An introduction by our own Ray Van Horn Jr.

First, I'd like to say thank you to R. Scott Bolton for giving me this platform to talk about my new daily metal site, The Metal Minute. Iím humbled that a place Iíve felt at home with like Rough Edge -- where Iíve interviewed a number of bands and musicians, reviewed CDs and shared my concert photography -- is offering me this plug opportunity.

Iím at a point in my music journalism career where Iím unsure of my future paths. I could sit here and whine about how angry Iíve been by some of the hostility Iíve been issued from behind-the-scenes when Iíve been covering this scene in magazines and websites for over four years now. Contradictorily, I could also talk about the elated feeling of talking with Matthias Jabs of the Scorpions yesterday, and how a portion of the interview will be running as a Take 5 interview segment at The Metal Minute. Over 200 bands to my interviewing credentials, and I still get a quiet giddiness about chatting with someone Iíve listened to and respected for many years. To be able to share a portion of that at a site that I personally control holds a silent air of accomplishment, so much so that itís easier to let go the frustration of a label publicist giving an interviewee the wrong number and then refusing to pick up their phone in my attempt to give them an alternate number to salvage the session. Letís face it: if youíve done this type of work, thereíre moments that feel like real work, and part of why you might take it personally is because of the heartache, the pain, the loss of sleep, the random nausea from a bad diet consumed in-between CD and DVD reviews that you seldom get compensated for other than the disc itself. 

Having The Metal Minute for me, personally, creates more of an intrinsic reward, because Iím bringing readers into my heavy metal microcosm, and Iím trusting them to look beyond my 37 years and realize Iím not necessarily an old curmudgeon that thinks metal stopped at Saxonís "Crusader" and Judas Priestís "Defenders of the Faith." Metal today may not yet be the mainstream success it was in the 80s when Ratt, Motley Crue, Twisted Sister, Whitesnake, Y&T and Quiet Riot rocked our woebegone summer weekends, but in some ways itís better than itís ever been because of the diversity, along with a whole new regimen of talented musicians, along with their elder statesmen still clinging to hope that endless party remains endless.

This is the spirit of The Metal Minute, a chance for me to acknowledge the longhaired grit in the Megadeth t-shirt, the one driving the crappy í81 Escort with cheap speakers that were non-metal conducive, so much that bands like Grim Reaper, Testament and Anvil sounded like they were chirping from an AM transistor radio. That was the rebel in the dirty high-tops and the denim-shredded knees who gave people the finger in the mall for sport and the one who blared Overkillís ďDeny the CrossĒ on an old boombox just to piss passersby off. I miss that guy, honestly, and moreover, before I began writing about heavy music, I remember laying on the floor of my bedroom, cranking Savatage or Raven and glancing at the many posters of Anthrax, Iron Maiden, Exodus and Metallica (when they were still thrash) and thinking ĎShit, thereís no way those guys would ever talk to me!í Iím pleased to say that as of now, only Metallica remains from the six previously-listed bands that Iíve yet to interview.

The Metal Minute is my way of staying on top of promoting bands and artists in todayís metal scene, presented in a swift post fashion where readers can stop by every day and get a quick fix of news, reviews, interviews, concert photography, videos and even contests. I can honestly say Iím inundated with the stacks of promotional material that some have unfortunately gone the wayside because of slimming personal hours along with a healthy competition between me and other writers wedging themselves into the venues. I donít blame them; this stuff is as fun as it gets, even if it requires a monster commitment that may trigger a relationship crimp with your significant other. Despite being married to my wife for twelve years now, my commitment to this scene is equally binding, and it prompted the opening of The Metal Minute.

Thus far, the word about The Metal Minute has spread around quickly and Iím grateful for the fact that itís off to a huge start. The Take 5 feature of the site is one of its more popular features. Take 5 subjects Metal Minute guests to five questions in the interest of promoting new material as well as getting up close and personal in a homey, non-intrusive manner. So far Iíve featured thirteen bands at Take 5 including Behemoth, Saint Vitus, Obituary, Chthonic, Phazm, SSX, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Within Temptation, Arsonists Get All the Girls, Visions of Atlantis and Fear of Eternity. Plenty more are coming as I connect with young newcomers and rub elbows with familiar genre stars. We'll also be featuring special joint ventures between Rough Edge and The Metal Minute where Iíll be presenting interviews like the one done recently with Lillian Axeís Steve Blaze in two portions split between both sites. 

The Metal Minute is keeping busy with more contests after three successful campaigns, as well as bringing you hit-and-run news items that get you on your way to the next part of your life, even if itís to read one of The Metal Minuteís reviews! Iíve felt that the more this society forces us all into a two-minute drill type of lifestyle, the more The Metal Minute becomes an efficient and viable form of music journalism that allows readers to get in and get out every day, as simple as checking sports scores or stock quotes online. The Metal Minute is here to present a diverse look at bands whose only requirement be that theyíre heavy in some nature. Be expecting to see power metal hold court with black metal, or art metal with more extreme forms. The old and the new all have a place at The Metal Minute, and it is here where I remember that grimy headbanger with nothing to lose (save for his mullet in the late eighties), proud of being amongst the lowbrow metalheads no matter the cost. The stakes may be considerably different for me now, but at least my soulís right where it needs to beÖ

Please pay me a visit by visiting www.metalminute.com.

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Revised: 31 Jul 2018 23:38:09 -0400