I liked metal music in the 1980’s and early 90’s. I suppose much of the world did. Bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Pantera played in front huge crowds around the world and sold millions of records. Somewhere along the line I lost track of the genre. It wasn’t on purpose, it just wasn’t on my radar. Fast forward a decade or so. In the early 2000’s I used to go to Manifest Records in Charlotte. At certain types of record stores there are always people who will talk your ear off. It is both a stereotype and true. Over the years I depended on this interaction for new music to listen to. Manifest has had those people over the years and one of them was an employee who was a huge fan of the record Leviathan by Mastodon. I didn’t pay heed to his recommendation when he told me and quickly forgot the conversation. Later that year I found the CD in the stacks and saw the cover. The Leviathan they were referring to was Ahab’s White Whale. That I did not expect. I decided I should buy it. I listened to the record that night and realized that metal music had continued onward when I wasn’t paying attention. Leviathan was a combination of Black Sabbath and punk music and worked perfectly for the subject material (Moby Dick, drums and riffs for descent into the watery abyss). I hadn’t heard metal music quite like it before. I wasn’t sure what to call it, but the record was great whatever it was. I saw Mastodon later that year at the Casbah at Tremont Music Hall ( a great club gone, but not forgotten). It was sold out in the small room and it was about as far from the arena metal of the Monsters of Rock as you could get. The music though was just as loud as an arena rock and hurtled forward relentlessly in the space there was. Thanks to the record store worker whose name I don’t remember, but who wore a trucker’s hat and had impressive sideburns at Manifest for helping me realize metal music still existed in 2004. In 2020 it is appreciated still.