Jun 262013

(I’m still reveling in the continuing outpouring of wonderful comments that have been appearing on a post yesterday, which invited readers to list five albums that changed their lives. They are like a series of very personal memoirs about the writers’ journeys into heavy music, and I hope they continue coming. Fellow blogger Happy Metal Guy decided to do more than provide a list in a comment. This is the more that he decided to do; although HMG writes in the third person, he really wrote this, not I.)

Although Happy Metal Guy mostly blogs about stuff related to metal music nowadays, it does not mean that he had a long history with the genre. He actually started out listening to many bands that would be considered to be ‘unmetal’ by many heavy metal fans, and believe it or not, the following bands actually paved the way for his eventual interest in metal music, which happened merely seven years ago.

As the supreme headless cyborg Islander said in a comment on his post that prompted this very post you’re reading, recalling five albums that changed one’s life is different from traditional lists in that all one requires is honesty and a good memory.

So here’s what you have when Happy Metal Guy is honest and has a good memory: a brain-rupturing, ear-exploding, eye-bursting, mouth-frothing, nose-bleeding, skin-crawling, and abominable combination of words that would make many of you want to dismember and decapitate him, then send each piece back into various time periods and instruct the people of each time period to blunderbuss each piece before throwing it into the incinerator.


1. Linkin ParkMeteora

Most people would pick Hybrid Theory as their favorite Linkin Park album, but not Happy Metal Guy; he’s too mainstream for that. Meteora was the one that really clicked with his teenaged self back in 2004, mainly because of the hit singles “Numb” and “Breaking the Habit”. Vocalist Chester Bennington’s well-delivered angsty screams and mellow clean singing were what hooked Happy Metal Guy and got him into popular music. So Meteora was the record that kick-started his bad habit of buying and collecting music CDs instead of LPs and conditioned his ears to react well to screaming in recorded music. So really, Linkin Park started him down the (metal) path of no return!


2. Taking Back SundayWhere You Want to Be

Oh yeah, Happy Metal Guy used to be so into emo music. Taking Back Sunday was really hot back in 2005, and this was their first album that he really got into, mainly because of the song “A Decade Under the Influence”. This band has virtually no connections to the kind of extreme metal Happy Metal Guy listens to these days, but they should be credited for making Happy Metal Guy tired of listening to whiny singing and move on to metalcore for the manly singing that is delivered by pubescent high school dropouts brimming with boyish charm.


3. SilversteinWhen Broken is Easily Fixed

Happy Metal Guy doesn’t actually like every song on this debut studio album by the famous Canadian post-hardcore band; he only really likes “Smashed Into Pieces”, which is the opening track. He was utterly enamored by it when he first heard it on a Victory Records sampler disc back in 2005. Vocalist Shane Told’s infectious alternation between silky-smooth clean singing and throat-rending screaming had Happy Metal Guy sold like a Chthonic fanboy facing a Doris Yeh calendar with his wallet in dangerously close proximity. Also, it made him explore other metalcore bands with vocalists that also utilized both clean and harsh vocals and, eventually, he found himself sinfully forehead-deep in metalcore. By the way, the cool ‘walking backwards’ introduction sequence was simply reversed footage of the band members walking away from their instruments. The same also goes for the ending sequence.


4. Bullet for My ValentineThe Poison

Arguably the most ‘metal’ of the records in this short list, Happy Metal Guy first heard their song “Hand of Blood” in the soundtrack of the Xbox 1 game, “Burnout Revenge”. It was the heaviest stuff he ever heard back in 2005 (what an important year for Happy Metal Guy!) and he went to hunt down this album at HMV. Once he heard the other tracks on The Poison, however, Happy Metal Guy took a greater liking to the song “All These Things I Hate (Revolve Around Me)”. Okay, here’s where it gets a little fuzzy; Happy Metal Guy can’t exactly remember what other metalcore bands he listened to after being exposed to this record, but it was something like a whole bunch of other metalcore acts that he had found in Amazon.com search results and through watching Victory Records’ podcast series, “VicTorV”.


5. AnberlinNever Take Friendship Personal

Now, this is just odd. An alternative rock record by a band whose members are Christian? WHAT’S IT DOING HERE?? Hey, good music’s good music, regardless of whether or not the members are Christian. Also, vocalist Stephen Christian said before that while Anberlin’s music is inspired by the band members’ personal life experiences, he does not consider it to be “Christian rock”, as so many people like to call it. Anyway, the melancholic hit single “Paperthin Hymn” made Happy Metal Guy cry a river, metaphorically speaking of course; macho men such as Happy Metal Guy don’t ever cry y’know? They only cry when chopping onions or playing F.E.A.R. 1 in the dark woods with Slenderman watching over their shoulders. Happy Metal Guy thinks that this particular Anberlin song made him so addicted to sorrow in sonic form that he started seeking out mellow-sounding extreme metal, which probably happened some time in between 2008 and 2009. This means stuff like a few songs by Atreyu, Finnish melodic death metal, and the start of his exploration of modern forms of black metal.

Well, well, well, Happy Metal Guy thinks he sees a few silhouettes with pitchforks and burning torches just outside his living room window now. May he rest in pieces.


  1. It’s amazing that anyone could become a True Metal fan after listening to that stuff..

    • If so, the facts might surprise you. But again, what is a ‘true’ metal fan. Just read an interview about grim kim who enjoyed some really nasty metal as well as taylor swift (at least she claimed so).

    • I’d attribute a bulk of that to the kind of promotion the said bands had and when we are young and naive, and sincerely hoping to standout from the crowd, these come to hand rather easily. Being from India, Starworld was the only decent access to English Rock. They had this show called “Brand new” , i used to wade through a shitload of around 50 run of the mill pop to get to a rock song, let alone metal. No gigs, still dont have them. Better internet coverage, better music.

    • Why don’t you inquire elsewhere?

    • I think so too. I used to dislike metal music like most people, but as fate would have it, these five albums somehow actually paved the way to the realm of metal music for me!

  2. I just hope Islander’s Anti Troll security force’s been mobilized as i type this 😛 . That said, i agree cent percent. And i was initiated into metaldom around 8-10 years back, around the same time as well. And i bet am not listening to the same piece of music now. I guess all these are bridge makers the ones that you get across, over to greener pastures. Ah well let me get on with a very similar list

    1. Linkin Park – Meteora/
    Probably got this around when i was in the 8th grade (13- 14 age). And this was precisely the time i was taking my Indian Classical vocal lessons, which i did like for that matter. And i pretty much needed a change and this was it. and everything HMG said. I just discovered heavier stuff and probably

    2. Chevelle – Wonder Whats Next

    Back in the day this was in my book the very definition of brootalz. Their rather fat tones and catchy riffs, and did i mention the Maynard-like vocals entranced me at that point. Then again i was not aware of Tool back then, blame it on the media and the dial up internet( I could cover 1000 miles on feet before it gets connected and cover another 1000 before the homepage loads). I still do like the album and give it an occasional listen.

    3. Tool – Aenima
    An album which i still hold close to heart and got me into better stuff while at the same time probably being the best there is.

    4. All Shall Perish – The Price of Existence

    Now there was a point where i thought Disturbed’s was darn too heavy. A few years passed but it was truly All shall perish’s opus that completely got me into modern death metal/extreme metal like no other, despite being a full on deathcore band. This was when i broke the ultra-heavy barrier, and never looked back.

    5. Dissection – Storm of the Lights Bane
    black metal was always a tough nut to crack. The brilliant melody on the album paved the way, i must admit. A true classic. That said, Dissection also fueled my desire to check out a lot of old school stuff. A double whammy that i sorely needed to get my musical tastes straight.

    That said, i used to listen to hell lot of Ill Nino back in the day. I used to dig their autotune-to-death cleans and their half assed tribal sound.

    • All Shall Perish was quite the breakthrough album for me, too – and I’ll still defend it as simply a good album. It’s pretty rare for me to even think deathcore can be “done right,” but that album certainly is. If nothing else, it’s far more death than core. And don’t get me started on “Awaken the Dreamers,” as that album is amazing…

      • Indeed man! Yes Awaken the Dreamers was good as well, althought TPoE did the thing, got me into Immolation, Origin and the likes.. And yes a rare case of Deathcore done right.

  3. A christian named Christian? Does that count as a double-kill?

  4. Sorry, I just got back from having my pitchfork sharpened.

    What did I miss?

  5. I’ve never heard any of these albums. I think I’ve only heard one of these bands . . . . Actually, I don’t even know what emo sounds like, exactly. And Meteora came out a year or so after I stopped caring about Linkin Park.

    I would like to point out that “Although we’re mostly Christians and our music is informed by that, we don’t actually consider ourselves a Christian band” is a quote that could be attributed to every single Christian hard rock / metal band ever, except maybe Striper.

  6. Posted this on Islanders list, but thought I would post it here as well.

    1. Duran Duran “Seven and the Ragged Tiger”: Bought the vinly because of the video for Union of the Snake. I also bought the vinyls for “Purple Rain” by Prince and “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. But Duran Duran was the band whose music I loved first.

    2. Metallica “Master of Puppets”: I was a huge pop fan until 1986 when my sister gave me her boyfriends tape of Master of Puppets. That changed my life. I still listen to pop from the 80′s and 90′s every once in a while, but Master of Puppets turned me into a metal fan.

    3. Tie between Sepultura’s “Arise” and Slayer’s “Seasons in the Abyss”: These two albums, along with Metallica pretty much saw me through the 90′s. I was basically a thrash fan. I hated extreme metal with passion. I wasn’t a fan of alternative except for a couple of songs by Nirvana and Soundgarden. Once I was married in 1995, listening to metal music pretty much evaporated becuase my ex wife hated it and she loved country, so I spent 5 years listening to country music. I completely missed the end of alternative and the nu-metal explosion.

    4. Korn “Korn”: This was the first “metal” album I bought after I got divorced in 2000, 6 years late. Jonathan Davis’ angst got me through a lot of pain.

    5. Dimmu Borgir “In Sorte Diaboli”: This was my first enjoyable experience with extreme metal. I have since moved away from Dimmu Borgir, but I still love this album because it allowed me to expand my horizons to where I am at today.

  7. Nothing at all wrong with your list. Lostprophets – the Fake Sound of progress got me into screaming music. I totally forgot to list that one in my personal 5, and I actually still listen to that album as well as “Start Something”.

  8. i really don’t mind Linkin Park. if our local “rock” station would replace all the Nickelback, Three Days Grace, Kid Rock, Jackyl & Theory of a Deadman songs with LP songs, i might be able to tolerate listening for more than a few minutes at a time.

  9. I got into Linkin Park after hearing “Crawling”, from the first album, on MTV2 or something. The first single “One Step Closer” was too intense for me at the time, but Crawling sparked my interest. So that was my entry point into heavier music, I guess. Unless you count Alice in Chains’ singles, since they were always on the radio and I always liked them since I was little.

    But the big one is definitely System of a Down. They hit soon after LP and they were the band that made me begin to turn away from mainstream rock and pop, even though they were plenty successful. They were my favorite band from middle school ’till college, when I got into Opeth, and dammit, I still love ’em.

  10. AH! But the thing with your list is, Happy Metal Guy, you’ve included four albums of your first two years that you listened to ‘heavier’ music (that being for you 2004 and 2005, which would’ve been 2002 and 2003 for me). In my list (in the original thread) I put Korn in the list as being the most important gateway band from ‘radiomusic’ to ‘heavy radiomusic’; but if I included four bands of the 2002-2003 period there would’ve been a lot more nu-metal, including the likes of Linkin Park and Mudvayne.

    You can still get the Looper routine if you really like, though.

    • Hi, this is my head speaking from the year 1951. I managed to stop the looper from blunderbuss-ing me and am rolling away from him now, so I am already experiencing the looper routine. Hey, Black Sabbath doesn’t put out their first album until 19 years from now! I ought to start a nu-metal band now and change metal history! Come to 1951 and stop me if you can! Hah!

      • Even though nu-metal was an enjoyable genre for angsty teenagers back in the ’90s, introducing nu-metal to 1951 will most certainly cause world war III, mass genocide and invasion of pissed off aliens. Imagine not Elvis Presley and John Lennon but Fred Durst and Jonathan Davis as most influential musical individuals of history… It’s horrifyingly terribly shocking what you intend to do; I’ll be sure to catch the next loop back to ’51 and put some lead in that decapitated head of yours!

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