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Head banger

click to enlarge BRUCE ELLIOTT

It doesn't take much to be a metal head: just a love of slashing guitars, thudding bass and pummeling drums.

Just ask Ryan Willis, a clerk at the extreme metal emporium Mosh Pit Records on North Circle Drive. The business sells Cannibal Corpse and Cradle of Filth music CDs alongside accessories such as knife-toothed skulls and double-headed war axes. "There's a lot of metal heads who like swords and daggers," says Willis. "You know, medieval stuff."

But the store mostly does trade in extreme music. "We tend to sell the underground black and death metal," says Willis, 24. "It's all stuff you're never going to hear on the radio."

Willis concedes that the Colorado Springs Christian community is not likely to embrace a store that sells music with satanic lyrics: "They all hate us, they always have." But, he says, for most bands that preach to the devil on stage, it's only an act. "They get off stage and they're normal people," he said. The singer of Deicide, a well-known death metal band, burned an upside-down cross onto his forehead, he says, but he covers it up when he goes home to his kids.

Besides, he says, plenty of normal-looking folks come into the store looking for metal CDs. "There's a lot of military who love death metal," he said, adding that a banker friend of his often comes into the store in a business suit.

-- Dan Wilcock

photo by Bruce Elliott

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