One fine Sunday afternoon, for there being ample time in my hand and lack of anything better to do, I decide to put “Laid to rest” by Lamb of God on my speakers. The next second I hear my mom’s voice drown out Randy Blythe’s deep-throated growls. She was shouting for me to stop this “cacophony”. I put my speakers on a higher volume and continue blissfully. That is metal for me. (Although it did result in me getting grounded for a whole month)
So what is heavy metal? According to Wikipedia, Heavy metal (often referred to simply as metal) is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It takes its influence from Psychedelic Rock and Blues Rock. . There are about 34 subgenres to heavy metal and over 30 million listeners worldwide. But metal has often been looked down upon. Ridiculed, scorned and sometimes even called heretic and blasphemous. People who follow metal, also known as metalheads are known to be the scum of society, not only in India but the rest of the world.
Many a time you would see a guy, with unkempt long hair, a black t-shirt with a graphic design on it and a band name, paired with blue jeans. His iPod is playing LOUD music. He is a guy who doesn’t care whether you give him a judgmental look or pass a snide comment on his dressing sense or as a matter of fact, his taste in music. If you haven’t heard metal, you wouldn’t be able to appreciate it. This is an article from his point of view. This guy has often been me.
I came to Manipal for various reasons(one of the minor ones being engineering). But one thing that influenced me the most is the metal scene here. I knew that I would find people here who would share this niche passion with me. I wasn’t disappointed. I remember the first gig that I attended was the Campus Rock Idols in 2007. I headbanged, I moshed. I got a sore neck and a cut upper lip. I loved it. The bands here were fresh, and their music, something that I had never listened to before. (Anybody remember Chimera or Sand Monkey?)
Since then there have been so many other gigs, Revels “Battle of the bands”, The Big Gig, MotherJane, “Mosh”pit(Where incidentally, you weren’t allowed to mosh) and many others. One thing that has remained constant in these gigs is the undying energy of the Manipal crowds. “You feel powerful, when you play in front of a Manipal crowd.” remarked one of my friends, who also happened to be the drummer for one of the best bands that I have seen play on a Manipal stage.
Another thing that remains eternal at these concerts is the lack of equipment and funds to organize such shows. Most of the time the sound arrangements made are pathetic. The difficulties faced by a band are umpteen. Some bands take the commercial path, making music for the ignorant man, hence gaining cheap popularity. They associate their name with some of the more established bands in India. Wrongly, at that. However some bands have stuck to their guns, making mainstream metal their forte. These are the bands that face this difficulty. Not only is their music not economically viable in India, they have to pay for their expenses from their own pockets. The fact that money-churning enterprises here despise this genre of music doesn’t do their cause much help.
As in all cases, there are people here who have jumped the bandwagon. They would show their horns and headbang to any type of music. One particular instance which was typically funny was when a guy, wearing a Bodom T-shirt, was headbanging to Rihanna. When asked why he was doing that, he replied “This raaaaks bro!!”. To all these people, a big f*** you. Metal is something that you associate yourself to. It is not for everyone. You won’t know what I am talking about unless you feel the deep-seated rage in the lyrics or the surge of adrenalin you get when the song gets to the best part.
So this is a salutation to my metal brotherhood. To all of you who know what I am talking about, UP THE IRONS and stay metal!! Cheers.