Since I’ve Been Gone

This shit is hard. I mean the baby thing, sure – but the blogging too. Doing one of them directly impacts doing the other, and is the sole reason I’ve fallen behind. Over two months of missed posts might not seem like much, not in the grand scheme of things. But you’ve heard “how fast they grow,” and all that (“they” being blogs and babies). If I don’t stay organized, things are going to just slip past me.

The Mostly Metal Dad blog and my daughter are both labors of love. They both require effort. And although baby care takes a colossal amount more effort than dumb metal blog posts, I’m usually too drained to write them at the rate I used to. I used to write posts while watching over Gorgonna at night – it wasn’t even that long ago! The nights are shorter now, and the need for a decent night’s rest is more urgent than it’s ever been. And with the wife back at work, a lot of the caretaking has gone to me.

Why the change, you ask? Well, Gorgonna is four months old now. She’s doing a lot of growing — physically mostly, though mentally too.

She’s sitting up. You ever see Hugh Jackman in one of his many roles as Wolverine? From the X-Men? That’s about the ferocity that Gorgonna can lift herself up out of her bed. Elbows back, primal scream emitting from her throat, and everything.

She talks constantly. Yeah, it’ll be a while before she can recite “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” But her vocal range has expanded considerably in a few short weeks. From chirps and babbles to juicy raspberries, bubbling with spit, Gorgonna is gearing up to spew out a vocalized barrage to make up for her nine-month vow of silence.

She can flip over. She was already two months ahead of the curve when we had to stop swaddling her. One flip is all it takes, right? Only now she’s practically goddamn Bruce Dickenson, jumping off all our monitors and prancing about the stage. She hasn’t flipped her shit yet (yes, I mean that literally), but one bad roll is all it’ll take. I’ve managed to catch them so far, but how long can my luck last?

It’s easy for me to forget that in spite of all of Gorgonna’s, uh, achievements, that she’s still not much more developed than a fetus. Five-plus months isn’t a long time on this earth – not by normal human standards, at least. But then that isn’t what we’re dealing with at all, is it? This baby, this creature, is everything I’ve said she is – a monster, a creature, and most of all, mine. I’m going to take care of her no matter how monstrous she might get.

All in all, there’s a lot of growing to be had. For all of Gorgonna’s being ahead of the pack, there’s a lot she needs to play catch up on. The first few weeks of bottle-feeding did not go well. Having to take care of a baby who won’t take a bottle — not very metal. Under normal circumstances, I only like listening to screaming all day if it’s got blast beats behind it. But this is my life now; I don’t get to be picky about what I do with it. Luckily, she skipped that stage and went straight to a sippy cup. Like, thanks, baby! Fuck the veritable fleet of bottles and different nipple types we had bought! Why didn’t you just say you didn’t want it? Right, right. She’s a baby. But those are two weeks of gray hairs we’ve earned. That’s fine; I’ve always admired the Jon Schaffer look.

Gorgonna also isn’t a great sleeper. She probably sleeps a couple hours during the day, and rarely on her back. Many nights over the past few months started and ended with her in a car seat instead of one of the many cribs and sleepers she has. She’s getting better at sleeping in her crib, but it doesn’t last long. Maybe she needs to skip this stage too and go straight for a twin-size four-post bed.

I realize there wasn’t much “metal” to this post. That’s bound to happen, I guess. If you have to endure one of these every once in awhile, tough. Not even Iron Maiden has a completely flawless track record. One day, I’m sure I’ll have a gigantic parental fuck-up to tell you about. Until then, you’ll just have to bear with me. My daughter is, after all.

Meet Gorgonna

It’s time you met my daughter, Gorgonna. She’s three months old today (already!), and I feel like a proper introduction is long overdue.

Gorgonna, daughter of Mostly Metal Dad, looking grim in her Hello Kitty onesie.

No, Gorgonna is not her real name. What, you really think the dudes in Mayhem were given names like “Necrobutcher” and “Hellhammer” at birth? Stage names are a metal tradition. I’ve always wanted one but never had the right band for it; the least I can do is live vicariously through my child.

And why wouldn’t I? She’s the best baby I know. I’m biased, sure, but I have other reasons to think she’s great. For one, she is literally a Goat.

Let me break that down for you.

I Believe You’re the Devil’s Child

My daughter Gorgonna was born in 2015. According to the Chinese Zodiac, that makes her sign a Goat (or Ram, depending on what restaurant you’re eating at).

Now, as you know, the goat is a traditional metal symbol. We’ve seen all sorts of goat-related imagery on countless metal album covers, from Bathory to Show No Mercy, to the genre-stirring Welcome to Hell. It goes right up there with the pentagram and the devil horn hand sign. It’s sometimes even found within a pentagram and throwing the devil horns. The Goat gets around.

The goat became a satanic symbol when the “Sabbatic Goat” or “Sigil of Baphomet” or “Whatever the Fuck” became adopted by the Church of Satan. I don’t really endorse any of that one way or the other, but the goat, like the pentagram, are on lots of classic metal albums. The symbols aren’t solely theirs anymore, may not have been to begin with, because it’s metal as fuck. It’s cool and dark and edgy and I like it from the same reason our metal forefathers adopted it for their own purposes.

Whether or not this is the same Goat that graces the dining tables of every Chinese restaurant in America is something I can only guess at.

Babies = 666

So back to Gorgonna. What do we do with all this? Her being a Goat means she could possibly be Satan. That’s pretty metal. I mean, I think I’ll like her more as my daughter, but Damien’s folks didn’t really get much if a choice, did they?

I’ll be honest, I don’t put much faith in signs, but I’ll be keeping my eye on her. The second I notice she’s sprouted horns and is asking me to join her unholy crusade, you’ll be the first to know.

Best Metal Albums for Raising a Future Metalhead

They say it’s important to teach your kids a good foundation early on, and I can only assume “they” are talking about classic metal albums. After all, I want to raise my daughter right; if that means Swedish Melodic Death Metal 101 comes later, so be it! We’ll play things by the book.

As Mostly Metal Parents it’s our responsibility to usher in the next generation of metalheads. This means providing our progenies with timeless works of the genre’s forefathers. So slip one of these on after her evening bath or when she goes down for a nap, and she’ll be following you in your footsteps before she can even say your name.

Black Sabbath – Paranoid

Album cover for Black Sabbath's Paranoid.

As far as I’m concerned, Black Sabbath is the first metal band to ever exist. That’s how this household is run, dammit! Paranoid may not be Sabbath’s deepest cut, but I think it’s a more significant, more refined metal sound. Yeah, “Black Sabbath” the song is almost enough to singlehandedly change my mind, but against “War Pigs,” “Hand of Doom,” and “Fairies Wear Boots,” my daughter will be off to a better start. Look, as soon as she’s lolling her head in time to “Iron Man,” I’ll know I’ve made the right choice.

Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast

Album cover for Iron Maiden's Number of the Beast.

How do you introduce just one Maiden album to your burgeoning metal disciple? Simple – choose the one with the most satanic imagery! In all seriousness, it’s the quality of the songs I want her to focus on; the other stuff is just an added bonus. Number is not my favorite Maiden album, but I’m not sure which is really, so when in doubt, stick with the classics. “Number of the Beast,” “Children of the Damned, ” “Hallowed Be Thy Name” – do I really need to go on? This is just the tip of the iceberg that is Maiden’s discography. With luck, those NWOBHM boys will put out at least one more before they’re through.

Judas Priest – British Steel

Album cover for Judas Priest's British Steel.

I really, I really want this to be Painkiller. Not to discredit British Steel, which is admittedly both metal and British as fuck, but I suppose Painkiller will be a nice treat when she’s older and she can really appreciate the change in direction. For now, however, she’ll enjoy hits like “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight,” which pretty much provide a blueprint to a metal lifestyle. I mean, the song “Metal Gods” is on this album. “Metal Gods!” You don’t get much more self-explanatory than that.

Metallica – Master of Puppets

Album cover for Metallica's Master of Puppets.

Yeah, I know the Black Album has an actual, literal lullaby on it. That’s useful for babies, but I’m looking for staying power. Master of Puppets is timeless, the result of a metal band defining what “metal band” even means with blistering tracks like “Battery” and “Damage, Inc.” while taking the genre to new places with “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” and “The Thing That Should Not Be.” And once we’re done here, it’s onto …And Justice for All. That way if this whole plan of mine backfires, she’ll have some appropriate lyrics to pin the blame on me: “Dear Mother, Dear Father / What is this hell you have put me through”

Start ‘Em Young

There are plenty more albums I could have included, but this is a good start. So before you go asking “why isn’t X on this list?!” know that it’s entirely up to you what albums you show your kids. It’s an open curriculum! Just so long as your intentions are in the right place – namely, making sure your child has a taste in music as good as yours.

Now, I don’t want to come right out and reveal my diabolical plans, but maybe I’ve got ulterior motives for this whole Mostly Metal Dad thing. This could be my way of corrupting today’s youth, starting with molding my very own in my image. But consider that she’s only two and a half months old; my daughter can’t really understand any of it yet. If or when she decides to perceive these albums as more than just senseless noise, well, that day is a long way off.

Will showing her classic metal albums really have any impact on her future musical preferences? Maybe not, else I’d have started right from the womb. But then she might be able to take me to court for subliminal messaging.