Sunday, August 31, 2008


The crowd may have won a second encore from Judas Priest, but I didn't stay to find out. I suspect that I'll find out on some one's blog - or from a comment here - that the Metal Gods returned to the stage a second time. But my feet were blistered and I had an hour commute home from Glen Helen. Many of the fans in the audience weren't even born when Priest began forging British Steel - much less when Iommi struck the Devil's chord. It is a testament (no pun intended) to the enduring nature of metal. No less than three generations of headbangers turned out to celebrate the genre in its most influential forms; Primordial Metal, Power Metal, Thrash and just plain Rock'n'Roll. Metal became the music of a people that punk could no longer reach: the working-class, the disadvantaged, the poor. Those who cried out, you don't know what it's like! Those who would stand up to the mainstream, confronting them by saying, just 'cos you got the power, doesn't mean you got the right. Those who would warn us of the failure of democracy as a result of an uninformed public following the ignorant: if you listen to fools, the mob rules. And those who called a changing of the guard: takers of humanity, elders paranoid, the time is now, give up this world you once destroyed.

It is the music of frustration, of anger, of alienation. Metal is a dark reflection of the society which continues to reject it, ignore it, dismiss it and everything else, except face it. The music and lyrics are as relevant today as they were 25 years ago. It is a celebration of the human spirit of resistance in the face of economic, social and political adversity.


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