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To provide some perspective on the content of the site, I thought it useful to give some sort of background information. Being born in 1980, to two music fanatics, I had the opportunity to experience a great deal of music, right from the beginning. From birth, I was surrounded by Heavy Metal and Hard Rock, being blasted to sleep by the likes of Black Sabbath, Rainbow, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, KISS, Deep Purple, Judas Priest, Motorhead, Van Halen, etc. To go through all of those early bands would be quite impossible, as I never really went back and pursued a lot of 70s Rock, for example. Before I could walk and talk, music had become a staple of my existence.

Within a short time, I had begun to pick out my favourites. I'd taken various records and cassettes and made a special section for those that I sort of claimed for myself. By this point, the musical selections also included Ozzy, Dio, Metallica, Exciter and some NWOBHM albums, from Iron Maiden, Saxon, Raven, Satan, etc. Also, anytime there wasn't a record or a cassette playing, the radio was on. Along with the aforementioned bands, I was exposed to the likes of the Scorpions, Def Leppard, Motley Crue and dozens of other awful bands that I would tire of, in the coming years. The late night discovery of MTV's Headbanger's Ball also assisted in my early music education, sadly. It had its moments, but was also filled with a lot of trash. It seems some things never change.

There were always music magazines laying around my home, so I got into the habit of reading them, cover to cover. I didn't care if I was reading about Metallica or Twisted Sister; I was soaking up all that I could. It was at this point that I remember reading early descriptions of Black and Death Metal, for example, though it would take many more years for me to hear any of this for myself. Having been born to very young parents, I got dragged around to a plethora of parties and concerts, throughout the 80s. Unfortunately, the one dragging me to the concerts had the worst taste in music, out of the two of them, so to counteract the Ozzy and Metallica show, I was present for live performances by tons of awful 80s Rock bands.

I had already begun to build my own tape collection (with only a handful of records), throughout the mid-to-late 80s. At this point, I had little choice but to continue with the bands I had been exposed to already. Whereas I would be blasted with radio singles, over and over, I was more the type to take the same album and explore the rest of it, usually preferring those songs deemed unfit for radio. I also started digging further back into the discography of a lot of these bands, usually finding that the material they released prior to making it big was usually of higher quality. Even from a young age, I was thinking critically about music.

By the late 80s, my musical taste was hit and miss. Some things would stick with me for the long haul, while others (GNR, for example) would be reduced to a nostalgia act, in my mind. I had no music mentors and there was no internet, in those days. While most of the 80s are kind of a blur, to some extent, I can clearly remember seeing Metallica on television, in 89. I'd heard a decent amount, over the years, but it was this particular experience that had a strong impact on me. In the weeks that followed, I began acquiring whatever Metallica cassettes that I could. It was during this period that my collection became a little more respectable, all things considered. By reading through magazines, I'd also decided to check some things out, mostly based off of the artwork (that's how it was done in those days, anyway). So, to add to my collection of Metallica, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest, I tried out albums from Megadeth, Omen and Overkill, among others. Of course, I still had several 80s Rock albums that I wouldn't fully abandon until later, but the collection became more balanced, at least.

With no real avenues by which to learn more, my musical development stagnated for a few years. I listened to nothing but the same things, though this was remedied when 90% of my tape collection was stolen. I had one of those carrying cases for cassettes. I had to be surrounded by music at all times, and if I wasn't able to take control of the car tape player, then I fell back to my trusty Sony Walkman. Unfortunately, I left the case in the car one night and it happened to get stolen along with everything else. This was a severe setback, which resulted in me having to re-purchase as many of these albums as I could find, while also not having the ability to seek out new things (though rather useless bands came and went). Still, nothing came close to Metallica, as far as I was concerned. They were my favourite band, by far, until the great betrayal of '96. However, in the meantime, I worked to reclaim those albums I'd once owned, going first for Metallica and Megadeth. I began seeking out more Thrash and traditional Metal, coming across the likes of Anthrax and Exodus. I'd started requesting catalogs from various record labels, such as Metal Blade and Relapse. This, along with fanzines that I picked up at shows, continued to expand my knowledge. However, it was the discovery of Slayer that really opened my eyes to something darker.

Junior high and high school was a time of discovery, as I began to become influenced by those around me. I went to school with a lot of metalheads (and punks as well), so I encountered a lot of band shirts that got my interest. I recall seeing someone wearing an Eaten Back To Life t-shirt, which prompted me to seek out Cannibal Corpse. Sadly, this was my first Death Metal band. It wouldn't take me long to begin seeking out more, such as Death, Obituary, Morbid Angel, Pestilence and so on; however, none of this quite had the lasting impact as Slayer. A lot of these discoveries were occurring simultaneously, but this one stands out very clearly. I'd heard some later stuff (Seasons... or Decade...) but didn't really take special notice. But the old stuff... I was changed forever. As I transitioned from tapes to CDs, Hell Awaits became my first CD. I'd just gotten Show No Mercy some weeks earlier, on cassette. To this day, those albums are special to me. This was the most evil thing I'd ever heard, at the time. There was something very special about the atmosphere created on those classics. They made a huge impact on me. Not long after this, I got into Venom, Hellhammer, Voivod, Kreator, Sacrifice, Sodom and Possessed. Being a nut for 80s metal anyway, these darker albums really opened my eyes to something different. They definitely changed me at a very critical time in my development.

At some point in late 1996, I got turned on to a college radio show, by a friend of mine, called "The Haunted Mansion". It was here that I was exposed to Doom and modern Black Metal. Thankfully, I'd already gotten into Black Metal through the first wave bands, so I had a decent understanding of where it came from, which I think most younger people miss out on. They usually hear newer stuff first and then, when they listen to the 80s stuff, it has little or no effect on them because they just don't realize its importance. This was the time when I was hearing a lot of stuff for the first time, like Mayhem, Darkthrone and Dissection. Also, the Doom stuff, like old Paradise Lost, Katatonia and My Dying Bride. I always wanted to know more, yet I miss those days of still learning about all of it. The internet is convenient, but I value more the days of the underground radio shows, trading tapes with pen pals, picking up 'zines at shows or learning from my best friend as he grabbed random albums. It was thanks to him that I got into most of the old Swedish Death Metal bands. He got a bunch of used albums and, of course, I had to record them all for myself to hold me over til I could buy them. There were the first albums from Entombed, Unleashed, Dismember, Grave, etc. I later looked deeper into this and found Necrophobic, Nihilist, Carnage, and many more.

Really, I was all over the place, musically. By the late 90s, I was really disappointed with the newer Death Metal being released as a lot of old bands weren't good any more and the newer bands were just making a lot of awful shit. I always detested the trend of trying to be fast and brutal for the sake of being fast and brutal. I ran across Bathory's Twilight of the Gods and wasn't as interested as I'd be when I encountered Under the Sign of the Black Mark. I still kept discovering older 80s bands like Exumer, Mefisto, Morbid and Tormentor, from time to time, and also got deeper into the 'newer' Black Metal of the time and then more old Swedish Death Metal and Doom Metal. Burzum was another important discovery for me. A lot of the Norwegian Black Metal albums took quite some time for me to obtain, as some of the catalogs I had were lacking in this department. By the time I began to realize the potential of buying CDs through the internet, this problem was solved.

As time went on, I became less and less interested in current releases and focused more on digging into the past to unearth bands that I'd missed out on. I was convinced that there was very little going on that was worth my time, especially when there were so many old albums still to be explored. Some bands still made me take notice, such as Nifelheim and Watain, but I went through another period of stagnation, assuming that I'd found all that I could (what a bloody insane thought). Though I'd go on to discover some decent stuff, such as Mütiilation, I spent a great deal of time filling my collection with sub-par albums. It wasn't until 2006 that I realized this and reverted to being very selective. Much like 1996, this ushered in a period of exploration and I've managed to continue expanding my musical knowledge. Thankfully, by making some decent contacts through the dreaded internet, I've been exposed to even more old classics that had eluded me.

Regarding newer music... while it is wrong to, categorically, claim that all new music is worthless, I still find it to be a tedious endeavour to sift through all of the garbage to find those that are worth my time. For the most part, I'll only bother with new albums if they're from established bands that I've already been into for some time. I'm finding, more and more with each passing day, that there are simply too many lost gems waiting to be found for me to worry about keeping up with new bands. Chances are, if they're really that good, I'll find out about them in a few years...

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