Heavy metal music still alive in Naga

NAGA CITY --- Despite the numerous formations of popular sub-cultures in the internet and among the millennial, small groups of metal music enthusiasts in the city still organize musical events featuring bands playing loud.

Metal, also known as heavy metal music originated in Birmingham, England sometime in 1969, when the pioneering band Black Sabbath was formed.

Like Punk Rock, Metal is also a social conscious musical genre through its lyrics although literary, dark, and extreme.

In 1980s, metal music drew most of its listenership and became nearly extinct from late 1990s up to the present due to controversial musicians, obscene lyrical themes, and creation of hip-hop music, which caused people who appreciate this music to be one of the subcultural minorities.

As decades passed by, Heavy Metal has already its subgenres including Thrash Metal, Death Metal, and Black Metal, which are categorized by fans as extreme metal, the most listened in the underground scene.

In the evening of Feb. 29, a metal group here called Hell Patrol Productions executed Metal Comrade Attack II in a bar in Magsaysay Avenue, which was participated in by local metal bands and three guest bands from the Tagalog region: Thrash metal bands Rabies and Exitus, and Death metal band Pathogen.

These bands already gained respect and recognition from underground scenes within and outside the country by producing cassette tapes, band shirts, CDs, patches, accessories, among others.

In an interview, Jay Orosa, Exitus’ guitarist and vocalist told Bicol Mail that the metal scene here is healthy despite the large listenership of hardcore punk rock and popular kinds of rock music.

MOSH Heavy metal fans in Bicol, mostly professionals, gathers in localized metal music events which are rarely implemented annually. PHOTO COURTESY: MELJOHN SARMIENTO

When asked about their hateful lyrical theme, he replied that these lyrics are just an artistic expression in relation to the dark side of humanities and misconduct of social institutions.

He said anger is their tool for composing and playing their music although it’s not necessary to be grumpy all the time.

“Not necessarily na gawa-gawa na sa totoong buhay pero music is music. Hanggang stage lang ito. Pero sa labas, okay na,” he said.

On the other hand, Vic Jarlego, drummer of both Pathogen and Rabies said, the number of participants is not important in the metal underground scene. What is important is who among the fans are passionate with this kind of music and scene.

Jarlego, when asked about majority’s negative view on this musical genre, replied that they just let people think about them because what is significant is who and what they are.

He admitted that most of the people who play and listen to metal are stereotyped as violent people, drug addicts, member of cults, satanic, among others.

“The devil is smart enough. Why should the devil create a music, which will not attract the majority of people to listen and get influenced? As a matter of fact, most of the people do not accept this kind of music” he said. However, Willie Desamero, vocalist and guitarist of Pathogen said, their music is a unique form of artistic expression and a cultural phenomenon, which themed in darkness and death as seen in television screens and heard in radio news broadcasts.

He said their lyrics also feature negative aspects of life, which deal with reality, unlike in pop culture.

Desamero said, these music with negativities can be utilized by listeners to ready themselves for hard times in the future.

“To discuss this kind of themes is to ready the minds for forthcoming negative events” he said.

Meanwhile, a registered psychometrician Daniel Quirante explained to Bicol Mail that these people, called “metalheads” are addicted to this music, because according to his psychological observation, they tend to escape from their society through listening or playing metal music, thus dealing with their chaotic feelings.