The YouTube video above is of Suffocation guitarist Guy Marchais buying his band’s recently released seventh album, Pinnacle of Bedlam, at his local FYE. I myself attempted to do the same thing last night, except FYE didn’t have it and even though Best Buy‘s website said they had it in stock, it was nowhere to be found when I got there, and none of the employees wanted to help me (I saw the clerk I approached for assistance say “fuck” under his breath as I walked towards him; your customer service technique leaves a lot to be desired there, Poindexter); I probably won’t be going back there for anything, ever (sadly these are the only two options for buying metal in Des Moines, the one independent record store we have doesn’t know what the fuck heavy metal is). On top of this, Nuclear Blast for whatever reason isn’t down to supply THKD with promos in spite of my best efforts to work with them (the Fleshgod Apocalypse interview HERE and a Lock Up interview that was never returned). So, in spite of this being what I consider to be a pretty major new metal release that should be available everywhere, it looks like I’ll be Amazon-ing it up to get my Suffo-fix.
Okay, so a couple of folks have asked me to write something about how I got into heavy metal. Well, let me start by saying it wasn’t easy to do, being trapped in the bowels of the Midwest. Furthermore I’m only 30, which means I was way too young to get caught up in the ’80s glory days of tape trading (I was 8 years old when Nihilist released their first demo, about 4 when Death released theirs) and too old to have had the internet readily available to me at a young age (we did however, have some sweet Apple computers at school that you could play Oregon Trail on). There were very few outlets for discovering metal available to someone growing up when and where I did. I think it started with classic rock. It might not have been easy to catch an underground metal show in central Iowa, but it was easy to turn on the radio and hear Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, Steppenwolf, Kiss, etc… the building blocks of heavy metal. I always gravitated towards the heavier side of classic rock, so metal was a natural progression.
And I discovered metal through MTV. This might sound like a completely ridiculous notion now, but back then MTV actually had something to do with music and didn’t constantly show programs about knocked up trailer park dwellers, morbidly obese high schoolers who want to be dancers and cheerleaders only to fail miserably, and more sexually confused 20-somethings than you can shake a stick at (take that how you will). It was Metallica’s video for “One” that hit me like a sledgehammer to the skull. I caught it while randomly flipping channels one day after school. It was one of those moments of “This is the music I’ve been waiting my whole life to hear.”. The dynamics, the guitar tone, the machine-gun drums, everything about that song was perfect. It blew all the hair metal MTV had been playing at the time out of the water. Metallica weren’t a bunch of preening tarts like Poison, they were genuine bad asses with a dark, heavy sound that matched their black-clad image. Of course, it was all downhill from there…