As a lifelong and avid fan of music, it was among the first of many things I planned to become completely submerged in and reacquainted with when I got out of the Marine Corps.

Even through my tour of deserts during deployments, I would write letters to my Mom and have her send me new records released by my favorite bands or new acts of which I would hear good things about in reviews from whatever magazines I could get my hands on.

In the first week or so after returning home to the civilian world in the Summer of 2006, a couple of my metalhead friends introduced me to Children of Bodom and In Flames in the same sitting.

Upon listening to those records that night, it struck me, and has always stuck with me – how complex and beautiful metal can be and how international it has become.

Alexi Laiho was and is without question one of the greatest guitarists to ever do it. We shall never see his light again, long may he reign. One Love, Flame on.

🤘🖤🔥🖤🤘

(Photo by Mikko Pylkkö)