Metal Arithmetic

11402912_643113999122454_1124710539389194014_oI’m eager to go to a metal show.  It’s been close to three months since I’ve been to a live metal show, and I’m jonesing for a live metal music fix.  I’m also thinking about math problems.  For example:

1. Slayer divided by two equals…

I’ve decided I’m not going to see Slayer when they play Seattle in March.  They are touring with Testament and Carcass, and I would love to see the show. However, the tickets are pricey, I am cheap, and, let’s face it, half of Slayer isn’t Slayer.  As I’ve written about before, Slayer just isn’t the same great band since the loss of Jeff Hanneman (who died) and Dave Lombardo (who quit or got fired, depending on which Internet trolls you believe).  If a young metal fan has not had the chance to see a Slayer show before, I would still encourage them to go. They are an important contributor to the metal canon and the live shows are always a lot of good friendly, violent fun (to paraphrase an Exodus song).  It was a shared love of Slayer that afforded me the opportunity to become a metal big brother to one of my daughter’s high school friends. He is currently a guitarist for a new local band called Evil Awakening, and I’m looking forward to seeing them play in January.  Nothing like a little homegrown death metal to spice up your new year.  Even this new band has experienced lineup changes. As far as I know, only the drummer has been replaced, so they are four-fifths still intact (and possibly better than ever; love ya Dylan!)

2. If a kingdom is divided into four parts, and one part secedes…

Another band with experiencing an acute case of drummer replacement is Iron Kingdom.  While I have no reason to doubt the abilities of the new drummer, the original, Amanda, was a great skin basher and reminds me that metal is a brotherhood that is very open to sisters.  I’m hopeful they will tour my area soon.  I planned to see them earlier this year, but they are from Canada and had some difficulty getting work visas to allow them to play in the U.S. As a result, the American part of the tour, was canceled.  I bought a tour t-shirt from their on-line march store anyway. That’s right: I overcame my proclivity for miserliness and forked over money to commemorate a tour that didn’t happen. Why would I do such a thing?  Because I met the band a year ago when they played at a local bar and I was, frankly, smitten.  They are great musicians playing true, traditional metal.  Plus, they wrecked their tour bus and needed a little financial help to get back on their feet.  The metal community is a family, and the fans and bands have a close relationship.  So, while the next time I see Iron Kingdom, sister Amanda won’t be there, three fourths of the original Iron Kingdom is still a good deal.

3. If a snake bites you and injects 2/3rds of its venom…

While I have to wait for Iron Kingdom to announce their tour schedule, I know I’m going to see Venom, one of the most important metal bands of all time.  Starting in 1981, Venom played up the evil aspects of the genre for shock value and became one of the most influential bands in metal history.  I’ve never seen them play before, so this show will be an important addition to my metal concert resume.  I will only be seeing two-thirds of the original Venom, but that’s more statistically significant than half of Slayer.  Venom has experienced a lot of lineup changes over the last 35 years.  The band I’m going to see is touring under the name Venom Inc. for legal reasons, as the band’s original singe/bassist retains the rights to the name.  Venom Inc. includes the original guitarist and drummer, so I feel I’m getting my money’s worth.  And, in an attempt to avoid trolling from my metal mentor, I will clarify that, yes, I know, the truly original lineup for Venom included a bunch of other people, but the classic trio was the group that first recorded under the name Venom.  In a pure sense, I will be seeing 1/5th of the original Venom lineup, but that’s good enough for me.

4. Four minus one equals…

I don’t plan on attending the Black Sabbath tour when it rolls into town in February.  The tickets are very expensive, and, fortunately, I have already seen the original lineup play live.  Sabbath is the source of all things metal, and I’m glad I had the chance to see Ozzy, Tony, Geezer, and Bill play their classic songs in concert.  To my metal brothers and sisters who haven’t had the opportunity to see Black Sabbath, please got to the show if you can.  It’s true that they are touring without the original drummer, Bill Ward, but three fourths of Black Sabbath is still better than half of Slayer or two thirds of Venom.

I think I’ve tortured the arithmetic-metal metaphor enough, so I’ll conclude by offering this: don’t miss the opportunities to experience what you love.  It’s just simple math.

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