Who are the artists creating the music you listen to most right now? For me, they are Scar the Martyr and Poisonblack, two bands playing metal with an eerie edge.
Some of my long-standing favorites are Godsmack, 5 Finger Death Punch, In This Moment, Straight Line Stitch, and a few others. When I tell people that metal brings a sort of catharsis, that I can slip into daydreams of myself in more powerful roles than those I play in reality, or that I even practice some magic with my “Moving Mix” play list on in the background (rock and metal songs ranging from the nineties until now, reminding me of different moments in my life), I get a few different responses.
The first is: how is that possible? That music isn’t relaxing, it’s not soothing. Or it doesn’t have a good beat, you can’t dance to it and get charged up. My knee-jerk reaction is to want to show them my industrial metal play list, which is metal you can dance to. The second is that a lot of classic, centuries-old dance moves can actually be fitted to slower metal tracks. My actual response is that it’s as though the energy of the music matches any tension or anger I might have, and turns it into a feeling of power, even gives me a rush of sorts. In that way it is soothing, and also energizing.
We all have our scars. There was a lot of verbal violence in my home, from the time I was ten, and my older sisters ran away from home. My own medical problems, of which there are many, reared their heads for the first time. My dad got sick, then died. My sisters were in and out of the house, my mom was driven so far into Catholicism, pulling the three of us younger with her. Since I started Sunday school at seven I had not felt in the right place. Now it got worse, as I attempted to kind of numb myself to all of the things that didn’t make sense to me. One of my younger brothers suddenly had a massive change in temperament, from just easily angered to outright violent and verbally abusive. The controlling, manipulative side of my mother really emerged at this point. This went on for a couple of years, while I floundered through school, and began to get a taste of metal. It had always been in my blood, songs like Cat Scratch Fever, grungy tracks like Smells Like Teen Spirit. Evanescence became a favorite of mine at fourteen, just like they did for many other kids my age. I got bands like Disturbed on CD in junior high. Still, nineties pop (still a smaller portion of my library), and top forty dominated my MP3 player at the start of high school.
I think I was always a feminist. Contrary to popular belief, most of us don’t hate guys, we just want things like equal pay, abortion rights, to choose our careers without fear of discrimination, to play any sport we want, etc. There are more worldwide issues, like female cutting, but that’s a discussion for a later post. I believed in women’s rights as long as I could remember. My dad shouldn’t be able to stop my sister joining the army if she wants, or me from learning self defense. He should encourage that, right?
There were years that followed of highs and lows, of finding my path and finding other Pagans to learn from, of fighting my mom to be able to breathe freely, with no one over my shoulder telling me how to do it the right way, of struggling through school and constantly moving from dorm to dorm. Until I finally graduated, cut ties with my family, and really began exploring feminist witchcraft, my deep connection with the warrior goddess archetype.
There are other genres I love, and have loved. Nineties alternative, Pagan spiritual, and acoustic rock among them. What kinds of music speak to you? Which artists do you reach for again and again? And how does the music you love connect with your faith? Writing this has helped me understand that for myself.