.Editorial - On The Outside Looking In
Metal Reviews

Release year: 2007
Reviewed by Ben

If there’s one thing that I’ve noticed amongst the many metal fans that I have come into contact with it is that we are all in a sense alienated from the rest of society in some manner or fashion. I don’t necessarily mean that we all walk around with a frown and hate life like so many others think but that the way that life is perceived and the mannerisms that we portray indicate that we are different than most. This feeling of alienation can run the gamut of the emotional spectrum from having this music be our only friend in times of need, the only thing that we can truly relate to at the end of the day, or maybe even the ideals and messages of certain musicians infuse themselves into the way that we think and help shape our moral fiber. Even though one of my friends in San Antonio is a grope away from being considered a Reckless Kelley stalker, (they’re a rock n roll / country band) I have yet to encounter people whose lives have been impacted so much by a particular brand of music. I’ve done a couple of editorials that broached the subject of being drawn to metal in various ways, but this one I am writing because I really think that I’ve nailed one of the core elements that brings people to “the cause.”

The other day I was talking to one of my friends at my apartment about where I was going with my life and vice versa when an epiphany struck me. He said that he hasn’t really ever met anyone like myself who was so into the aesthetics of music and the wealth of knowledge that I can regurgitate at any given moment. I was like, “I guess so man, I never really tried or anything like that, to sit down and memorize this shit like it was homework or anything. I’ve just always been into music and metal happened to be the foundation of that love.” Then he asked me how I became interested in metal in the first place and as I was telling him the story of my next door neighbor turning me on to Metallica (I should also mention this little dude went on to pick up the guitar and form the tech-core band The JonBenet) in middle school when all of a sudden, the floodgates of my memories opened up and I remembered more clearly than ever what really happened. Yes, Dann did introduce me to metal, but it wasn’t until a few key events occurred that I became fully and totally entrenched in the music and embraced it totally.

In Texas there is a state standardized test that schools administer called the TAAS test and one of the portions consisted of writing a fictional story. I remember this as clear as day because I guess even back then I had an interest in writing. The backdrop: Three kids, two boys, one girl, were standing in front of a gigantic tree with a massive, deep dark hole in the side. Write what happens. I wasn’t what you called very active in sports, instead I read books like they were going out of style. At the time of the TAAS test I was really into Greek mythology and Stephen King. In fact, this was when I was reading The Gunslinger for the first time. Ha, just that shows me how long ago this was. I had a field day with this particular story. A voice spoke to the children from inside the tree beckoning them to come inside where they ended up sliding down a “smooth and and seemingly endless tunnel which was lit by translucent orbs which emanated light but gave off no heat at all.” Just writing that sentence alone as a little kid got me excited and to make a long story short (I wrote about six pages when I was supposed to do two), the girl slams into one of these orbs, disintegrates, and then the other two wind up in hell where Hades, lord of the underworld, tries to enslave them and the kids fight their way out of hell through a horde of demons and manage to take one of Hades‘ eyes in the process. Man when I was done I thought I was a bad little fucker and the next Stephen King. About a week later my teacher talks to my parents and me and is mortified at what I had written. This bitch started asking my mom if I hurt animals, if I was prone to violence, and basically telling her I wasn’t the next Stephen King, I was the next Ted Bundy. I couldn’t understand what the hell was going on, I thought I was being creative and really believed that I delivered something to be proud of. Instead I got shit on and took this as a way of society telling me “don’t dare to be different and stretch your imagination because it will only make people think you’re weird.” Ok, at that age this didn’t really shoot through my head as neat as I wrote it, it was more like, “why the fuck should I ever try again if all it brings me is trouble.” Side note: One of my other friends who was a hardcore Metallica buddy wrote his story about a gigantic spider coming out of the tree and eating the kids and terrorizing the town. Yeah, he got a nice little visit from the school shrink too. Not only was this bad enough in itself, but every other person in my classes found out and now me and my friend were the weird kids, the misfits, the future fuck ups, etc. Since we basically screwed any chance that we had of being socially normal we hung out together playing video games and discovering metal. It was here where I found something that I felt a connection with. It was here where the power of riff-o-matic guitars and inspiring vocals about sticking to your guns, never giving in, don’t let the bastards bring you down, and fighting for what you believe in struck a chord in me that is still reverberating today. Lyrics about war, about ancient cultures, long past civilizations, nuclear holocaust, the rape and murder of the environment, and the occult were subjects I also explored with the aid of bands like Anthrax, Iron Maiden, Mercyful Fate, Overkill, and of course, Metallica. As I got older I jumped into bands like Motley Crue (c’mon, you can’t tell me any guy that’s in the 9th grade where hormones are raging can’t get into shit like Girls, Girls, Girls or Ten Seconds To Love) and Def Leppard which helped me cope with the “no ass zone” that seemed to take up an area ten feet in diameter all around me. There were of course more visits to the various school shrinks and having the mom come up and try to convince teachers that I wasn’t a serial killer in training for doing horrible ghastly things like, drawing the cover of Master Of Puppets on my school binders (egad!), or completely stealing the lyrics of The Misfits' We Bite for a poetry section (oh no! not vampires!), and other such trivial matters. Matters only got worse after the bullshit at Columbine High School happened because thanks to the goddamned media where some jackass came up with the brilliant idea that Chode Eric and Dylan Douchebag did what they did because they listened to metal. For over seven years of my life, and these were what psychiatrists call the “formative years”, I was told that I was a fuck up, a weird kid, and had no future. If I was lucky I’d be pumping gas at age forty with a mullet and a rotted mind. I learned quickly that being yourself, and truly meaning it not just saying these words but following them and living by them, and using the power of imagination and the forces of creativity, is not something that society appreciates and rewards. Look where it got me, a loner with a few very close friends and nothing but insults and / or trouble at school. In times like this some people turn to religion and others turn to drugs. I had already found my rock, my source of unlimited power and that was heavy metal. Instead of bending and cutting my hair and putting away my band shirts to replace them with Mossimo and Yaga paraphernalia, I went out and bought some heavy link dog chains and made my very first chain wallet. When I would be listening to Skeletons In The Closet on the bus and some jock motherfucker would call me a long haired faggot and push my discman out of my hands I would deck him in the face even though he was three years older and outweighed me by sixty pounds. I didn’t give a shit, I just knew that Nikki Sixx and Chuck Billy were hard ass guys that ate more crap than even I could comprehend and they wouldn’t let some bunk fool like that push them around. By the way, I still wear those same chains today as a reminder of where I came from.

For a long time I had a huge boulder of anger and resentment on my shoulder that I carried with me everywhere. It wasn’t until the last half of high school where I made friends with one of the uber preppie guys in my German class and started hanging out with him and his friends and their girlfriends that that rock slowly got chipped away. Now I am a completely different person than who I used to be. I consider myself a pretty easy going guy and am grateful for the many close friends that I have who I know would go to bat for me if need be. And they are as far from metal as you can get. So what was the point of this extra long editorial? It wasn’t for me to whine and moan and say “woe is me look at my life” or anything like that because if I wanted to puss out and conform I could have at any moment. Everything that I do is of my own will. I wrote this because I know that my story isn’t a unique one. Almost every other fan of metal that I know of is someone whose cogs turn a little bit differently than everyone else’s. At some point in time we became alienated with conventional society and turned to this music. Heavy Metal in itself, its very nature is something that is appealing only to certain individuals.

THINK: About moments in your own personal life that you were told you couldn’t because you were different, that you realized that you were not like the rest of your co-workers or classmates. About the times where you took those extra steps and put your foot forward and were told that you were wrong for doing so. What, if you can remember, was the first step in your alienation from others and how did metal affect your feelings and thoughts if at all?

Now that you’re done reading, go take a piss, make a sandwich and enjoy the reviews.

Killing Songs :
Ben quoted
Other albums by .Editorial that we have reviewed:
.Editorial - Re: Reissues and Remasters reviewed by Ben and quoted
.Editorial - A Brief Run Through Power Metal (in 3 1/2 stages) reviewed by Ben and quoted
.Editorial - Metal N Media reviewed by Ben and quoted
.Editorial - The Curious Case Of Udo reviewed by Ben and quoted
.Editorial - Music Album DLC reviewed by Ben and quoted
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