There was a slight radiance of dried-up salt from the tears that stopped falling down my cheeks moments earlier. Like any other adolescent, I felt quite alone and misunderstood. Personally, it was more difficult because I did not have a strong female role model to look up to, and guide me through this very confusing time.
The only thing that kept my mind off of the issues that have continued to impact my life to this day, was the music stream from Detroit area radio stations.
It was the mid 90’s during the humid Michigan summer. Mind you, I grew up listening to various music genres including classic rock, pop, rap, hip-hop, and the Korean music my mom liked to listen to.
This particular day was more difficult than usual. Desperately trying to find something that I could relate to, I sat on the wooden floor of my bedroom at my dad’s house next to my boombox, listening for any sort of message that would let me know I am sane. Or, at least – that some sounds had empathy for me…
Along came a blast of music which gripped my eardrums – nu-metal grabbed my attention as it radiated from the speakers. It was 1997, my soul’s yearn was quenched by the spilling sound from the Deftones pouring into my room through the stereo. That’s when the love affair became official. I, at that very time, had found the very music I was searching for all my life, music that would define me. Prior to this, I had no idea that a music artist could know what I was thinking or feeling through both music and lyrics.
The love affair of metal. It started with the Deftones – the sound of nu metal. From that, my love of metal grew into many more sub-categories, the underground-metal sound of Korn, thrash metal bands Metallica and Slayer, and later influencing my interest in a plethora of lesser known bands such as Bleeding Through (hardcore metal), symphonic metal such as Dark Tranquility or Children of Bodom, American metal band Lamb of God, and so much more.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a multitude of artists that I like that can surprise people when I mention I have heard or am familiar with their work. This is just a blog and a underground artist name-dropping contest.
I’d like to make the point that this happens to me quite often, as I am a chick, not only that but an Asian one, from Detroit, who loves metal. Nine times out of 10, I can out-name those who duel me to a contest.
As a friend put it, after being told I’m the Asian chick who loves metal, “When I saw you for the first time I judged you by your looks – it thought, what metal could she like? Poison?”
After we battled our duel he realized, humbly, that I am the death metal queen. I am confident that I know more about metal than what my female appearance shows.
This brings me to today. An entire decade plus four later, sitting in my room of my very own apartment, after the roads have taken me from Detroit to Chicago and now south to Austin, subwoofer thudding the bass of The Black Dahlia Murder, and Winds of Plague came from my surround sound speakers, and the walls grip onto the plaster pieces to hold together despite the reverberation of the metal tremolo pick blasts each axe from bands. I’ve never been to Kansas so I am definitely not there. Detroit has a great metal scene – but in Austin I am trying to resurrect it from the hidden depths with the almighty powers of heavenly beings – because Jesus helped Man to create these wonderful music things.
How did I get so far from that time? How did I grow from that adolescent girl into this strong woman who is not afraid to share her thoughts? Was it the music that brought me to where I am today? Was it the music that lit the fire under my bottom to keep moving, to keep finding that willingness to succeed deep down inside of me? If these other people, with such intense emotions could make their dreams come true to have their voices and instruments played on the radio, could I in fact use my own soul’s strength to find the happiness I’ve been searching for? Was it the angry metal I kept within my heart that kept my confidence at a high when faced with opposition and weakened mental disposition? Who truly knows. But my answer is yes. Even though others think metal brings a person down, that it’s (gasp!) depressing, I find the confident strums of guitar and the raspy voices singing over those chords all-inspiring. Metal speaks to my heart. My heart radiates the confidence of each power chord, and I know who I am.
(Originally posted in my other blog, laurajeanelliott.wordpress.com)
- Tats and attitude as heavy metal music makes comeback (thetimes.co.uk)
- Music from India – Punkh (xworldmusic.wordpress.com)
- App of the Week: Earache Metalizer (spotify.com)
- TESTAMENT Guitarist Alex Skolnick – “Now There’s An Environment Where You Can Be A Diverse Musician And Also Play Metal” (bravewords.com)
- Deftones December Wrap Up (cgiovanniwrites.wordpress.com)
- The 2012 Heavy Metal Addiction Awards (heavymetaladdiction.com)
- What Are You Doing Here: A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation In Heavy Metal (blackgirlnerdy.blogspot.com)