When I was getting into heavy metal, around Spring time 2005, I bought a copy of Metal Hammer. Having been listening to and slowly discovering rock for a year or so, I was still intrigued by this new world, and read each page thoroughly, wondering at the unfamiliar terminology, trying to figure out what was up with Norway, and finding myself in the somehow grimy advert pages. The page in question was fairly typical, in that it featured a plethora of bands I had never heard of before and never have since, apparently all due to become the kings of sub–genre X, Y or Z, with the featured album artwork split evenly between gore and futuristic scenarios (of gore). Despite their uniformly low quality, one such advert has stuck with me. The band in question shall remain nameless, but for their new album, either they, or their label, had decided to represent themselves with the following phrase:
Mathematical Deathgrind from France.
I think it’s quite easy to hear a wide variety of music, come to grip with its most intricate characteristics, consume it, and move on to the next sub–genre (or genre) with so material freely available. Whilst in some respects this ease of access has been a good thing, the sense of mystique with which I approached bands like Tool and Led Zeppelin, totally unsure of what I was about to hear, has become a much rarer sensation.
But Mathematical Deathgrind from France; what does it mean? What does that sort of music sound like? What sort of people listen to this? (And why ‘from France’?) Whilst holding on to the memory of that band, I also decided to never advance my knowledge of that band, or genre, beyond that tiny advert; to do so would almost certainly only bring disappointment. But whenever I think about that strange, foreign title, I immediately hear the music I love, of whatever genre, in a new, refreshed light, restored to the level of excitement with which I found it, with the ability to make me wonder. I’ve held onto this label, and thought about what it might sound like, and I’m content with never knowing. But I’ve figured out what it means; the bizarre, the exotic, the awesome, the unknown.