In the sea of negativity that is the Internet, there is a glimmering light of hope and positivity. It shines bright like the sun, which is good because you will need that light if you ever want to find your way back after you plunge into this rabbit hole. We’re talking about the uprising of Reaction Videos.
If you’ve spent any amount of time on YouTube, then, depending on your viewing habits, you’ve no doubt come across a few reaction videos. These videos range in subject from movies to the kids react to series from FBE (they react to everything) to trailers to reaction videos (yes, it’s like a reaction to a reaction) to technology to just about anything you can think of. While all sorts of music genres get reacted to, I gravitate toward people reacting to.
From what can be observed in the comments section to these videos, most people already familiar with the genre are the ones watching the heavy metal reactions. One could propose any number of reasons for this, but it’s likely that seeing someone else get blown away by the music you’ve known and loved for many years reignites a sense of discovery, of youthful exploration, of nostalgia, and of vindication for a genre that is largely overlooked or misunderstood.
If an individual wants to go this way, one perspective might be that these YouTubers are doing easy work (although being engaging in front of a camera, editing the, and responding to viewers, among other things, is anything but easy) on the backs of bands and musicians. I’ll be honest, while enjoying these videos, my first gut reaction was this, but upon further thought, I came to the conclusion that the benefits of what they’re doing could outweigh any potential negatives that might be conjured up on Aleister Crowley’s sacrificial altar. First off, these guys who are doing reaction videos are discovering a new music genre not just for themselves, but also for anyone who follows them for their other content or those who stumble across their channel, which is to say that a new audience is being introduced to the genre. Secondly, heavy metal is typically grossly misunderstood by the masses — it is not Satanic (not all of it) and it is not just noise (again, not all of it) — and these guys are helping to draw the curtain back. And last, but not least, they just might spark enough interest to help popularize the genre and usher in a new era of and metal.
To help you filter through the crap, here are a few channels that we tune into on a regular basis. In no particular order:
Here are a couple of dudes in Las Vegas, if their channel’s name is any indication, who are truly “free thinkers” as they self-proclaim. In addition to providing regular hip-hop and rap reactions, about once a week Ryan and George offer an in depth heavy metal review. What’s really enjoyable is the dynamic between these guys and how deep they get into the lyrics as the attempt to analyse them during their pauses. As well, they actually appreciate the musicianship, especially if there’s a groove. At the same time, if something doesn’t turn them on, they will say so.
Nate Alyn (Hip Hop Head Reacts:
This kid is pretty cool. Like his peers, he reacts to other things besides heavy metal, but he seems to really get into our favorite genre. Of course he plugs his other channels, such as his gaming channel, but he does offer some hilarious video effects and “cutscenes” to help emphasize his reactions. Nate also tries to get into lyrical analysis and it is beyond funny when he starts headbanging and loses his hat (it’s a thing).
Rap Rat Trapped features an old-school hip-hop dude who is really making an effort to expose himself to a variety of new music genres. His explorations have taken him to country music, ‘70s funk, crooners, pop, and of course, heavy metal. The great thing about this guy is he wears his heart on his sleeve and completely owns the fact that he doesn’t know much about heavy metal. He’s really making the effort and he’s learning as he goes. What he does know is rap and hip-hop, so he brings that knowledge to his metal reactions and draws parallels between the genres, which is incredible. He also offers a ticker at the bottom of his screen that he fills with post-video research-based trivia.
I’m guessing this guy, Preston, is from Seattle since he wears a Seahawks winter hat in most of his videos. But that’s neither here nor there, he reacts to heavy metal on a regular rotation in addition to his hip-hop and rap reviews. He doesn’t offer much in the way of analysis of the lyrics or the music, but his appreciation for what’s good, the parts of the songs that hooked us all, is genuine. If you want to feel like you’re checking out music with a buddy, then you might want to hang out with KTF Reactions. The only problem is with the sound quality of his videos.
From what can be told from Alex’ YouTube channel, besides the fact that he looks like a younger version of Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe, he’s just getting into the heavy metal reaction videos. He’s got quite a bit of energy and is very engaging for being a solo act. While it’s very clear that he’s having fun and enjoying what he’s doing, he watches intently as he internalizes what he’s seeing and hearing. He definitely dives into some of the lyrics and comments on the visuals if present. But it’s how much fun he has that’s really the draw, and it would be amazing to go to his first heavy metal festival.
Clearly from the channel’s name, we have a woman reacting to heavy metal. She mostly reacts to heavy metal, but she will touch on other topics and/or genres. She will sometimes offer song interpretation, but her strength really is in her facial reactions and her exasperations of awe. She also really digs a song breakdown, so stay frosty for that. And she’s prone to emotionally letting it go, often shedding tears as part of her reaction. Although she’s been a little inebriated for at least one of her reaction videos, she’s usually on an even keel.
There’s a solid six channels to get you started, but be warned that this is a dangerous rabbit hole that could keep you up for hours on end. If that’s not enough, you can also check out NearlySeniorCitizen Yetagamer, Everything Music Rick Beato, and RealDeadOne (two metalheads reacting to hip-hop).
Rock Hard \m/