In which, using an unlikely Nick Cave paraphrase as a starting point, we ask various prominent heavy metal people precisely that question…Yes. it’s Metal May here at Sentinel Daily so what better excuse to get a little behind the glorious sturm und drang of the facade of HM and find out how ‘our kind of music’ really makes those that make it tick – Stu Marshall of international metallers Death Dealer is the first metal warrior to take the test…

Hello Mr Marshall, and welcome back to Sentinel Daily! What initially drew you to heavy metal music, and how has your relationship with it evolved over time? “Thanks for chatting guys! – 1979 and Ace Frehley was the visual draw when I was six years old. I think hearing Kiss on TV and the power was something totally new to me. From then, the heavy music bug never left me. Then the eighties kicked in and it was paradise for us”.

Yep, it was the same year for me too and a TV performance by Judas Priest! Can you describe a pivotal moment or experience that solidified your passion for heavy metal? What was the first heavy metal song or album that blew your mind, and why? “It’s gotta be 1984, I was eleven years old and fishing through the LP’s at our local record shop – The cover of ManowarHail to England just looked cool.. and I begged my mum to buy it for me. Back in the day LP’s were not that cheap and it was an import which made it more expensive. So definitely hearing Eric Adams screaming Blood of my Enemies solidified the heavy metal in my veins. Now I’m working with the Ross the Boss in Death Dealer which still completely blows my mind ten years later”.

Yes – I can imagine it would! How do you think heavy metal culture and music have influenced your identity or personal beliefs? How has heavy metal influenced your personal style, or the way you see the world? “It’s made me mentally stronger. The metal I listen to is uplifting, powerful and the style I like is the more energetic power metal. The genre has definite delivered to me opportunities to live my dreams, touring the world in a metal band that is for sure”.

What aspects of heavy metal do you find most captivating or resonant, whether it be the music itself, the lyrics, or the community surrounding it? “It’s mine… so being a personal thing it is very much “my music” and I like that it isn’t for everyone. It’s not a fad.. it never goes away. I have never met anyone who said “I used to listen to Judas priest but now I’m into Taylor Swift“.. So that aspect I like – you are in or you are out! The Community is very open and welcoming”.
Stu Marshal
I remember a boy at my high school dumping a budle of albums on my parents’ front porch when I was seventeen with a note saying he’d ‘grown out of heavy metal’. I wasn’t complaining, but I found his actions pretty hard to understand! How does heavy metal serve as a form of self-expression for you, either through listening to it or creating your own music? “It’s definitely my musical expression – It’s what drives me as a musician. I do however feel we are walking in the steps of giants and tend to re-do what has been done. If you change it too much, it isn’t what the essence of it’s DNA should be”.

Are there particular themes or messages within heavy metal that you find especially meaningful or empowering? “Mostly the theme of pushing through… strength, power – Life is tough, so what! Don’t be a bitch. Kick it’s ass and get through whatever troubles may come your way”.

In what ways do you think heavy metal contributes to broader cultural conversations or movements? “I’m not sure it does.. I think it still remains largely in the underground, despite Wacken and festivals, it’s still largely underground when compared to country, pop and rap. I’m good with that”.

What are some of the misconceptions you encounter about heavy metal fans? “Oh man… the perception that all metal heads are drug taking burnouts. But that is something that will never go away. Perceptions are vapour – nothing”.

I like that take! Looking towards the future, how do you envision the role of heavy metal evolving, both for yourself personally and within the larger music landscape? Are you optimistic about what the future holds? “Well the music business has changed which means less money for bands, which equals less tours, which equals less support for new bands. I’m optimistic that metal will never die but overall, it’s harder all the time to release new music”.

And finally, here’s your chance to say, in one sentence, “That’s what heavy metal means to me”… “The power and the glory that fuels my life… That’s What Heavy Metal Means To Me”.