Today, I want to talk to you about the normative, restorative, healing power of music. No, you haven’t opened the wrong website; this isn’t a “442HZ” website (don’t Google that please, it’s so stupid). Instead, I’ve recently noticed how important music has become in me reclaiming my home. One of the less discussed aspects of this pandemic (and the quarantine) is the weird and uncanny ways in which our environment has changed. Yes, there have been many articles about how work has now invaded our homes. But what these articles miss is also how important our homes have become. I mean, they were always important, naturally. But now, homes are a sort of beacon, one of the only places where we can approach a 0% chance of infection. It’s also a place that has an “airlock”, a door that all who pass must adhere to whatever rituals of decontamination and safety we might (rightfully) impose on them.
These two forces, the importance of home and the invasion of it by foreign powers (mostly work) creates something that Hegelians love: a contradiction. These two forces, through the sheer friction of their meeting can create new practices, new ways to consider old things and things which are new altogether. In my case, the rising importance of my home in my mental (and physical health) and the growing need to protect it have created a set of rituals which help me redouble that sense of security, like wards or a healing aura. One of them, funnily enough, has been doing the dishes. There are a lot more of them now that I eat all my meals at home but the habit has become something almost restful and calming for me, a way to control my refuge.
Another such ritual has become playing music. Whether I’m playing it on my speakers or through headphones, playing music has become a way for me to affirm control over my surroundings. When I was working in an office, speakers were of course out the question. But even headphones had limitations; I usually kept what I was listening to relatively light, so I could stay in tune with my environments and the needs of my co-workers (also, chair dancing can be embarrassing, so no TWRP). There was also an internal, mental need to regulate my listening; it just felt wrong to be listening to super gruesome grindcore or incredibly introspective post-rock. It just didn’t fit.
But now, all of that is gone. I can listen to what I want and who I want, no matter the style or the ramifications on innocent bystanders who are forced to watch my gyrate awkwardly in my chair (I’m actually a really good dancer, just in a wild, awkward way). Now, I can let my mood, my tastes, and my (extensive) listening list take control. But more than just a gesture of freedom, this is a gesture of control: it allows me to modify the mood at home. Did I just get off a really bad call? I can listen to some brutal death metal to let off the frustration. Do things feel hopeless? I can play some uplifting math-rock. Do I just want to take a break and stare out of the window, remembering the wide world which exists regardless of work? All I need to do to listen to yndi halda is press a button (true story: I once listened to Under Summer in the office and had to explain to my co-workers and team leader why I was crying).
In this sense, music blends with my homely surroundings, unleashed by the fact that I’m in the ultimate safe space, and makes it even more sheltered, safe, and healing. This is also an opportunity to remember how much I appreciate the varied library and musical taste I’ve built for myself over the last six years (obviously coinciding with starting to write for Heavy Blog). That means I have a complex palette of colors and tastes with which to paint my surroundings with now.
So, maybe take this month’s missive as an invitation to discover some new music. By which I mean, an invitation to consider new ways in which music can help you augment the environment around you, rest, healing, and recuperate from everything happening out there. Maybe I’m also asking you for an invitation; will you let us into your home? Will you let us play some of our favorite tunes for you? Today, more than ever, we really appreciate that invitation and, by extension, you. Hey, we love you. Happy reading.
Genre agnostic spotlights from the blog’s editorial staff, highlighting key releases from last month.
Cool People Column
Music isn’t everything in life, don’t you know? Tune in to the blog’s picks of books, TV, video games, and more!
All the death metal that’s fit to print from last month’s offerings. Riffs, licks, and gutturals curated by Jonathan and Scott.
When you absolutely must have your music go low and slow, Doomsday is here for you. Get ready for fuzz.
Flash of the Blade
Music that is both fast, pissed off, and goes hard. Oh, and swearing. Lots of it.
Heavy Blog’s better halves listen to what we’ve been blathering about and speculate what ridiculous stew of genre labels we would categorize them as.
The grimmest, coldest, most abrasive column there is. Only the most premium of perma-frost, from the heart of darkness itself.
Post Rock Post
Where the horizon is always just beyond the next hill and your heart can roam free. Delay pedals, crescendos, and dreams.
Rotten to the Core
Sure, you’re hardcore but are you this hardcore? The column with all the breakdowns, riffs, and gang vocals you’ll need.
Head on through to turn down the distortion.
Throw on your trench-coat, put on your favorite pair of sunglasses, and get ready to jack-in to the future in all its neon splendor.
The Anatomy Of Stygian Crown
Check out the influences behind Stygian Crown’s epic, traditionally flavored doom, including records from Cathedral, Celtic Frost, Bolt Thrower, and more.
Bring Me the Horizon – Post Human: Survival Horror
SURVIVAL HORROR is not only incredibly poignant for the political and ecological era we find ourselves in, it’s also the most infectious and well-written and produced material Bring Me the Horizon have ever released.
Countless Skies – Glow
When you put all of these different parts together in the specific way that Countless Skies have done, you get something truly singular and special. … The epic tone and theme of Glow is maintained, but in so many different ways and approaches.
Dark Tranquillity – Moment
Dark Tranquillity have arguably the best track-record of any melodic death metal band. Unfortunately, they continue to struggle with their late-career identity on Moment, one of the Swedish sovereigns’ weakest and most forgettable efforts to date.
Of Feather and Bone – Sulfuric Disintegration
With Sulfuric Disintegration, Of Feather and Bone have not only built upon the success of their debut in every measurable metric, but also proven that it is possible to present a work of art that is both immediate and sustainably punishing.
Ask Metal Anything
Monthly questions from the blog’s Facebook group about…anything!
The Void Screameth
We’ve all got our pet issues, big and small, and sometimes you gotta just write it all out and digitally scream into the black void of the Internet. This is that, just written much better.