CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Heavy metal music, which was developed in the late 1960s largely in the United Kingdom and United States, is characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats and overall loudness. Today, metal bands are found everywhere, including the military. Lance Cpl. Bradley Dennis, a paralegal specialist with Headquarters Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group, brings this fad to Camp Pendleton.
Born in Silver Spring, Md., the 21-year-old heavy metal enthusiast says much of his ability and love for music stemmed from his family. “My mom was in a band,” said Dennis. “Growing up, I remember going to see her play live shows. We had her old demo CDs and everything.”
Dennis first started singing in his school’s choir program when he was eight, but it wouldn't be until later that he would turn to heavy metal.
“At first I just sang choral music, but then my stepdad came along, and I was introduced to metal,” said Dennis.
His stepfather introduced him to heavy metal bands and coached him in the unique style of scream music.
“I wanted to learn how those guys in the videos were able to scream like that,” he said. “I would change my pitch and go from high to low and just tried to perfect it.”
Although he traveled frequently growing up, music was the one thing consistent throughout his life.
He transitioned from one band to another, but one of his biggest was the transformation from civilian to Marine.
"I like challenges and this was definitely a challenge," said Dennis, whose path toward earning the title Marine was set after he met a wounded veteran one Veterans Day.
"He was in for eight years and told me how he didn’t want to get out, that it was just a medical issue,” said Dennis. "He hooked me. After that I called the recruiting station."
He enlisted during August 2010. Marine Corps Recruit Training is often a shock to the system, with the recruit deprived of the amenities of their previous life. Dennis and music, however, did not remain separated for long.
“When I arrived (at Camp Pendleton) I was approached by one of my friends, who just got out of the Marine Corps, about joining a band,” he said. “They liked my audition. They were speechless.” Dennis travels to Los Angeles every weekend to practice with his new band, Chaos Incarnate. The band is comprised of active-duty Marines, a retired Marine and a retired soldier.
He is the screamer for the band. Screamers use their diaphragm to produce a guttural sound mixed with melodies and lyrics.
Dennis, soon to be a father, plans to get his new baby into music as well.
“I definitely want my kid to do something with music,” he added.