Sunday Sesh: Hand-Me-Down Metal

In which we begrudgingly acknowledge the people whose charity or financial desperation helped usher us toward our love of metal. 

I cannot credit my older brother–that prick–with getting me into metal. I am certain I would have found my way here without his assistance. Just not so soon. You see, back before every record store on Earth bought and resold used music, my brother used to make a quick five bucks by selling metal tapes he no longer liked to me. He might as well have been a shadowy figure whispering “Hey kid, wanna buy some crack?” I don’t know what caused him to fall out of love with these albums; I can only assume that he was a massive poser, only buying them to seem cool to his friends who were actually cool and not posers. Or maybe whenever he owed someone money for drugs/porn he would sell anything he could. Whatever the case, he would assure me that by allowing me to purchase albums from him at a discounted price he was doing me a favor–out of the sheer kindness of his heart. And so my budding curiosity about metal made me the sole beneficiary of said kindness (the only kindness that prick ever paid me, for the record).

The ravages of time and alcohol have muddied the picture, but I believe the first tape I bought from him was Megadeth‘s Peace Sells…but Who’s Buying? This was my first taste of metal: To a young boy who listened to nothing but glam rock, it sounded frightening, dangerous and nearly incomprehensible. At first I did not like it. But I could not stop trying to like it. It sounded like hateful noise, and yet its allure was undeniable. Soon enough I went out and purchased So Far, So Good…So What! for myself (a superior album, for the record).

For his next sale, my brother offered me a choice between MisfitsWalk Among Us, Slayer‘s Seasons in the Abyss and ExodusBonded by Blood. I told him what I really wanted was his tape of Iron Maiden‘s debut. I hadn’t heard it; I just liked the cover. But he would not part with that one, nor would he even permit me to listen to it. And neither Slayer nor Exodus appealed to me. So I chose Misfits (not metal; still relevant). It turned out to be a fortuitous choice: I have long since lost the ability to enjoy any of Megadeth’s music, whereas Misfits are still in regular rotation.

My brother must have suffered some vestigial attachment to Walk Among Us, because he tried to talk me out of taking it. He offered to let me have both Seasons in the Abyss and Bonded by Blood for five bucks. I wasn’t having any of this bullshit; desperate for cash, he had to let the album go.

Next up for sale was Nuclear Assault‘s Survive. This was the most extreme thing I’d ever heard. The drummer was so fucking fast. I couldn’t imagine a human being playing that fast. I was no budding extremophile, so the relentless thrashing of this album terrified me for weeks after the purchase. But the songs were catchy enough to keep me hooked, and my young brain was just developed enough to grasp the fact that there was some sort of social critique going on in the lyrics. Not the most refined social critique to appear in heavy music to that date, but when John Connelly referred to the television as “the idiot tube” at the top of his lungs in “Brainwashed”, I had to take pause and wonder if watching TV was really stunting the growth of my brain.

At last, my brother’s extreme poserdom compelled him to capitulate to my wishes and sell me Iron Maiden’s debut album. Too bad that, unbeknownst to him, I had long since gone out and bought a copy for myself. It was the first time I bought a tape without hearing it first, lured into it by the morbid allure of its cover art. And I was rewarded mightily, as this purchase set off a Maiden-spree and a long standing affection for the band’s first decade of existence.

Although Megadeth and Nuclear Assault were among my first flirtations with metal (along with Metallica‘s only good album, Ride the Lightning and Overkill‘s pinnacle, I Hear Black), I was not to plunge headlong down the Path of Thrash. There were some run-ins with death metal and industrial, but those are stories for another time. As soon as puberty hit I pushed metal to the back burner (except for an ongoing love affair with Maiden) and plunged headlong instead into the radio’s version of grunge rock. And since my brother had already sworn off metal in favor of punk, there was nothing left for me to learn buy from him. Years later I was presented the chance to play for him something I had just bought. As it happens, it was a track off of Dornenreich‘s masterpiece, Her von Welken Nachten. His response: a sneer, followed by the utterance, “Sounds too studioized.”


My brother’s path into metal remains more or less obscure to me. I know we had an older cousin who had a shitload of Maiden and Megadeth posters on his walls, and doubtless a cream-worthy vinyl collection (I didn’t give a shit about vinyl, it was too old and dusty, and CDs were too newfangled; tapes were the be all end all of physical media.) I do remember that my brother was an avid fan of Headbanger’s Ball. I wasn’t allowed to stay up late enough to watch didn’t catch on to that show until a few years later. And when I finally did, the floodgates were open and radio grunge could officially fuck right off.

So, was there anyone in your life who eased/violently pushed you into metal? Divulge the contents of your personal life in the comments below.

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Published on: October 9, 2016

Filled Under: Metal, Nostalgia Boners, Open Swim

Views: 658

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  • ChuggaChuggaDeedleyDoo

    Satan introduced me to metal

  • Pentagram Sam

    Coolest and prob the only legit “hand me down” came to me thru my buddy in Houston who got me into the whole thing of “music.”

    After moving out of H town, we kept in touch writing letters to each other and one day lil homie said his aunt had died and she was a big metal fan. She had some cool stuff he wanted to see if I was interested in. Iron Maiden Aces High poster, a World Slavery tour poster, a Priest…LIVE! poster, and the coup de grace, a Number of The Beast framed mirror like you get at carnivals. Hell, he said he thought they were cool as hell and wanted to keep em but knew I liked the bands a whole lot.

    These were all origs, all from the eighties. The posters are still around, a bit beat up but around. Alas though the mirror broke when moving one time.

    It lasted thirteen years and even spent a year on the mantle of a pretty rowdy party house I used to crash at. For a whole year people got blitzed under the watchful gaze of Eddie and SaTAN.

    • Kevin Nash’s Jackknife

      I have a Quiet Riot carnival mirror of Metal Health.

  • Elegant Gazing Globe

    I still wear the chain on my wallet that my big brother gave me back in ’94

  • Jack Rabbit

    My dad gave me some of his old Priest albums (Defenders of the Faith, Sad Winds of Destiny, and Unleashed in the East). I still occasionally go back and listen to them

  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    My dad is a metalhead, so I grew up with it. We have home videos of little Boss the Ross braced on a table, headbanging to Ride The Lightning and Paranoid. Metal has always been there but for a few years it went dormant. In elementary school I would listen to what my dad played but it just kind of floated around me, I hadn’t willfully embraced it completely just yet (except Clutch, I’ve been singing those lyrics since I could talk). Metal had somewhat gone on a back burner for my dad at this point, why, I don’t exactly know (I could be remembering this wrong). However, the summer before my 6th grade year is when I realized what I was missing. My friend had Metallica’s Ride The Lightning and And Justice For All and the moment I relistened to those albums was an epiphany. Something within me erupted and I knew this was the music for me. I went to my dad and basically told him”I need Heavy Metal” to which he replied with making me a few mix cds of both Metallica, Pantera and a few others. From there he started slowly introducing me into his cd collection and allowing me to listen to everything else.

    So this is somewhat of a hand-me-down story, though none of the cds actually become mine.

    • well this is extremely interesting! do you still talk to your dad? what does he listen to now? do you two go to shows together?

      • Señor Jefe El Rosa

        I talk with my dad all the time! After I started getting deeper into music I always shared what I found and to this day still show him new bands. Whenever I go down to visit we usually end up on the back porch, beers in hand with music blaring. I’ve gotten him into Sleep, High on Fire, The Sword and more bands like that and he really digs them. He is also where all of my love for hip hop comes so we jam a lot of that as well. In fact, he is more of a hip-hophead than a metalhead right now. He’s been re-buying a lot of the albums he had “back in the day” recently, so I get copies of those as well.

        • that is super cool, BtR! i wish my Dad was into cool music. he’s too busy saying “this is terrible… why are they so angry?” to give anything heavy-ish a chance

          • Kevin Nash’s Jackknife

            My dad hates metal.

        • GoatForest

          Damn. Thant sounds awesome. My dad is only into old country.

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            Old country isn’t a bad thing but when it is the “only” thing, that can be a bit of a buzzkill

    • more beer

      Metal was limited when I was a young beer. But once I heard Black Sabbath there was no turning back. There were no hand me downs in those days.

    • This was a sweet story, Jefe.

      It was cool that your dad didn’t shoehorned his tastes. In the end, you discovered your things alone and you developed your own taste.

  • Abradolf Lincler

    i dont think it was until i got to college that i met people who were into the really extreme stuff we listen to today.

    but my family and friends had me hooked on old favs (Slayer, Pantera, etc) when i was a wee lad

  • ME GORAK™✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ


    • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

      Now we’re sharing some semi-forgotten death metal classics, this is one of my favorites:

      • ME GORAK™✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ


      • <3

      • tertius_decimus

        Always upvote Brutality.

    • Lone Biker of the Apocalypse

      I think they played the first ever death metal show I went to when I was a teen…at this old club by Deja Vu in Toileto called “The Crowbar”…it was Descendent, Gutted, and Deicide. They were very solid!

      • Señor Jefe El Rosa

        Slightly off topic, but your name is so cool

        • Lone Biker of the Apocalypse

          Muchas Gracias Senor Ross!

      • ME GORAK™✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ


    • GoatForest

      Hey, so this is where you and Frank went. Is Hester here, too?

      • ME GORAK™✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ


        • GoatForest

          Ah. Well, good to see you man.

  • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

    I sorta got into metal all by myself. I was getting bored with the hip hop and electronic music most of my mates were (and still are) listening to, so I started exploring my dad’s record collection and discovered a lot of 70’s rock, prog rock, blues, soul, folk, jazz…stuff, which was great. On the other hand, I still needed a (I don’t know how to put it) relatively “younger” (?) subgenre which coupled youthful aggression to a dose of variety and creativity I already found in the genres my dad listened to. I first got through a lot of the entry-level metal stuff before I started getting deeper into the genre.
    Later on I got to know a biker dude who took me to my first metal gig with Motörhead being the headliner.

    • FrankWhiteKingOfNY
      • more beer

        They are playing here on December 10th. I am so looking forward to seeing my old friends.

        • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

          Awesome man! Epidemic of Violence is definitely in my top 5 thrash albums.

          • more beer

            I like Tortured Existence a little more.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Tortured Existence is great as well. Epidemic is the one I got into first, so that’s probably why I prefer it.

          • more beer

            This is what got me into them. I ran into a friend in the mall and he was with Derrick Hammer and he gave me this demo. One listen and I was hooked.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            One thing’s for sure; you know quite a lot of great bands personally.

          • more beer

            It is all about being out there going to shows and talking to people. Plus I have been doing this metal thing for a really long time. But it was also more personal back in the day. Every band was going to shows and handing out demos. So you would get to know the guys in the bands. They would give you your demo and talk to you for a while. Then you would see them at the next show. Now every band just posts on facebook or bandcamp. So there isn’t that interaction anymore. There was also a lot of friend a introducing me to now friend b. So the cycle goes.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Yeah that’s cool as hell. It also helps if there’s a decent metal scene where you grow up. I live in a region at the Dutch border where the #1 pastime activity seems to be the production of shit quality synthetic drugs. There are metal fans of course, but there isn’t really a “scene” or so to speak.
            Most nearby historical metal scenes are in the Overijssel province in the Netherlands (where bands such as Pestilence and Asphyx came from) or in the Ruhr region in Germany (where bands like Kreator and Sodom were formed). And both are at least a 2 hour drive from where I live.

          • more beer

            It really does help having a strong scene. A friend of mine just played the Gothenburg Death Fest and his band has been touring around Scandinavia. From the pictures he has posted he looks like he is having the time of his life there. They aren’t anything ground breaking but they are a pretty solid death metal band. Check them out.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Definitely pretty solid brutal death. Works well in a live setting.

          • more beer

            Yes it really does. I saw them 2 nights before they left for that tour. They were really on top of their game.

  • Kevin Nash’s Jackknife

    I never had someone who guided me into metal.

    • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

      Sometimes the best things you discover, are the things you discover on your own.

      • Kevin Nash’s Jackknife

        Agreed. I found out all I know about music myself.

  • Maik Beninton™

    I found it all by myself.
    The only thing I really wonder though is how long it would take if it wasn’t for the internet.

    • Max

      Answer (speaking as an older person): It didn’t actually take that long to discover bands once you knew which publications to read; it just took long to actually hear them since that meant finding their records and paying for them. To this day I have the names of various semi-obscure bands (or certain albums by bands) stuck in my head which I never actually got around to hearing until YouTube.

  • RJA

    Walked into the room of my friend’s older brother and there were Iron Maiden posters all over the wall – done. The art, the music, it was captivating to a 14 year old!

    • I think most metalheads would admit that the art hooked them before the music. Especially for new metalheads, looking at the art while listening can sort of help them to “understand” what they’re hearing. This was certainly the case for me.

  • Max

    Not really. My older brother was into punk and didn’t like metal; so once I deviated from the punk hand-me-down path I was on my own.

    That said, such an article could have been written ABOUT me by some of the people that I subsequently converted to certain bands, if I do say so myself.

    • I’ve tried to convert friends. Maybe 1 out of ever 100 recommendations sticks. (My friends have terrible taste.)

      • Max

        The people I’ve managed to convert weren’t actually converted TO metal per se; they were already into it – I just got ’em further down the rabbit hole.




  • When I was about 13/14 years old I had a guitar teacher that sent me home with albums to check out. He introduced me to Bad Brains, Nine Inch Nails, Napalm Death, and Strapping Young Lad.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      BAD BRAINS!!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    • GoatForest

      Good teacher.

  • Freedom Jew

    Nobody ever gave me anything. I had to earn my metal.

  • NDG

    For me it was the older cousin who played me Maiden and Metallica on the same day back in Dec ’86. That sent me on a path of discovery that has never stopped. Later down the track when said cousin had turned his back on metal in favour of Milli Vanilli (these were heady days!) he gave me a bunch of Venom LPs, some MOD and the first Bathory LP. I swear he had more stashed away somewhere but he claims to this day that I took all he had.

    Like Richter’s older brother mine would also buy a record and decide he didn’t like it. Reign In Blood was passed onto me this way. Total poser!

    There were also some older dudes at my school who were always passing on whatever they were listening too…Venom, Death, Overkill and the first Mucky Pup album…I still maintain this is a good record!

    I also remember a bunch of dudes in the late 80s who were wanting to part with Suicidal and DRI albums for pretty much no cash at all. I would grab whatever I could from them even if I’d never heard it before.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      Dude, serious grabs!

  • Ted Nü-Djent ™

    My brother and I shared a room. I listened to his, he listened to mine. Funny thing was that he used to have to be the one to own certain albums. I never understood that as we both could play them anytime we wanted too

  • Ayreonaut

    I was adopted into a super Christian family and all of my clothes were hand-me-downs until I was old enough to work.. Unfortunately no metal 🙁

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

    My dad and his Sabbath records…..

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      Damn straight

  • I remember that when I was an elf-kid, some older cousins and I hang out. They were very cool, so they started to give me pirated CDs when they knew I was getting curious on what they were hearing.

    Those were the nu-metal days, so we hanged out and listened Mudvayne, Linkin Park, Marilyn Manson (that was 2spoopy4me, but I listened quietly) and Limp Bizkit.

    It was very silly, but they paved me the road. One year later of that period, I bought a large size Maiden shirt that looked like a bathrobe to me! It was cool to be part of something else, and, to be honest, that was the thing I was craving in my entire childhood. I was always a introverted kid, I had some friends at school, but I knew there was something loose with my mind, because I was always drawing, reading or playing with my toys videogames alone at home. So, yeah, I think it was destiny to listen to this awful screamy music.

    Good topic, Richter. It was very cool to look at your experience (and to listen Dornenreich once more time).

  • AC/DC live album from 1992.

  • GoatForest

    I was actually the first metalhead in my family, but I did influence many after me. So, that has been cool.