The search for even more new music continued as I left University and put my foot on the first rung of the career ladder. Saddled with the ubiquitous student debt but with more money in my back pocket, I was able to buy more music than ever before. The Internet was also a great help because, for the first time, I was able to find everything I was looking for and wasn’t always held to ransom over the price. Ebay too began to work its spell and I went through a stage of buying a disc or more on a daily basis.
It is hard to articulate (believe me, I’ve tried) but I began to find myself less and less interested in the bulk of my collection. It felt like I had bled the main genres dry and nothing was truly exciting me. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t suddenly dislike everything but I wanted something a bit different, a bit out of the ordinary. As it turns out, the answer was prog. But again, my route to it was far from simple.
I remember sitting at an old PC with dial-up connection around the turn of the millennium. In those days, there were a few of these torrent sites and I decided to try one out. I wasn’t proud of it, but reconciled the moral argument in my head by making a pact with myself that if I found something I liked I’d go out and buy the disc. And I did, believe me!!
It used to take ages to download a single track, so you can imagine my consternation when, having waited for over half an hour, I realised I’d clicked on the wrong track. As it happened though, this was the best mistake I ever made, because that band has become my favourite band of all time: Evergrey. I can’t remember who I was trying to download, but Evergrey was not it.
The blend of progressive elements with lashings of atmospheric keys and some sumptuous melodies meant that I quickly became hooked. I bought everything that the band had recorded up to that point and listened to it until my ears bled. Naturally, I wanted more of this and so went on a real hunt for similar material. It meant using the word ‘progressive’ in search engines and, as a result, a whole new world opened up to me.
I will be totally honest and say that much of what I discovered, I didn’t initially like. However, what kept me going was the challenge. Much of the music I had listened to up to this point, I had almost immediately liked. Something within it would instantly hook me. What I began to realise was that Evergrey were not that progressive and, as I explored, I stumbled upon some bands that were much more difficult to get to grips with. I remember hearing ‘Fandango’ by Pain Of Salvation and thinking ‘I don’t really like this, but I’m sure it might grow on me’. So I bought the album and persevered. In so doing, I realised that I did like it and experienced a small epiphany: ear candy (power metal etc) was all very well, but if you have to work at a band or an album, its longevity would ultimately increase. That’s not always true and some bands I just couldn’t get on with. However, in the main, it was an accurate conclusion.
A chance meeting with an ex-writer for Powerplay Magazine, Andy Read, led me to check out a forum called ‘The Perpetual Motion’ forum. Full of complete prog-heads, it was a new avenue to discover more and more bands within the genre. If you remotely like prog, give it a try: http://www.pmrising.com/pm/
Today, I would have to say that progressive music, both rock and metal, is my favourite form of music. That said, I have made a return to all the music of my youth and, thanks to the break, I now enjoy it all the more. In addition, I have since discovered some other cracking genres, including melodic hard rock and all of the ‘post’ this and that genres that have evolved over the last few years. The rock and metal scene has, in many ways, never been more strong and I am so pleased that I am still enamoured by it.
I hope the last few blogs have given you a brief overview of who I am and set the scene for future posts. Certain aspects will be delved into in more detail in the coming weeks (such as how I became a writer for Powerplay Magazine) as well as focusing on more narrow topics within music of interest to me.
Please join me and feel free to leave comments as I want to create something interesting for people to read and interact with.
Matt AKA The Man Of Much Metal