I never listen to heavy metal, unless I am in the car with my brother-in-law, Jeff. Jeff is a serious metalhead, although you’d never know it by looking at him. He keeps his hair closely cropped, usually sports polo shirts and khakis, and generally appears to be a typical suburban dad. Take a quick scroll through his Ipod, however, and all you see is Lynch Mob, Alice in Chains, Metallica, Dokken, Van Halen, Megadeath, et al. I have only recently got him listening to Bruce Springsteen, although I suspect he finds Bruce to be on the mellow side. He steadfastly refuses to listen to Dylan. I have even tried the native son gambit on him, as Jeff is from Minnesota like Dylan, but no luck so far.
While I don’t like metal, I am fascinated by the metal sub-culture. Jeff took me to see Lynch Mob a while back. I agreed to go because, as I said at the time, I wanted to break out of the “Indie Rock Ghetto” that I was in. I won’t say that I enjoyed the music, but the crowd was fascinating. Lynch Mob was opening for the Michael Schenker Group on the latter group’s farewell tour, so there was a sizable contingent of middle aged metalheads coming out for one last hurrah, their ancient threadbare Michael Schenker Group T-shirts stretched over their beer bellies. The crowd was overwhelmingly male, and the women who were there had a “ridden hard and put up wet” look about them. Skin a little leathery, with that death rattle in their voices from smoking too much, lots of tattoos, lots of missing teeth, lots of bad haircuts, lots of light beer in cans wrapped in a beer cozy. There were also a sizable contingent of lawyers, accountants and dentists, rocking out. After Lynch Mob played their set, they hung out at the back of the club, signing autographs and posing for pictures with the fans. I am a cynical bastard, but that is a cool move. All in all, it was an interesting night.
The hardest edge of the metal blade is Death Metal, which originated in the Scandinavian countries. Only the most hardcore metalheads listen to Death Metal. I think it is too extreme for Jeff even. On the other hand, Death Metal appears to be a tourist attraction in Norway, so much so that Norwegian diplomats are offered courses on the genre. Naturally, any extreme sub-culture will give rise to unintentional comedy.
Jester King‘s Black Metal Stout is an imperial stout, loaded with dark chocolate and dried fruit flavors, offset by anise and dark brown sugar, with a mildly herbal aftertaste. It pours a deep dark black, completely opaque, with a deep tan head, that dissipates quickly. It clocks in at a whopping 10.4 % ABV, and the alcohol does warm you as you drink this beer. Although lighter in body than many imperial stouts, this is not a beer for the hot and sticky Texas summers, but I am looking forward to drinking this again when the cool weather returns, 8/10.