Trusted friends have told me that this blog reads far too angst-ridden and desperate at times. I agree, but I’ve never deemed conflict to be an especially bad thing in the first place. Much of what fuels these pages was a result of a place and a very particular set of circumstances. Moving to a new city, however, gives one pause; having left that place and those conspiring events behind, would I be able to produce the same kind of impetus again? Don’t get me wrong, I’m the last person to be swayed by delusions of grandeur; the site is what it is and many are the times when I’ve woken up the next morning with a throbbing head, distinctly abashed. An unhealthy obsession with introspection does have its benefits after all; you might remain a perennial underachiever, but at least you’ll err on the side of caution, for the other way lies obnoxious ignorance. But how much of this blog, whatever it is, was musically-relevant conviction and not simple venting?
Why we love this music is because of how alive it makes us feel as human beings but also because, on the extremely rare occasion, it opens us up to other like-minded individuals. Extremely rare is the functional operator in the previous sentence; one that is a great tragedy, a tragedy that feels like betrayal, because how could it be any other way? The music finds you, and not the other way around, is something I’ve put great stock in. We’re constituted a certain way and so we find resonance in heavy metal because it appeals to those sensibilities in ways strange and mystical. But we’re social apes at the end of the day too, just innately restless and unsettled. To then find minds similar to ours fulfills our souls and makes us believe that “Hey! I’m not alone after all!“.
When I first reached that place I spoke of, I knew no one, but metal has an almost pre-ordained way of bringing our kind together. Whether it be someone I had anonymously shared files with ten years before across the P2P network Soulseek, or an Anton LaVey doppelganger coming up to me at a local gig seeing the Deceased t-shirt I was wearing, or a wild-looking guy yelling ‘Confessions of a monotheistic whore!’ as evening prayers were offered in the mosque on the opposite side of the road; these were the people that eventually became my metal brothers. Die hard fans of the music, no doubt, but also people who captured some essence of what we bloviate about in abstract rants. Abrasive personalities such as ours never go down easy with anybody, least of all among ourselves, but through the ugly times, we managed to present a united front to the enemy.
And now that I’ve left them behind and I’m in a new city yet again, there was a curious, unsensing void for much of the last month. I did not hear any music to speak of, but this was a gap that felt more than simple metal fatigue and it left me wondering whether something essential inside had run dry. And then what would come of the self-righteous posturing on Old Drunk Bastard?
But I feel it returning, that familiar flush and hit of adrenaline that sinks your heart a couple of notches. It’s an old feeling now but it still meets with the effervescence of a new lover and what in the wide world could you possibly replace that with? My metal brothers are no longer here to share it with me, but our drunken songs, in shabby bars and at the Nilgiris, still ring out in my mind.