Today marks the 24th year anniversary of I guess the most important record in my life. So, time for a little trip down memory lane.
I may have told or written this story somewhere before but here is another repeat. I don’t know exactly how old I was, but it happened in the first week of my colleges years. It was the introduction week. My future classmates and I camped out in the school gym hall for about a week, while the school had planned a week full of excursions and fun stuff so we could get to know each other and the city in which we where going to study for the next couple of years. In the end it was only one year as I dropped out after realizing this field of expertise was not something I was going to enjoy for the rest of my life.
Well, as you might expect, one of the activities was exploring the cities’ nightlife. A very important part of studying (particularly avoiding it) could be done here so we where eager to explore the pubs and clubs downtown.
At that time my music taste was mainly some radio friendly alternative rock in the likes of Nirvana, Radiohead, and occasionally some Metallica and Megadeth, but always the radio friendly stuff. I could also appreciate some older stuff like Santana, mainly because that what was being listened to by the old folks back home.
Anyway, as we where walking from school towards to city we came by a studentclub building called “De Bunker”. Behind the building on a small square there was band rocking it guts out on a podium. In front of it a bunch of long haired boys and girls headbanging on the tunes and clearly enjoying themselves. Almost everybody from our group shrugged and started continuing their way towards the pub and clubs. But I was intrigued. “See you somewhere tomorrow,” I replied. I was to intrigued by this display to not pay it any attention.
I made my way towards the crowd, enjoyed the ambiance, the people and above all the music. I don’t know how long it all lasted but it was over way, way to soon. Somewhere between a song it had been mentioned that there was a stand with merchandise. Feeling the urge to continue this musical journey of discovery I made my way over and asked who it was that had been playing on stage and if they had some of their records for sale. I exchanged some money for a cd and there it was, “Mandylion”, by a band called “The Gathering”.
I still think that single evening and me buying that record kicked of my musical journey and made me a “metalhead”. It made me discover bands like After Forever, Epica, Ayreon, Nightwish, Devin Townsend, Therion, Dream Theater, Amorphis, Blind Guardian, Avantasia, Moonspell and so many more in the years to come. And I feel richer because of it. I think it is a kind of music which has helped me through the ups and downs of life like no other genre of music could have. It kinda shaped me who I am as a person today.
And, although it hasn’t been exactly 24 years since I first discovered this gem, every year, on its release date, I celebrate it a little.
Today, so many years later, I still haven’t grown tired of Mandylion. At least once a month it sounds still fill up the room and makes my neck muscles move uncontrollably. So you might have guessed what has been playing these past minutes while I have been writing these pleasant memories. Yes, you guessed right.
Here’s to 24 years more! Rock on!