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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Do you remember Columbia House? That mail-order catalogue you could flip through and choose albums from that would ship the music straight to your door? Well, my Dad was a big fan of that catalogue and though we rarely had enough money to actually buy anything, every so often he would actually let us choose something from the whole ‘buy one get one for a penny’ deal and my brother and I would pour over that catalogue for hours trying to decide what to choose. Judging music by a tiny little thumbnail image in a catalogue is no easy task, so when my brother overruled me and chose Countdown to Extinction by Megadeth for one of those few opportunities we had, I was not happy. Fast forward however many weeks it would take the albums to arrive and Adam (my brother, drummer for Invasives, an alt-punk band from Vancouver, Canada) listened to the record without me (bastard) then came into my room and threw the tape at me. “I didn’t like it,” he said, “but you might.”

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So, I sat on the floor of my bedroom, put the tape into my little purple boombox, opened up the liner notes and pressed play. I was immediately enthralled. The artwork was mesmerizing, I zoomed in on every little detail of the album cover and the lyrics while listening to the coolest thing I had ever heard in my whole life (I was eight, not much to compare to really, but hey). Then when "Symphony Of Destruction" came on, I was changed. I knew I’d listen to heavy music for the rest of my life after that moment, and still to this day that song stirs something in me that no drug or alcohol can ever replicate. From there I discovered so many amazing bands, like Tool, White Zombie, Incubus (before they were radio friendly), Pantera, Finger Eleven (also before they were radio friendly), Faith No More, and more. I stepped away from the metal for a while there in high school, but you know how it is, you listen to what’s cool or you fade away into obscurity, so S Club Seven it was… But I never forgot that part of me, and when I was 18 and free from that viper pit of peer pressure and parties I once again embraced my true self: the one that had been awakened by a symphony of an entirely different nature one incredibly long and unremarkable decade before.

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Brittney Slayes is the vocalist for melodic death/power metal band Unleash the Archers.

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Abyss releases August 21st on Napalm Records.


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