After the metal and fantasy discussion at NYCC 2015 I’ve been thinking about those two things and some of the similarities we didn’t get the chance to explore. If you know me at all, you know I don’t put much planning time into books and absolutely none into blog posts. This will be what it is as it falls out of whatever remains of my brain.
Back in the early 80s I was a clean-cut and quiet kid. I mostly listened to the music my father listened to which meant Pink Floyd, Queen, Elvis, and Deep Purple. To this day those bands still hold a special place in my heart. Somewhere between the ages of 11 and 12 something happened. At a guess, it would be the early sign of teen rebellion and a desire to find music that was mine. I could be way off on that. I certainly have no memory of thinking, hey, I should be rebellious. I was out shopping with my father when I spotted Iron Maiden’s Piece of Mind album. Yes, this was vinyl; I am that old.
That cover was so dark, so different than anything I’d ever seen before, I had to have it. I can’t remember whether I convinced my father to buy it for me or if I had my own money. Either way, it came home with me.
Once home I put it on the record player and sat back, wondering what I’d hear.
Drum fill intro, guitars heavier than planets, and some dude singing like…well, like an air-raid siren. It was too heavy. I took it off the turntable and put it away. But I kept coming back to it, listening to a little more each time, until I was listening to the entire album over and over every day.
I was hooked.
After that I rushed out to buy their earlier albums. For decades after, each and every Iron Maiden album was an event. Even now I still have everything they’ve ever released including all the live albums.
But that was just the beginning.
Other bands came along and caught my attention. Several times I heard bands that were too heavy, even after Iron Maiden. I remember the first time I heard Metallica. It was so heavy, so fast. And yet, a year or so later I was head-banging to Kill ‘Em All and Ride the Lightning. I think around grade nine I decided I’d never get another hair cut and didn’t until I was in my late twenties.
It seemed like every year I was looking for something a little heavier. Flash forward to today and I’m listening to Sylosis, Hypocrisy, Gojira, Allegaeon, Solipsist, Cattle Decapitation, and there’s no such thing as too heavy. Iron Maiden is what I listen to when I’m feeling mellow.
Alongside this rapid descent into metal madness, another fall into darkness took place.
In grade nine I discovered role-playing and science-fiction and fantasy. Reading about dragons and heroes led to demons and anti-heroes and Michael Moorcock’s Stormbringer, and the hopelessness of cyberpunk (the grimdark of SF).
And now I’ve written Beyond Redemption, a story of madness where all of the characters are…well…beyond redemption. It’s dark. Several reviewers have suggested it’s the darkest fantasy they’ve read. Seeing as I listened to the darkest, heaviest metal I could find while writing this book, it’s no surprise it turned out as it did.
I wonder if there is a link between these two quests for something darker, something heavier? Why do we always want something a little more?
Okay I hafta go write a bio now for Grimdark Magazine. My story, At the Walls of Sinnlos is appearing in their January, 2016 issue. Hmm. What insane crap should I make up about myself?