You’re probably going to see a lot of sentiments similar to this one but I’ll say it anyway. This feels crazy. When we hashed out the idea of doing a Writer’s Profile, I had figured it to be something of an introduction similar to what you would see on a resume. However, I had never thought it in me to actually do something like this myself. When you try to write one of these without it just being a bullet pointed list of facts, which as much as I proclaim to be, feels incredibly egotistical. What I’m asking you to do is bear with me as I basically dress myself down as a piece of shit whilst at the same time beg you to read what I write.
Some of you may recognize me, which is very cool. For those of you that don’t, my name is DGR, which is a shortened version of DemiGodRaven, a pseudonym I chose way back in the AOL days. I’m pretty sure if they still have old chat logs from the late 90′s you could probably find a young eleven year old learning how to use the internet in the Red Dragon Inn chat of all places. I tend to go by either or these days. I’m one of those idiots that believes in being slightly accountable for what I’m saying and by the same token, I’ve been looking to build up a resume for years should I attempt to pursue something more serious, and to be honest with you, I don’t think I could tell a recruiter “Yeah! I’ve been writing for years! Just look up the name DemiGodRaven” with a straight face. Likewise, whenever a band winds up sharing a review I would like for them to start mentioning who wrote it and when you have a guy whose online pseudonym sounds like he could fit into the lineup of Dark Funeral reviewing your record, I think it becomes far less likely. Thus, it has been shortened to DGR.
I started writing for, and eventually moved up to editor of, The Number Of The Blog, the now defunct but lovely experiment of trying to run a website as crazily as possible whilst simultaneously trying to increase the profile of bands we loved or awesome groups that we had come across. I joined in the beginning of 2010 with no prior qualifications other than having taken a bunch of English courses in college and some pretty good AP test scores out of high school. I wish I could say I had a BA, AA, BS, Doctorates, XY, KY, or whatever fancy initials they’ve come out with for a degree, but I don’t. The writing you see now has been refined in fire over the past two years from experimenting with different styles to flat out copying authors that I admired. Largely, and deservedly so, Grover was the face of the site, whilst I preferred to hide in the background and just hammer out news articles and reviews whenever I could. It became a daily exercise for me and I loved doing it, despite all the unneeded stress that started to rear its ugly head around the same time. I actually spent several months as lead editor of the site as Grover began to have issues occur in real life that prevented him from giving it the time it needed, so I have some experience on the various back end work and stats that go into running a website, as well as working with various PR people. It was all very trial by fire, which I appreciate quite a bit. By the same token that also plays into the whole run a website as crazily as possible description because for a while we tried to keep it to seven or eight articles a day, in an attempt to keep people coming back and likewise, keep folks entertained. None of us were paid and we were all doing it for the love of music, and in my case, a way to share whatever random insanity that crossed my mind without trying to devolve into another echo-chamber of “THE INTERNETS LOL”. However, there were times where it was literally just me pumping out tons of articles one after another for a few days since everyone else was busy with actual lives. I mean, Snagon became a goddamned teacher in that time frame; I wasn’t about to jump down his throat to kick out a review for a silly wordpress blog that managed to get a hold of an actual domain name.
Despite all the stresses that it gave me and the fact that it earned me a reputation as a workhorse (which is fine), I loved that site and the experience of it. That is why when it crashed for the final time and we decided to just let it go, I moved over to No Clean Singing, where you could find me doing album and show reviews, as well as the occasional news post and submission before finally making the jump here once the site opened.
I have two passions in life; loves that run so deep that I don’t think I could ever give them up in favor of anything else. Those are music and video games, which sadly are also the two most expensive passions I have come across. I’ve loved heavy metal for so long now that it has become something of a lifeblood and the discovery of new music, as well as the ability to just sit back and let stuff that I initially loved just come back to me, is still a feeling that is almost indescribable. I love going to live shows as well, so you’ll likely be seeing a lot of concert reviews out of this end of the site, especially now that Sacramento has some fucking decent concert venues. For instance, I’m likely going to be attending both an Angelspit and a Gwar show within a week of each other towards the end of this month, and I’m musing over the idea of kicking out a review of the Morbid Angel/Dark Funeral/Grave/Soma Ras show that happened last Saturday. I love seeing music live, as I think a good live show can add a whole other dimension to a group’s work, and when you get that energy loop of you rocking out to the band, and likewise, the band then feeding off the energy of the crowd rocking out to them, it’s almost like you’re invincible for a few moments. Annoying to the guy behind you because your hair keeps hitting him in the face, yeah, but invincible nonetheless.
The video games aspect is something entirely different, but more often than not you’re going to see me spout some incredibly nerdy bullshit. It might just be a random shout out, or relaying the tale of how I found out about a certain band via video game soundtrack, but just be prepared and keep your eyes for it. My knowledge on this front is a little too vast for my own admittance but it’s out there so if you see something video game related pop up on The Monolith every once in a blue moon, don’t be surprised. I’ll try to tie it into metal but motherfucker, if I want to talk about whatever happens at the end of Assassin’s Creed this year and am presented with a venue to do so, I’m going to jump on that. Also, whilst I’m on the unexpected things, I need to mention that for some reason I have this randomly extensive knowledge of motown, disco, and 80′s music. Don’t ask why; I blame it on working retail to pay my bills so that I can turn around and do this. Long story short, if you see a random video from any of those eras pop up in a link and you don’t know who is responsible for it…it was probably me. There’s an almost joyous ridiculousness about those eras that I absolutely love that runs in total contrast to the too-cool-for-school bullshit you see a lot nowadays.
I am from Sacramento. You need to know this because I love my city. I really do. I may hit it with a litany of bullshit from time to time, but I think the metal community as well as the city in general has really embraced me and I feel like it is time to give back. If it seems like I focus on the Sacramento music scene a lot, it’s because I believe this area truly has a lot to offer. I am not a shill, and believe me, I dislike a lot of bands, but if there is one that I truly enjoy then I do believe that many people out there will find enjoyment in it as well. Since I do this of my own volition and because I have a passion for it, I’m also not restricted to loving some band just because they’re super popular. I don’t care what the fan-base thinks so if I find some scene band that is awful, then I will say so. I may try to be nice about it as my general desire for conflict has gone down, and likewise, since the internet is basically an asshole factory, it isn’t really necessary but you better believe I’m not going to lube myself up for whatever flavor of the week hits.
That brings me to The Monolith. By and large, I’m here because I want people to embrace each other for the ridiculous metalheads they are. This may seem like a bunch of Californian hippy (which, it is) crap but you have a bunch writers who are absolutely passionate about what they do and their desire to share with all of you. I want you guys to embrace each other like my city embraced me, and likewise, learn a lot about each other. I want metal and our love of music to be a binding thread, so if you happen to know a lot about Sacramento but happen to live in Ocean City, then that is awesome. There’s so much music out there and we’re hoping to cover all our bases by having such a huge group of guys here to write about it. I love melo-death, industrial, tech-death, certain branches of prog, just about anything having to do with space, symphonic death, groove and so on. I may be a little bit more mainstream than most folks, but I’m happy to accept my role on the site as the probable ‘common man’. Basically, if it clears my bar for good music then you’ll likely get at least a hint of enjoyment out of it. I may be restricting myself as a workhorse news guy for the site, but I am more than willing to talk about bands I love and hope to introduce you guys to a bunch of stuff. Likewise, I’m looking forward to learning a lot from you guys as well because every other site I’ve been on has been a huge learning experience anyway. Also, since this sounds like some bullshit that would be spouted off at a managers meeting, here’s a word to top it off. Synergy.
The idea that I have become involved with this madness just seems nuts yet I am happy to be here. For some reason they thought it would be wise to put me in a position of authority again, clearly learning absolutely nothing from my previous endeavors. Put simply, a lot of these people, save for a few pricks who know whom they are, are people that I’ve wanted to work with for years now yet couldn’t since I try to stay monogamous with whatever site I write with at that moment. That’s the best I can come up with; I know it’s supposed to be a profile but if you’ve read metal sites then you might have crossed my bullshit from time to time. If you haven’t, just know that I try to be as friendly as I can and am willing to be absolutely fucking ridiculousness. You’ll know if I have had way too much caffeine one day because shit will get silly as hell, and you know what? That’s fine. The internet and metal blogging in general is way too serious in the first place. Folks need to lighten up, life’s too short to walk around being angry all the time. We’ve got our music for that outlet.
AND IF THAT DOESN’T HELP: I own three cats. That should also tell you all you need to know about me. Suck it.
Since it seems like we’re all being asked to try and include a song that sums up our year, here’s my song for this year, and every year. It is the greatest thing ever and nothing you say can sway me otherwise.