For most of my life, metal has been my favorite genre. I’ve loaded up various mobile devices with all the metal that would fit, gone to hundreds of shows, and traveled across the ocean for festivals. When I’m 90 years old in the nursing home, I will probably still be listening to metal & bothering my roommates/neighbors. Despite the fact that metal has been a huge part of my life and my identity for over a decade now, I’ve been rediscovering non-metal interests lately, and it’s got me feeling all mixed up.
But She-Wolf, you might be thinking. It’s GOOD to be well-rounded! No shit, my friend. However, once upon a time, metal was simply my default. If I wasn’t going to a show, I was going to Duff’s. If I WAS going to a show, I was going to Duff’s afterward. If I wasn’t going out, I was recovering from the weekend before. It was convenient. It was easy. I had all these built-in mandatory friendships that I didn’t have to work on because we’d just see each other at the next show. When I took time away from Hear Evil, I literally didn’t even know what to do with myself because my entire life had been so metallified I forgot that I had hobbies.
In a lot of ways, metal is a lifestyle, for better or worse. It’s not only a genre, it’s also a scene and an aesthetic. Here in NYC, it’s a community. Metal bonds people like no other genre of music I’m familiar with. These days, I feel like I’m having my cake and eating it too, by picking & choosing the parts of metal in which I participate instead of allowing myself to become utterly consumed by it. In the past few months, I’ve been to more board game nights than shows, and I’ve played more Nintendo than Lamb Of God. That said, I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had in my life. Who says metal has to be my everything?