Month Without Metal: Week One

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In all of my wisdom I have elected to give up metal for the month of February. What follows below is a recap of life without my preferred genre and all of the discovery and suffering that entails. Oh, and playlists! There are playlists, too. Please, won’t you come join me so I don’t have to suffer alone?

I woke up on the morning of the first and went about my usual routine. I got up, I showered and brushed my teeth and made my way over to my computer. I went to check and see if there was any exciting news from the metalsphere, perhaps in the form of new song releases or album announcements. It was at this point that it dawned on me that it really doesn’t matter if there are because I can’t listen to any of it. It was also around this point that I started spamming that gif of Will Ferrell saying “I immediately regret this decision.” Maybe this is going to be harder than I realize.

I don’t know if there is such a thing as “music withdrawals,” but if there is I came pretty damned close to experiencing them somewhere around day three. At this point new music had been released by Slugdge, Magrudergrind, Tombs, Paroxsihzem, Primitive Man, Altarage and The Body/Full of Hell. If that isn’t some higher powers colluding against me in an effort to break my spirit, I have no idea what is. It didn’t help that through those first three days all I could think about were metal albums I needed to revisit that I hadn’t even THOUGHT of in months. I can’t tell you the last time I listened to Heartwork (burned myself out on it) but I almost immediately thought to myself ” I should listen to Heartwork…and every other Carcass album… Are there any Icelandic black metal bands I’ve been ignoring? Did I ever listen to that Nero Di Marte album?” NERO DI MARTE. What the hell, brain?

Since making it past those first three days, though, it has been relatively smooth sailing. I’ve spent the majority of my time diving into David Bowie‘s discography. I was woefully unfamiliar with most of it, but after hearing his latest and unfortunately final album I was determined to rectify that. I focused the most on Station to Station, Low, Aladdin Sane, and Ziggy (I’m not typing that whole title) while working in some Blackstar as well, and I must say that the diversity even among those 4 albums is astonishing. The fact that they’re all so good while being that diverse is downright mind-blowing. The man was truly a master of his craft.

While Bowie was my main indulgence I did enjoy some other things that were all pretty firmly planted in the genre of rock.  Tom Waits and The Pixies have been default fall backs for a while now, and that isn’t changing any time soon, and I will always find an excuse to revisit The Violent Femmes’ eponymous debut. A couple of bands that I was less familiar with were Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Nick Cave’s one-time side project, Grinderman. I knew a handful of songs he had done with the Bad Seeds but had never sat down to listen to an entire album. That changed with Tender Prey, an album I plan on revisiting plenty of times in the weeks to come. Where his output with The Bad Seeds has a more southern, gospel-ish vibe to it, his work with Grinderman is just straight, sleazy, sexual rawk of the weirdest variety. I didn’t spend as much time with them as I did with The Bad Seeds, but it wasn’t for a lack of quality. I was just more drawn to that southern weirdness that Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds seem to ooze.

I inadvertently spent the week focusing on rock, but I assure you that it won’t be all I listen to here. There are some rap and hip hop classics that I’ve never listened to (The Chronic…) as well as some… uh… country albums that aren’t Johnny Cash that I’ll probably try out. Of course, this is all assuming that my will doesn’t fold like the wet paper towel that it truly is. Lord, beer me strength.

Got any recommendations for sad Lars? Is there a better Bowie album than Station to Station? Are you the only person who ACTUALLY listens to Nero Di Marte? Sound off in the comments below!

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