I have to confess that a lot of times, I don’t listen to new music. I don’t turn on the radio, visit utube, or click links on Facebook nine out of ten times. Instead, I simply head to the music store. I pick an album that has a cool name, or neat graphics, I buy it, and I take it home. I sit by my computer when it’s quiet, and I play it. Loud. Lately, I’ve been disappointed by a lot of the so-called greats that have been resting on their diva reputations, and releasing crap to the masses who lap it up like it was water in the desert.
March 11 of this year, I picked up an album on the new release rack titled Vices and Virtues, by a band called Art of Dying. Honestly, I’d never heard of them before. In fact, I wouldn’t have, since they are a relatively new band. I liked the title though, so I bought it, and brought it home. I put it into the computer, sat back, and prepared to be bored. Truly, I was not prepared to hear the incredible music that lilted through my ears. I was impressed by the intelligent lyrics, the get-to-your-feet riffs, and the sometimes gutteral, sometimes melodious voice of the singer. I may critique the album for you all one of these days. But, suffice to say, I haven’t been this impressed by a band since Feeding the Wolves was released last year by 10 Years. (I argue this was the best hard-rock album of 2010, just for the record)
For the length of an album, I started to believe in things again. The power of music once again proved to me how worth it everything is. All of the bullshit, all of the drama, all of the pain, and all of the good are WORTH it! I started to believe again, thanks to a group of guys who produced a kick-ass album their first time out. When I found out that they’d be playing at Uproar, I was sold on the idea of going again. In fact, I bought my tickets the day they came out. Last year, the big draw at Uproar for me was Avenged Sevenfold. These guys will always hold a special place in my heart. But, this year, a relatively no-name band was what I was after.
Uproar is a really good time. It’s a festival that celebrates hard rock/heavy metal, a genre that sometimes gets a really bad rap. A lot of people don’t consider this type of music art. I beg to differ with those who would argue otherwise. To me, art is something that makes me feel something. Anything. Music of all types can be art. Anyway, at Uproar, nine or ten bands, big headliners and small no-namers come out, play the shit out of the place, and meet their fans. For others, it may be just one big party. For me, it’s like taking a dip into the rejuvenating power of heavy chords, and powerful lyrics. It restores my faith in the power of music, and in the belief in something bigger than us all.
I stood in the crowd and damn near cried when I got to see Art of Dying perform. In fact, a few tears did escape during “Best I Can.” I can’t describe the feeling of peace that comes over me when I realize that I still believe. After all of the crap, I still believe in something. Honestly, I probably shouldn’t be here blogging for you all. My life has been a series of events that have bloodied my body, mind, and soul. I stand in a crowd, watching a band that I believe in, and it all goes away for a little while. That’s the best way that I can say it. I have peace for a while. Maybe that’s all we can hope for.
After the show, in the pouring down rain, I actually got to meet Jonny Hetherington, front man, and bass guitarist, Cale Gontier. They both signed my shirt, and I got a chance to tell them that their art mattered. I got the chance to say, “You’ve made something great.” It lifted me incredibly high to be able to say that. The rest of the show was good, but nothing topped the realization that art and heavy metal or hard rock can mesh together. Nothing else could top my being able to tell those guys that their album is art to me, and that it contributes to my own art.
Find something you believe in, and check out Art of Dying! I promise you won’t be disappointed!