As the name of this blog segment suggests, I really like heavy metal. Before I was a full blown mediocre racing cyclist, I was a full blown, dye in the wool metal head. I had awesome long hair, a whole collection of sleeveless band shirts (which weren't embarrassing to wear, because I had no tan lines) and, being the pre-vegan days, a sweet bikie style leather jacket that jingled pleasingly as I walked the streets. All my money went toward records, shows and obscure patches (which i would then ask my mum to sew onto my sweet denim jacket).
I would probably still refer to myself as a metal head, but on face value you would be forgiven for disagreeing. I have razor sharp tan lines, no hair on my legs, and a vague helmet strap tan line down my face. I don't go to as many shows any more and, sadly, my hair is no more.
Which leaves the music as my only real connection to the old days. Sure, I listen to a lot of hardcore now, and my tastes in metal have probably drifted towards blacker stuff, in contrast to the thrash till death tastes I had when I was a teenager.
With this in mind I present you with the metal that still resonates with me, or perhaps resonates even more, in light of my racing habits.
Crit racing is nearly done for this season. As any one who has raced a crit will know, they are generally fast paced, aggressive, and tactically difficult. Perfect thrash music! I still listen to hard and fast music before a crit race, just to get in the mood. Here we have Kreator, doing what they do best:
Kreator are what's called Teutonic thrash. Which basically means they come from Germany. I lost a chunk of hair in a Kreator pit, which I didn't notice until after, when I noticed my scalp was bleeding.
Then we have road racing. That's kinda different. Longer, more difficult, more taxing mentally, and usually colder. You don't want something too fast, you'll burn out too quick. You want something steady, with occasional bursts of anger. Like Death.
I've spoken about Death before. They changed my life to some extent (as much as death metal can change your life, ya know), showed me what music could achieve. This song is also the most viciously passionate case for assisted euthanasia I have ever come across. Also, sweet Charlie's Angels intro.
Then there is training. When I ride by myself in the summer, all I want to listen to is Blink 182 and Fugazi. But that's punk and I try and leave that to the experts. When it's winter, though, and the miles are long and the temperatures low, nothing beats ravishing grim black metal, to get you through the winter miles:
No live footage because most good black metal bands don't play no life music. Usually because there's only one or two of them. Or maybe the evil mystique would be ruined when the fans realise the dudes are just lonely men who live in an apartment in Oslo, listening to Testament B sides. But anyway, Darkthrone. Amazing band. Transilvanian Hunger is possibly one of my favourite songs of all time. The other day I was listening to this while on the dirt backroads of Epping, as the rain clouds came through from the west. It was such a small thing. But it made an annoyingly mundane thing, like it raining, into a stupidly exciting thing. I think I started laughing manically. Then some tradie in a ute looked at me funny and tried to run me off the road.
I could list more bands that I listen to, but that would be boring. Given this blog used to be about punk rock, and is now about cycling, a culture within which lots of punks find themselves, there isn't much chance anyone likes this stuff but me. But this stuff is what shaped my view of the world, to a certain extent, and stuff that has been given a new lease on life, from the perspective of bike racing.
And so I leave you with a clip from the best band in the world. This music is for anytime and every time. God damn Slayer.
Until next week, thrash 'till deth, etc.