The Album That Changed My Life: Emil Amos (Om, Grails)

Tiger-friend and drum-wonder Emil handles the sticks for the master practicians of meditative metal, Om, who visited Oslo this week for two packed gigs at the Jakob Church, courtesy of Høstsabbat. Emil dropped by the store to talk about Norwegian jazz guitarist Terje Rypdal’s evolution from 1967 and 1968, discuss the wind harp release on record label O. Gudmundsen Minde and last but not least, the album that changed his life: Youth of Today’s legendary “Break Down the Walls” record straight out of New York, 1986. Here follows Emil’s story with the album:

When I look at the cover of Break Down the Walls now, I always feel a faint happiness echoing off of my initial experience with Youth of Today as a perfectly potent image for a 13 year old to aspire towards. Some heavy music was exciting to me in that it expanded on the coloration of the ‘villain’, but Youth of Today magnified positivity as a drug instead.

Obviously this path had already been laid quite firmly by the profound one/two punch of Bad Brains and Minor Threat… and older kids relayed to me very strictly that Youth of Today was basically off-limits to listen to since it was “3rd wave straight-edge” and officially too late to be vital. But I was impatient to obtain more anthems as I was wildly excited to be part of a true movement. Mostly this was all happening in my mind, but that’s the only world that really exists anyway. 

A few years before this, some friends and I had been practicing jumping up and down like David Lee Roth in someone’s mother’s dining room and accidentally shattered the ceiling lights. So it wasn’t that hard to transfer that same energy over to a new format in Youth of Today’s super self-righteous songs that celebrated self-evolution and intelligence. In 9th grade I’d walk down the halls of my high school constantly carrying a notebook of my own lyrics that barely added anything to the monochromatic themes discussed on YOT records… and I dreamed of being allowed to join an important band like this as bassist Walter Schreifels and drummer Sammy Siegler had done. 

Ironically, although I looked up to these two players greatly, I didn’t even remember that they weren’t on this record, which somehow lends to the fact that it was often really the imagery that I was so taken by rather than what might have been happening behind the curtain. But in the end, their music can still make me feel very happy and alive, and every few years I find myself chugging beers around 2am and running around my house to Break Down the Walls in a fit of childhood delight. Certainly, the dream that music could mean something much more than just the way that it sounds was the central germ I caught that changed my entire life and made it what it is now.

Emil Amos

YOUTH OF TODAY AT TIGERNET

OM AT TIGERNET

CHECK OUT EMIL’S PODCAST ABOUT GROWING UP IN THE UNDERGROUND HERE

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