in Music

Feels over reals

The gut-puncher theory of music

People are often surprised to learn that I love death metal. They shouldn’t be: when my average commute to work is 40 minutes, it’s 100 degrees at 8AM and I just got done listening to the Frozen soundtrack because I had to take my daughter to school (and that’s what she wanted to listen to), some face-melting metal is good for the soul.

It’s also good music. You feel it, deep down in your plums, in your clenched fists or your eyes, when you inexplicably get specks of dust lodged in both of them and no, damn it, I am not crying.


Listening to bands like Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, Carcass, Immolation or any number of death metal acts, you feel compelled to put your fist through a wall, or headbang in rush hour traffic. I enjoy Electronic Body Music (EBM) acts like High-Functioning Flesh for the same reason: you hear those concussive beats and throbbing bass lines and can’t help but start shaking your ass.

And then on the other end of the spectrum is stuff like smooth jazz, which is a thing that should not be. I mean, if you count feeling compelled to take a nap as a valid reaction to music, then I guess it’s cool. But, then again, isn’t that what nocturnes are for?

I suppose I feel compelled to write about this because Kathleen and I are seeing Dead Cross – a supergroup comprised of members of Faith No More, Slayer and Retox – on Saturday. Not only is it their second show as a live band, but the album for which they’re touring, a blistering combination of hardcore punk, thrash and grindcore, is only 28 minutes long.

There’s danger in going to see an act like that. Will they play for 30 minutes? Are they going to surprise the crowd by performing songs from their other bands? Will they perform covers in addition to “Bela Lugosi’s Dead?” I have no idea, and that’s equal parts exciting, frustrating and scary.

All those emotions – and I’m not even at the venue, beer in hand, waiting for them to go on stage.