Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hell Awaits

Umlaut is in a constant battle against becoming a jaded mofo when it comes to Metal.. My Inner Teenage Metalhead is still alive and well, but sometimes he gets shoved out of focus by my "grown up" perspective of Metal via my "professional" life. However, every once in awhile, The Rock Godz deliver something to me that inspires and reminds me about what's important. The most recent example of this comes via Umlaut's Old Metal Brother K.J. Doughton.

Submitted by K.J.:

It was 1985, a year in which the underground Metal stars were in perfect alignment. Yours truly lucked out by scoring a gig with a merchandise company that sold Slayer's tour merchandise. I had basically taken the job as an excuse to hang out with my Speed Metal heroes. This culminated in one of the great misadventures of my youth. I was 19 at the time, living in Malibu, after having never set foot outside of Southern Oregon. Slayer were riding high (well, low - as in...the fiery pit of eternal punishment way down "there") on their album Hell Awaits. What a trip.

Adding to this cultural mindfuck was the opportunity to tour Europe with the band. Despite gutbucket budgets and primitive travel arrangements, the tour progressed through Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Germany, and England. This pic, taken at the Belgian Heavy Sounds Festival of 1985, perfectly captures the innocence of that time.

The prepubescent 'Bangers in this pic obviously knew their shit, as evidenced by the patches on their denim uniforms, even though they were well below drinking age. I spoke with them at the massive outdoor gig, where they revealed plans to eventually hit Slayer's much more intimate show at the cramped Dynamo Club in Eindhoven, Holland. The Youth. The Innocence. The Fun.

Anyone who thinks Metalheads are a bunch of lowlife, antisocial, misanthropic predators are obviously not acquainted with images like this one. Where are these guys now? I would wager one is an accountant, one manages financial portfolios, one has fallen victim to some horrific illness or injury, and one promotes rodeos in Pendleton, Oregon.

Umlaut says: Wherever those kidz are now, this photo forever keeps them Metalheads.

"Lonely children of the night,
There's seven ways to go,
Each leading to the burning hole,
That Lucifer controls.." - 'Hell Awaits'

Click HERE for a more detailed account of K.J.'s adventures with Slayer from the old xeroxed 'zine version of Umlaut.