Dance With The Devil: How Slayer Heals

I ran across this article today while doing some job searching of my own. It's the story of how a freelance musician and writer was able to beat the blues of unemployment through heavy metal, and the ways in which the musical form allowed him to vent his frustration with the world without becoming an outwardly violent or negative person.

In many ways, the witch-hunt mentality that has dogged heavy metal for decades still haunts horror films to this day. I think most of us can agree on the strong "cathartic" effect that our favorite medium has on us. Not everyone listens to metal or watches horror movies for the same reason, but regardless, this is an inspiring story for tough times.

Something was happening beyond the mind, the emotions and the circumstances. Music, for the first time in my life, was penetrating my body and shaking it. The force of Death Metal moved me out of my mind and into my arms, legs, head and belly. It compelled me to pull over in the car and bang the steering wheel, to run faster and farther in the freezing cold, to lift more weights and smash the heavy bag at the gym with renewed ferocity, and massively upped the intensity in everything I said, did and felt.

It also made me feel powerful enough to fight back against the injustice the world had delivered to me, to meet and embrace that inner demon who had always been told, since I was a little boy, “Smile.” “Be nice.” “Look at the bright side.” “Be reasonable.” “Don’t be angry.” Death Metal didn’t smile, wasn’t nice and there was no bright side to it. By going into my fear and anger via music, I didn’t damage myself or anyone else, and I was able to face each day again. I kept jabbing and punching furiously back at the world, at depression and rage and that low-down, no-good, rotten son of a bitch, Unemployment.

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Dance With The Devil

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