Monday, June 15, 2015

My Favorite Metal Albums For Different Situations and Settings

I'll own up to it...I have a problem with complete silence.  Whether I'm hanging out in my apartment, driving in my car, or working out at the gym, I always have to listen to music. The only time I DON'T feel compelled to listen to music is when I'm in the company of others.

I don't exactly know why I can't handle silence. On the obvious side of things, I'm just a humongous fan of music. However, I also experience a lot of "noise" in my head (as in, a rapid-paced cycling through various barely-connected thoughts) when I'm not focusing on one subject or idea, so I think music helps me concentrate and filter out this "noise".
Through constantly listening to music, I've found that there are perfect combinations of bands and/or subgenres of Metal with different situations and settings.
Thus, in this post, I am going to divulge my favorite albums/sub-genres for different situations and settings. The situations and settings will start out with more general, daily activities and then will get more specific.


Exercise

Bro, do you even RIFF?!?!  There is no FUCKING way that I am going to the gym without a fair amount of Metal on my iPod.  I'll always remember listening to "Reign in Blood" by Slayer while I was on the treadmill and feeling like I was a viking running into battle. I am not joking when I say that I felt a surge of adrenaline pumping through me at that moment. Runner's high? Could have been. Metal high? DEFINITELY.

It's actually really hard to narrow it down, but I would probably say "City", by Strapping Young Lad is the my favorite Metal workout album.  Nearly the entire album is fast-paced, intense, and over-the-top in every sense. I try to time it so I'm doing cardio for all of the faster songs at the beginning of the album, and then lifting for the slower tracks towards the end.  Or, if my workout is longer than 39 minutes and 22 seconds (it usually is, bro), I just put that shit on repeat...bro.


Driving

It really depends on when and where I'm going and for what purpose, but there is nothing that compares to listening to select albums/tracks by Isis and Cult of Luna while driving on the highway at night. And yes, "Somewhere Along The Highway" by Cult of Luna is usually my go-to in this situation. The relative silence and desolate sameness of the highway at night is really isolating in a sense, and for this reason, the often minimalistic and spacy sounds of bands like Isis and Cult of Luna is a perfect way to both somehow embrace and transcend that isolation at the same time.


Sex

None...

Now, admittedly, I once had sex to the song "The Last with Pagan Blood" by Amon Amarth...on repeat. And I'll never forget the story of our friend (who shall remain nameless) having anal sex with his hardcore Catholic girlfriend (they have long since broken up) while listening to Dying Fetus.

But, really? Is there any Metal that is "sexy"? None, in my humble opinion.

A long time ago, Wulf and I had a discussion based on this premise: "Is there any music less sexy than Metal?" The conclusion was that Noise Music (a la Whitehouse or Merzbow) was the only music less sexy than Metal. 

If you want to put on some brutal, guttural Death Metal or some kvlt Black Metal while doing the dirty, be my guest. But I will personally be putting on some chill baby-making electronic music, thank you very much.  My Bloody Valentine is also great for the sideways hokey-pokey.


Pre-gaming and Partying

Back in the good 'ol days (circa 2004-2008), we would throw Metal parties where everyone would dress in their most grim Metal getup, drink the cheapest of beers, and listen to Metal all through the night - corpse paint REQUIRED.  Seeing as how the majority of our friends are/were not Metalheads, this was a rather rare occurrence.

During these parties, there were SO many good Classic Metal and Thrash Metal albums that my friends and I threw on for some good 'ol fashioned Metal Party Madness™, that it's hard to pick one.  With that being the case, I'm going to come out of left field a little bit and say 'God Luck and Good Speed' by Weedeater was often a go-to party album for us in the latter part of the good 'ol days era.  This is partly because Weedeater would often tour through our hometown.  Not to be outdone by "Dixie" Dave, my friends and I would often get batshit-crazy drunk at their shows. My favorite memory of getting fucked up with Weedeater involved me jumping on stage and pouring PBR down Wulf's throat. The one time that I failed to attend a Weedeater show, my friends that went said that "Dixie" Dave set a bucket on stage for him to puke into. Good times.


Hiking

Damn, this is hard.  If I were more of a fan of Pagan/Folk Metal, I would most certainly go with something in that sub-genre.  It kind of depends on what mood I'm in, but I would probably say my go-to is Wolves in the Throne Room.  Stereotypical, I know, but listening to WITTR is practically a fucking pagan ritual in of itself.  Combine that with being alone in the woods, and you're basically transcending consciousness or whatever.


Cleaning

It's no secret that I'm not a fan of cleaning. I am certainly not the dirtiest person, but cleaning is usually on the bottom of my list of things to do. When I clean, I want to get it done as quickly as possible. For this reason, I've found that Math/Noisecore is fucking amazing for cleaning. It kind of makes sense too: Math/Noisecore is the aural equivalent of taking meth, and I'll be damned if methheads aren't amazing cleaners. It's all in the details!


Cooking


To be honest, I don't often listen to Metal when I cook. However, I can't get the idea of listening to Power Metal while cooking out of my head and I don't really know why. Is cooking really that epic? Maybe. Maybe because I just associate both fine cuisine and Power Metal with Europe. Who knows? Anyway, I'll raise my spatula to that.


When You've Had Just the Shittiest Day and Nothing Seems to Have Gone Right

For me, it's usually not one large thing that goes wrong (thankfully), but a series of really small things (thankfully...?). Unfortunately, I'm the type of person where it takes me a while to isolate these small things in my mind, and sort of laugh them off and remove them as barriers to having at least an average day.

On days like this, there is no better release than listening to KC Hardcore Overlords, Coalesce. For me, their later material has the perfect balance of groove and punch, noisy and chaotic, to really get out all of that negative energy built up from all of those small things going wrong.

I remember one time in junior high absolutely cranking "cowards.com" by Coalesce and stomping around my room while raging on a pillow. I can't quite recall what I was so angry about, but listening to Coalesce seemed to help out quite a bit.


When You're Momentarily Very Angry About Something

I know what you're thinking, but I really don't have much of anger problem. But just like everyone else, I will sometimes get very frustrated or angry about something relatively small (e.g. I just spilled coffee everywhere, my jacket zipper will NOT.FUCKING.ZIP.UP.) for a just a moment before I realize how ridiculous it is that I'm getting angry about something so small and I laugh at myself. But a number of small things like this can create a bad day for me, as previously mentioned. As illogical and possibly counter-productive as it might sound, listening to a band that is ludicrously angry is usually a great way to quell my momentary anger.

You probably knew what was coming with this one: Grindcore

I can think of only two or three times in the last few years where I was explosively angry about something for more than a moment. That's usually just solved the way my Dad always did: wait until you're relatively isolated (or as isolated as you can be) and just yell a lot until you're not angry anymore. Or listen to Grindcore. Whatever works.


That Sort of Existential Shame that Comes With a Massive Hangover

God, these mornings, afternoons, and (God forbid) early evenings are the absolute worst, and they are 80% of the reason why I don't drink nearly as much or as often as I used to.

Let's set the scene: you were out until 5:00 a.m. drinking, and then you wake up at noon. You've slept off your drunkenness, so there's no way that your brain can now hold off the coming onslaught of questions like, "What am I doing with my life?" "Why do I keep doing this to myself and expect a different outcome? Isn't that the definition of insanity?" "Is anything important?" "Is anything meaningful"?

It really just depends on how much further down the rabbit hole you want to go. I personally will start feeling anxious if I start listening to really depressing, somber metal like DSBM or most Doom Metal.

For these days, if I'm listening to any Metal at all, it has to be something unapologetically happy and/or triumphant. Something like the Kings of Metal, MANOWAR.

Manowar will lead you through the existential cesspool of your hangover to the glorious light.

*****

As you may very well be able to ascertain, there is an endless amount of situations and settings that call for different Metal bands and/or sub-genres. 

What are some of your favorite combinations?


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