Month Without Metal Week 2: Riffdrawals

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In all of my wisdom I have elected to give up metal for the month of February. What follows below is a recap of life without my preferred genre and all of the discovery and suffering that entails. Oh, and playlists! There are playlists, too. Please, won’t you come join me so I don’t have to suffer alone?

Do you remember how I said that by the end of week one things were actually getting easier? New avenues were being explored! A whole world of new music was opened up! Life without my metal crutches was EXCITING! Well all of that lasted approximately 2 more days before I started to feel… anxious. I couldn’t tell you where, exactly, this change happened. It was as if I woke up and a switch had been flipped. I have a lust for RIFFAGE, and it is not being sated. Not even close. Perhaps it has been this week’s diet of movie soundtracks and rap, but I think it’s really just a need for some heavily distorted thrashing that will not accept any substitutes.

It did not help, then, that the local butt rock station mocked me mercilessly this week. The heaviest thing they played was “Headstrong” by Trapt, possibly the worst of all of the terrible butt rock that the aughts spawned. While I thought that this and that goddamn inescapable Zac Brown/Chris Cornell song would certainly be the death of me, it was actually a commercial that twisted the knife hardest. Apparently this past Saturday At the Gates played in Dallas with Decapitated, The Haunted and Harm’s Way, and as far as I can tell it was the first time this radio station had ever decided to advertise for a legit heavy metal show. Of course it was. The instantly recognizable opening riff to “Slaughter of the Soul” blasted through my car stereo as generic radio bro #5 rattled off band after band, my heart sinking with every one. I think Slaughter of the Soul is a great-but-overrated album, but I’ll be goddamned if I didn’t want to listen to it more than anything in the world the next several days.

The week wasn’t spent entirely writhing in agony from riffdrawals, though. I continued my adventure through the collected works of David Bowie, spending a lot of time split between Blackstar and The Man Who Sold the World. I also spent some quality time with last year’s Lost Themes by John Carpenter, an album I had oddly ignored even though the man has made many of my favorite soundtracks (and movies). Even when he isn’t scoring the apocalypse Carpenter can still write the hell out of a synth tune.

One area I consciously tried to explore was rap/hip hop. This week I listened to 2001, Doggystyle, Death Certificate and Return to the 36 Chambers for the first time. I had heard the singles from all these albums, but had never bothered to really explore them any further than that. I regret that so hard. Of all the aforementioned albums 2001 by Dr. Dre probably got the most plays with “The Watcher” never fully leaving my brain. I also managed to find plenty of time for my number one fallback while at the gym: DMX. Let a dog roam and he’ll find his way home, indeed.

That about wraps up week two. As I write this I plan on listening to Illmatic by Nas (I have no idea if that’s a good or bad idea) and will stare longingly at the Pig Destroyer LPs that showed up at my door the other day. Many apologies to the girl in the Slayer jacket. You’ll just have to wait, my love.

Why are radio stations so cruel? Will they ever be good again? Were they ever good in the first place? Why is that remix of Ruff Ryder’s Anthem so much better than the original?  These questions and more could possibly be answered in the comments section.

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