Heavy metal music is a form of music that is pretty heavy, and also pretty metal. It scares most conservatives and fundamentalists due to
being sounding fairly anti-authoritarian, as well as having many bands that use Satanic imagery, though most only for shock value -- indeed, some bands and genres, such as black metal and death metal, go out of their way to be as dark and gory as possible.
The original heavy metal band, Black Sabbath, didn't make many anti-Christian songs, though some could be held as criticisms of Christians that acted superior to others. ‘Samadderafact, famous rock critic Lester Bangs wrote that Black Sabbath was in fact a Catholic(!) band whose worldview borrowed heavily from Christian doctrines of "the Fall and Redemption." They did use Satan in their lyrics fairly often, but this was usually because they based many of their songs off the whole concept of horror movies - the anecdote goes that Tony Iommi said "You know how people pay to watch movies and get scared? What if they paid to hear music and get scared?" and thus the Music Your Parents Hate was born. In their self-titled song, Satan is mentioned often but only in terms of a story, rather than glorification. What they did have, however, were many pro-drug songs, such as "Sweet Leaf." This is because they, like most musicans of the day, liked drugs.
The "horns", where the hand is formed into a fist and the pinky and index finger are raised, is a generally universal sign of metal and usually written as \m/, which imitates the shape. It has been claimed to be Satanic (it's sometimes referred to as "the sign of the devil, dude"). However, the person responsible for its popularity, Ronnie James Dio (not his real name), says that it was actually a sign used by his grandmother to ward off the "evil eye," or to give it, and this sense of mysticism felt appropriate for Black Sabbath, which he joined after their original vocalist, Ozzy Osbourne, had left. By placing two fists side by side and extending only the index fingers to form a "\mnnm/" kind of shape, you get "two much metal for one hand."
The more serious use of Satanism is usually confined to the black metal genre (infamous for church-burnings in Norway), which is quite possibly because Black Metal is a largely atmospheric genre. Thus bands that create "evil" atmospheres tend to use Satanic imagery to fit it - they also use corpse paint quite often, so, go-figure. It also tends to work well as a "shock-value" and it's relatively rare for anyone to use satanism seriously in metal - those who do take it seriously take it very seriously and are probably more notable for being full-on Kool-Aid drinkers rather than specifically satanic about it (although it's possible they're faking to give their music a more serious image).
- One of the few people who seem sincere about their Satanism is Glen Benton of Deicide, and he also claims to have seen bigfoot, so again, go figure - it has been pondered that heavy metal could be responsible for the corruption of our youth with the idea of bigfoot.
- Tying into the issue of super serious satanism is the story of London band Akercocke, who got in trouble in Northern Ireland for supposedly corrupting the youth. Akercocke later referred to their take on satanism being no more than "Atheism with a sense of humour."
- One of the most infamous metalheads for "Satanism" is Varg Vikernes, who also happens to be a pagan, rather than a Satanist. He is accused of Satanism due to allegedly burning down a few wooden churches (including a rare 12th-century one), but he claims he "just" wants to get rid of Christianity from his Scandinavian homelands. He was convicted of the murder of Øystein Aarseth (Euronymous of Mayhem fame) in 1993, and finally released from prison in 2009.
- The lead 'singer' of Slayer, a famous "Satanic" thrash metal band, Tom Araya, is actually a Catholic; however, lead guitarist Kerry King is at the very least extremely critical of the Christian church, probably to the point of being out and out Anti-Christian.
- The song "The Number of the Beast" by Iron Maiden is often claimed to be Satanic. Rather than debunking this, we shall let you find and read the lyrics, and thus realize why saying that it is a Satanic song is idiotic, or watch the campy ballroom dancing music video which came out at the same time as the single to realize the tongue is firmly planted in cheek.
- AC/DC had numerous songs that made Hell and Satan seem awesome, like "Highway to Hell" and "Hell Ain't A Bad Place to Be". AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" album, featuring lead guitarist Angus Young in devil horns and a tail did not help matters, nor did Christian fundamentalist claims that AC/DC actually stood for "Anti-Christ/Devils Child". Young has denied this claim stating the name of the band came from a voltage label on his sister's sewing machine. Serial killer Richard Ramirez (aka the Night Stalker) further murkied the waters by leaving behind AC/DC baseball-style caps at the scene of each of his murders.
- Christian fundamentalists have also claimed that rock band Kiss stands for "Knights In Satan's Service". Lead singer Paul Stanley has denied this, claiming the name of the band has its origins in their glam rock roots.
Like Satanism, violence is also a common theme in Metal. It is widespread through the genres, though it is most common in Thrash and Death Metal. However, it is, again, generally for the impact and is meant to be purely cathartic, and not many Heavy Metal bands seem to actually endorse it. For example, the band Ballistic wrote a whole album containing songs about killing people, with titles such as "Silent Killer" and "Corpse Stacked High," but their members are not known for killing people silently and feeding off the power of you. If there is violence associated with Heavy Metal gigs, it is usually associated with the Thrash Metal genre, due to the speed and aggression of the music, though it is hardly "expected," and is probably more common at punk shows. However, excessive violence, going further than just some fairly rough moshing, is actually quite rare, and has probably happened to hard rock band Guns'N'Roses more than most Heavy Metal bands. Especially Doom Metal bands. In fact, it is probably impossible to go around bashing people up and rioting at a Funeral Doom concert. In a Drone Doom concert, the crowd is probably unable to move.
Personality of Metal fans
A 2008 survey found that Metal fans are typically "gentle, creative types who are at ease with themselves." This is of course a huge blow to the credibility of legions of fifteen year olds who want to annoy their parents with their "rebellious" branded T-shirts that they bought from Hot Topic. The surveys and studies mentioned that the personality types of people who like heavy metal are most like those who listen to classical music; make of this what you will. However, it's not all well educated and well spoken gentlemen trying to hide behind a mask of evil and rock persona, taking it with a pinch of salt and enjoyment; some take it incredibly seriously. In early 2010, the metal magazine Metal Hammer decided "hey, wouldn't it be a nice idea if metal was a religion." Aiming to repeat the feat achieved by the Jedi, the magazine prompted its readers to declare "metal" as their religion on the 2011 UK census.
Heavy Metal on Wikipedia
On Wikipedia, most articles about Heavy Metal bands are plagued by ridiculous, nit-picking edit wars about which indistinguishable micro-sub-genre their fans (or more likely, the people who hate the band and want to associate the band with something supposedly "uncool") think it belongs in. Some talk pages even have entire sub-pages devoted to these arcane, pointless debates which, really, nobody else gives a shit about. Really, there are almost thousands of apparent genres of metal, and for every band in the aviator metal genre, there'll be someone out there who will say that it isn't aviator metal, because this is fucking aviator metal.
Hey, it's just the music, man!
Also known as Encyclopedia Metallum, it is a community of self-proclaimed "tr00" metalheads where users can create profiles for bands and write reviews. They also have a very strict set of rules for which bands are allowed a profile and which ones aren't. The reviews are perhaps the most interesting and useful part of the site as almost every album has at least one negative review. There is also a correlation between a band's fame and how many negative reviews they get. If a band is particularly well-known, negative reviews will most likely be in the majority with only one or two positive reviews approved. The reviews themselves are a mixed bag: some of them have reasoned criticisms of the music, while others are basically the user's opportunity to bash the band. This is actually in violation of the site's rules, but such are still frequently approved. The admins have a history of scrutinizing new users for their poor grammar and spelling while approving reviews by older users which are written in equally bad English. The forums are the worst part of the entire site. Mention Slipknot or flavour-of-the-month bands at your own peril, and expect squabbling, n00bs, tr00 warriors, idiots, pedants, pseuds and posers wherever you go. In all fairness, it's a fairly accurate microcosm of the metal community, which makes it an even more disheartening experience.
There is also Christian-themed Metal, a sub-genre of the Christian Rock movement. All too often, it is unoriginal music that is sold as a "Christian alternative" to Satanic or "secular" Metal - some are listed on the OBJECTIVE:Ministries sister site "Zounds!". However, it does have some good eggs, such as the band Trouble, whose album Psalm 9 is a classic Doom Metal album, while other famous Doom Metal bands, such as Candlemass, used Christian theology as a basis for their songs, though more in terms of storytelling than actually endorsing Christianity. Stryper is widely believed to have started the Christian Metal genre - the only problem is, Stryper was not in any meaningful sense "Heavy Metal" since their music (mostly hair metal) was indistinguishable from that of Poison, Motley Crue, or Ratt. Stryper also dressed in yellow and black spandex bumble-bee suits and had hairdos apparently inspired by the 1970s band Angel.
During the 1980s when the term "Black metal" started being used more often, Metal Blade Records began using the term "White metal" to market christian heavy metal bands signed to their label. As a result, many Christian and Christian-themed bands today have sometimes been labelled as "White metal".
Fandametalists favouritest evah metal bands \m/
- The Bangles
- Beatles (The)
- Bon Jovi
- Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
- Little Angels
- The Metal Archives are a list of nearly all Metal bands, along with reviews.
- The Metal Observer a less complete, but far less annoyingly 1337 than the above.
- Röw & Fat Ed's Furry Fucking Guide To Metal
- ↑ The Heavy Metal Fundamentalists, of course, love it. Providing it's their early album before they went all commercial.
- ↑ Lester Bangs on Black Sabbath
- ↑ See, for example, Deathspell Omega, who explore Satanism from a more high-brow perspective than most, and kick fucking ass while doing it.
- ↑ http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=95184
- ↑ An interview comparable to the infamous Monty Python interview about Life of Brian with irate clergy can be found here. Akercocke defending themselves more coherently (ie less drunkenly) on Bruce Dickinson's radio show can be found here, which is, if anything, worth listening to for Brucie.
- ↑ The 12th-century Fantoft stave church. About 30 churches of this kind, once common in northern Europe, remain today, mostly in Norway. You can see most of them in these photographs.
- ↑ Fine, be lazy about it.
- ↑ Musical taste "defines personality"
- ↑ Which music genres should be recognised as religions?
- ↑ See, for example, here and here. This sort of thing makes baby Jesus cry.
- ↑ http://objectiveministries.org/zounds/