Full Circle
by: Xander Hoose
In 1991, when I was 13 years old, I got my first taste of metal music. At that time, I was listening to Toto, Electric Light Orchestra and the Synthesizer Greatest albums. A brother of a classmate was into comics and let me borrow his old X-Men issues. He also gave me his Anthrax _Attack of the Killer B's_ album to listen to. "You might like it," he said.

And I did.

From that moment I was a convert. Anthrax, S.O.D., Ministry, FEAR... at school I hooked up with the metal crowd and they introduced me to the hottest albums of that year: Machine Head's _Burn My Eyes_, Morbid Angel's _Domination_, Gorefest's _Erase_ -- albums that I still cherish and appreciate.

From there I was asked to help out with a Dutch online rock magazine (Rock-E-Zine), as webmaster and reviewer. My niche was death metal and industrial, although I was also asked to deal with musical genres my colleagues had no appreciation for, such as nu-metal and the relatively unknown mathcore genre (The Dillinger Escape Plan, Botch).

Around 1999 I quit Rock-E-Zine, due to friction with the people in charge of the magazine and a declining interest in the metal scene. Both the music and people in it had become stale, the scene as a whole disappointed me. If metal bands tried to experiment with electronics or classical music, or changed their style, they were heavily criticized or shunned. Unless your band was Samael or Therion, in which case the same people suddenly loved and revered the new crossover styles. My breaking point came when Misery Loves Co released _Your Vision Was Never Mine to Share_, still one of my favorite albums, but the style change left them playing for audiences in the single digits (they disbanded after their European tour).

In the years that followed I only selectively listened to bands in the extreme spectrum, writing occasional reviews for Chronicles of Chaos. This online magazine was my only anchor to the scene left. The rest of the time I spent listening to extreme electronics, drum and bass and later even dubstep.

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that what got me back into metal was the rising metalcore scene at the end of the decade. Bring Me the Horizon, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Catherine and Word Alive, they managed to capture what I used to love in the metal scene -- teen angst always makes for good extreme, aggressive music. I tried reconnecting with my 'old heroes': Slayer, Obituary, Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Six Feet Under and Cradle of Filth, only to be disappointed by their complete lack of progress. Thankfully, a new generation of 'extreme' bands like Keep of Kalessin, Acacia Strain, Make Them Suffer, Gift Giver and Job for a Cowboy stepped in, showing me that the scene is more alive than ever.

For Chronicles of Chaos, it is the end of the road, unfortunately. It's been a great ride and I will miss reading the reviews of my fantastic colleagues. I hope some of you will pop up in other publications (Terrorizer, are you hiring?) and wish them, as well as you, the loyal reader, all the best.

(article submitted 12/8/2015)

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