NYTimes: Josh Max: “Dance With the Devil”:
…I was carried off into a boiling sonic river of brutal, obscene, blasphemous noise that blasted me like a cannon out of my depressed cave and directly into the fury I was experiencing each waking day. For the next three weeks, all other music disappeared from my world. I listened to “Piece by Piece” as I dropped off to sleep at night, and the first thing I did in the morning, en route to the john, was cue up “Angel of Death.” Any gap of spare time during the day, no matter how small, was filled with “Post Mortem,” “Epidemic,” “Jesus Saves” and especially “Raining Blood.” Every other type of music seemed silly, trivial, light and useless.I didn’t bother listening very closely to the lyrics, either, despite my lifelong Ira Gershwin obsession. In fact, the less I could understand, the better. All I connected with were the screams.
After 30 days of Slayer saturation, I downloaded a blizzard of Death Metal onto a single iPod; 171 songs. Pantera. Anthrax. Venom. Cannibal Corpse. Devil Driver. If I previewed a band at iTunes and there wasn’t a WARNING: EXPLICIT label there or the tempo wasn’t insanely fast, I wasn’t interested.
Something was happening beyond the mind, the emotions and the circumstances. Music, for the first time in my life, was penetrating my body and shaking it. The force of Death Metal moved me out of my mind and into my arms, legs, head and belly. It compelled me to pull over in the car and bang the steering wheel, to run faster and farther in the freezing cold, to lift more weights and smash the heavy bag at the gym with renewed ferocity, and massively upped the intensity in everything I said, did and felt.
It also made me feel powerful enough to fight back against the injustice the world had delivered to me, to meet and embrace that inner demon who had always been told, since I was a little boy, “Smile.” “Be nice.” “Look at the bright side.” “Be reasonable.” “Don’t be angry.”