During a discussion on extreme metals evolution towards dissonance and deconstruction, and how we as listeners consume our beloved genre, one of the participants shared a link to a seven part series entitled, Metal Beyond Metal. Although the series grows a bit tangential in Parts 6 and 7, the first five parts made for a fascinating read. The series tackles the idea that the immediacy and abundance of metal music is leading to a crisis for the genre. Im not sure I agree with that thesis, but it does make for interesting discussion forum fodder. Regardless, the writer posits that as a result of immediacy and abundance, in combination with the zeal of the average metal fan to know as much about the genre as possible, our listening habits have shifted. He suggests this shift in listening habits has left metal fans acquainted with many releases, but friends with few. While I certainly cant say if thats true for everyone, its certainly true of me. I find myself obsessed with consuming as much new music as I can. As a remedy to this, the author suggests introducing some form of artificial scarcity. The form that intrigued me the most was limiting the number of releases I listen to in a given time period. Ive decided to select five releases and spend the next thirty days listening to only those five releases. I figure, if nothing else, it makes for an interesting thought experiment. Perhaps Ill discover a whole new way of listening to and appreciating music. Perhaps Ill find limiting my music consumption, through this introduction of artificial scarcity, largely tedious. Most likely Ill simply discover a heightened level of appreciation for one or more of the five releases. The tricky part was picking the five. After giving it some thought this weekend, Ive decided to focus on music I feel I either havent appreciated at all or music I likely would have appreciated more had I listened to it in the focused way I listened in my teenage years. Agalloch // The Mantle. Ive always enjoyed this record. However, I suspect I might love it even more if it got the type of attention it would have gotten in my teens. Gorguts // Colored Sands. It was the best reviewed metal record of 2013 (RateYourMusic). I tried listening to it a few times but never quite got it. Radiohead // OK Computer. According to RateYourMusic, its the best reviewed record of all time. It seems a lot of my metal friends love this band and this record. Shade Empire // Omega Arcane. Given the other four releases qualify as essential, this clearly is the one that seems out of place. However, every time I spin this I think to myself, I should listen to this more. Given its running time of 1:14+, I dont reach for it unless Im really, really in the mood for it. For those unfamiliar, Id describe it as the record Dimmu Borgir would have written if Dimmu Borgir was better songwriters. Slayer // Reign in Blood. Despite being 46 years old and a fan of many of their peers, Ive never enjoyed Slayer. Granted, Ive never tried very hard or spent much time with any single release of theirs. This seems like the ideal classic to use in this experiment.