Metal and its many subgenres have been explored by people across the world for over 40 years now. Naturally, there are such a wide range of misjudgments that have reared up over time that it’s imperative that people are made aware about ‘totally’ misunderstood this music really is!
Here is a list of top then myths that overshadow the phenomena that ‘metal’ really is and the truths that accompany them!
The Myth: The music is called “Heavy Metal”
So let’s start with a rather easy one. Most people are of the belief that the name of harsh sounding screams (re: dissonance) and heavily twined/strained/distorted guitars is: ‘Heavy Metal’.
Let’s get this straight and over with. Metal has hundreds of subgenres and ‘Heavy Metal’ is barely even one of them! So yea, bands such as Cream, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath created a unique sound thereby creating the way for metal bands; and while these bands can be called heavy metal – there is this disturbing majority of non-metal heads, especially the elderly people and young girls who refer to all rock music as heavy metal! That just doesn’t cut it you know!
The Myth: Metal musicians are uneducated freaks who can’t form sentences
A rather common myth but a widely believed one! Most people think that metal-lyrics are rather simple, inane, stupid and worthless. That’s just not true! In reality, most metal musicians are highly intelligent, focused people who are capable of writing piercing, deep and reasonably meaningful lyrics.
As an example let us talk about the black metal band Bathory who derived a lot of their music from classic composers. How’s that for barbarian?
The Myth: All metal is against religion
In the opinion of most non-metal heads, metal bands hate religion. But that’s not true…. almost. In most cases, metal is not anti-religious but there is often a certain disapproval of Christianity and forms of Christianity. There are however, may religious artists like the American Metalcore band As I Lay Dying, David Dramian or Disturbed.
It can be said that religion is not very well liked in Metal, but it’s not exactly hated. There are of course exceptions everywhere.
The Myth: Metal promotes Satanism
Let’s put this in perspective. There are actually very few black metal musicians that have satanic beliefs, and those that do, try hard to promote the fact. The genre of music that does feature satanic themes and imagery is called Black Metal, which is derived from Venom’s Thrash album – Black Metal.
There are few death and thrash metal like Slayer, Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angels that feature Satanism. It is safe to say that most metal musicians do not practice such beliefs over all!
The Myth: Metal promotes criminal activity, like murder
There have been people in the metal community who have been tied into crime and murder; there really is only one predominant case: that of Varg Vikernes which is relevant, really.
It has been stated by most metal bands that have violent or disturbing lyrics or imagery that their content is not to be taken seriously. The most notable case is of Cannibal Corpse who are infamous for their lyrics which often elaborates on the more gruesome depictions of sexual fetishism, death and murder.
The Myth: Metal is sexist
Though it may look like that much of metal, especially in the 80s was aimed at trivializing sex and women, it’s not really the case anymore. There are many bands, especially those of Black, Grind and Doom metal genres that avoid the ‘sex’ topic absolutely.
The Myth: Metal musicians have fascist, racist or neo-Nazi beliefs
It’s mostly a stage presence issue for most bands; though many musicians claim that they believe certain races and ethnic groups are better or worse than others. A valid example may be former Gorgoroth vocalist Gaahl who is not only homosexual but has stated that he harbors racist views. However, he claims he is not serious about them and tries not to project his views openly.
The Myth: Metal is bad for children
A lot of Metal is direction-ed towards children and teens as a less serious, even less harmful way to cope with stress. There’s a lot worse available out there, make note!
There are people who may claim that metal poisons the minds of their children – it is openly a case of perspective and much is left to debate on this issue!
The Myth: Metal takes no skill to play
Oh well. Ask any professional and he will categorically state that metal and jazz are among the two most difficult genres to play. Although it may seem that most metal musicians may thrash around, trying to hide behind distortion — the fast riffs and extreme percussion are almost always real without any synthesized material!
The subgenres that do tend to edit their music digitally are metal core, industrial and grind. Mostly everything else is legit!
The Myth: Metal vocals is just screaming
If you’re a metal enthusiast, then probably at some point or the other you must have heard someone say, ‘Hey, can these guys actually even sing?’
That’s really annoying to metal heads as the fact of matter is that metal vocals are really, very really difficult! And though it may appear its all effortless, metal vocals range greatly from growling, to screaming, to shrieking — and well, just everything else in between.
Next time when someone tries to belittle or marginalize, just go ahead and tell them, ‘It’s simply just different!’