lines like "School's a job... but... you... don't get paid!", we had no frame of reference whatsoever. D.R.I. sounded like nothing we'd ever heard before. When they shouted "Like a wild Indian from outer space / Drunk and high on WEED!", it pumped our nads. Although we'd never actually been in a mosh pit, we could FEEL the intensity. Soon, me and Julian had formed our own (instrumental) "thrash" band, which we called Kill Whitey (Flesh Parade later stole the name from us). We had a Christian dude named Matt on bass, and we totally RULED. Unfortunately, Kill Whitey didn't last long, as Julian got addicted to speed and ended up stealing my baseball card collection for drug money. But I got the last laugh, because he eventually went to prison for multiple armed robberies. Oh, and I was making out with his younger sister behind his back the whole time. Sucker! Sing along with the old classic, D.R.I.'s "Thrashard", which features quite possibly the best use of fake crowd noises EVER (con sibtitulos en Espanol):
2) THE FIRST TIME I EVER HEARD ANTHRAX, IT WAS ON THAT REMAKE OF "BRING THA NOIZE" THEY DID WITH PUBLIC ENEMY Embarassing but true. I was a huge fan of P.E., beginning with the release of Apocalypse 91 back in, um, 1991. But what really blew me away was the totally innovate amalgamation of rap and metal they placed at the end of the album, a totally slammin' little ditty called "Bring Tha Noize". After doing some deep research (i.e. reading the liner notes), I found that the song was a collaboration with an awesome group of surf-trunks-wearing thrashers called Anthrax. I quickly rounded up copies of Attack of the Killer B's and Sound of White Noise, which, to my knowledge, were the only releases from these rap-metal masters. They even threw some sweet funk into the mix, which to my 13-year-old mind seemed like the best idea EVER. With 20/20 hindsight, it is fairly obvious that Public Enemy has retained their dignity better than Anthrax over the years, Flavor of Love nonwithstanding.
3) I USED TO PUT SLAYER AT THE END OF MIX TAPES... AS A JOKE I spent LOTS of time making mix tapes for my bros (and yes, chicks I had "secret" crushes on) in the early 90's. Usually chock-full of hideous garbage like Screeching Weasel, NOFX, Guttermouth, and Skankin' Pickle, these tapes were, unfortunately, a pretty accurate documentation of where my head was at the time. But the best part about making a mix tape was the extra time at the end of each side, which I liked to fill up with random sound clips and comedy bits and stuff. Usually anywhere from a couple seconds to about 2 minutes long, these leftover areas were a great place for me to flex my creative mix tape muscle, inserting samples from Adam Sandler's comedy album ("Fuck me in the goat ass!" was a popular choice) or a piece of dialogue from a cartoon I had dubbed off TV. But here's where it gets embarassing: My friend Nate, who had been a metalhead in the past but "progressed" to pop-punk, was embarassed of his old music collection and kicked me down his copy of Slayer's 1991 live album Decade of Aggression. This hurts to say, but Decade was the FIRST TIME I ever heard Slayer. Immediately confused by the excessive speed and pointless guitar solos, Slayer became my new favorite for time-consuming mix tape fodder, a ridiculously over-the-top "joke band" I could add on in 30 second increments to fuck with my friends. Unfortunately, by the time I realized that Slayer was actually pretty good (1994 or so), they had already gotten bad again. Oh well. Looking back on this, I would probably still use Slayer songs to take up extra time at the end of mix tapes, if I still made them. Except it would be jock-rock stuff like the songs on Christ Illusion or that cover they did of "Born To Be Wild". That shit is hilarious.
4) THE BLACK ALBUM WAS THE FIRST METALLICA TAPE I EVER BOUGHT AND it was the first time I'd ever even HEARD Metallica. AND I liked it. Wow, it actually feels kind of good to get that off my chest.
5) BODY COUNT SEEMED SCARY AND HARSH Keep in mind that this was before Ice T had appeared in Tank Girl (right) or smoked a joint with the Leprechaun in Leprechaun In The 'Hood. We was some backwoods, rural folks out there in Humboldt County, and "Cop Killer" seemed like the most hardcore, gangster, inner-city shit out there. Never mind Beatmaster V's inabilty to play a steady beat or Ernie C's atonal, amateur solos. Body Count was the REAL DEAL, a ghetto nightmare come to life on our very own Discman. Ice T was, without a doubt, a ruthless killer, a hardened criminal and a threat to the security of our country. And rap-metal, like I said before, seemed like a really good idea. In retrospect, it's pretty amazing that ANYONE could take the band that wrote a song like "The Winner Loses" seriously. Except Eastern Europeans, of course (PS - these two videos were the only versions of said song I could find on Youtube).
Above and below: Two crown jewels from my mid-90's Humboldt Metal collection, Drunk By Noon's I'd Call In Sick If I Had A Job cassette demo (featuring the songs "Meat Box" & "Morbid Goat") and Locust Furnace's Ignorance Through Perception. The Locust Furnace CD is actually pretty good, but take a close look at the cover art. They just cut out and blew up a chunk of the cover art from Altars of Madness. Genius.
Now that we're acquainted, please take a moment to check out MY blog, Illogical Contraption, which one reviewer called "quite possibly the best thing on the internet, EVER" and another dude referred to as "the poor man's Metal Inquisition". Which it is.