I'm Hot Cuz I'm Into Metal. You Ain't Cuz You're Not

Written by: Thryce
Published: 22.10.2007
Allright, so here it is: my first blog. I've been working on this essay for quite a while now (a few months to be precise). At first, it was the intention to write this as an article, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized this is just a personal interpretation of some personal thoughts, so none of the following has any real factual accuracy. Hence the decision to post this text as a blog. There has been put a lot of work in this blog, so I kindly ask the reader to take his/her time to read this essay carefully and to think with me about this subject. I know this will not always be that easy, so thanks on beforehand for your efforts. Here goes.

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Introduction

All around the world it is very easy to tell at a single glance at one's outward appearance whether that one is a metalhead or not. This outward appearance of an average metalhead lays in the looks (long hair, other facial hair, corpse paint), any possible gadgets (spikes, chains, necklaces and rings, weapons, patches, tattoos), but most of all in the clothing (leather and denim, jeans coats, long black coats, band t-shirts and band sweaters). The main question I want to try to answer in this article is why we, as metalheads, überhaupt give that expression of the fact that we're a metalhead in our outward appearances. Why do we necessarily want/need to show that we're metalheads, and thus that we're different from others? Is it because we want to draw attention on ourselves? Or because it's a trend and everybody else with the same taste in music does it? Or is wearing band merchandise only a loyal personal support to one's favourite band? Or is it a certain form of provocation? Or a form of distinction? Or is it a mix of all those variables and some other unmentioned possible factors? In this article however, the main focus in the explanations lays on the distinction aspect. And this for a big part based on some of the ideas and works of French philosopher and sociologist Marcel Gauchet. Of course Gauchet's work and ideas have absolutely nothing to do with metal. It will be the worthy attempt of this blog to use these philosophical ideas as a possible explanation for the presented metal related question.
Please know on beforehand, I do not want to pretend that I know it all and/or that I know it all best, and what I'm about to say is all right and true. This blog contains some hypothetical thoughts and personal arguments and reflections. The intention is not to come up with a scholarly theory, but rather to - at least for my own - straighten some things out and to let you all think and reflect about this subject too (IMO that is one of the main intentions (next to being informative) of these blogs here on Metal Storm).


Exhibit 1: The beliefs about the stereotypical metalhead


Before starting with the actual article, I first want to stand still a bit at a few stereotypes about metalheads. Commonly, metalheads are seen as big, mean and dumb longhaired weirdo's. Most of them are drunks and listen to horrible music and at live shows they fight and headbang all the time. Anyway, I'm sure you all know about what kind of stereotypes I'm talking about. Just to get the idea, let me refer to the following Wikipedia passage about metalheads where a few movies are mentioned where this stereotypical image of a metalhead is portrayed.

"Even though they are stereotypically portrayed in films such as Airheads (1994), Bill and Ted Excellent Adventure 1989 and Bill and teds Bogus Journey, This is Spinal Tap (1984), Wayne's World and, perhaps most infamously, in the 1990s MTV cartoon series Beavis and Butthead, this level of escapism should not suggest that metalheads are any less intelligent or distanced from the real world as any other subculture, although their often shabby appearance and level of indifference to outside influences can be mistaken for dim-witted ignorance. Further examination of the metalhead as a humorous stereotype can be found in the 1986 documentary Heavy Metal Parking Lot. The 2005 documentary Metal: A Headbanger's Journey and the 1999 film Detroit Rock City are more factual portrayals of heavy metal and the metalhead sub-culture."


Section 1

According to French philosopher and sociologist Marcel Gauchet, we find ourselves in a society of autonomous individuals since the end of World War II. Nowadays, we are no longer connected to authorities (state and politics) and most of all to other people of our community and thus also no longer to the living community values. Now, we are rather secularised from all those things. Gauchet talks about this in terms of a "disenchanted world". The loss of meaning and sense for any form of community regulation and also the prominence of the individual, are according to Gauchet very remarkable in the way the individual experiences and defends his convictions and beliefs. Nowadays the individual identifies himself with what he beliefs and where he stands for. Disconnected from the worldly, common and shared values, the individual experiences a lack of identity. Totally cut off from everything and everyone and totally relying and depending on himself, the individual no longer searches for an identity that goes beyond him (this means shared with the whole community) but he now searches for an identity that characterizes, distinguishes and typifies him! These days, people don't ask to be a citizen anymore, but to be themselves. These days, people choose to identify themselves to the membership of a certain group. And it's the peculiarity of the group that exactly makes people to what they are. Convictions become identities. (Marcel Gauchet speaks of "subjective singularisation" here). Today people are vegetarian. These days people are anti-globalist, people are homosexual, people are catholic or muslin. We are metalheads! Metal is no longer the music we listen to, it is (or at least partial) our identity.

Now that I gave you the basic idea, I'll extend Gauchet's point with my own additions and some anecdotes, and will now focusing more on metal.
It must be clear by now, that it is by being diverse that you stand out nowadays. So, if you turn it the other way round, it is by being diverse (in this case dressing up as a metalhead) that you give expression of the fact that you are a metalhead. And so, that you want others to know that you're part of the metal community. It is because you dress in that way, that you want to be part of, and eventually also are part of the coherent metal community. In other words, that you are one of them.
A first simple confirmation of my thesis, which may sound familiar to most of you, occurs when you're randomly walking the streets somewhere wearing clothing merchandise of one of your favourite bands. Most people you cross will be ignoring you or looking at you in a strange way. But you'll also cross people who'll nod their head in a subtle way at you, or who'll be looking at you with a knowing glance, most of them also dressed in "metal clothing". Why is that? The answer is simple: because the two of you share something common, and you both know it. The both of you share something totally different than all those other people. It is because you prefer other tastes (most likely not only in music, but also in general), other habits, other behaviour, yes, because you're sharing a totally different (sub)culture.
A second development of my idea comes from my own experience, but I'm sure you can get the picture of the story or have already experienced a similar experience. In 2004, I went to the Graspop Metal Meeting at Dessel, Belgium for the first time. Graspop can be considered as one of the biggest metal events in Europe/the world. Annually, ten thousands and ten thousands of metalheads come down to the festival, of course all dressed in black. Though I remember this one guy who was wearing a colourful Hawaiian shirt, ditto Bermuda shorts and sandals. Needless to say the guy attracted a great deal of attention. Of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing such clothes, but somehow, this guy just didn't fit in there, despite the fact he was really metal minded (what else are you doing on a metal festival?). Because of that particular remarkable dressing style, he somehow created a certain distance between him and the rest, eventually making him not belong there.
A third, more extreme example is that of the guy carving the word "Slayer" into both of his arms. Not taken into account whether he was actually sober when he decided to do that, and not taken into account the fact he became a big attention-seeker by doing that (he also filmed it and put it on the internet), why would he do such an extreme thing? Probably because he's a Slayer fan and wants to show he's a fan and so want to show his devotion to Slayer. In other words, because he wants to be seen as a Slayer fan. And why? Maybe because Slayer and the music that Slayer's make, stand for a certain calibre of aggression, brutality and extremeness. And by showing he's a fan of Slayer by carving that word into his arms, maybe he wanted to show also he stands for that same aggression, brutality and extremeness. In other words, in his deed he identified himself with Slayer. In that moment, Slayer became part of his identity, of who he actually was.


Exhibit 2: The phenomenon of the Metal Festivals


Earlier I shortly mentioned something about metal festivals, and in this exhibit I want to focus a bit more on this subject. It is pretty remarkable that on metal festivals there is all in all a peaceful, companionable and enjoyable atmosphere. And also the solidarity is high: fights are exceptional and when you fall inside a mosh pit, there are immediately people helping you getting up again. Let it be clear that these things are real facts and that I do not make them up. People who've been on metal festivals before can hopefully agree with me on this one.
I once talked to an ex-festival safety agent, who has surveyed on all the biggest festivals in Belgium for many years. This guy confirmed that Graspop Metal Meeting was without a doubt the biggest open-air show in Belgium where the fewest fights and disturbances took place! And that's really something, certainly if you take into account the mentioned stereotypes from the first exhibit.
If we stay in the same way of thinking as in this article here, an explanation for this phenomenon is easily given. Metal festivals are an ideal gathering and meeting place for people from the world wide metal community. From all around the world, metalheads come down to attend those festivals, especially the really big ones like Wacken Open Air, Graspop Metal Meeting, Hellfest Open Air or Metalcamp, to name only a few. The key to the fact that going to a metal festival - apart form the music - is an unbelievable experience, lies in the unanimity and harmony among metalheads. I do not claim we are all the same and that we are all the same type of metalhead, but I do claim we share a common understanding amongst each other. It is because we are part of the same metal community that the atmosphere on metal festivals (and events) is so agreeable and fraternal. Sure you can meet annoying drunks or easily agitated people, but that doesn't mean the overall atmosphere is still friendly and enjoyable. The most striking example is probably Wacken's famous Biergarten (beer garden). In short, the Biergarten stands for beer, karaoke, polonaises and thus atmosphere and fun. No need to say that, when you mix this kind of atmosphere together with the various concerts and live music, you get a sublime metal cocktail of all the things a metalhead would need on a metal festival.
In conclusion, metal festivals are another great example of the unity and coherency of the metal community I was talking about earlier in the first section.


Section 2

Let's return to the main thread of this article. In this second section, the cited idea of Marcel Gauchet gets elaborated more, as the final link between metal and identity will be made.
According to Gauchet, every conviction wants to have a universal range. In other words, a universal meaning for the whole society. But when convictions become identities, they have to give up this claim for universality. For it is useful to assert that a conviction is universally valid, but this is obviously not the case for identities as identities don't have any universal value. You can argue about convictions but not about identities. Identities don't want to convince, they want to be acknowledged. And this is exactly the second point I want to discuss here. One wants his identity to be respected and taken seriously. It is not that one becomes someone as part of a certain group, but because one becomes his self in that group and one wants to be respected for that. In short, one's individual choice needs to be respected. And a good way to express one's choice of identity is in that one's clothing. And also for metalheads the most common way to show their identity is the way they dress. Not only do metalheads want to stand out by the way they dress, but that same dressing style is at the same time also a confirmation of their identity. Sociologically and psychologically spoken there are thus two functions to discern when studying the clothing style of metalheads: distinction and expression. It is by their clothing style that metalheads express their identity to others, so that those others see and understand in what kind of way that person should be treated and also respected. One wants to be classified and respected as a metalhead because that one also gives expression of being a metalhead. This is the basic idea of this first part of section two. The idea is plausibly also more arguable than the one in section one. More explanations could be possible, but as mentioned in the introduction, the main intention was merely focusing on this single distinction explanation. Also the questions whether image is important in metal, or whether clothing is a necessary condition for being a metalhead are not for discussion here as they are wrong conclusions of the expounded idea. So, it is very important to understand that, if you turn things the other way 'round, it is NOT because you don't dress as a metalhead that you aren't one, you just won't be seen as one.

Another in-depth nuance that gains a lot of relevance when discussing this matter concerns one of the ideas of Gillmann. Gillmann came up with his own alternative variant of the Labelling Theory in 1988, asserting that people have the irresistible inherent inclination to think into "us" versus "them"-schemes. It is thus very common to the human psychology to think in such "separating"-schemes. When people have about the same characteristic features (like looks, beliefs, symptoms or whatever - in other words, when they share something common) they'll immediately think in schemes of belonging to the same group or category of those people and will automatically see others (who don't share those common characteristics) as not part of the same group and/or part of another group. So, when meeting metalheads, we'll normally see them as part of the same group (the metal community) and we'll certainly look at them and treat them in a different way than people who do not seem to have those same distinguishing metal features. Also this reflection could help explain the reason for the friendliness between metalheads inside the metal community, and certainly on metal festivals, as explained in the second exhibit. Later Gillmann extended his proper labelling theory variant by saying that thinking in terms of "us" versus "them" intensifies the own identity. In such thinking you search for coherency with others, only making your believes stronger. This thinking in terms of "us" versus "them" only makes the distinction stronger and more visible, and thus also more and more appealing to others who share something common.


Section 3

One last small thought I want to spread out here is that distinction between people also leads to status, standing and thus social power in a certain group. By distinguishing yourself you get a place in the social communal amalgam, but also inside the social group you belong to. Let me give an example to clear this point out. When you wear a Slipknot sweater, you might earn some status as "heavy metalhead" in the global community. But inside the metal community itself, that sweater won't be held in high regard. There, the same status is probably not guaranteed. There is even a certain risk of being mocked, or, of being labelled as a poser or wannabe. And this contrary to wearing Opeth, Death, Judas Priest or Nortt, Deicide and Burzum merchandise. Because those bands are, or highly respected in the whole metal community, or are concerned to be a bit more "grim" or "kvlt" or controversial (that is, controversial to people of the same social community as the reputation of those bands is unknown to most of the people of other social communities, and thus wearing t-shirts with those band names on it won't mean anything special to other unknown people, except if the image is highly provocative or disturbing). In order to gain status in a certain group it becomes important what (kind of bands) you wear and what (kind of bands) you listen to.

On another note, it is also very common in the metal culture to distinguish things into further sub-cultures according to the genre. People are metalheads, but in the first place rather a Death Metal fan, a Thrash addict, a Black Metalist, a Power Metal lover, a Prog appreciator, and so on. The specification of the music is also a specification in the personality as there are very different kinds of metalheads. Maybe this specification is not that clear for unknowing other people who are part of other subcultures, but the more for people who are actually familiar with the metal culture and of course also the people who are part of that culture.
Let me give an example to expound the latter point. A few months ago I got a press accreditation for A Night Of Pure Fucking Thrash, a concert with five sublime Thrash bands on the line up, playing old school and/or Bay Area Thrash. In the press pit there was this one reporter who was wearing a bombastic Manowar t-shirt. I won't focus here on the whole Manowar discussion, as tastes differ and each to his own of course (even if it is Manowar). But the point is that the reporter didn't really fit in the total "Pure Fucking Thrash" image. Sure, there were a lot of people wearing merch of non-Thrash bands, but still somehow only the Manowar shirt didn't really belong there at all. This concert was a totally different type of musical event that didn't go together at all with the cheesiness Manowar stands for.


Final remarks and conclusions

The main point I wanted to discuss here, is that dressing up like a metalhead, by following the reasoning of Marcel Gauchet, stands equal to showing that you are part of that specific subcommunity because you find your identity in that subcommunity. Dressing up like a metalhead is expressing yourself as who you are: a metalhead. You chose to dress up like that because you chose to be a metalhead, and in this way want to be recognized and eventually also be respected like one.

The other side of the coin is that because of the way metalheads dress, they immediately get stigmatised and characterized, and sometimes have to deal with a lot of (false) prejudices (like mentioned in the first exhibit). And as often is the case with prejudices, they are really hard and almost impossible to refute or to correct, as those prejudices are also forms of conviction, which are also becoming identities nowadays. And as said, you simply cannot discuss about identities. If you say to people their convictions are wrong, you at the same time say their identities are wrong. And who will truly admit he indeed has a wrong identity?



PS: some open-minded and attentive readers may have noticed I based the title of my blog on the - let us be honest - horrible song 'This Is Why I'm Hot' by an individual known as Mims. I heard the song on the commercial radio and television a couple of times already, and at the time I was working on this blog (as said, it took me a few months), I just knew it'd become a highly irritating summer "hit" (I was right), and presumably also the worst and crappiest song of the year by far. But after reading the whole article through, all those attentive readers will (hopefully) also understand the reason why I'd choose that particular sentence, which was initially only meant as a working title.


 




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jupitreas - 23.10.2007 at 01:05  
Very interesting blog entry, and a nice attempt at mixing a more serious scholarly approach with a community that is typically overlooked by academia. I will not comment on your methodology since I think it is generally quite sound and I will instead focus on drawing some more conclusions from your article.

It seems to me that to a large degree, the metalhead subculture owes it rather negative portrayal in the media (and in society) due to the fact that, unlike say, the hippie subculture, or the punk subculture, the metal subculture doesn't really have any distinct ideology that goes together with it. Metal was always a form of glorifying machismo, being obnoxious and loud etc. Some bands did attempt to add subversive elements to the music, of course, but few did it for more than just as shock tactics (which can really be analogous to just being loud, in my opinion). In other words, the sole ideology behind metal that seems to be compatible with most metal bands is the ideology of venting. Whatever it is that you have on your mind, you can find an opportunity to vent on a metal festival, whether your preferred method is moshing to thrash metal or being in awe of a prog metal musician's ability. In other words, being a metalhead just identifies you as a "ventor" (lol, hi Kreator). An uglier, but sadly perhaps more true term could be "vent junkie"...

Which is why your conclusion that:
"It must be clear by now, that it is by being diverse that you stand out nowadays. So, if you turn it the other way round, it is by being diverse (in this case dressing up as a metalhead) that you give expression of the fact that you are a metalhead. And so, that you want others to know that you're part of the metal community. It is because you dress in that way, that you want to be part of, and eventually also are part of the coherent metal community. In other words, that you are one of them."
frankly worried me a little bit. Trying to establish one's identity, being diverse and unique, really doesn't go well together with willingly joining a community that doesn't mean anything. Metal, as a music form, doest lend itself well to being the basis of a subculture. Indeed, I think that it should indeed be just "music that you like listening to". Perhaps this is the source of the general negative portrayal of metalheads? If what I wrote above is true, metalheads are just another kind of junkie. Hell, when you see Wayne and his friends moshing to Bohemian Rhapsody - really, what else could they do? There is likely nothing else they share...
Doc Godin - 23.10.2007 at 09:01  
Wow, thats really good. I definnitly like the first part about finding the identity through certain groups, which admittedly applys to me. The wiki part is pretty funny aswell, mostly because of the last sentence about Detroit Rock City, which really applys to me and my friends aswell. Anyways, back to the article, this is probably the most in depth analysis on metal identity/subculture/going beyond just the music Ive seen here on MS, I appreciate the effort put into this rather than ones usual brief somewhat unintelligent posts in the 'Metal As A Subculture' thread (or threads like it)....PS I really like the title, it made me laugh.

@Juptreas
Ill get around to reading your post aswell once im not so tired.
GT - 24.10.2007 at 19:00  
Finally had the time and energy to read this...and it was pretty good. You have definitly given this subject a lot of thinking. I probably missed some of your points, but that might be because I'm not that big a fan of philosophy and existetialism and therefore have a hard time understanding much of it.

But all in all nice to read a well structured and intelligent post
Harmonic - 25.10.2007 at 06:49  
Written by Thryce on 22.10.2007 at 22:32

All around the world it is very easy to tell at a single glance at one's outward appearance whether that one is a metalhead or not. This outward appearance of an average metalhead lays in the looks (long hair, other facial hair, corpse paint), any possible gadgets (spikes, chains, necklaces and rings, weapons, patches, tattoos), but most of all in the clothing (leather and denim, jeans coats, long black coats, band t-shirts and band sweaters).


I am particularly intrigued with the opener of your essay. I love heavy metal. I hardly listen to anything else. I don't know what I'd do without my metal "fix" each day. I even hang out here on Metal Storm with you guys. Am I a metalhead? According to your article - no. Why not? Here's why not. First off, I'm clean-shaven and wear my hair short. (I see the barber every month to keep it that way.) I wear a suit and tie to work. I meet with clients occasionally. I drive a nice car. I have two university degrees. My wife and I are saving for a real estate purchase. I still feel like a metalhead on the inside - I just can't afford to look like one on the outside. So what happened to me? I grew older. It happens to everyone. It'll happen to you. Will you still be a metalhead when that day comes? Time will tell.

BTW I do own a long, black coat. Maybe all hope is not lost, after all...

Written by Thryce on 22.10.2007 at 22:32

Also the questions whether image is important in metal, or whether clothing is a necessary condition for being a metalhead are not for discussion here as they are wrong conclusions of the expounded idea. So, it is very important to understand that, if you turn things the other way 'round, it is NOT because you don't dress as a metalhead that you aren't one, you just won't be seen as one.


Okay, now that I've had the time to read your article thoroughly I see you've addressed my point already. So I can be a metalhead and wear my suit, too - and nobody will have a clue, not even my boss. Cool.



You've certainly put a lot of work into your post. I'm impressed - well done. But there is one question that keeps coming to my mind as I reflect on your essay. If, as Gaudet asserts, there was a societal transition after World War II that moved our focus away from an affiliation with social institutions (be they cultural, religious, patriotic, etc.) to an ideology centered on the self, why then are people still yearning for and seeking out opportunities to partake in a group identity? The heavy metal identity is a case in point. We live in a world where social conformity is an outmoded anachronism - where we can choose to be literally whomever we want to be - yet even then free-spirited, open-minded people elect to dress and act as part of a socially-oriented subculture (i.e. metalheads) when the alternatives are effectively limitless. Why? I believe it is because conformity stifles fear.

Human beings are terrified of true freedom and what that entails. We seek the comfort of a group identity, even when the opportunity for genuine individuality is offered to us. Deviation from the group standard is perceived as an aberration - something to be avoided. Those who dare to challenge the norm are ridiculed - witness the guy in the Hawaiian outfit or the reporter with the Manowar shirt. Metalheads become merely another (sub)culture alongside all the others that already exist. Where is the individual? What does Gaudet have to say about this?



PS - I remember a series of videos that appeared on the internet a little while ago featuring Gaahl of Gorgoroth. The presentation explores themes that are central to Gaahl's life - facing one's fears and the search for individuality. These are of course themes that your essay also touches upon, Thryce. If the videos are still out there on the internet, they are well worth checking out.
jupitreas - 25.10.2007 at 18:04  
Written by Guest on 25.10.2007 at 06:49

Human beings are terrified of true freedom and what that entails. We seek the comfort of a group identity, even when the opportunity for genuine individuality is offered to us. Deviation from the group standard is perceived as an aberration - something to be avoided. Those who dare to challenge the norm are ridiculed - witness the guy in the Hawaiian outfit or the reporter with the Manowar shirt. Metalheads become merely another (sub)culture alongside all the others that already exist. Where is the individual? What does Gaudet have to say about this?


Interesting point, although I would hesitate to draw the conclusions you did. Humanity, the human condition, hell, reality depends on social interactions since it is only with language that we are capable of communicating how we perceive the world around us. Without interaction, there would be no reality, no values (regardless of what they are) etc. It is therefore not necessarily fear that leads people to conform to various sub cultures, it is the human need to communicate with other human beings. I suspect class status, family lineage etc. were used to make communication easier before WWII and now that these arbitrary group distinctions seem to have been dissolved, it is only natural for people to form groups based on some shared interest.

And again, to get back to my previous post, this is why the metalhead subculture has me a little worried, since it is a subculture based on nothing, except for perhaps that "metal fix" every now and again...
Harmonic - 26.10.2007 at 07:29  
Written by jupitreas on 25.10.2007 at 18:04

Written by Guest on 25.10.2007 at 06:49

Human beings are terrified of true freedom and what that entails. We seek the comfort of a group identity, even when the opportunity for genuine individuality is offered to us. Deviation from the group standard is perceived as an aberration - something to be avoided. Those who dare to challenge the norm are ridiculed - witness the guy in the Hawaiian outfit or the reporter with the Manowar shirt. Metalheads become merely another (sub)culture alongside all the others that already exist. Where is the individual? What does Gaudet have to say about this?


Interesting point, although I would hesitate to draw the conclusions you did. Humanity, the human condition, hell, reality depends on social interactions since it is only with language that we are capable of communicating how we perceive the world around us. Without interaction, there would be no reality, no values (regardless of what they are) etc. It is therefore not necessarily fear that leads people to conform to various sub cultures, it is the human need to communicate with other human beings. I suspect class status, family lineage etc. were used to make communication easier before WWII and now that these arbitrary group distinctions seem to have been dissolved, it is only natural for people to form groups based on some shared interest.

And again, to get back to my previous post, this is why the metalhead subculture has me a little worried, since it is a subculture based on nothing, except for perhaps that "metal fix" every now and again...


What you have written here further reinforces my contention that human beings seek social interaction as an antidote to fear. It is the social groups we are a part of - the groups that we communicate with - that orient us, guide us, and structure our perception of reality. Society provides us with two vital things: an understanding of the world out there; and a stable self-concept. Without that solid ground to stand on - that focal point, if you will - where would we be? Society keeps us sane. We have good reason to fear true individuality; seeking after it is tantamount to striving for insanity. Is it any wonder that people who eschew conformity are often greeted with this question: "Are you nuts?" Those who dare to explore what it means to be truly free are invariably perceived as insane. To quote your passage from above: "Without interaction, there would be no reality [and] no values..." To exist in a condition like that is akin to madness! I find myself thinking about serial killers and cult members. Very frightening, indeed.

But does this mean that any true individual is a raving lunatic? No. It is culture itself that instills within us the threat of not belonging. Culture is a psychological addiction. Yes, insanity does lurk on the fringes of society. But so does personal liberation. What I speak of is the hallowed ground of the human psyche - the road less traveled. I think what unites metalheads (and other fringe subcultures) is a common awareness that there is something more beyond the wall of mundane existence. Still, there is a great chasm between being aware of it - and actually treading the path.
jupitreas - 26.10.2007 at 08:25  
I am not arguing with your arguments here, I am just not entirely sure if I want to accept that everything we do in life is dictated by fear. Wishful thinking? Perhaps...
Harmonic - 26.10.2007 at 09:30  
Written by jupitreas on 26.10.2007 at 08:25

I am not arguing with your arguments here, I am just not entirely sure if I want to accept that everything we do in life is dictated by fear. Wishful thinking? Perhaps...


Everything in life dictated by fear? I hope not! I was discussing our desire to belong - to be a part of a social group - as intrinsically motivated by fear. How many of us are able to continue any kind of activity in the face of social censure? Our need to be culturally accepted is very strong. This is not a bad thing at all - it is the glue of our civilized society. But when we really consider what it means to be a free individual - as opposed to conforming to a culture - I think fear of the unknown becomes a significant factor. As a matter of fact, I suspect that many metalheads have at some time been marginalized by mainstream society and felt stress from it. Is it any wonder that heavy metal is one of the most potent anti-stress remedies out there? The music speaks to the fear of being outcast; it is loud, intense, and very cathartic.

There are many things in life that have nothing to do with fear at all. But I do think that being a true individual ("self-actualizing" I heard it called once) is a challenge that requires one to honestly face the fear of being alone. Companionship is hard to resist. Heck, I'm spending a lot of time here today because I'm feeling stressed and upset about my job. The opportunity to share ideas with my fellow metalheads helps me feel better. And that's a good thing. Sure, I might not be facing my fears... but avoiding them is the next best thing.
Necrogeddon - 27.04.2008 at 21:06  
I found reading this really interesting, and quite a different look on things about a metal head and the identity etc.

I feel the whole us vs them, I'm not sure why, but there seems to be that mentality with metalheads and other groups of people.
All in all I enjoyed reading it with the more sort of formal view on it.
Stuart - 28.04.2008 at 01:13  
Quote:
Written by jupitreas on 25.10.2007 at 18:04



And again, to get back to my previous post, this is why the metalhead subculture has me a little worried, since it is a subculture based on nothing, except for perhaps that "metal fix" every now and again...

I agree with you there. The metal culture as a whole has absolutely no firm stand on absolutely anything and is merely just a simple act of rebellion against the norms of society, this is actualy becoming less of a shock effect as society is becoming further removed these norms which metal supposedly stands against, either that or it is some sort of pubescent rage. The whole "us" vs "them" is only a result of the lack of being adaptable to a variety of situations, your stereotypical metalhead mentioned in the blog is simply a person who is unwilling or unable to evolve as person and is happy to live a life of stagnation.

Whilst I think that it is important to be able to identify with a "group" of people with some imaginary "cause" in certain times of an individuals life, I cannot see any value to this if it is continued on a long term basis. The whole concept of a united metal community is a very strange sentiment, as there are simply too many opposing ideologies within the genre.

This being said I personaly I have long hair, very seldom wear any other colour than black (obviously rather well dressed and not in black when at work), I am usually drunk, I go to a metal gig every couple of days. But I do not identify with any metal community, because it is not based on any sound intellectual arguments and I think the motives for many other people being in this "community" are vastly different from my own. How is it then possible to identify with a community, if the only thing you actualy share in common is that we all lack dress sense and a good hair stylist.

I thought it was a good article though. I enjoyed it, because it is likely to arouse thoughts for people who have never actualy asked themselves why they choose a particular group of people with whom to associate with.
totaliteraliter - 28.04.2008 at 08:34  
Not a bad article. I kind of wonder what we can learn about metal culture by discussing appearance that we can't learn from other cultures, pretty much everything is probably paralleled elsewhere. The bit about different band clothing forming a sort of hierarchy is interesting, in my experience when it comes to person-to-person face-to-face interaction A Slipknot (etc.) shirt isn't going to get someone treated a whole lot differently than a Burzum (etc.) shirt, even at larger gatherings I don't think people are all that conscious of the difference.

Written by Stuart on 28.04.2008 at 01:13
I agree with you there. The metal culture as a whole has absolutely no firm stand on absolutely anything and is merely just a simple act of rebellion against the norms of society, this is actualy becoming less of a shock effect as society is becoming further removed these norms which metal supposedly stands against, either that or it is some sort of pubescent rage. The whole "us" vs "them" is only a result of the lack of being adaptable to a variety of situations, your stereotypical metalhead mentioned in the blog is simply a person who is unwilling or unable to evolve as person and is happy to live a life of stagnation.

"Evolve as a person" is a horribly biased evaluation, and there should be a big distinction made between "unwilling" and "unable." The social rejects vs. the rejectors of society... metal creates a haven for both but I think the latter group provides the community mainstays and "leaders" (band members, distro owners, those guys you've seen at every local metal show you've been to in the last decade...).

Written by jupitreas on 23.10.2007 at 01:05
It seems to me that to a large degree, the metalhead subculture owes it rather negative portrayal in the media (and in society) due to the fact that, unlike say, the hippie subculture, or the punk subculture, the metal subculture doesn't really have any distinct ideology that goes together with it. Metal was always a form of glorifying machismo, being obnoxious and loud etc. Some bands did attempt to add subversive elements to the music, of course, but few did it for more than just as shock tactics (which can really be analogous to just being loud, in my opinion). In other words, the sole ideology behind metal that seems to be compatible with most metal bands is the ideology of venting. Whatever it is that you have on your mind, you can find an opportunity to vent on a metal festival, whether your preferred method is moshing to thrash metal or being in awe of a prog metal musician's ability. In other words, being a metalhead just identifies you as a "ventor" (lol, hi Kreator). An uglier, but sadly perhaps more true term could be "vent junkie"...

Which is why your conclusion that:
"It must be clear by now, that it is by being diverse that you stand out nowadays. So, if you turn it the other way round, it is by being diverse (in this case dressing up as a metalhead) that you give expression of the fact that you are a metalhead. And so, that you want others to know that you're part of the metal community. It is because you dress in that way, that you want to be part of, and eventually also are part of the coherent metal community. In other words, that you are one of them."
frankly worried me a little bit. Trying to establish one's identity, being diverse and unique, really doesn't go well together with willingly joining a community that doesn't mean anything. Metal, as a music form, doest lend itself well to being the basis of a subculture. Indeed, I think that it should indeed be just "music that you like listening to". Perhaps this is the source of the general negative portrayal of metalheads? If what I wrote above is true, metalheads are just another kind of junkie. Hell, when you see Wayne and his friends moshing to Bohemian Rhapsody - really, what else could they do? There is likely nothing else they share...

...this I find to be a very problematic characterization. Metal culture doesn't have a bureaucracy or a detailed manifesto, but at least in my local scene the members have a lot more in common than finding the same music appealing. Metal parties/concerts vs. regular college parties/concerts exude distinct cultures, different acceptable behaviors and viewpoints and personality types. The discourse at metal parties is always distinct from elsewhere, with tolerance/encouragement of more controversial viewpoints and behavior regarding topics such as violence, gender relations, drugs/alcohol, employment, politics and more. While not purely coherent it is far from a scene that "doesn't mean anything", as at least in my experience the group has a lot more in common than musical preference (usually one of the last things being discussed). To say the culture is based only on music suggests the fanbase is composed proportionately of the same kind of people you find everywhere else... a proposition that most would (I think) agree goes too far.
jupitreas - 28.04.2008 at 20:12  
Written by totaliteraliter on 28.04.2008 at 08:34

...this I find to be a very problematic characterization. Metal culture doesn't have a bureaucracy or a detailed manifesto, but at least in my local scene the members have a lot more in common than finding the same music appealing. Metal parties/concerts vs. regular college parties/concerts exude distinct cultures, different acceptable behaviors and viewpoints and personality types. The discourse at metal parties is always distinct from elsewhere, with tolerance/encouragement of more controversial viewpoints and behavior regarding topics such as violence, gender relations, drugs/alcohol, employment, politics and more. While not purely coherent it is far from a scene that "doesn't mean anything", as at least in my experience the group has a lot more in common than musical preference (usually one of the last things being discussed). To say the culture is based only on music suggests the fanbase is composed proportionately of the same kind of people you find everywhere else... a proposition that most would (I think) agree goes too far.


First of all, let me congratulate you on having a local metalhead society that apparently consists mainly of intelligent and interesting people. Sadly, this is generally not the case everywhere, which is one of the reasons for my somewhat cynical view of the metal subculture. Look no further than at many posts on this website's forums.

I mentioned earlier that one of metal's defining characteristics is being loud and I didnt only mean it in the sonic sense of the world. Thus, the discourse between metal fans can indeed be more prone to encompassing controversial viewpoints or over-the-top statements, and I see this as an extension of the idea of loudness that fans of the music obviously enjoy. Clearly, metal is to a (debatable) extent an example of extreme music and it only makes sense that it attracts people who like to have extreme points of view on a number of topics. Metaphorically, taking part in discourse between metalheads becomes analogous to listening to a metal song. Therefore, I still believe that the metalhead subculture is based mostly on music.

By comparison, punks in late 70s UK were united by a disdain for the oppressive consumerist nature of their country's government and music industry, skinheads are united by their hatred of left wing politics and (often, but not always) by racist sentiments, rastafarians by their attitude towards drugs and religion et cetera. Most of those groups were actually quite willing to be more open minded to music from different genres, since they were more interested in the underlying ideology of the music, rather than its genre. In metal, people tend to fanatically favor certain sub-genres over others.

Interestingly, perhaps due to this lack of identification with a specific ideology, the metalhead subculture has proved to be very long-lasting and consistent. Punk quickly got consumed by the system it was rebelling against, for example, as soon as the industry learned how to manufacture and market rebellion.
Stuart - 28.04.2008 at 21:06  
Written by totaliteraliter on 28.04.2008 at 08:34

Written by Stuart on 28.04.2008 at 01:13
I agree with you there. The metal culture as a whole has absolutely no firm stand on absolutely anything and is merely just a simple act of rebellion against the norms of society, this is actualy becoming less of a shock effect as society is becoming further removed these norms which metal supposedly stands against, either that or it is some sort of pubescent rage. The whole "us" vs "them" is only a result of the lack of being adaptable to a variety of situations, your stereotypical metalhead mentioned in the blog is simply a person who is unwilling or unable to evolve as person and is happy to live a life of stagnation.

"Evolve as a person" is a horribly biased evaluation, and there should be a big distinction made between "unwilling" and "unable." The social rejects vs. the rejectors of society... metal creates a haven for both but I think the latter group provides the community mainstays and "leaders" (band members, distro owners, those guys you've seen at every local metal show you've been to in the last decade...).

How is the belief that a person should be continualy growing as an individual and striving to learn new concepts and skills bias about anything? I know people who have been into metal for decades and their entire lives revolve around it. These people often have about 5 topics of conversation maximum and have absolutely no desire to broaden their knowledge except on these topics. This is a generalisation though. Now much of my life is based on ideologies from my favourite bands but a broad metal culture doesn't contain an ideology. Possibly in small pockets or regions there may be a shared outlook on life, but on a global scale this simply doesn't exist within metal. I often find that the basis for people's lives who live solely within this culture is very lacking. The fact remains we all have to live within society and a "social reject" or a "rejector of society" are basicaly one and the same except one is a little less eloquent than the other. Not only that but as a person who has lived in vastly different societies I can safely say that metal exists with equal force irrespective of the society with which it is a part. So your "rejector of society" will be very different in in these two different regions and can't have the same characteristics attributed in both cases.
totaliteraliter - 28.04.2008 at 21:29  
Written by jupitreas on 28.04.2008 at 20:12
First of all, let me congratulate you on having a local metalhead society that apparently consists mainly of intelligent and interesting people. Sadly, this is generally not the case everywhere, which is one of the reasons for my somewhat cynical view of the metal subculture. Look no further than at many posts on this website's forums.

I don't know, most serious metal fans I have come into contact with have been of a similar nature, although I'd agree about his website (maybe partially because metalstorm caters more to the more mainstream/neophyte side of the scene?). And more importantly you can't compare the internet to actual real life interaction, the way people behave online isn't always a good indicator of the type of conversation you can have with them over a few beers.

Written by jupitreas on 28.04.2008 at 20:12
I mentioned earlier that one of metal's defining characteristics is being loud and I didnt only mean it in the sonic sense of the world. Thus, the discourse between metal fans can indeed be more prone to encompassing controversial viewpoints or over-the-top statements, and I see this as an extension of the idea of loudness that fans of the music obviously enjoy. Clearly, metal is to a (debatable) extent an example of extreme music and it only makes sense that it attracts people who like to have extreme points of view on a number of topics. Metaphorically, taking part in discourse between metalheads becomes analogous to listening to a metal song. Therefore, I still believe that the metalhead subculture is based mostly on music.

By comparison, punks in late 70s UK were united by a disdain for the oppressive consumerist nature of their country's government and music industry, skinheads are united by their hatred of left wing politics and (often, but not always) by racist sentiments, rastafarians by their attitude towards drugs and religion et cetera. Most of those groups were actually quite willing to be more open minded to music from different genres, since they were more interested in the underlying ideology of the music, rather than its genre. In metal, people tend to fanatically favor certain sub-genres over others.

Interestingly, perhaps due to this lack of identification with a specific ideology, the metalhead subculture has proved to be very long-lasting and consistent. Punk quickly got consumed by the system it was rebelling against, for example, as soon as the industry learned how to manufacture and market rebellion.

The Rastafarian movement comparison doesn't seem like a great one, because assuming you mean to imply reggae you're talking about a genre of music becoming associated with an already existing religion, not an ideology growing out of music. Or more precisely not a style of music growing out of a vague worldview as is the case with punk and metal.

If you're content to associate skinheads with anti-left wing and racism, I don't think you'd have trouble associating metal with a similar "specific ideology". Sure you'd have variations within the scene but it isn't hard to come up with a similar set of beliefs for black metal or grindcore or Slayer fanatics or even extreme metal in general. You can pretty easily apply values like free speech, patriarchal social structure, anti-JudeoChristianity, anti-immigration, racialism, pro-violence, pro-drug/alcohol, vaguely Dionysian personal freedom, etc. almost universally to different subsets of the scene. So while it is certainly hard to apply more than a few vague ideas to metal as a whole, if you look at it as a group of distinct but related and overlapping subcultures (kind of as you did above, citing 70s UK punks and skinheads rather than "punk" as a whole) it's easier to see what the culture is about.

I also think the connection between loud music and loud ideas you make is insufficient, since that loud music by no coincidence most often contains those loud ideas as its subject matter. I don't you can so easily separate the extreme ideas from the extreme music when it the two are so often inseparable parts of the same cycle.
totaliteraliter - 28.04.2008 at 21:42  
Written by Stuart on 28.04.2008 at 21:06
How is the belief that a person should be continualy growing as an individual and striving to learn new concepts and skills bias about anything? I know people who have been into metal for decades and their entire lives revolve around it. These people often have about 5 topics of conversation maximum and have absolutely no desire to broaden their knowledge except on these topics. This is a generalisation though. Now much of my life is based on ideologies from my favourite bands but a broad metal culture doesn't contain an ideology. Possibly in small pockets or regions there may be a shared outlook on life, but on a global scale this simply doesn't exist within metal. I often find that the basis for people's lives who live solely within this culture is very lacking. The fact remains we all have to live within society and a "social reject" or a "rejector of society" are basicaly one and the same except one is a little less eloquent than the other. Not only that but as a person who has lived in vastly different societies I can safely say that metal exists with equal force irrespective of the society with which it is a part. So your "rejector of society" will be very different in in these two different regions and can't have the same characteristics attributed in both cases.

Biased because it suggests something inherently superior about constant change in one's life. And reject/rejector is of course a moot distinction from the viewpoint of the dominant society, a deviant is a deviant. But neutrally speaking the issue isn't eloquence but the difference between having no where else to turn in society and making a conscious decision to reject the socially correct path to pursue one's own ends (again we should note that the latter is the path more closely associated with a general metal ideology).
Stuart - 28.04.2008 at 22:40  
Written by totaliteraliter on 28.04.2008 at 21:42

Written by Stuart on 28.04.2008 at 21:06
How is the belief that a person should be continualy growing as an individual and striving to learn new concepts and skills bias about anything? I know people who have been into metal for decades and their entire lives revolve around it. These people often have about 5 topics of conversation maximum and have absolutely no desire to broaden their knowledge except on these topics. This is a generalisation though. Now much of my life is based on ideologies from my favourite bands but a broad metal culture doesn't contain an ideology. Possibly in small pockets or regions there may be a shared outlook on life, but on a global scale this simply doesn't exist within metal. I often find that the basis for people's lives who live solely within this culture is very lacking. The fact remains we all have to live within society and a "social reject" or a "rejector of society" are basicaly one and the same except one is a little less eloquent than the other. Not only that but as a person who has lived in vastly different societies I can safely say that metal exists with equal force irrespective of the society with which it is a part. So your "rejector of society" will be very different in in these two different regions and can't have the same characteristics attributed in both cases.

Biased because it suggests something inherently superior about constant change in one's life. And reject/rejector is of course a moot distinction from the viewpoint of the dominant society, a deviant is a deviant. But neutrally speaking the issue isn't eloquence but the difference between having no where else to turn in society and making a conscious decision to reject the socially correct path to pursue one's own ends (again we should note that the latter is the path more closely associated with a general metal ideology).

Firstly, a person constantly "changing" is generaly a fickle person. Evolving is something quite different. I would suggest looking up the word "evolve". Secondly, a "rejector" and a "reject" are quite clearly opposites which is why I indicated the context in which they are the same is when both are similiarily unaccapted by conventional standards and hence are in essence the same beast. Now that you stated that there is a general metal ideology I must ask what this is? I fail to see it.

What is this socially correct path? Is it just a general normality of "most" people. What is normal in one place is quite out of the norm in another. Is it merely the rejection of your regional norms which makes you "metal"? Obviously this can go for a wide variety of people without any link to metal, there may be many people who completely despise both metal and social norms. So what you are really saying is that metal is the only social lubricant in the metal culture because it can't just be a person who "rejects the socially correct path for one's own ends"or am I mistaken?
jupitreas - 28.04.2008 at 23:47  
Written by totaliteraliter on 28.04.2008 at 21:29

I don't know, most serious metal fans I have come into contact with have been of a similar nature, although I'd agree about his website (maybe partially because metalstorm caters more to the more mainstream/neophyte side of the scene?). And more importantly you can't compare the internet to actual real life interaction, the way people behave online isn't always a good indicator of the type of conversation you can have with them over a few beers.


Actually, this website caters to all sides of the scene, and beyond (into genres that metal fans might find interesting). My personal experience with particular, hermetic metal communities on the net is even more negative than that with MS or MA, they tend to all be close minded or bigots. As I said, perhaps you are lucky to be in a specific locale where metalheads happen to be philosophers, but this is almost certainly not the case everywhere, if I am to generalise on the basis of my experiences with living in 3 different countries and attending numerous international metal festivals.

Written by totaliteraliter on 28.04.2008 at 21:29

The Rastafarian movement comparison doesn't seem like a great one, because assuming you mean to imply reggae you're talking about a genre of music becoming associated with an already existing religion, not an ideology growing out of music. Or more precisely not a style of music growing out of a vague worldview as is the case with punk and metal.

If you're content to associate skinheads with anti-left wing and racism, I don't think you'd have trouble associating metal with a similar "specific ideology". Sure you'd have variations within the scene but it isn't hard to come up with a similar set of beliefs for black metal or grindcore or Slayer fanatics or even extreme metal in general. You can pretty easily apply values like free speech, patriarchal social structure, anti-JudeoChristianity, anti-immigration, racialism, pro-violence, pro-drug/alcohol, vaguely Dionysian personal freedom, etc. almost universally to different subsets of the scene. So while it is certainly hard to apply more than a few vague ideas to metal as a whole, if you look at it as a group of distinct but related and overlapping subcultures (kind of as you did above, citing 70s UK punks and skinheads rather than "punk" as a whole) it's easier to see what the culture is about.

I also think the connection between loud music and loud ideas you make is insufficient, since that loud music by no coincidence most often contains those loud ideas as its subject matter. I don't you can so easily separate the extreme ideas from the extreme music when it the two are so often inseparable parts of the same cycle.


It seems to me that you are referring to seperate sub-cultures related to metal here and not to the archetypal metalhead. NSBM fans certainly have a somewhat consistent and specific ideology; however, I think they think of themselves more as belonging to a sub-culture of neo-Nazis, rather than to the metalhead sub-culture. Metal, in the grand scheme, is still a kind of music without any specific ideology.

You can seperate extreme ideas from extreme music very easily.

Written by Stuart on 28.04.2008 at 22:40

a person constantly "changing" is generaly a fickle person.


Not necessarily. A person constantly "changing" can be a person who believes chaos to be the only constant in life.
Stuart - 29.04.2008 at 00:17  
Written by jupitreas on 28.04.2008 at 23:47

Written by Stuart on 28.04.2008 at 22:40

a person constantly "changing" is generaly a fickle person.


Not necessarily. A person constantly "changing" can be a person who believes chaos to be the only constant in life.

This can be debated at great length and both sides of the argument have valid points (which is why I used "generaly") however, the concept you elude to is far more philisophical in nature than this particular discussion and in the context I have made this statement as well the general context of the discussion and my points up to now, then continual change is fickle.
totaliteraliter - 29.04.2008 at 06:24  
Written by Stuart on 28.04.2008 at 22:40
Firstly, a person constantly "changing" is generaly a fickle person. Evolving is something quite different. I would suggest looking up the word "evolve".

That's my whole point, by using the word "evolve" you make a negative qualitative assessment of the happy metalhead.

Written by Stuart on 28.04.2008 at 22:40
Secondly, a "rejector" and a "reject" are quite clearly opposites which is why I indicated the context in which they are the same is when both are similiarily unaccapted by conventional standards and hence are in essence the same beast.

I think we agree...

Written by Stuart on 28.04.2008 at 22:40
Now that you stated that there is a general metal ideology I must ask what this is? I fail to see it.

See above replies to jupitreas (it's more fragmented than coherent, probably) but I would probably posit that valuing personal goals above social pressures is part of a general metal ideology (if we desire to formulate one).

Written by Stuart on 28.04.2008 at 22:40
What is this socially correct path?

In this (metal) context usually dominant Western/Modern/Christian society, broadly speaking. So not the rejection of whatever the local dominant norms happen to be but those norms specifically.

---

Written by jupitreas on 28.04.2008 at 23:47
Actually, this website caters to all sides of the scene, and beyond (into genres that metal fans might find interesting).

From my experience here I'd have to again disagree but this seems like an unproductive discussion area to further explore with a staff member.

Written by jupitreas on 28.04.2008 at 23:47
My personal experience with particular, hermetic metal communities on the net is even more negative than that with MS or MA, they tend to all be close minded or bigots. As I said, perhaps you are lucky to be in a specific locale where metalheads happen to be philosophers, but this is almost certainly not the case everywhere, if I am to generalise on the basis of my experiences with living in 3 different countries and attending numerous international metal festivals.

Sorry, I wasn't trying to suggest that my local scene is composed of philosophers or even especially educated individuals. The idea is that the viewpoints being expressed are significantly coherent, not just a proportionate sample of the general opinion of the population.

Written by jupitreas on 28.04.2008 at 23:47
It seems to me that you are referring to seperate sub-cultures related to metal here and not to the archetypal metalhead. NSBM fans certainly have a somewhat consistent and specific ideology; however, I think they think of themselves more as belonging to a sub-culture of neo-Nazis, rather than to the metalhead sub-culture. Metal, in the grand scheme, is still a kind of music without any specific ideology.

I don't think that follows, my point is that metal is a kind of music with several specific ideologies, a few of which are overlapping and essentially universal (things like "personal freedom", for example). And that furthermore, by your comparisons it seems logical to conclude that punk too is a kind of music without any specific ideology - observations that may be technically correct but functionally misleading.

Written by jupitreas on 28.04.2008 at 23:47
You can seperate extreme ideas from extreme music very easily.

Yes, but only by distorting the reality of the situation. It's necessary to take into consideration the common (perhaps dominant) situation where extreme music is about and/or inspired by extreme ideas. If the subculture is based on music, and the music is based on ideas, then the subculture can't be based just on music.
Stuart - 29.04.2008 at 22:14  
Written by Stuart on 28.04.2008 at 22:40
Firstly, a person constantly "changing" is generaly a fickle person. Evolving is something quite different. I would suggest looking up the word "evolve".

Written by totaliteraliter on 29.04.2008 at 06:24

That's my whole point, by using the word "evolve" you make a negative qualitative assessment of the happy metalhead.


No more a negative assesment than I do of the happy christian or the happy prostitute.

Written by Stuart on 28.04.2008 at 22:40
Now that you stated that there is a general metal ideology I must ask what this is? I fail to see it.

Written by totaliteraliter on 29.04.2008 at 06:24

See above replies to jupitreas (it's more fragmented than coherent, probably) but I would probably posit that valuing personal goals above social pressures is part of a general metal ideology (if we desire to formulate one).


Merely valuing personal goals above social pressures is something many, many groups of people do and is hardly unique to metal.

Written by Stuart on 28.04.2008 at 22:40
What is this socially correct path?

Written by totaliteraliter on 29.04.2008 at 06:24

In this (metal) context usually dominant Western/Modern/Christian society, broadly speaking. So not the rejection of whatever the local dominant norms happen to be but those norms specifically.


I will take it that you are saying (in the metal context of course) that a people who have never grown up with the above mentioned norms will ever be able to feel part of this metal community completely? Say maybe japenese or arabic person, who have never faced these social norms you mention?
totaliteraliter - 29.04.2008 at 23:41  
Written by Stuart on 29.04.2008 at 22:14
Merely valuing personal goals above social pressures is something many, many groups of people do and is hardly unique to metal.

So? Why does it need to be unique to metal?

Written by Stuart on 29.04.2008 at 22:14
I will take it that you are saying (in the metal context of course) that a people who have never grown up with the above mentioned norms will ever be able to feel part of this metal community completely? Say maybe japenese or arabic person, who have never faced these social norms you mention?

Metal in other cultures may take on different meaning, since it was not created for those cultures. So let it be clarified that when we are talking about metal it should be generally assumed that we are talking about metal in its traditional context (the modern western world) where it has maintained a generally consistent meaning. A context where similarities outweigh differences significantly enough that we can still reasonably discuss "metal" and the "metal community" as meaningful concepts.
Stuart - 29.04.2008 at 23:54  
Written by Stuart on 29.04.2008 at 22:14
Merely valuing personal goals above social pressures is something many, many groups of people do and is hardly unique to metal.

Written by totaliteraliter on 29.04.2008 at 23:41

So? Why does it need to be unique to metal?


The issue is that people do not become a part of this metal community simply because of this "ideology". It can be found in many other places, the only thing bonding them together is the "actual" music, you have only reaffirmed this with your above statement.

Written by Stuart on 29.04.2008 at 22:14
I will take it that you are saying (in the metal context of course) that a people who have never grown up with the above mentioned norms will ever be able to feel part of this metal community completely? Say maybe japenese or arabic person, who have never faced these social norms you mention?

Written by totaliteraliter on 29.04.2008 at 23:41

Metal in other cultures may take on different meaning, since it was not created for those cultures. So let it be clarified that when we are talking about metal it should be generally assumed that we are talking about metal in its traditional context (the modern western world) where it has maintained a generally consistent meaning.

I agree with you there to an extent.

EDIT POST:

Except when you look at certain genres of metal such as Power Metal and Viking Metal and all that fantasy Dragon blah blah blah, which is just as relevant to any Japanese or Arabic person as it is to someone like me who grew up in a modern day city. Again an indication of opposing ideologies.
totaliteraliter - 30.04.2008 at 00:18  
Written by Stuart on 29.04.2008 at 23:54
The issue is that people do not become a part of this metal community simply because of this "ideology". It can be found in many other places, the only thing bonding them together is the "actual" music, you have only reaffirmed this with your above statement.

Except I didn't say [personal goals > social pressure] was the metal ideology, but a probable part of it.

Written by Stuart on 29.04.2008 at 23:54
Except when you look at certain genres of metal such as Power Metal and Viking Metal and all that fantasy Dragon blah blah blah, which is just as relevant to any Japanese or Arabic person as it is to someone like me who grew up in a modern day city. Again an indication of opposing ideologies.

I don't understand your point. Some things may translate into other cultures, some may not, so what?
Stuart - 30.04.2008 at 01:16  
Written by Stuart on 29.04.2008 at 23:54
The issue is that people do not become a part of this metal community simply because of this "ideology". It can be found in many other places, the only thing bonding them together is the "actual" music, you have only reaffirmed this with your above statement.

Written by totaliteraliter on 30.04.2008 at 00:18

Except I didn't say [personal goals > social pressure] was the metal ideology, but a probable part of it.


You have implied that there is some sort of shared belief system amongst the "metalheads" that "you" know and yet are unable to pinpoint what exactly this is, except the above mentioned social pressure argument which is a merely "part" of this grand ideology which cannot be pinpointed but "actualy" has very little to do with music. The argument holds absolutely no water.

Written by Stuart on 29.04.2008 at 23:54
Except when you look at certain genres of metal such as Power Metal and Viking Metal and all that fantasy Dragon blah blah blah, which is just as relevant to any Japanese or Arabic person as it is to someone like me who grew up in a modern day city. Again an indication of opposing ideologies.

Written by totaliteraliter on 30.04.2008 at 00:18

I don't understand your point. Some things may translate into other cultures, some may not, so what?

The point is that there are totally conflicting ideologies in metal, I don't want to go into giving examples because it is blatantly obvious. The fact that certain concepts, in your opinion, can only be appreciated by certain cultures whilst others can be appreciated on a broader scale is only further evidence of this. The simple fact remains, you get thousands of people at a "metal" festival, all there in perfect harmony and solidarity under the banner of a metal community and yet apart from the similarities in music, the great stars of the show are all ideologicaly completely opposing. This is evidence of the fact that there is nothing else in common except the "community", or music if you will, holding these people together.
totaliteraliter - 30.04.2008 at 01:37  
Written by Stuart on 30.04.2008 at 01:16

Written by Stuart on 29.04.2008 at 23:54
The issue is that people do not become a part of this metal community simply because of this "ideology". It can be found in many other places, the only thing bonding them together is the "actual" music, you have only reaffirmed this with your above statement.

Written by totaliteraliter on 30.04.2008 at 00:18

Except I didn't say [personal goals > social pressure] was the metal ideology, but a probable part of it.

You have implied that there is some sort of shared belief system amongst the "metalheads" that "you" know and yet are unable to pinpoint what exactly this is, except the above mentioned social pressure argument which is a merely "part" of this grand ideology which cannot be pinpointed but "actualy" has very little to do with music. The argument holds absolutely no water.

Fortunately that is not my argument. I do not posit that there is a metal ideology that has very little to do with music, but the opposite: there is a metal ideology that is an integral part of the music. There are core ideologies in metal including the one we are discussing and the ones I have mentioned above (s/a tolerance of extreme viewpoints), they are part of the music and the genre's development. As we move away from the core and towards the fringes things get less coherent as foreign ideas/musics are overlapped, and one extreme fringe may have elements that contradict another.


Written by Stuart on 30.04.2008 at 01:16
...the great stars of the show are all ideologicaly completely opposing. This is evidence of the fact that there is nothing else in common except the "community", or music if you will, holding these people together.

You seem to be fond of thinking in absolutes and drawing extreme conclusions from superficial observations...
Stuart - 30.04.2008 at 22:53  
Written by Stuart on 30.04.2008 at 01:16

You have implied that there is some sort of shared belief system amongst the "metalheads" that "you" know and yet are unable to pinpoint what exactly this is, except the above mentioned social pressure argument which is a merely "part" of this grand ideology which cannot be pinpointed but "actualy" has very little to do with music. The argument holds absolutely no water.

Written by totaliteraliter on 30.04.2008 at 01:37

Fortunately that is not my argument. I do not posit that there is a metal ideology that has very little to do with music, but the opposite: there is a metal ideology that is an integral part of the music. There are core ideologies in metal including the one we are discussing and the ones I have mentioned above (s/a tolerance of extreme viewpoints), they are part of the music and the genre's development. As we move away from the core and towards the fringes things get less coherent as foreign ideas/musics are overlapped, and one extreme fringe may have elements that contradict another.


Ok mate, I think I figured out where your confusion lies. I think you are confusing the alternative culture with the metal community. The alternative culture is made up of people who live alternate lifestyles to that which is the traditional norm (in the modern western context of course). There are many denominations within this alternative culture and the metal community is only one of them. Most of the valid ideologies which you have put across fall within the general alternative culture. Now most alternative people in your region may be into metal but this is not an indication of a global metal community. I will reiterate that the many people who I know in this "community" have completely opposing views on life to one another and only have music in common which means they often end up in each others company.

Written by Stuart on 30.04.2008 at 01:16
...the great stars of the show are all ideologicaly completely opposing. This is evidence of the fact that there is nothing else in common except the "community", or music if you will, holding these people together.

Written by totaliteraliter on 30.04.2008 at 01:37

You seem to be fond of thinking in absolutes and drawing extreme conclusions from superficial observations...


I can safely say that having being virtually born into this "community" and having attended a couple of hundred gigs and spend the majority of my free time amongst these people that my observations are not superficial. I would propose that in fact your conclusion that metal contains "core" ideologies is far more absolute and extreme than my own.
totaliteraliter - 01.05.2008 at 04:47  
Written by Stuart on 30.04.2008 at 22:53
Ok mate, I think I figured out where your confusion lies. I think you are confusing the alternative culture with the metal community. The alternative culture is made up of people who live alternate lifestyles to that which is the traditional norm (in the modern western context of course). There are many denominations within this alternative culture and the metal community is only one of them. Most of the valid ideologies which you have put across fall within the general alternative culture. Now most alternative people in your region may be into metal but this is not an indication of a global metal community. I will reiterate that the many people who I know in this "community" have completely opposing views on life to one another and only have music in common which means they often end up in each others company.

I think you're passing over the "integral part of the music" bit. This isn't people from another "defined" subculture coincidentally getting into metal, it's people who share an ideology with the music they listen to. Where the ideas of the music and the musicians and the community overlap, there are your core metal ideologies. Like any other group, there are degrees of integration - the guy who listens to metal but totally ignores the message behind it, for example, doesn't disprove the existence or even the importance of the message. I'm getting after you for absolutes because you are quick to see the differences and opposing views and extrapolate those as universal instead of focusing on similarities. Such an approach would disprove the existence of any subculture.

Written by Stuart on 30.04.2008 at 22:53
I can safely say that having being virtually born into this "community" and having attended a couple of hundred gigs and spend the majority of my free time amongst these people that my observations are not superficial. I would propose that in fact your conclusion that metal contains "core" ideologies is far more absolute and extreme than my own.

Hardly absolute, if you'd notice I take great caution in my approach and am wary to assign anything concrete to metal hastily - it is a complex music and culture that we need to let speak for itself. Not dismiss it as meaningless in one swift action.
Stuart - 03.05.2008 at 15:55  
Written by totaliteraliter on 01.05.2008 at 04:47

I think you're passing over the "integral part of the music" bit. This isn't people from another "defined" subculture coincidentally getting into metal, it's people who share an ideology with the music they listen to. Where the ideas of the music and the musicians and the community overlap, there are your core metal ideologies. Like any other group, there are degrees of integration - the guy who listens to metal but totally ignores the message behind it, for example, doesn't disprove the existence or even the importance of the message. I'm getting after you for absolutes because you are quick to see the differences and opposing views and extrapolate those as universal instead of focusing on similarities. Such an approach would disprove the existence of any subculture.


I'm not attempting to disprove the existence of the metal sub-culture. I am merely questioning the validity of it. I don't think the ideas of the "music", musicians and community overlap. I maintain that they are quite often in opposition to one another, because there is virtually no constant, except the music. The only one ideology which I found a relative constant in metal is the desire to indulge in fantasy, from many different angles though. But this is something found throughout music, except maybe to a lesser degree.

Using your approach, communities could be created out of virtually any chracteristic people share. People who eat alot of McDonalds could become a McDonalds community, one could argue that people who eat McDonalds have many other things in common, hell we could attribute many ideologies to your typical McDonalds eater. The McDonalds Restaurant could become the metal festival. Using your approach of course.

There are integral parts of certain sub-genres of metal or specfic bands, quite right. But the general metal community does not have this. There is no important message in metal. It doesn't exist, although there are "many" important messages found within certain spheres of metal

Written by totaliteraliter on 01.05.2008 at 04:47

Hardly absolute, if you'd notice I take great caution in my approach and am wary to assign anything concrete to metal hastily - it is a complex music and culture that we need to let speak for itself. Not dismiss it as meaningless in one swift action.

Yes, some metal can be very complex (ideologicaly, not musicaly). It can also be ridiculously simple and quite frankly idiotic. I have not dismissed it in one swift action, I have dismissed people's desire to be a part of something that has no firm intellectual basis in one swift action. Again, I will reiterate, that I am not saying metalheads generaly or metal as a whole is a waste of time. I am saying a global metal ideology with which people are somehow "brothers" is not something I think has a firm intellectual basis.
Harmonic - 04.05.2008 at 07:03  
Now I've been accused of engaging in boring, pointless conversation before, but this...

...at least I haven't hit rock bottom yet!
totaliteraliter - 04.05.2008 at 21:33  
Written by Stuart on 03.05.2008 at 15:55
I'm not attempting to disprove the existence of the metal sub-culture. I am merely questioning the validity of it. I don't think the ideas of the "music", musicians and community overlap. I maintain that they are quite often in opposition to one another, because there is virtually no constant, except the music. The only one ideology which I found a relative constant in metal is the desire to indulge in fantasy, from many different angles though. But this is something found throughout music, except maybe to a lesser degree.

You don't think they overlap ever? Or just not enough to meet your arbitrarily chosen standard of a "real" community? What do you mean by "desire to indulge in fantasy"? Escapism? Or are you focusing on imagery and symbols instead of their meaning? You didn't seem to address the concept of degrees of integration into the community...

Written by Stuart on 03.05.2008 at 15:55
Using your approach, communities could be created out of virtually any chracteristic people share. People who eat alot of McDonalds could become a McDonalds community, one could argue that people who eat McDonalds have many other things in common, hell we could attribute many ideologies to your typical McDonalds eater. The McDonalds Restaurant could become the metal festival. Using your approach of course.

There are integral parts of certain sub-genres of metal or specfic bands, quite right. But the general metal community does not have this. There is no important message in metal. It doesn't exist, although there are "many" important messages found within certain spheres of metal

McDonalds consumers do create a community that can be evaluated. That's how sociology works.

Written by Stuart on 03.05.2008 at 15:55
Yes, some metal can be very complex (ideologicaly, not musicaly). It can also be ridiculously simple and quite frankly idiotic. I have not dismissed it in one swift action, I have dismissed people's desire to be a part of something that has no firm intellectual basis in one swift action. Again, I will reiterate, that I am not saying metalheads generaly or metal as a whole is a waste of time. I am saying a global metal ideology with which people are somehow "brothers" is not something I think has a firm intellectual basis.

Maybe you can clarify your terminology; "intellectual basis"? Is that supposed to imply that it would have to have been created with some conscious intent? A firm intellectual basis sounds like a much different and higher standard than "existence."

Written by Guest on 04.05.2008 at 07:03
Now I've been accused of engaging in boring, pointless conversation before, but this...

Shh, the big kids are talking.
Stuart - 05.05.2008 at 20:07  
Written by Stuart on 03.05.2008 at 15:55
I'm not attempting to disprove the existence of the metal sub-culture. I am merely questioning the validity of it. I don't think the ideas of the "music", musicians and community overlap. I maintain that they are quite often in opposition to one another, because there is virtually no constant, except the music. The only one ideology which I found a relative constant in metal is the desire to indulge in fantasy, from many different angles though. But this is something found throughout music, except maybe to a lesser degree.

Written by totaliteraliter on 04.05.2008 at 21:33

You don't think they overlap ever? Or just not enough to meet your arbitrarily chosen standard of a "real" community? What do you mean by "desire to indulge in fantasy"? Escapism? Or are you focusing on imagery and symbols instead of their meaning? You didn't seem to address the concept of degrees of integration into the community...


I never stated that it was not a "real" community. I am simply stating the this community is based very much on a metal for metal's sake scenario rather than having a greater or more meaningful purpose. Again this only applies to the broader metal community and is a generalisation.

Escapism to a degree, yes, but not for everyone all the time, indulging in fantasy can be form of release from social constraints and is not always escapism.

Yes they do overlap ocassionaly, but not often enough to be classified as a core ideology.

It goes without saying that the music is deeply imbedded in the community...

Written by Stuart on 03.05.2008 at 15:55
Using your approach, communities could be created out of virtually any chracteristic people share. People who eat alot of McDonalds could become a McDonalds community, one could argue that people who eat McDonalds have many other things in common, hell we could attribute many ideologies to your typical McDonalds eater. The McDonalds Restaurant could become the metal festival. Using your approach of course.

There are integral parts of certain sub-genres of metal or specfic bands, quite right. But the general metal community does not have this. There is no important message in metal. It doesn't exist, although there are "many" important messages found within certain spheres of metal

Written by totaliteraliter on 04.05.2008 at 21:33

McDonalds consumers do create a community that can be evaluated. That's how sociology works. .


Yes true, but that does not imply McDonalds eaters all share unique "core" ideologies.

Written by Stuart on 03.05.2008 at 15:55
Yes, some metal can be very complex (ideologicaly, not musicaly). It can also be ridiculously simple and quite frankly idiotic. I have not dismissed it in one swift action, I have dismissed people's desire to be a part of something that has no firm intellectual basis in one swift action. Again, I will reiterate, that I am not saying metalheads generaly or metal as a whole is a waste of time. I am saying a global metal ideology with which people are somehow "brothers" is not something I think has a firm intellectual basis.

Written by totaliteraliter on 04.05.2008 at 21:33

Maybe you can clarify your terminology; "intellectual basis"? Is that supposed to imply that it would have to have been created with some conscious intent? A firm intellectual basis sounds like a much different and higher standard than "existence."


Please see first reply of this post. I think it clarifies it.
totaliteraliter - 06.05.2008 at 19:31  
Written by Stuart on 05.05.2008 at 20:07

Written by Stuart on 03.05.2008 at 15:55
I'm not attempting to disprove the existence of the metal sub-culture. I am merely questioning the validity of it. I don't think the ideas of the "music", musicians and community overlap. I maintain that they are quite often in opposition to one another, because there is virtually no constant, except the music. The only one ideology which I found a relative constant in metal is the desire to indulge in fantasy, from many different angles though. But this is something found throughout music, except maybe to a lesser degree.

Written by totaliteraliter on 04.05.2008 at 21:33

You don't think they overlap ever? Or just not enough to meet your arbitrarily chosen standard of a "real" community? What do you mean by "desire to indulge in fantasy"? Escapism? Or are you focusing on imagery and symbols instead of their meaning? You didn't seem to address the concept of degrees of integration into the community...


I never stated that it was not a "real" community. I am simply stating the this community is based very much on a metal for metal's sake scenario rather than having a greater or more meaningful purpose. Again this only applies to the broader metal community and is a generalisation.

Escapism to a degree, yes, but not for everyone all the time, indulging in fantasy can be form of release from social constraints and is not always escapism.

Yes they do overlap ocassionaly, but not often enough to be classified as a core ideology.

It goes without saying that the music is deeply imbedded in the community...

I'm referring to degrees of integration of individuals in the community, not music. Because it sounds as if you expect core ideals to be strongly held absolutely by every member of the community (which would not be a practical standard).

Written by Stuart on 05.05.2008 at 20:07
Yes true, but that does not imply McDonalds eaters all share unique "core" ideologies.

Debatable, but would take us far away from this discussion.
Stuart - 03.07.2008 at 23:45  
Written by totaliteraliter on 06.05.2008 at 19:31


Written by Stuart on 05.05.2008 at 20:07
Yes true, but that does not imply McDonalds eaters all share unique "core" ideologies.

Debatable, but would take us far away from this discussion.

I kept meaning to come back and continue this discussion but I've decided its pointless and is going in circles, we'll just agree to disagree
LeChron James - 05.09.2008 at 20:54  
Quote:
Shh, the big kids are talking.

LOL HELLA funny.
Valentin B - 06.09.2008 at 22:24  
i agree with the title


i don't know why people bother with this stuff, most (young) people who are into metal feel "opressed" by mainstream society/music etc. and metal is their "shield" to the world, it gives people a sense of being better than the rest. elitism is just something natural that occurs in just about any subculture.
Thryce - 07.09.2008 at 14:42  
Written by Valentin B on 06.09.2008 at 22:24

i don't know why people bother with this stuff, most (young) people who are into metal feel "opressed" by mainstream society/music etc. and metal is their "shield" to the world, it gives people a sense of being better than the rest. elitism is just something natural that occurs in just about any subculture.

While being absolutely not the point of my whole article (in a way I talked about a form of personalizing. I also never used the word "elite" - deliberately), this is another interesting topic of discussion.

But, the way I see it, considering metal as an armor of oppression, or even as a safeguard, or to put it in another way, as a form of where I can be who I am versus the rest of the world, is not a way of identifying yourself, but rather of completely losing yourself into the music. Elitism on the other hand, is a form of over-personalizing, of taking yourself, and who you are because of the music you listen to, too - but really far too - seriously.
I really don't see the one being the consequence of the other. Sure, feeling better than the rest of the world might occur when being elitistic in a certain kind of music, but that's not the same as considering that certain kind of music as a shield against the rest of the world.
Immortal - 05.01.2010 at 13:55  
Written by Thryce on 22.10.2007 at 22:32

All around the world it is very easy to tell at a single glance at one's outward appearance whether that one is a metalhead or not.

If you define 'metalhead' simply as somone who listens to metal then I don't agree with this statement. You couldn't tell I listen to some of the most extreme music in existence just by my appearance.
I_Die_Often - 07.01.2010 at 03:31  
I looked at this just because of the title, sounds just like my dis on rap to my hip-hop girl yesterday!
If metal had the "Lets talk about me and my ego" lyrics of so much c-rap music, I wouldn't listen to it either!
I_Die_Often - 07.01.2010 at 03:41  
Written by I_Die_Often on 07.01.2010 at 03:31

I looked at this just because of the title, sounds just like my dis on rap to my hip-hop girl yesterday!
If metal had the "Lets talk about me and my ego" lyrics of so much c-rap music, I wouldn't listen to it either!

Sorry, went off subject...
Immortal - 07.01.2010 at 07:33  
Written by I_Die_Often on 07.01.2010 at 03:41

Written by I_Die_Often on 07.01.2010 at 03:31

I looked at this just because of the title, sounds just like my dis on rap to my hip-hop girl yesterday!
If metal had the "Lets talk about me and my ego" lyrics of so much c-rap music, I wouldn't listen to it either!

Sorry, went off subject...

You have a point though!
Ellrohir - 17.02.2010 at 18:12  
I was pretty sure, i have seen this before, and really...why it suddenly appeared as newly published article?

or was it formerly blog entry and now it was "promoted" as an article?
Daggon - 01.05.2010 at 22:59  
Nice reading (finally I read it completely), It was a very interesting opinion about we as metalheads, also I found something very useful here, now I know that you must respect people's identity, I think, If you don't have an identity, then what the hell do you have?
Elodie Artour - 24.02.2011 at 22:40  
Yeah, so I finally took my time to read through that whole article. Great job, indeed!

However, being "metull" does not only mean dressing up in a metal way. As a self-proclaimed "Symphonic Metal Princess" and moreover - a female, as well, I'd like to point out a few things from the perspective of a girl within the world-wide metal community.

1. First of all, let's start with the dressing style. The only merchandising I've ever had (if my memory serves me well) was a Nightwish T-shirt I no longer wear. Apart from that, my dressing style is so NOT metull. I do wear combat boots and I do have tons of black clothing. However, that is still not cosidered being metal enough.

Last year, I had to attend Sonisphere wearing a different metal T-shirt each day in order to mix with the crowd. At first, I had this idea of appearing in a pink T-shirt (in reference to Manowar's music) but I was advised to think wisely.

A second example is Korpiklaani's concert in Sofia last year. My overall appearance was totally metull. Of course, I had to look differently (because I always HAVE to distinguish myself from the others, even if that means looking so inappropriately wrong.) So, I had that pink tiara on and guess what - I was asked to put it down... a few times.

Conclusion: It is extremely hard to be taken seriously in the metal community if you don't dress typically (for that purpose.)

2. Speaking of appearance, I recently got my hair cut. Most of my family members, friends and acquaintances love the new style. Now that I look like some anime/manga herione, there are a few metalheads who do believe I shouldn't have done that to myself. From their point of view, it's not just the beauty of the long hair; it's the fact I'm currently unable to headbang at gigs.

Previously, I didn't use to headbang; not at all. It was only once when I had actually headbanged at a gig.

Conclusion: Untr00 me...

3. Mentioning the word "gigs" reminded me of yet another phenomenon besides headbanging - moshing. I've never EVER participated in a mosh pit. Trust me - it's nost just me being a tiny little Mano-/Nanowarrior. One of the main reasons is I don't think I would ever enjoy moshing. It simply wasn't meant for me (neither for my small size.) In addition, guys should always take care of me at concerts. A great example is (once again) last year's edition of Sonisphere. When Alice In Chains finished their set, they started throwing guitar picks at the audience. Naturally, everyone around me moved forward, desperately trying to get one. Even more naturally, I suddenly found myself totally lost. Thank Satan there was that guy who held me back! Else, I would have been in the ambulance afterwards...

On the other hand, while Slayer were playing, things seemed to be totally different. Some guys actually decided to have mercy on my soul, or in other words - not to create a mosh pit beside me.

Conclusion: There is nearly no tollerance for females at most metal events.

4: Now let's talk a bit about metal music itself. In the very first paragraph (excluding the first two sentences,) I mentioned the definition "Symphonic Metal Princess" which (in my case) stands for a person that is a huge Symphonic metal lover. In most metalheads' eyes, I'm "untr00," "don't have a good (enough) taste in music," "have to learn to appreciate decent stuff and change my visions for metal," and all that crap. (It's like I'm a poser or something. )

I don't get what's so wrong with being so much into female-fronted stuff. It's not like I ONLY listen to such bands. Unfortunately, metalheads don't seem to get it. Same goes for my overall music taste. Yeah, I do like Lady Gaga (and many other "mainstreamish" artists and acts.) Do I always have to be judged for having developed my own convictions and tastes?

Conclusion: Many metalheads are narrow-minded.

P.S.: I'm pretty sure that many (or at least some) girls would agree with me.
ADIresiduos - 17.03.2011 at 22:02  
I've been listening to metal music since 1980; when I was about 15-16 I let my hair grow and had it long for eleven years; I used to wear metal clothing (bands t-shirts, black clothing, earrings, etc) but not the whole time; I've been member of three local rock/metal bands (since '91). In 1998 I had to cut my long hair because of job related issues and since then I have short hair; have wife and 2 kids and don't wear metal clothing anymore (maybe only at rehearsals and gigs); I wear office shirts, polo shirts, nice shoes, khaki pants, etc) BUT I still consider myself a metalhead: I love metal music and love playing guitar in my band, although I personally don't think I really belong to the metal community, because I believe the only thing that I have in common with such community is the type of music we listen to; I'm not really into judging people because of the music they listen to, the idiosincracy of a certain group, etc (the famous "us vs. them" thing). The vast majority of the people that I know are not metalheads, they don't like this kind of music one bit, but still I feel comfortable with them, and it's been like this since I was a kid. So, I guess the word metalhead will have a different meaning for each "metalhead". Whichever is your way of thinking, keep loving metal till the end!! \m/ \m/

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