In our ongoing series of guest columns, we’ve asked a bunch of metal’s heaviest hitters to provide us with a list of five crucial albums they think will change you — either for the better or the worse. Today, we hear from Seth Hecox of Becoming The Archetype.
I understand that I’m supposed to list five albums that will change you. I know lots of dudes in other bands have made these lists. Their lists suck. So I realized my list would suck too if I traveled the same path they did. The path they traveled was a choice to make a list of albums they thought were better than all the others, which is really just them saying things about themselves (i.e.; what they think is awesome). Well, I’m tired of talking about myself. I wanna do what this article seems to be aiming at: I wanna talk about all of us. So below is my list of five albums that will change you for real (and probably already have changed you).
The First Album You Ever Personally Owned
There’s a reason this album was the first in your personal possession. You liked a sound you heard on the radio or at a friend’s house. You thought, ‘Man, I wanna listen to that all the time.’ So you simply went to the store and laid down some skrill for that fine piece of music (hopefully) and then proceeded to do just that: listen to it all the time. After two days, you knew all the lyrics, and were probably singing harmonies (if there was singing on the record) that you made up.
For me, this one was The Memory of Trees by Enya. I am so brutal, no one will ever mess with me. The great (or sad) thing is that I still love listening to this album. I celebrate her entire catalog (Said in a meeting with the Bobs)
Your First Seriously Heavy Album
The fact that you’re on this website indicates very strongly that you listen to heavy music. Probably heavy metal of some kind. I bet you like black metal or death metal. I know I do. And since you like that kind of music, I’ll bet there was one seminal album you can look back to with fondness. It’s THE album that your friend bought you or burned for you or let you borrow. That one where everything suddenly clicked and you were like “Damn.” And then your second thought was “Double damn.” That’s when you were hooked. You’ll never get unhooked. Hopefully.
My first seriously heavy album was Undeceived by Extol. Good God, those guys were so awesome. That album was so awesome. I love that thing. A lot.
The Album That Made You Go Buy A Cheap Guitar, Learn Three Chords And Then Set It In The Corner And Never Play It Again
For you older dudes, this might’ve been a Metallica album. For you younger dudes, this might’ve been Dragonforce. It’s the album where you not only notice the guitars, but you connect with them. You understand them. They fascinate you. They give you weird feelings DOWN THERE. So you do the logical thing in response: you pledge your undying commitment to learning a difficult instrument that you have no ability or perseverance to overcome. So your $200 collects dust under the bed. But you still tell people you can play guitar. Jackass.
For me, this was MxPx’s Life In General. Punk and pop punk were big when I was in high school in the early 2000s and it was really exciting to realize that this rad music could realistically be played by me if I just tried and put in a little practice. I guess I continued playing, but if I hadn’t found other dudes to play with, I probably would’ve just let the whole idea die.
The Mixtape You Made For That Girl
You know, the one you obsessed over when you were head over heels for that girl way back when. You agonized over which order the songs should go in and which songs fit. Sometimes it’s a mix CD, but I still call it a mixtape since the concept is the same. This would’ve been in the summer and you totally won the girl’s heart. You rock, man.
Mine was a mix CD and I can’t remember all the songs on it, but the experience of making that mixtape subtly changed me because it made me start thinking about song order and the overall tone of a disc. I did win the girl’s heart, but it turned out her heart wasn’t worth a whole lot. Screw her.
The Album That First Made You Cry
Maybe it was the emotional connection to the message that brought tears to your eyes. Maybe it was the emotional connection to the music itself. Maybe it was memories that the music brought back about something from your past or a lost loved one. Whatever the case may be, this album is one that most dudes don’t forget because for dudes, crying doesn’t happen everyday. At least for metal dudes it doesn’t. Sometimes this album is one that still makes you all misty-eyed and you have to hide your emotions from your girlfriend who’s sitting beside you in the passenger seat of your ’89 Thunderbird as you drive down I-85 and look up at the stars shimmering in the pitch black sky.
Yeah, that’s the one.
The one that regularly does that to me is the Tom Waits album Mule Variations (especially the song “Come On Up to the House”). His scratchy, raspy voice just digs in and commands my soul. Love it.