Ego and Loner- ism In The Metal Scene
"Why do you listen to that stuff?"
The common metal head-no matter what genre of metal you listen to-has constantly been berated with similar inquiries from various people in their lives asking this question.
In a sense, metal music goes against our basic human instincts of what 'classically' is considered music. Granted, now that metal has branched off into multiple genres that statement could lose some of its accountability, what with Symphonic and Operatic metal, etc.
But I'm sure when metal first began to develop around the late 1960s, the general consensus was that it was just 'noisy'.
Its a type of music that from the very beginning was never fully accepted.
As a result of this, I've noticed that generally speaking, those that do listen to metal have certain loner tendencies.
I'm definitely not saying the culture as a whole is isolated since when metal heads do come together-they can most surely be just as social as other groups. And also as susceptible to peer pressure and conformity.
But to really accept this sort of music, I've learned that a person has to cultivate and learn their 'darker' side, a side that not many people willingly accept.
I know that sounds lame but hear me out.
I believe there is something innately savage and vicious about this type of music that scares people because of its honesty. It's raw-its not manufactured or wrapped into a pretty package (well, perhaps lets forget about hair metal). In essence-its real. That's what attracted me to it all those years ago and what continues to.
Personally, metal helped me get through a lot of strife in my life. I had always turned to music before when I was distraught but when I started listening to metal I got out a much needed amount of aggression from my system. Every time there was a scream or growl in the song, I felt like the artist was venting everything out for me that I was too scared or embarrassed to do myself. I still feel that way-its a great outlet.
NOW, that being said, within the metal scene certain genres add to this theory and take away from it.
I mean, your average Metalcore/Deathcore/Screamo/Symphonic female fronted bands are extremely targeted to younger mainstream types of people. These genre's are considered to cater to the more casual and social metalhead.
As for Thrash, Death, Black/Grindcore bands are usually listened to by far older, extreme metalheads who are less prone to be into the social aspect of metal.
There. I said it.
If you take a look at Black Metal, for example, being a loner is not only accepted but encouraged to an extent. It's considered a more introspective type of genre. And it is PURPOSELY not intended to be meant for a mainstream type of mind.
Fans of extreme metal also tend to have ample sized egos as well as arrogance to match. The reason of this I'm not so sure but I believe it stems from the fact that metalheads generally think of themselves as reaching a higher state of consciousness somehow because of the fact that they do listen to the genre-and thus-have evolved more-so than the average music fan. (Especially true for fans who are also musicians)
Mind you all, I'm generalizing but this is what I've found to be the case.
The bottom line is metal is very attractive to individuals who consider themselves or were pariahs in their early youth, people who like to deviate from the norm, and anyone who is in tune their more animalistic and essentially human side.
What's interesting about this is that with most shootings of any kind, the culprit is always found by the media to listen to metal and be some type of loner. Such is the case with Columbine, Jared Loughner, and the more recent Norwegian gunman. Mainstream media will use any excuse to condemn metal music. Blame it on the mental state of the individuals and not what they listen to.
But that's just what I think, what about you?
*BTW you guys, pick between Finding (Good) Christian Metal and The Future of Heavy Metal: Teenagers in the comment section. These two were tied so I want you to pick the next post.
Thanks for continuing to read and I hope to hear from you all soon.