When I was a kid, I was into pop music. It was the melodies that I was drawn to, the things that would stick in my head and not leave for days or weeks at a time. At 15, I discovered Thrice on a Yahoo station and struggled to find music like this in stores. I resorted to destroying the family computer with Limewire.

I think this is how I got into computers as well, delving into the nooks and crannies of Windows 98 to try and cure it of its ailments.

It wasn’t long before I landed in the metal and post-hardcore scenes. Bands like Thrice, Atreyu, Funeral for a Friend, Darkest Hour… Suppose only I could revive my ancient MP3 player. In that case, I could tell you exactly what I listened to in my formative years.

I would attend gigs and mingle with the “cool kids” in my town, but they would prove to be a bit arrogant, exclaiming their favourite bands were “better” and “real metal”. Because of this, I avoided bands they worshipped, such as Metallica, Opeth, or Mastodon. It was my way of saying “fuck you”, I guess.

Left to my own devices, I found my sanctuary with melodic death metal. In Flames solidified my tastes, and I knew what spoke to me. The frenetic blast beats are punctuated by melodic leads inspired by Iron Maiden. Or the more death metal-inspired Arch Enemy, with its intense vocals and sometimes darker lyrics. Then, for some melancholy, I’d binge on Insomnium.

It wasn’t long after, at age 17, that I got into more contemporary progressive metal. At first, I found the music challenging with confusing time signatures and seemingly out of nowhere transitions. I knew my curiosity would be rewarded if I stuck with it beyond the sections I found instantly enjoyable.

There was just something to it; each track felt like a journey. I often fell asleep listening to these epic songs, their twists and turns like a movie playing in my head. Between The Buried and Me is such an example. Still, there are bands like Protest the Hero, Karnivool, Monuments, and Tesseract, each living in the same space but telling very different stories.

That’s not to say it’s all metal. It’s mostly metal, for sure, but over the years, I’ve come to love many types of music, which I’ve been exposed to in some cases through progressive metal. Artists like Chelsea Wolfe, Justin Townes Earle, Foals, Everything Everything, and Minus the Bear, to name a few.

For a while, I was obsessed with post-metal and rock. The ambient sound lets you drift between the sensation that your world is collapsing around you. Rosetta was the driver of this for me. Sometimes, it was hard to distinguish what sound was leaking in from around you, and it would bleed into the music, existing in two worlds at once.

I’m stuck on the same bands as I need to make more time for new music. I want to change it, but I’m comforted knowing I have a diverse enough history to fall back on without the stress of burning a particular band out.