Friday night I went to the Rock and Shock Festival at the Worcester Palladium in order to see Sabaton, Dope, Demolition Hammer, Kataklysm, Carach Angren and Huntress (I missed the first band to go on the main stage, left before Trivium and totally skipped the second stage bands). Overall it was a pretty good mix of different styles of metal. I wouldn’t say that each band was the best example of their genre but I felt like I got a good taste of everything. Which is why this was probably good for my last metal concert… at least with any regularity, and very possibly at the Palladium.
I don’t like to use the phrase “it was just a phase” to describe the ten years that I was really into metal. Rather, I think of it as a stage of my development as a person. One could argue that it went on too long or that maybe it went to far. But I’m not going to think about it that way. I probably spent too much money on CDs, but that’s okay. If I really want to get picky I can always sell a bunch to a local music shop. But I don’t really want to. It’s not that I like the music any less. I just don’t love it anymore.
The point is that I’m not longer identifying as a “metalhead” like I used to. Truthfully, I never felt like I fit in anyway. Setting aside the themes of misogyny, racism and general right-wing ideology that—while this may not be true for the metal culture in general—come across as prevalent, at least in terms of the impression I get. I’m just not that aggressive a person. I have no interest in a band’s desire to kick my ass, as they so often say.
Something interesting happened during Kataklysm’s set. The singer introduced one of their songs with something along the lines of “If you’re a metalhead, wherever you go you’re a black sheep.” Standing back in the elevated portion of the main hall I could see the crowd on the floor in front of the sage all headbanging and jumping in unison at the direction of the music. The thought occurred to me that even a black sheep is still a sheep.
Am I putting down anybody who does take part in these activities and call themselves a metalhead? Absolutely not—or at least, I’m not trying to. I get it. For crying out loud, love the music that you love and behave how you see fit to express that love. I’m just trying to point out how this isn’t for me anymore.
It could be that I’m just reading too much into my misplaced status as a metalhead. When it comes down to it I just to have the passion for the music anymore. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of good stuff coming from the metal world. I’m still a fan of Moonspell, Behemoth, Ihsahn (and related) and a lot of black metal bands. Celtic Frost’s swansong Monotheist is one of my favorite albums of all time, not just in metal. But metal is now just another genre of music that I pick and chose from, depending on the artist. I no longer wish to go to a CD shop and buy metal albums simply because they’re metal albums.
So, am I replacing this with anything? Anybody who has been following my blog recently may be aware that I’m embracing my more Gothic side in fuller capacity than in the past. I’ve always had that part of me but always pushed it back. But the music finally one me over and in this period of self-discovery that I’m going through, I realized that it’s time I start getting more involved in Goth subculture. I already have Shadows of Immurement, which came about because I found a lot of Goth rock and the like helped me through a rough period of my life. It’s time to embrace my inner Goth. Or something like that.
Oh, and why am I not bothering with the Palladium anymore? I still have a list to write for today. Maybe I’ll list my reasons there as a sort of follow-up to this post.
So what’s with this “self-discovery” series? Well, for one thing I needed a topic to write about on Saturdays—yeah, I know, this one’s a day late, whatever—to replace the “Nerdy Saturday” theme I had for a while. I figured that this period of “finding myself” would provide at least a short series of blog posts while I find something more permanent. But that doesn’t really answer where this is all coming from.
About a month and a half ago an event happened in my life that caused me to re-examine a lot of things about myself. I can’t go into details as they involve another person, but I will say that I had a very stressful week as a result of it and by the end of that week I finally came to terms that I’m asexual. I have been living a lie to myself for the bulk of my adult life so far that I’m a heterosexual male and always setting myself up for failure… in other words, going on a date with a woman but not following through with anything romantic.
This rattled a few things loose in my head and I started questioning other aspects of my identity. So far, the two big things have related to my being asexual and a Goth (at least, in transition to becoming one). There’s a lot of letting go of the past, hence donating a lot of my stuff to thrift stores. Who knows what else is coming? I don’t want to force the pace. But so far I feel a lot more comfortable with who I am than I have been in a long time.