Metal and Me

Metal – a headbanger’s daily fix or a living room moshpit, the purpose has probably been the same since the word was invented – to act as a release to whatever is waiting to be released inside a you and a me. Whereas the efficacy of rock and roll to act as an instrument of protest has found favor with minds that have been wishful of being a stiff middle finger in the face of convention, metal has also acted as a drug to disenfranchised minds looking for something to believe in, ever since Black Sabbath started pumping up the volume way beyond eleven.

Even when Mars Bonfire wrote the lyrics to ‘Born to be Wild’, which used the term heavy metal for the first time, I wouldn’t know if he imagined that what he had coined would stick for so long and more so come to become a tool of self-discovery for all the seedy punks trying to sound as evil as possible in their garages. Right from the proto-punk days of The Stooges to the heavy blues rock of Led Zeppelin, music had been undergoing a revelation in terms of the volume and technicalities that characterizes metal as we know it now. But until Sabbath stepped in with their downtuned guitars, unpretentious attitude and doomy lyrical agenda, the nascent metal scene was still heavily borrowing from the blues. It was the mighty trio of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath who did us all a favor in terms of the sheer volume and the technicalities involved. The time had come…

NWOBHM, thrash, death, grindcore, black and doom all followed, metal evolved, went underground with grunge, resurfaced in nu-metal and came to India. We loved it, we hated it, we ignored it – but metal remained. People also started to see metal in new ways – from an effort to look cool to extreme catharsis, metal served the outlet to the release again. I personally have been metallified, with initial experiments with Metallica and Iron Maiden. The whole troop followed, I got converted in grunge, did glam rock, thought to progressive, smelt doom and raised my horns on death – I kept liking heavier sounds. The journey got a hiatus when I started getting serious with the blues and the sounds of the 60s and 70s. I came to believe that analog was where it’s at and I have come to realize that the ones who started it all were and still are the true masters; the creators of all sounds heavy. Off late Opeth has been a band that has been doing the rounds of my musical soirees’ – been good, been heavy.

But I really don’t think I’ll ever be too old to hang up my boots and stop listening to metal, to stop raising those devil horns, to still be able to pump up the volume at eleven again. I will keep growling, keep howling and keep that headbanging on. Yearghhh! \m/

Siddharth Tanti