When I was in high school, I was not really an outcast, but a kind of loner. That kid who was smart, unique, nobody loved or hated me. I wore too many earrings in the same hole until I could fit size 8g in my ears by the time I hit college. Wore weird outfits from ugly man sweaters to Japanese traditional wear, just because I could. I had a small group of individuals that were smart like me, and excellent conversationalists. We all ended up graduating in the top 10 of our class.
Outcast really isn’t the word for it. We were…isolationists. People who thought differently from our fellow students. We ignored pop music for alternative rock, punk, and metal bands. We had youth group and after school runs to the local Chocolate shop. We would hang out occasionally, see each other at school. Isolate ourselves from the world or one another when we got home. We never called each other at home. Plans were made at school. Only at school. We were okay with that. The kind of friends you invite over for community nap time, chill and jam, and video games. Low maintenance. Too tired for anything else really. No sex and drugs for us….but we would certainly take the rock n roll. And we did. We were pretty metal like that. Straight edge to the end….but we never called it that. We were too depressed to know what to label things.
I tell you this because I still hold those feelings today. I am still one who considered myself an introverted isolationist. I choose very carefully the kind of people I associate myself with. I choose authentic people. Authentic experiences. Authentic music. Authentic literature. I don’t care how messy those people are. I don’t care how loud or often those singers and authors swear and scream. I appreciated the reality. The emotion. The truth behind it all. I create islands of safe people. A place where we can all love and trust one another. No drama. No fear. Just the truth.
Recently I found myself returning to the genre of music I had forsaken for happier sounding pop music. I had gone to a Christian school, so screaming music with lots of swearing wasn’t really accepted. Now I find myself attracted to it. To it’s poetry and fast paced melodies. It has been so long since I listened to anything even close to metal that I found myself searching iTunes for new artists.going beyond the classics of System of a Down, Nightwish (older stuff of course), Alice Cooper, Dragon Force, Black Sabbath, and Nine Inch Nails. I discovered Lord of the Lost, Five Finger Death Punch, Abandon All Ships, Hammerfall, and Eluveitie. All poetic, and fascinating musicians with compelling and authentic lyrics. Honesty. Brutal honesty.
There is the Christian in me. It is that honesty that I crave. The world is so full of liars and people pleasers. So full of shallow people. I crave that authenticity so deeply and desperately that I will listen to the lives of people pouring out of their mouths from such a distance as princes to paupers. I understand them, though they are often convinced they are not understood. Though they look scary and people often believe they are Satan worshipers, they are humans too. People just as caught up in the lies of pleasure culture and painful experiences. They are seeking as I have sought. They are searching as I have searched. Some have given up as I have wished to give up. Some kept me from giving up. Some held onto me without knowing they did. God used metal to help keep me going. To give me words to emotions I had no words for. To give me a heart for metal heads.
I do not often listen to Christian Metal. I just haven’t found a band I really like, and to be honest, I never really liked Skillet as most Christians do. If you have any suggestions I am more than open to them, so feel free to comment below.