5 Reasons Why We Listen To Heavy Metal

heavy metal banner

heavy metal logos

Have you ever been insulted by someone who doesn’t listen to heavy metal? Maybe you’ve been made to feel that your taste in music is inferior by such a person. These people usually make statements like, “How can you listen to that? It’s just screaming and there’s no melody. It’s so loud and aggressive.”

Well, yeah! All of that is sort of the point, you asshole. But we’ll get to that in a bit.

The thing is, at least in my case, I usually inadvertently solicit such a response because I try to introduce metal to non-metal listeners. Is it my fault that I think what I listen to is awesome and should be heard by more people? In my defense, I usually only attempt such a feat when I think the song or band offers something extraordinary, when I think that there’s something there beyond just the metal.

Everyone is entitled to their own taste in music. And, understandably, heavy metal is an especially difficult genre to appreciate from the outside. However, most metal fans have an appreciation for other types of music and that shows in the multitude of heavy metal subgenres. Does this make us better patrons of the arts? Well, yes, but the point is why can’t others at least acknowledge the talent of heavy metal musicians instead insulting us and implying that it’s an inferior musical genre?

Heavy metal has long been the pariah of the music industry. Sam Dunn talked about this in his documentary Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey. As a result of its outcast status, metal has attracted society’s outcasts, the kids who don’t fit into any other social group. That’s a generalization, but to a large degree it’s true. For this demographic, heavy metal has become a surrogate companion, and we’re happy to be exiled to the island of misfit toys. But as you send us away, don’t insult us; try to understand us and our sanctuary.

So, if you’re a heavy metal fan and have ever been insulted by someone’s prejudgment, let us go to bat for you. Aside from citing the studies that say we’re smarter and women finding men who listen to metal more attractive, next time it happens to you, cite any one, or all, of these five reasons why we listen to heavy metal.

What’s listed here may not be entirely exclusive to heavy metal.

5. We Party Harder
4. We Drink More
3. We Mosh
2. Um, Lemmy Is God
1. The Chicks Are Hotter

Just kidding. As true as this might be, this isn’t the real list.

Here’s the real list.

No.5 It’s Loud and Aggressive

phil anselmo
Indeed, those who criticize heavy metal for being loud and aggressive are absolutely correct. And we revel in those qualities. Why? There are many reasons why. For starters, loud and aggressive is energizing and motivating. Sometimes there’s no better way to get the day started, or to get through the day, than to put on something that’s fast and hard. For athletes or anyone pushing themselves physically it can pump them up, give them that extra push to go the extra mile. For others, it helps them focus their concentration on a mental task or to overcome obstacles in their life.

Basically, heavy metal helps us dig deep inside ourselves to strive to be better than the status quo.

No.4 It’s a Release

mosh pit
I want to avoid using the term “cathartic.” Contrary to what outsiders may think, it’s heavy metal’s aggressive and sometimes violent nature that helps us cope with stress, anger, and other issues. The lyrics, which often deal with sensitive and real subjects, speak to us as we relate to them. It’s all simpatico.

In this sense, heavy metal can be calming and soothing. That’s one of the big shockers for people who don’t understand it. Who says that music that calms your emotions has to be all sad, soft, and depressing?

At the same time, some genres of heavy metal can lift one’s spirit, pulling them right out of a depressing funk or moment of rage. For me, KISS does this. No matter how dark my place is, once I hear some KISS I’m immediately transposed to a happier place. OK, so I might be bipolar.

All of what I’ve said in this entry is a release from one’s current state of mind in one form or another.

What are my top 3 reasons for listening to heavy metal? Find out after the jump…

Pages: 1 2

More Articles Like This

Have Your Say Leave A Comment

  • JonnyLuv

    For me bands like Rage Against the Machine, Hollywood Undead, and KMFDM bring a revolution of the mind to culture of people who have every right to know the truth.

  • JonnyLuv

    Lol oops

  • freebagdad

    “And when you think about who we name as the greatest drummer, guitarist, etc., which genre do they usually come from? Heavy metal and rock.”
    Miles Davis? John Coltrane? Mingus? Toumani Diabate? Paco de Lucia? BB King? Thelononious Monk?… Come on son! Your arguments are weak on that specific question, even if you consider instruments that are only used in heavy metal. But musical instruments are not limited to rock line-up, there is more than guitar-drum-bass. Not to mention most of these instruments have variants and there are more sub-genres to consider. Ask Morello and Slash to perform flamenco with Jeff Porcaro’s ghost on congas! let’s get this partey started, mate! m/

    • I guess I should have been more clear about who we hear about when a “greatest” is named. I was getting at the idea that when a “greatest” musician is named in the “mainstream,” it’s usually someone from the heavy metal or hard rock genres. I’ve never heard a greatest pianist or flautist named in the mainstream media. Nor have I heard a flamenco guitarist named as the greatest in mainstream media, although I know there are such talents there that could play circles around many rock/metal guitarists, but it is far more likely that a metal guitarist could find a way to play flamenco than it is vice versa (in my opinion, which may not be much since the breadth of my knowledge is limited to “guitar-drum-bass”). :

  • Metalgirl105

    This is the best explanation I’ve ever read. We metalheads are a family, dammit! I hate hearing shit from everyone else. Rock on man!

  • Shang Julz

    Living on this edge is fast and hard, you have to work harder, play harder and be smarter.
    Social outcast ? Yeah, you know the wimps… be politically correct and shy from real issues are the social acceptable behavior standard. Everything is done half-assed and the social standard is to keep the peace while we are being fucked over? Nah, I the social outcast choose to be open, truthful, direct and thundering forward with every fiber in my being. Fuck society and panzyass rules for refinement. That BS has never made any concrete advances.
    Rock on!

    • Rock Hard m/

    • Metalhead

      They also tell us to “respect” Gandhi, Buddha, Allah, and the list goes on, in my opinion those “heroes” they tell us to respect are NOT my heroes because of these reasons: Gandhi was the FIRST transgender due to the fact he felt like women had adopted them as one of their own, Buddha was the first pothead due to the fact that he sat on his ass all day and Allah was the first radical to radicalize religion.

  • Einherjar

    Metal is about truth. It is a rejection of the mainstream mentality that attempts to deny the ‘darker’, more visceral aspects of human nature. Metal is about admitting that very primal urges and aspects of psyche exist in everyone and that they will never entirely go away, contrary to the mainstream opinion that they can be cut out or discarded on our way to The Utopia. Metal is a response to willful ignorance, especially emotional ignorance. It lets its fans explore these primal aspects of themselves and bring them from the unconscious darkness into the conscious light, where they can be examined, evaluated, dealt with and harnessed in a constructive way.

    Metal is about power, exploration and development. Fans progress to louder, faster, heavier, more shocking, more thoughtful, more provocative. Metal bands write their own songs and play their own instruments, constantly pushing the limits of their technical skills, instruments, equipment, lyrics, presentations.

    Metal is about authenticity. It is a denial of hypocrisy in all its forms displayed by any social group or construct (or members of those groups/constructs) that fails to cleave to its own principles, but especially institutions of authority like governments and organized religion. Metal is a rejection of that which is false, fake and empty. Through metal, fans can express thoughts and feelings that they have no other outlet for, feelings that make them an outsider. Metal is about inclusion, and sharing those feelings of separation with other like-minded individuals.

    Metal can mean whatever a fan gets from it. No one speaks for all of us; while there are many common influences and points of agreement, no two fans are the same and for the most part we don’t try to speak for each other.

    Metal is about freedom.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful and eloquent words. m/

    • Metalhead

      Hit the nail on the head, I agree completely because metal turns that loser Social Justice Warrior into a complete ignorant wimp, it’s also funny how so many Americans here claim to be “rebel” when they don’t know how to do it without metal.

  • Metalhead

    It’s a way to NOT feel depressed about life and it’s a way to get away from all the secular feminists, mainsteam tool bots that produce music that only makes you feel good, I know for a fact that I was sick and tired of listening to just Amon Amarth and realized that I could get into Pantera, groove metal, Thrash Metal and feel a little more upbeat and NOT have to listen too just Amon Amarth. Yes I still like Death Metal and occasionally listen to Amon Amarth, but I CAN’T stand the secular mainstream society, they think they’re so smart and clever and they think they know it all, then they get “offended” for the stupid little words that my country fought for which is freedom of speech.