There must be something in the water in Sweden. Metal is just ingrained in their culture. I was hanging out drinking with a major label pop band last night, five of whose six members are Swedish and at least three of whom were longhairs that I figured might be into metal given their appearance and heritage. Metal is a always a great way to bridge slightly awkward conversation with complete strangers, so I figured why not try? I swung and missed with the keyboardist, more of the jazz type, who nodded politely but seemed otherwise not to give a shit when I tried to slip “In Flames” and “At the Gates” into the conversation. Strike one. I would’n’t even need a strike two, ’cause the minute I mentioned Soilwork to the guitar player his hand went up in the air for a high five. We were in full agreement that Stabbing the Drama is one of the best records of the past five years. And it went on from there down familiar paths like “Meshuggah” (he loves obZen), Refused and more.

This story seems way less compelling now that I’ve actually written it down. But, um, it was, like, really cool or something. Kind of like the time I ended up hanging out with Phil Anselmo’s Aunt and Uncle (a story for another time). That red wine / beer combo didn’t hurt either.


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