Welcome to the Valley of Steel. Based in the Youghiogheny River valley just outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (USA), this website was founded in the fall of 2011 as an outlet for a personal journey into the world of music.

Primarily, that means the world of metal and other heavy music: the owner/operator of this site grew up with the thrash of the late 1980s and the grunge/sludge metal of the early 90s. A lengthy period of growing disillusionment with the mainstream metal styles that emerged throughout the mid-to-late 90s (nu-metal) and the decade-plus that followed (NWOAHM, metalcore, deathcore) was punctuated by an immersion into the universes of black metal, death metal, grindcore, and post-metal during the Napster era, but then that passion was rekindled with a particular fervidity upon discovering that metal music blogs existed in the late 2000s.

On sites like No Clean Singing, Angry Metal Guy, Heavy Blog is Heavy, and the now-defunct Death Metal Baboon, Number of the Blog, and That Devil Music (among others), I discovered so much amazing listening material that I never would have been aware of otherwise. Some independent personal research and exploration around the same time led me to discover how much more exists out there: limitless amounts, really.

As someone for whom music essentially permeates every aspect of everything I do, I have always had a deep appreciation for the artists whose creative works have had such profound effects on my life. I’ve also relished every opportunity to discover something new, because That Moment — where you come across a tiny spark that ends up igniting something deep within your and ultimately engulfs your entire self, those specific points in time that you can reflect upon later and remember exactly where you were and what you were doing and know that your life has been irreparably altered — That Moment is such an ultra-rare experience, but you never know where or when it might happen, and when it does happen, it makes sifting through an endless stream of mediocrity all worthwhile.

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Having said all that, this website was born as a means to share those experiences. Not everything written about here will be completely revelatory and life-altering, of course, but maybe to one person it will be. You never know. And maybe there’s something buried among the scribblings here that you will react to that way. There’s only one way to find out.

In an ideal world, there would be new posts published here every day, and every single thing I hear I would share with you. Naturally, a few logistical problems prevent this. Primarily, time: for example, I keep myself busy with a boring office job during the week. I am usually listening to music during this time (as well as during most other things I do), but it does not allow a ton of time for writing.

As such, over the years I’ve given up on the idea of “reviewing” music or using this space for “critical” journalism. There’s too much negativity in the world already, and too much good stuff to listen to, so I simply do not have the time to waste writing about something that didn’t grab my interest in some way, or telling you why something sucks. Instead, if I feature something on this site, it’s something I’ve decided was worth spending the time to share with you.

Published: 01 September 2011
Last updated: 02 December 2021