Somewhat untypically, I’ve listened to a fair bit of heavy metal this week. I think the last time I could say that truthfully was – and I’m not kidding – 1998, when I briefly became obsessed with AC/DC and Iron Maiden. The hideousness of Guns ‘n Roses put me off Metal for ever, and I’ve studiously avoided it ever since. I even at the height of my grunge phase refused to listen to Soundgarden because I considered them too metal.
The first sign of my softening in this respect came a few years ago when, on the way to the End of The Road festival, my friend Ant took perverse pleasure in playing Iron Maiden in the car. I remember thinking then – ooh, I kind of still like this, but I was soon at the festival and witnessed my first ever performance by The Wave Pictures. My ever so brief metal revival was forgotten.
‘Til this week. How great was that documentary on BBC4 – Heavy Metal Britannia? Very brilliant, is the answer, and while I stubbornly maintain that much heavy rock and metal (Led Zep, G’nR, Metallica, everything sung in a ridiculous growl post-Napalm Death) is unlistenable shit, I have to admit to having dug into Spotify and found plenty to admire in early Maiden, Judas Priest, the awesome Motorhead, and even the first couple of Slayer LPs.
It is, let’s face it, exciting music – even if it’s unintentionally hilarious half the time. A few clips. I’ll be back into folk music and 60s psych by the end of the weak, but this is a pleasingly loud diversion.