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Monday, September 27, 2010

Dittohead

After many years (and chances) to see Slayer, I finally saw them on Friday, along with Megadeth and Anthrax. You can read what I thought of the show over on DC9, but I wanted to point out something a little more personal here.

You see, when I was a teenager, saying you liked Slayer was like saying you really enjoyed reading Mein Kampf. While other metal bands sang about gruesome things and Satan, Slayer was the pinnacle of all of that to those who were easily scared by that kind of stuff. It was one thing to be a fan of Metallica, but Slayer? That was super-hardcore.

Maybe it was the bad reputation metal had with Tipper Gore and her fellow housewife friends. Maybe it was exactly what your parents didn't want you listening to based on sheer sonics. For its various reasons, Slayer was dangerous.

Or so people claimed.

I can definitely say I was creeped out when I heard stuff like "Dead Skin Mask" and "213" when I was a teenager. I can now definitely say that I am not creeped out by that stuff. As a matter of fact, as I stood there watching Slayer blast through Seasons in the Abyss, I thought their music was about as harmful as watching a horror movie. If you can tolerate Night of the Living Dead and know that's it not real, it's a drama, it's a metaphor for critics to write essays and books on . . . then Slayer is nothing you should lock your children away from.

I understand that this music is not for everybody. Claiming this music is of the devil is really fear personified into something else. How I choose to take in this stuff does not make me some masochist or sub-human. Instead, I understand how it can a form of entertainment. And a completely harmless kind of entertainment, if you like your music fast, dirty, and unrelenting.

1 comment:

Richard of DM said...

I am glad you got to see Anthrax, especially with that lineup. I can't stress how much they meant to me during my youth. That rocks.

Slayer was amazing but not nearly as important to me. Oddly enough, when I heard them for the first time, I had no preconceived notions about them at all. I had seen their t-shirts around but the satanic imagery was either over my head or totally old hat by then thanks to Iron Maiden's Number of the Beast (which sounds like ABBA compared to most of Slayer's stuff).

What really impressed me about Slayer (and what I was not prepared for) was the sheer insanity of the music, the freaky lyrics, and of course, the scary shit scattered around Seasons in the Abyss. I was 14 and full of abstract teen angst and Slayer was just another step along the way towards my metalheadedness.