Amy Tries Again

Iron Maidenhood – or – In Which I Listen To Metal
October 21, 2011, 11:31 AM
Filed under: In Which I Try Again, Things I Do Not Like

I am fairly eclectic in my musical tastes.  I’ve always thought of metal, however, as something I would have no interest in whatsoever.  It just didn’t seem my kind of thing.

 The imagery surrounding it influenced me more than I initially realised.  I was an oddly fearful little thing as a child, and didn’t like the look of any scary grownup band tshirts with skulls and worms and monsters.  I couldn’t even cope with these things depicted cartoonishly on the covers of Goosebumps books.  I wouldn’t go near the scary movies in the video shop because I didn’t want to see their covers.  (I’ve never entirely grown out of such things.  I’ve never seen Donnie Darko because I saw a picture of the rabbit suit in it once and got spooked.)

Unicorn-free zone.

 In my mind back then, the metal genre (not that I could have named it then) was basically the horror music genre.  I doubt 10-year-old me would have embraced it if had been more unicorn focused, but I probably wouldn’t have been actively terrified of it.  The worst thing was this: on the bike track by Norman Creek, some disillusioned suburban teens (I presume) had written IRON MAIDEN in big letters by the canal.  We went on wholesome family bike rides fairly often, and the words made me think, initially, of a kindly robot princess or somesuch.  I’m not sure how I learnt that the phrase really referred to both torture device and a scary grown-up band, but once I did, I had to avert my eyes when I saw that particular bit of graffitti.  I felt tricked.  This had not been the work of robot princess afficionados at all.

I wish.

I didn’t think to question the TRUE FACT that I Did Not Like metal – and particularly Iron Maiden – for many, many years.  However, it was recently pointed out to me by several of my esteemed associates that my fondness for (amongst other genres) EPIC GUITAR might translate into tolerance – if not fondness – for that particular band.  At a certain point in the evening, I am not impartial to a bit of shouty big-hair karaoke.  Alright, I thought.  Smashing my air guitar violently against the stage, I bit the head off an air bat and hurled an air TV out of a hotel window before downloading an Iron Maiden best-of (air-legally).  Yep, I went for a compilation.  I’m hardcore.

 So what did I think?  It was, at once, just what I expected, and not what I expected at all.  The metal cliches were there, but they were less all-invasive than I’d imagined.  All the classic guitar chords and harmonies I like anyway were there, but with a rather more energetic (and, after a while, a bit samey) drumbeat, and some (slightly more hardcore) duelling fiddles.  Glam rock has flirted with metal more than I initially realised.  I’ve always had a soft spot for the occasional bit of…well, c*ck rock (HURR HURR HURR), so a lot of the music that I’ve always liked owes a lot to old-school metal, and might JUST be classified as such itself at times I SUPPOSE (Led Zep, anyone?)

To be honest, I guess I’d been thinking of metal as the really terrifying gutteral screaming stuff.  Which, I suppose, it is, sometimes – it just didn’t occur to me that that wasn’t, well – it.  Nobody shouted TOO much at me.  When they did, it was at a pleasantly self-aware, AC/DC, strutting-around-in-the-80s level, not a terrible screaming evil level.  It wasn’t scary.  It was basically the soundtrack to Jack Black movie, and fun in a guitars-on-fire-IN-HELL sort of way. I particularly liked ‘Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter’ because it was almost a parody of itself.  Did I like it ironically?  I don’t even know.

I also theorise that most Iron Maiden songs work better on the second listen. I’m basing this entirely on the fact that I listened to ‘Run To The Hills’ on Youtube before listening to the whole album.  Maybe I was just relieved, when hearing it again, at noticing a vague acquaintance amongst a group of (reaonably affable) strangers, but it seems that if you know there’s an interesting tempo change/totes fully sick guitar riff coming up, anticipating it is enjoyable.  Having it strike you out of the blue – at lease for me – is less fun.

 Overall?  It was enjoyable, if a bit of a genre novelty for me.  I’m not going to delete the album.  I think it would be good walking music, actually.  ENERGY!  SLIGHTLY ANGRY ENERGY!

 I’m yet to find something that I was actually completely right about the first time.  This is beginning to alarm me.

 Metal: successfully Tried Again. 


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Good work Currie. Maiden smiles upon you.

Comment by Dave

Meanwhile, in news today –

Comment by Michael Griffin

NZ, Iron Maiden, your blog is rocking this week!

Comment by drej08

Maiden were always a little self-aware, they played up the horror/ satanism stuff, but underneath is one of the most musically gifted and energetic bands in all of metal.

You’re right about them getting better on re-listens. I think every maiden song I’ve ever heard has gotten better when I know it and can sing along.

Not surprisingly, this makes them an incredible live band-

Comment by Disco Stu

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