23 September 2023

Baptized in Metal – Gamze Öyunc

When I was in middle school, my first encounter with guitar riffs was thanks to Limp Bizkit`s infamous “Chocolate Starfish and Hotdog Flavored Water” cassette. I know, right? What weird mix for an album name 🙂 Probably someone made this as a comment when they first heard their stuff. I still have a soft spot for Wes Borland but let´s move on. This one and The Offspring´s “Conspiracy of One”, Eminem´s “The Marshall Mathers LP” cassettes were literally in circulation in our classroom of 13-year-olds.

Of course, I wasn´t always that cool as a kid, and because of my fangirling over Justin Timberlake I had gone ahead and bought Nsync`s “No Strings Attached” album with my allowance. I used to buy this music magazine called Blue Jean every month with my allowance and then I saw this article which had dark pink background and a topless androgynous guy on it looking lustful and prettier than myself. I was confused in a funny way I thought he must have been the handsome and attractive version of the Anti-Christ unlike Mr. Brian Warner. That guy was, of course, HIM´s frontman Ville Valo.

Then in high school, in my angstful teen years I would watch Jackass on MTV all the time and there was this cute skateboarder named Bam who used to wear stuff and skate these boards with the Heartagram symbol all over them. I got into his home videos thanks to my dial up internet in 2001. Also, in chatrooms I found out that the band he was using as backdrop music in his skating videos was no one else than His Infernal Majesty. Fate had woven Her webs once again and I started listening to HIM at one of those points and soon after I had become a crazy fangirl of theirs. I not only listened to HIM in high school; I was also a big fan of Korn, Linkin Park, Guano Apes and the likes… come on! How could I not? Nu-metal and crossover was big at the time. Can´t judge a teenager, we were all one once upon a time, after all. (I still dig Guano Apes a lot by the way)

Okay, then in 2004 university happened and I moved to Istanbul. I used to spend the weekends at my aunt`s and luckily for me my uncle was an old skool heavy metal fan. He had this CD shelf, which was full of Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera, Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen albums and many more. Might be a tad late but when I was 18, that´s how I started rocking out to Metallica. “Ride the Lightning” and the “Black Album” were my favorites until I heard “Load”… “Load” was a breaking point for many Metallica fans because they got softer and more melodic (and cut off all their hair) but it was perfect for me at the time. I dug the lyrics and the whole attitude. In 2008, I went to my first Metallica stadium concert and as you can imagine I was blown away haha. Fun times indeed… well, except for the annoying fact that Lars missed lots of beats.

At some point, grunge also got big with me: specifically, when I discovered Alice in Chains and Soundgarden in 2010 after I saw AIC live on the Sonisphere tour. Also over the last decade I grew fond of some of the Europe-based female-fronted bands such as Delain. I listen to a lot of Britpop as well. I know, now it sounds like a jimble jamble sort of salad mix so I guess you could say that I am an eclectic listener. I could also say that my life has been saved by music a lot of times. So, long live Metal and Rock and thanks to all the rockers and metal musicians who have been saving our lives every other day!