Heavy metal is what I consider my “first love” when it comes to music. Although I have branched out into other genres over the years and have lots of favorites from 20s and 30s jazz and blues, to bluegrass and cajun banjo-picking, to opera and classical, I still always come back to heavy metal. When I’m in good mood and want something to match, or feeling nostalgic and craving a particular sound, or simply need a “pick me up”, I pop some heavy metal in my CD player or MP3 queue, and am instantly in love all over again.
Hell, I “earned” my online moniker because of heavy metal. I was dubbed ‘Nitallica’ by a friend in high school because at the time bands like Metallica were, for years, the staple of my proverbial musical diet. I happily credit heavy metal as a constant source of inspiration for many of my digital and other artrial emissions over the years, as well as a positive focal point from which I drew strength during darker periods in my life. While I appreciate many different forms of music, what really quickens my pulse are the primal sounds of lightning quick guitar riffs, thundering percussions, screaming/thrashing vocals — simply put: metal makes my heart smile.
One of my co-workers just sent me the link to an article posted yesterday on USA Today‘s website:
Nothing else matters: Iraqi heavy metal returns
BAGHDAD â€” At a private dinner club on the banks of the Tigris River in Baghdad, Muthana Mani screamed threats at a wild-eyed crowd of young Iraqis.
“I’ll see you die at my feet! Eternally I smash your face! Facial bones collapse as I crack your skull in half!” he roared.
Two years ago, these kinds of threats in Iraq typically came from members of al-Qaeda, or violent sectarian militias. Saturday night, they were directed at 250 Iraqi fans of heavy metal music who fearlessly donned eye shadow, anarchist pendants and black T-shirts and came out of hiding to attend Iraq’s first metal concert in five years. Throughout the two-hour show, the crowd thrashed about, a sea of sweating bodies and banging heads. They screamed obscenities and broke tables. It was a scene that would have made any American metal fan proud.
It was also another indication of just how much security has improved here. When religious extremists controlled Baghdad’s neighborhoods, being a member of heavy metal’s unique subculture could amount to a death sentence, says Mani, 21, the lead singer of Brutal Impact, one of the two bands that played the concert.
“If I wore a T-shirt like this one,” Mani said in an interview after the show, pointing to a logo of a bleeding skull, “they’d have killed me.”
That is just freakin’ awesome. Freedom … and Metal. Two of my favorite things — and those Iraqi youths now have both.
Just one more reason to thank our troops!