Entry Level is a new series where musicians re-examine the records that piqued their interests in heavy and loud music as children and young adults.

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Growing up I wasn’t really exposed to any sort of metal or heavy music until I was in my early teens. My father, being a country/western swing musician, wasn't exactly immersed in heavier genres, and therefore my exposure was limited at a young age. That being said he was very supportive of my musical interests. After I had gotten ahold of an Aerosmith CD from my older brother I somehow it was different from the music I had heard growing up. It wasn’t country, it wasn’t the commercial music I’d heard on TV, but it had some sort of edge or something that spoke to me. It quickly became a weekend routine for our father to go take us to Waterloo Records here in Austin to pick out some new music. I slowly wanted heavier sounds, with my next favorite band being AC/DC, and then pretty much searching for anything that had the same sort of driving guitar riffs and rhythm.

My first experience hearing metal was during one weekend when we purchased Metallica’s The Black Album, and from the first palm muted guitar riff in "Enter Sandman", I was absolutely hooked. This song blew my mind. It was so much more aggressive and mean than anything I had heard. I remember at the time just having been learning to play guitar for a year or so thinking "how can I make these sounds on guitar?" and so began my journey into the world of metal. This album was the album that did it for me. All of a sudden, my interest in the music I had been listening to before faded and metal became my new obsession. As far as pivotal moments for me as a musician, this was a big one for me.

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I’d like to highlight another album which I feel was important to me and influenced me as a musician. Many years later, as I was fully immersed in the various sub-genres of metal with my own particular affinity for melodic death metal, doom, and black metal, I stumbled across a real gem -- the Slovenian atmospheric black metal band, Dekadent. The Deliverance of the Fall is an album that captivated me upon first listen. Spanning 42 minutes, the album plays like a one-track-album split into multiple chapters with some sort of narrative song structure, constantly evolving and unfolding, making reference to earlier passages without outright repeating them. To me it is truly a superb example of how this concept can be executed, painting an expansive landscape with epic, heroic peaks and dark, contemplative valleys. As a musician who was just beginning to understand song structure at the time this was a very mind-opening and inspiring experience. It is truly a piece of music that has always stuck with me. My first full listen to this album actually happened to be on a long road trip from the west coast back here to Texas, and I think that some of the scenery accompanied by this music may have had something to do with how much it has stuck in my head. Nonetheless this was (and still is) a hugely important album to me and my growth as a musician.

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Casey Hurd is the guitarist and vocalist for melodic death/doom metal band Hinayana.

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Death of the Cosmic releases August 28th on Napalm Records.


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