A Reflection on 2016: Thanks for Sticking with Us
It’s easy to take it all for granted. In the hustle and bustle of the election, the close of the year, and a busy season of trying to figure out what the hell we may have missed in 2016, anyone could be forgiven for not taking some time to reflect. Thankfully, though, most of us have a couple of days off later this week to do just that (unless you’re a poor commercial lemming who has to work Black Friday). This Wednesday afternoon, we invite you to slow down, breathe deep, and think about all the good there is around you.
As Editor-in-Chief Joe Thrashnkill recently posited, the last couple of months have been nuts. The USA feels pretty divided, and I don’t think that wound is going to mend for quite some time. How do we move forward as a nation, as a people, when the only unifying bond holding us all together seems to be a common distrust for your fellow man? How do we work toward a common goal with others whose own wants, needs, and desires seem to vary so drastically from our own?
I believe the answer, in part, is thankfulness. When we take time to slow down, to reflect, to ponder who we are and what got us here, I think we’ll start to realize that most of us have been the beneficiaries of a long chain of blessings and graces that have helped shape our worldviews. Thankfulness is a lens by which we can see our lives more clearly: see our jobs, our homes, our friends, our aspirations in a new light that illuminates all we take for granted. When you realize that all that you have is a gift, you also notice the gifts that others lack, or the different gifts that have led them down different paths. If we are to stop alienating the other, then we must recognize these gifts for what they are, be thankful for them, and work to see this charity extended to all men. Maybe then we can understand the fears and confusions and angers that inform the others and help them, and our country, heal.
So what does thankfulness have to do with metal, a genre that seemingly prides itself on exclusivity and contradiction? Pause for a moment and ask yourself what brought you here to this place? Were you seeking community? Friendship? Acquaintances with whom to talk about your mutual disgust for plebs? I think most of us got into metal because, in one way or another, we’re outsiders. But even outsiders need community, validation, and common goals.
And that’s why this blog was founded. This is a home for misfit toys who want to go a bit deeper than the surface of standard metal commentary, to revel in the absurd, to question and shake the ivory towers of this genre. To feel at home, really.
And the fact that we have that home should be cause for celebration. Every single one of us was born in a time where we found a type of art that truly resonated with us in ways that many cannot understand. Moreover, we’re fortunate enough to live in a time where we have unprecedented access to that art and an impossible level of communication that allows us to share and appreciate and discuss and fight over that art with like-minded outsiders. We may very well be the others, but we have a home for that and an art that speaks to us and lends beauty and color and anger and pain and happiness and sorrow and joy and grief to our lives. And we have the privilege to share those feelings with the artists and with our fellow man right here. That is a blessing.
So today, the day before Thanksgiving, I want to say a few things for which I am grateful. I am grateful to Papa Joe for keeping this thing afloat. I am thankful for good friends like the Masterlord, Randall Thor, Boss the Ross, and Spear who have enriched my life with manifold benevolence. I am thankful for folks like Leif Bearikson, Stockhausen, Guacamole, Ed, and Christian with whom I can discuss a form of art that means far more to me than makes rational sense. I am thankful for the opportunity to build friendships with musicians like Loic from Autokrator, Ascaris from Ævangelist, and Dave Tremblay from vod who create art that adds light and shade to my existence. And I am thankful for this community that has helped see me through a period of life that I would describe as restless.
But I’m not the only one who’s grateful. Some of the ToH writers wanted to share their own thoughts.
A big molten thumbs up to TovH’s authors and readers for keeping this place one of the most positive metal communities on the web. And also to Anaal Nathrakh. — Cybernetic Organism
Massive thanks to the editors for proofreading things. Massive massive thanks to Joe Thashnkill for keeping this place running. — Randall Thor
We do not have Thanksgiving festivities in this corner of the world, but I take advantage of the situation and give my sincere thanks to all the people that administrate, write, contribute or just pass by to comment on the blog. Sometimes is a difficult task to all of us to deliver our content to all the readers, but I know we all give our best to all of you. I also thank all the bands that have passed by and kicked our asses with great music this year; and all the friends that I’ve met over here, of course! Please, stay safe, enjoy the holidays, my best of wishes to all of you and never forget to live your adventures at full! I also wanted to thank Michael Amott for existing. — Link Leonhart
My thanks to the Toilet Ov Hell and it’s denizens for being far more open minded towards thrash than nearly everyone else in the metal blogosphere.
Also much thanks to said family, writers and commenters both, for being as diverse a set of individuals but as united in the love of the music.
Be well. — Simon Phoenix
A mighty HAIL! to the Toilet, my fellow writers and fellow commenters!
This blog has opened my world to new and exciting things. I never thought I’d get the chance to write about my goofy music tastes and actual have an audience that somewhat cares enough to read my silly words. I have made some honest friends through the Toilet from around the world. To say that I have friends from countries such as Venezuela, Finland, Belgium and Romania, as well as across the US, and that I am able to chat about the music I love with them on a daily basis is absolutely mind blowing. Many of us have had our differences, but at the end of the day, we can come together as brothers and sisters of metal. This is truly best in life. — Boss the Ross
I’m thankful that Lacertilian started sending me promos to write about. — Richter
I’d like to end this by sharing some metal for which I am thankful. As the year-end list season of metal approaches, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that it’s an immense blessing that each of us can find even one album that resonates with us on an emotional level. I’m thankful for good art, and I’m thankful we have a place to share it. Stay well, folks.
Thanks for sticking with us, friends.