I bought my first Heavy Metal album when I was about 14, I guess. It was "A real Live One" by Iron Maiden. The main reason I'd bought it was because a friend of mine had played me a little bit of their stuff, and I was rather impressed. I was not disappointed with this purchase, and to this day, I've got a bit of a soft spot for Maiden.
I copied an awful lot of Maiden off various people that I knew, and slowly I began to hear other bands that were important in the scene. People like Metallica and Megadeth and Anthrax etc. A lot of this stuff I have on tape, since it was at a time when I wasn't deeply into the scene, and thus a little unsure about spending my money on CDs.
That era ended when I walked into my local record shop in Horley, and happened to spot a record with a cool front cover. I'd never heard of the band before, but I liked the cover so much that I asked the bloke in the record shop if I could listen to it. He stuck it on, and throught the speakers came this savage, crunchy, crushing riff, with intermingled inarticulate growling. I loved it. I ordered the CD. And thus I became the proud owner of "The End Complete" by some band called Obituary!
Death Metal! I love it. And all because Obituary had the foresight to get someone to design a fucking superb front cover the their 3rd album. Since then, I have become the owner of all of their albums, including the latest "Back from the Dead", released in April 1997. And to date, I've never seen them live. It's always at an awkward time, and I can't go.
Time goes on. My Death Collection increases, but so does my collection of old favourites. I bought most of Megadeth's albums, and the more recent Slayer albums. If I'd had the money, my collection would be so vast, as there was so much stuff out there that I wanted to own.
Not too long after that I saw this article for a really mad looking band called Cradle of Filth. They had some kind of weird album coming out, and it looked pretty good. I happened to be in London when I saw it on sale, and decided that as it was only a tenner, I'd buy it. Well, as it happens, I own all of the Filth's CD releases now, and have, in fact, built my own website for them. Suffice to say, their style rather grabbed my attention.
I wouldn't say that I liked all Black Metal. I bought "In the Nightside Eclipse" by Emperor, and it was good, but it wasn't up the the Filth's standards. I also bought "Panzerfaust" by Dark Throne, and I hate to say it, but it was fucking awful. It was very samey, and pretty uninteresting, and not particularly dark, which is what I like. A band I would recommend, though, is Gehenna, who are a bit of a cross between the styles of Cradle of Filth, and Emperor.
I have a few friends who are into some extreme forms of dance music, such as Hardcore, Techno, Industrial, Drum'n'Bass, that kind of stuff, and after a prolongued exposure to it, you suddenly realise how similar really heavy Metal and really heavy Dance are. The beats are the same, and the atmosphere is similar. I have to say that I do actually rather like dark techno, and Industrial techno, now. But earlier on in my days of Heavy Metal, such music would have been sacrilege to listen to. I'd like for people not to be divided by the differences in the extremes. All of you hardcore ravers, and all you Death Met'las should realise that there are more similarities in the stuff you listen to than there are differences.
Anyway, listening to dance music got me into Industrial. Bands like Fear Factory and Marilyn Manson started to invade my CD collection. Industrial's great because it can be dancy or moshy, and it's always really nasty!
If I had to recommend three bands, therefore, that all extreme music fans had to listen to, I'd recommend the following: Obituary, Cradle of Filth, and Marilyn Manson.
There you go. That's how I ended up listening to the stuff that I listen to. Take my advice, and make it heavy. And keep moshing...