Why I Love Metal Music

{Guest Post by Kent Blazier}


If you would ever find yourself on a particular college campus in West Lafayette and happen to run into me walking to class, you would see an average looking guy, possibly talking to inanimate objects, while walking quickly to a class for which he is already late. But for real, let’s define the term “average.”

av·er·age /ˈav(ə)rij/ noun

  1. The saving grace of helping you pass a class, not by understanding the concept, but by being less dumb than your classmates

Sorry, wrong context.

av·er·age /ˈav(ə)rij/ noun

  1. A mid-sized male with slightly saggy jeans, no tattoos, piercings, drug problems, or look of death in the eyes

There is absolutely no giveaway in my demeanor to say that I love metal music. And before I get into why I love it, we have to come to a bit of an understanding.

METAL IS NOT:

  • “Dude, I love metal too. This one time at a Nickleback concert my friend and I moshed so hard…”
  • “Yeah, I think metal is okay. I went to Winter Jam once and actually stayed for all of Skillet’s set. Mostly because I didn’t think I would find my seat again…”
  • Just Metallica

METAL IS:

  • Arriving to a show at a place called “The Coliseum” that is smaller than your bedroom
  • Leaving with more of other people’s sweat on your shirt than your own
  • Being flung on to the stage and then crowd surfing to the back of room where the opening band shares a piece of their pizza with you

My story starts as a freshman in high school marching band where I have just entered the world of drumming. I learned there was this underground world of people that have devoted their lives to making their hands do fast and loud things. It was amazing.

I was sitting in Lucas Oil Stadium watching groups after my high school’s State Finals performance. A friend came up to me with one of those old iPods that you can feel the hard drive spin inside and the only games are Brick and Solitaire.

“Hey listen to this.” I winced slightly as Tim Lambesis’s scream flooded my ears. I gave it a second. My friend said, “This is a Christian band.” I gave it another second. The things the drummer of As I Lay Dying was doing with his hands and feet were far from anything that has ever occurred on Star 88.3 (the local Christian radio station). I didn’t know what to think. On one hand, my mind at the time said Whoever can drum the fastest and loudest wins, and this fellow had clearly won. On the other hand, if this other guy was “talking” about Jesus, why did he seem so angry?

I explored other avenues that seemed more of a compromise. I listened to bands like Burden of a Day, Underoath, and War of Ages. I could understand the lyrics 90% of the time even if they started screaming and could enjoy the drumming 100% of the time.

When I tell people that metal can be an acquired taste I usually get a scoff.

“Why would you waste your time?” they ask as they sip the coffee they hated at first.

I feel like now is the time to answer this question.

I love the music, but my faith in God is where I get my passion for metal. While that probably makes me biased, I will stand by this opinion: Christian Metal is the best in the industry. Christian art in this generation has always had the feeling that it was the cute off-brand of secular art. The church reacted to the shift in culture brought about by the Beatles by deciding to allow drums and guitars in church…as long it was only Chris Tomlin that came out of them.

“Let’s keep the music simple and the lyrics uncomplicated so it’s easy for the congregation to learn.” That’s fine, but talk about a tiny box you have put art and worship in!

“Let’s make a rap out of Bible verses so kids think Jesus is cool.” No.

This gray area of struggle has been better articulated by columnist Kemper Crabb (on page 54 of this issue of HM magazine) and other authors, so I won’t dwell on it. My point is metal does not find itself catching up to secular society. It is the leading edge. You say “Metallica,” I say, “August Burns Red.” You say, “Bullet for my Valentine,” I say, “Devil Wears Prada.” I’m sorry if you don’t like metal and that just went over your head, but if you’re a person that likes Jesus, keep reading.

As a high schooler, I was faced with some interesting personas. A question I asked myself a lot was, “How do I be a Christian guy?” I grew up in a household where I didn’t run into being a man in the secular sense very often. My dad is a social worker whose co-workers are women and has always been around women until he had me. He has been accused of being gay for his love for art and lack of possession of a Harley. My dad coming short of secular manliness has not lost any respect from me, because he has taught me how to be a man of God. But even as he instilled in me the values of a man that would die for others, there were just parts of being a guy that I had no idea where to place in Christianity.

Let me put a word to it that just sums it up: testosterone. It’s the thing that makes a dorm room of guys watch, “Never Back Down” and then ensue in wrestling matches when the credits hit. It’s the thing that is supposed to make us drive fast cars, have big muscles, and chase after attractive women. Sorry I just ruined the plot to all of the Fast and Furious movies.

So what is a kid that likes Jesus and drums supposed to do with this stuff?

Stay tuned for “Why I Love Metal Music: Part II.”

 

 

Engagement
I really do love metal, I promise. Photo courtesy of Brittany Brooke Photo Art Design.
Kent Blazier is first and foremost a diddler (drummer). His other comments of what he wanted to include in this biography were as follows:
“I’m also a lover…”
*shrugs*
“I don’t know…”
*Shakes head and laughs*
“No…Nein…”

 

 

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