From someone who just recently started listening
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
Personally, I think it helps that I started with less aggressive metal to slowly work my way into it.
In no way am I an expert in metal—I am merely someone who (finally) started listening to it a few months ago. I’d always known it would be my kind of genre, but I was never able to enjoy it. Oddly, it used to give me a headache, despite being able to listen to the hardest electronic music with no problem. Luckily, now I’m able to headbang it out around my home.
I suppose it may have been my life situation which warranted the aggression of metal (I moved out in August and started medical school), or maybe it was the process of seeking it out on my own rather than it being recommended to me. Whatever the case, here’s how it happened for me, and how it may just work for you if you want to begin being a bit of a metalhead.
Seek it out on your own
This obviously may not work since I am recommending it to you, and I will continue to do that for the rest of the article. However, this can be practised in all areas of life. If there’s something you think you might be able to get into, try it! Some things can feel more fun and personal if you’ve put in the effort to find them yourself (plus then there’s no doubt that you’re doing it for your own benefit only)!
Don’t quit immediately
I’ve tried multiple times to get into the genre and have been recommended plenty of artists that I just didn’t like at all. Surprisingly, the ones that got me into metal are not the ones that my metalhead friends listen to!
Find what you like
There are so many subgenres in metal that it’s easy to give it one go, not like it, and stop trying (AKA what I did). Instead, I suggest trying to go through a music app metal playlist and seeing where you stand with some of the songs.
I just let the playlist play over a few days without judgment and without paying too close attention. When a song would catch my attention, I would add it to my own personal playlist to come back to. When a song played and I found myself either singing along or wanting to know what they were saying (yes, it is difficult sometimes), then I added that song to my playlist, as well. The first step is just being interested.
In my band last year, we practiced the song “The Way the News Goes” by Periphery, whom I did not know at the time, but now really enjoy their song “Remain Indoors.” Before that, I had found the song “So Strange” by Polyphia because Cuco is featured on it and I listen to him. Both of which I liked but hadn’t put in thought or effort to listen to the rest of their music until much later. If there’s some song or band you’ve heard that you’ve been even a little into, try listening to some of their other work.
Even further, once I got a good amount of songs on my playlist, I was able to see patterns of the type of metal I liked listening to. I hadn’t gotten into black metal, or intense screaming just yet. Rather, not that genres are super important, accurate, or the end all be all, but generally the songs would mostly fit into the progressive metal category. This helped me find similar bands and music, which broadened my taste even more.
Personally, I think it helps that I started with less aggressive metal to slowly work my way into it. If you have any artists you like in general who have made metal themselves or worked with a metal band, that could be a good way to dip your toes in. Polyphia and Cuco did that for me. Then other softer songs such as “1252” by Good Tiger (though, they may not be metal but they were on the metal playlist).
From there I began listening to Spiritbox’s “Blessed Be,” and “Real”—and additionally “Abandoned” by Unprocessed, the latter of which Polyphia featured on. I had heard of Dance Gavin Dance from Tumblr when I was very young, but the name stuck with me, so I decided to look it up. They sound like the harder version of my favourite music—2000s alt rock— thus, I currently listen to them the most. “Uneasy Hearts Weigh the Most,” “Prisoner,” “Son of Robot,” and “Death of a Strawberry” are great. Then, having already liked Spiritbox’s “Blessed Be,” I was able to begin enjoying much heavier music, such as their “Holy Roller.”
It’s honestly a journey to get into metal—it takes time, effort, and patience—but it’s definitely worth it. The genre has some incredibly unique and talented musicians that it would be a waste not to at least try.