Turns out I function slightly better within set parameters, when aimed at a target and told simply "do that". With too much choice comes too much anxiety, for me. That's something I ought to fix, but frankly, I ought to have fixed it some time ago. It's not as if I'm just realizing this general truth.
An instructive vignette would feature me in a bookstore. I'd spend an hour at least, perhaps two, and leave with nothing. Not for lack of choice, but from a lack of ability to make one. Without fail, I find at least 5 books I'd like to get, but rather than get all of them, or some of them, I arbitrarily decide that no, only one for now, who knows how my tastes might change in the several days it takes me to polish off those I do purchase? But which? There is opportunity cost to consider. The hours spent reading a book are hours that could have spent reading another book, and can you ever truly know that the book you are reading is the perfect book for you right at that time? Given that uncertainty, how could anyone choose? Well, I often won't. The pressure builds, I become legitimately anxious, bothered, and simply leave. I'll return several hours later, or perhaps the next day, because I simply can't function without a book queued up.
I say I function, though perhaps, having read that, you'd argue that I don't really. Fair enough. It's a... quirk, if we're feeling generous. Anyay, running has always been similar for me. Since I couldn't ever know that a given workout was the perfect choice, or even "good", I'd basically always opt for a 1-2 hour cruise. Which isn't the worst thing. It's certainly not nothing. But it's not exactly training either.
So. I did a workout. I also listened to my usual assortment of geeky metal. Here is an example - probably the year's best - of how damn pretty black metal can be. That particular sub genre - specifically, it's bastard children: post-, atmospheric, avant garde, etc. - strikes me as the most consistently inventive and progressive, or at least the most interesting of metal's infinite incarnations.
These days, I'm more interested in soundscapes, sonic fringes, and contemplative inspirations than straightforward statements of brutality or violence.
That said, these themes need not be wholly exclusive. Lest we think so, there comes something like this, which is an example of how metal can still sound scary in 2014. Bleak, nihilistic, and deeply unsettling. Which is to say, I really like it.