Community Think Tank with W.: Why Do You Listen to Metal?

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Today in Washington Think Tank, I’m calling on the rest of the ToH Writers Union to help me answer a very pressing question. Why do we listen to metal? We come from different walks of life. Some of us are religious. Some of us are not. Some of us are old. Some of us are young. Some of us work in industry, some in academia, and others in government jobs. Some of us are married. Some even have kids. Some of us have been listening to metal for a very long time, and some of us are relative neophytes. The one thing that binds all of us together and brings us to this weird toilet-themed corner of the internet is heavy metal.

My own connection to the genre has morphed and assumed different shapes during different seasons. As a teen, I was drawn to metal as an outlet for the anger and frustration I was feeling as what would become a cycle of depression settled on me. In college, I turned to metal as a place to belong. Now, as a grown man content in his adult life, I listen to metal as a counterpoint to my normal day-to-day routine. I’ve always been drawn to darker and esoteric themes, and the weird, alien landscapes I find in the dissonant metal I love provide the sort of challenging contrast that spurs me forward. As the systems around me evolve and change, so also must the musical landscape I seek. I listen to metal to tap into something greater, to become another part of a complex system spanning eon to eon.

I like to bang my head too.

But I am just one of many, so I wanted to know what brought the other writers to this music for freaks and geeks. Here’s what they had to say:

Joe Thrashnkill: It’s mostly been an outlet for anger and aggression. Although since the whole toilet thing, I’ve found a number of projects that are enjoyable simply on the merit of musicality.

 

Ed: Apart from the aesthetics, inventiveness, and impressive musicianship, I listen to metal to connect with my negative emotions (The Dark Half) in a positive way. It’s catharsis through volume, and it’s freeing.

 

Jack Bauer: Honestly, I just love it. I started heavy music with things like Disturbed, and Rammstein and then moved on to Avenged Sevenfold and Trivium. Then Lamb of God and Devildriver and onto Sylosis which then led me to death metal. I think the music I listen to now is just a natural progression of things. I’ve always liked the heavier side of things, and when I listen to music I pay more attention to the instruments than anything. Metal has the best of that. That’s also probably why I love tech death. Ironically a few years ago Cattle Decapitation used to scare me, and if you told me then that I would absolutely adore them I would probably have yelled at you.

 

Stockhausen: Additionally, I too was also attracted to the aggression. I never felt like it was an actual outlet of personal anger/aggression, I just enjoyed the dark, nasty sound of it in almost a primal sense. As I got older and my general aesthetic palate expanded, it led to an enjoyment in more defined terms: appreciating melodicism, following rhythmic ideas, dissecting form, thinking about timbre, etc. There is and will always be that appeal of primal anger, but it’s (sometimes) more than mindless aggression.

 

Beargod: I don’t think there’s any reason why metal in particular. The things I enjoy in music the most, the certain atmosphere and darkness and the heavier and aggressive-er side of things are most often represented in metal. I do enjoy music that is not metal but that conveys these emotions as much, though. Also,I’m fascinated by death – to almost sickly or morbid measures – (not dying, death) and apart from dark folk music, metal seems to be the only musical medium to really deal with it.

 

Sarah Lafayette: It makes me feel. Other music doesn’t make me feel like metal does. It gets me amped, pumped, inspired. I hear metal, and I want to DO something.

 

MoshOff: I think it was just a natural progression from the moment I started playing guitar. When I heard the guitar playing on some of the songs on the original Guitar Hero I was just perplexed as to how anyone could make a guitar sound like that. I started researching a lot of the bands who had songs in the game, and then the bands that influenced those bands… One thing led to another, and here I am in my Cattle Decap shirt, ruined for life. When people ask me why I listen to metal it’s really hard to explain; metal guitar has something that really resonates with me, be it in terms of emotion, “heaviness”, or sheer applied technicality. Listen to the solo in Coroner‘s “Serpent Moves” (3:15); that’s as close as I can get to a reason. TL;DR: I just really like guitar.

 

 

Guacamole Jim: About the time I started having concrete memories of my life is about the time I remember being drawn towards heavier music. I don’t necessarily know if I can tell you why – possibly it was the energy. My parents had some CD’s that I remember gravitating towards more than any others, and these were always rock. When I was younger and first branching out on my own into music, I would get chills when I would hear a really “heavy” riff, and no other kind of music did that for me. I still feel that way when I hear something like “Grit” by 7.5 Tonnes of Beard, or anything by NAILS. There is something almost otherworldly about heavy music that draws me to it, not with a morbid fascination, but with an irresistible pull. Heavy music (pardon me for getting weird) is almost a spiritual experience, like being lost in the ocean and pulled around in the waves. I think there’s a reason so much metal is fascinated with the ocean, in that the power of the music is reminiscent of the vastness of the seas. It’s an overwhelming type of music. I can’t not listen to it.

Slambulance: I know that the aggression was at least a portion of why I dug metal initially. I still do in a way, but not because it fuels my anger. I actually don’t listen to a lot of bands unless I’m in the right mood because they’ll just make me angry. But I’m not totally sure why I listen to metal overall. Different genres come from different places (mathcore for how seemingly unorganized yet impossibly complex it is, etc.), but I don’t think I could find one solitary reason. The vibe and energy with metal is incredible and unique; it places me with a group of people, which is something I long for. It’s fun as all hell; it’s edgy and difficult to understand from the outside. These are just a couple reasons that go into what I’m sure is a much bigger whole.

 

Ron Deuce: When I first saw Metallica‘s video for “One” I was hooked. It was a natural progression for me and it became like an addiction. You were always thirsting for more and always wanted to see a new band take it to another level. The progression was logical – metal to thrash metal, thrash metal to death metal, death metal to grindcore. I continue you to look for bands that push the envelope and continue to find them. Heavy music fuels my addiction.

Celtic Frost: Forbidden fruit. My dad is a Pentecostal preacher (shouting, speaking in tongues, no fun allowed, etc.), so I wasn’t allowed to do/listen to/watch a whole lot of things. At the top of that list was anything that could be considered “spiritually harmful.” Anything to do with Satan, demons, witchcraft, atheism, etc. I played the good son until I was in my early 20’s, to be honest. Then I started questioning my religious upbringing with the help of some open-minded friends and a lot of reading and journaling. Once I came to the conclusion that my life was better off without religion, I started to dabble in things I was afraid of before. Drugs (nothing crazy), alcohol, sex, blah blah. All the stuff I didn’t allow myself to do when everybody else was doing them. Listening to metal was among those things. Here I am, several years later, basically a metal head. I smoke weed occasionally and I drink every now and then. I’m married so sex is over (wakka wakka). The only thing that really stuck is heavy and extreme music.

 

Link Leonhart: Merol music was huge important in my youth because it helped me to be more aware of my sensibilities with my surrounds, and right now I can really have different mindset in the genre whenever I need certain mood. With each new band, album and song I discovered or was recommended by a friend, I learn to dissect the music, pay more attention to the details and “feel” all the different sensations that the composers and the entire production gives. To me, merol is not only aggresion and loudness; to me, it’s different languages in which you can express different emotions, ideas and sentiments through various styles of compositions. I can get energic and pumped, but I also can get motivated, instrocpetive or even relax with different tunes. So music, and precisely merol, helps me in my life to enjoy it even more.

 

JAG: Heavy metal was a fantastic escape for me. Growing up in the early-to-mid-eighies was complete fucking hell with a shitty overgrown child of a step-father who wanted me dead and was always trying to get me to suicide. Music took me away from it at times. I loved the larger-than-life theatrics and stage shows of bands like Quiet Riot, Judas Priest, WASP, Motley Crue, and Iron Maiden. I loved the diversity and the showmanship as much as I did scorching guitar leads, amplification and screaming. (When I say “screaming” I mean the way Dokken and Judas Priest did it.) Metallica was my first exposure to a band with a stripped-down approach, and they meant a fuck of a lot to me in the eighties as well. Though I didn’t personally like them as much as my older brother, even Venom had that act that made them larger-than-life to the young and young at heart. I miss those times dearly. Aggression and morbidity were and are just a small component of what metal is to me. I love horror movies but I’m not going to watch ONLY horror movies and call everyone posers for watching other types of movies. I don’t understand people who can only relate to aggression and brutality in entertainment… which is ok. We are who we are.

 

Simon Phoenix: My answer is cliché as hell, but I started out listening to metal as a means to vent my anger. I continue to listen to it because of the, I suppose, emotion of the music and the skill involved. Even something as simple as war metal requires a certain amount of talent with your instruments to pull off well. Funny thing is, I wouldn’t be as much into classic rock and the blues as I am if it weren’t for metal. I started with nu metal and worked my way backwards, going from influence to influence.

 

Although there are definite themes here, I’m certain you’ve noticed that each of these tales is unique. As is yours, I’m sure. Now it’s your turn. You tell me why you listen to metal. Perhaps together we can gain a slightly bigger understanding of what exactly it is that compels us all.

(Photo VIA)

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  • “some of us are relative neophytes”

    PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE HERE BUT ME.

    LEAVE THE HALL POSERS

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wxwcr72VcKg

    • And yet you still listen to this naptime metal. Where’s the Lamb of God bro??

      • baby time nap metal, wake me up when nappies over

      • “I always thought Randall Thor was a proud warrior with shining swords and morning steels. But since he told that Lamb of God is not his favorite band, I want to ban him. 5FDP, LOG AND BLS 4 LYFE! GETCHA PULL!” – RepostBanRandallThor

      • Naptime metal – I’d like co-opt this to describe boring metal bands.

    • Manowar can be really Spinal Tapish at times but The Trivmph ov Steel is actually a pretty great album.

      • Everything up to Kings of Metal is near flawless IMO

        • I can’t really get into Into Glory Ride. Hail (except for that Black Arrows BS) and Sign are mostly good and I still get a warm and fuzzy nostalgia for Fighting the World when I hear it all these years later. Eric Adams was always a beast.

          • Shhhh, the other Manowar fans will kill us if we tell them “Into Glory Ride” sucks (it does)

          • Stanley

            The second half of Into Glory Ride is great – Hatred, Revelation and March for Revenge are all excellent!

          • Stanley

            “He calls my name, and waves me on” ….goosebumps every time.

          • I just can’t believe how much imagery they were able to pack into the mood of the music, eric’s lyrics/vocals, etc. You can vividly and clearly see that scene

          • Sign of the Hammer is one of those albums I just got really attached to. It is 100% perfect to me. Can’t tell you why, but I can put it on any time and enjoy it start to finish

          • The Beargod

            Sign was their first bad album. Though they took a longish time to make another bad one.

          • I want to argue but I am aware that I am a huge fanboy of that album and will not make a rational argument

          • The Beargod

            It was one of their first albums I heard and because of it I stayed away from them for a longish time.

          • I still avoid Skinless because I got them mixed up with Skindred when I first got into heavier stuff

          • The Beargod

            Lel. Used to like me some Skindred tho. This one song at least sure, not sure which one it is anymore.

          • If you ever want to try that album again, start with the second half. The first half is their WE ARE MIGHTY METAL WARRIORS PLAYING ON 10 WHO ARE SEX ANIMALS side.

          • If you ever want to try that album again, start with the second half. The first half is their WE ARE MIGHTY METAL WARRIORS PLAYING ON 10 WHO ARE SEX ANIMALS side.

    • Scrimm

      PFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

    • OldMetalHead

      This song fucking rips!
      https://youtu.be/AFBQ9zIkdpI

  • Leif Bearikson

    Because I hate myself and want to die.

  • YourLogicIsFlushed

    I have been angry only 6 times in my life, so it can’t be that… Uh, I guess I just like my entertainment to be complex, engaging, and impressive, and metal hosts the most bands with those qualifications. My tastes are the same with movies, books, and tv. I just don’t like to be bored by predictable things.

    • Maik Beninton

      I usually take anything, I’m not a guy who gets turned off easily.

      • YourLogicIsFlushed

        …Can You recommend a dominatrix?

        • Maik Beninton

          Dominatrix?

          • The W.

            If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

          • Maik Beninton
          • Must be those north american stuff!

          • YourLogicIsFlushed

            I was just purposefully misunderstanding your comment and taking it sexually. Please ignore.

          • YourLogicIsFlushed

            I was just purposefully misunderstanding your comment and taking it sexually. Please ignore.

          • EsusMoose

            I’m always amused when jokes like that goes over someone’s head.

          • EsusMoose

            I’m always amused when jokes like that goes over someone’s head.

          • You’re very weird, lol.

          • Maik Beninton

            Good.
            I was about to search that, and Lord knows what I’d find.

          • It involves leather, chains, ropes, whipping, flogging and beatdowns. Usually with well to do white males on the receiving end of it.

          • Mother Shabubu III 12 BRICKS

            And Japanese males. They love that shit over there.

            I’ll never understand BDSM stuff. It’s the weirdest sexual thing, but it sure as fuck is fascinating. Must suck to find out there only way you get off is being encased in latex and have like gasmasks, straps and plugs all over you. All that work and creepiness for a brief moment of shootin’ puddy at the moon.

            I don’t think I would ever a) let someone tie me down willingly, or b) want to discover I like it, or some form of it.

          • The Beargod

            There is no suckimg involved. Though blowing may occur.

          • Maybe these weirdos just really enjoyed getting their asses beat by their mom and carried into adulthood. I don’t get the whole one sidedness of it but I guess that’s their business at the end of the day. Enjoy having a cinderblock tied to your nutsack if that’s what floats your boat or sinks it.

          • Mother Shabubu III 12 BRICKS

            I had an ex-girlfriend who was into light versions of it. She said it’s a psychological thing for guys and girls. Like you’re hot grade school teacher was very stern, and you’re too young to know and feel that sexually excites you, so it manifests down the line. She claimed she used to like watching cartoons where the heroes would get tied up because it made her excited they were vulnerable.

          • Maik Beninton

    • That is impressive! I’ve been angry 6 times since lunch.

    • I am a calm person myself yet nothing makes me happier than listening to loud abrasive noise.

  • Maik Beninton

    When I get into heavier stuff it’s because I’m stressed out. Stuff like failing in college, or when I was serving the army, and as much as that was like scouts (we only had two shooting instructions in the whole year) there was still the pressure from the superiors like not messing up on parade.

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    in normal times—the world operates with “truth’ as having authority-over human affairs

    but when they started pushing that alternative commie/fox media shit—they started trying to push “authority as truth”

    heavy metal is “truly” better than the libtarded “music” that is “allowed” —in these times–before the great worldwide 911hoax revelation

    • Super Nintendo Chalmers

      Delivers/10

    • more beer

      Shouldn`t you be preparing for Jade Helm?

  • It would be hard to pinpoint why I listen to metal. I used to be an angry person but I’ve long since abandoned that by stopping my giving of fucks about most things. One thing I like about metal is that it sounds dense. Modern pop is severely lacking in density and is much too simple. Even the more simple genres of metal like doom draw me in because of the thickness of the sound. My taste toward everything tends to focus on the esoteric, arcane, obscure, and eldritch. I like topics that tend to cover death, philosophy, religion, pain, suffering, history, and violently killing people. Songs about “bein’ in da’ club” don’t resonate with me.
    EDIT: Also, my love for power metal stems from my love of wizards n’ shit.

  • Hubert

    I guess you could say that we “Get our pull” from Metal.

    • #GETCHAPULL

    • The Beargod

      Not sure if I can listen to metal with a clean conscience anymore.

    • OldMetalHead

      Haha. I forgot to write about my Pantera stage. I was soooo sick of all the grunge being played on the radio. They were like a breath of fresh air. I never got to see them play.

  • Guacamelee and Stocky views are very interesting due their education in music. Bpth are like two reflections of the spectrum. I’m not saying with this that both are good or bad, but that both views are very very interesting.

    I understood that it’s construction (Stocky) and feelings (Guac).

    This is my favorite Think Tank. Also, thanks for adding me up!

    • Guacamole Jim

      It’s not entirely feelings for me, since I have a strong appreciation for solidly constructed music, especially coming from a musical education. But I think that what draws me to metal above all the other genres I listen to and love is the feelings and the emotions it is capable of evoking within me, on top of my appreciation for the technicality of its execution.

      • metal can be dissected and analyzed moreso than many other genres. what do FFDP and Nickelbro fans discuss? “this song rules! so does this one!”

        • Maik Beninton

          And then we go ”lolbuttz”

    • Guacamole Jim

      It’s not entirely feelings for me, since I have a strong appreciation for solidly constructed music, especially coming from a musical education. But I think that what draws me to metal above all the other genres I listen to and love is the feelings and the emotions it is capable of evoking within me, on top of my appreciation for the technicality of its execution.

  • Spear

    It was originally fascinating to me that this aggressive music that I had blown off all my life had musicians who were so technically proficient and wrote such catchy songs (“City of Evil” and “Rust in Peace” were the first two metal albums I owned). As to why I listen to it now, I think it’s because it’s such a vast genre that it fulfills almost all of my listening needs.

    • OldMetalHead

      I liked both of those albums. “Rust in Peace” in particular was a monster.

  • EsusMoose

    At first it was a mix of wanting to fit in and music that fit my mood. Grew into a general interest as I grew through my teens and left the confines of my friends group music taste. Now it fits a necessary area of comforting my negative emotions while peeking my interests in seeing where the bounds of music lay. A love to play music has helped.

  • Hubert

    I like the sounds.

  • Shrimp in a Pizza Box

    I personally first got into nü-metal as every angsty teenager ever does, I eventually got into “trve” metal, and it just so happened that I liked it so much everything else was unbearably boring in comparison.

  • Tyree

    I feel really dumb trying to explain this, but here it goes I guess. I’ve just have always been fascinated by dark, scary, and evil subject matters whether it’s art, music, movies, monsters, death, gore, or whatever. Rock n’ Roll just clicked for me when I was a kid because it was absolutely mindblowing to know there was something this heavy and angry sounding out there (I have my dad to thank for that). I’ve progressed on to heavier and heavier shit since then. Metal just simply sounded mean as fuck, the imagery was evil and dark, the musicianship was incredible which led me to start playing drums, and it was just fucking goddamn awesome! So, of course it worked for me! I’ve never looked back since. You can’t just stop liking metal; it will never die but you will.

    • The W.

      That wasn’t dumb at all.

    • The W.

      That wasn’t dumb at all.

    • good point Tyree: nobody ever stops liking it!

    • Scrimm

      This is close for me as well, always drawn to darker things (Imagery, music). My love of horror and metal go pretty much hand in hand.

      • Tyree

        Horror and Metal are always a good combo.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNY4lPBoH2w

        • Scrimm

          I need to reaquire this album.

          • sweetooth0

            Razorback re-issued both this and Horror of the Zombies. Can be had for pretty cheap and they have extra tracks from some of their EPs added in.

          • Scrimm

            I had razorback versions, but I had to trade the majority of my collection in recent months while unemployed.

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      Ditto. This explanation will work for me too.

      • d3ad13

        Same. Tyree’s dad got me into Rock ‘n’ roll, too.

    • sweetooth0

      If it is evil, I am there.

    • Vladimir Poutine

      Well put, man. This take on it, plus a bit from Stockhausen’s, is more or less my approach as well.

  • Tyree

    I feel really dumb trying to explain this, but here it goes I guess. I’ve just have always been fascinated by dark, scary, and evil subject matters whether it’s art, music, movies, monsters, death, gore, or whatever. Rock n’ Roll just clicked for me when I was a kid because it was absolutely mindblowing to know there was something this heavy and angry sounding out there (I have my dad to thank for that). I’ve progressed on to heavier and heavier shit since then. Metal just simply sounded mean as fuck, the imagery was evil and dark, the musicianship was incredible which led me to start playing drums, and it was just fucking goddamn awesome! So, of course it worked for me! I’ve never looked back since. You can’t just stop liking metal; it will never die but you will.

  • Scrimm

    Because it’s the best,

    • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

      ^!

  • Scrimm

    Because it’s the best,

  • Metal covers the gaping hole where my positive personality traits should be.

  • Metal covers the gaping hole where my positive personality traits should be.

  • i was a depressed, socially anxious teenager and listening to metal IMPROVED my mood. when the anger of the music matched my inner anger, it made me calm and cool. shortly afterwards i kicked the depression bug and started socializing with people; but my love of the heavy music remained.
    of course like many of you, i had to crawl out of the nu-metal shell and discover true merol!

  • nbm02ss

    My mom subjected me to formulaic by-the-numbers country, like Brooks & Dunn, one too many times.

  • Mother Shabubu III 12 BRICKS

    It’s a weird, yet boring answer, but I honestly have no idea. It just jives with my turkey. I mean I have a few theories:

    -When I was little my dad always played Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, and Bruce Springsteen, so maybe I was conditioned to like it. My mom used to like the “heavier” stuff back in the day, so maybe it’s genetic too?

    -Maybe it was that I grew up in boring, safe, white suburbia, so I needed some kind of thrill.

    -Or maybe it is because I’m a negative, possibly hateful person who is afraid to be human and emote, so I let the darker vibes of metal do the emoting for me.

    MonsterQuest searches for answers…

    • “Maybe it was that I grew up in boring, safe, white suburbia, so I needed some kind of thrill”

      That remembered me a discussion we had with some punks in my hometown. They told us that merol is a safe music and that we didn’t have any issue and that’s why we prefered to listen music about imaginary devils and unicorns to mask the reality. And that punk at least tried to see that reality, while merol stayed in the imagination.

      • YourLogicIsFlushed

        That is an incredibly interesting point.

        • Yeah, they were “working class” punks, according to them.

          To me, it’s still a critique without fundament. The argument is very empty, but they told us that it was a very classic debate of the whole punk vs. merol.

          • I kinda get this. I’m turned off by most of the fantasy aspects common in metal.

          • Since this is a more personally terrain, I would like to express that, for myself, I prefer fantasy because our reality is harsh by nature and I was always more attracted to “magic”, “fantasy” and “faiths”.

            I think we all search for our own niches, vibes and content.

            Those punks were very unidimensional in the end. They always wanted to express all that working class protests, but that ended in their own niche.

          • e.g. dragon fucking

          • Óðhinn

            I like my fantasy in TV, films, and books. Metal, not so much. It’s because Power Metal is too cheesy.

          • The Beargod

            I tend to think the opposite ( I like punk and political music too). The whole political punk thing is escapism. You can tell yourself that you’re doing something for the better when actually you’re just as lazy as the rest and haven’t really got what it takes to make the change. Especially if you were supposed to be the engine.
            The fantasy imagery keeps you from pretending that you’re making a difference.

          • Beargod, I agree with you about the escapism in punk.

            Also: death,doom and despair!

      • This is why I tend to gravitate more towards the punk influenced metal than the dark and evil stuff. There’s a certain type of raw emotion that comes out in the music and lyrics that strike a chord with me.

  • Super Nintendo Chalmers

    Satan.

  • Stanley

    I’m absolutely, completely and positively 100% sure that I have no fucking idea.

  • Jormungandr

    It makes me tingly in my naughty bits.

  • Scrimm

    Two more reasons.

  • Also, I must say again that all of your responses fascinate me and trigger my social communication research side <3

  • OldMetalHead

    I remember being like 11 or 12 and hearing Van Halen’s “Somebody Call me a Doctor” on the radio and being blown away, like almost scared. Prior to that my friends and I were mostly into top 40 BS.

    After that I did one of those rip-off record service offers and scored stuff like “Back in Black”, “Moving Pictures”, “Fair Warning”, KISS, Zeppelin, Sabbath etc.
    To deal with being an awkward kid in HS I was turned on to progressively harder stuff (Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Ozzy, Manowar, WASP) and discovered that not only did it help me deal with my anger, but that it helped me fit in with the other outcasts.

    As a senior in HS I became a thrash junky – Metallica, Slayer, Megadeath, etc.
    Now, 30 years later, and I’m also into DM, but haven’t stopped listening to the other stuff either. It’s been a real progression. The one constant is fast, loud guitars and heavy drums. I listen to a lot of other genres of music, but I still love Metal. Almost not a day goes by that I don’t listen.

    • Old Metalhead and JAG responses are very interesting too because the age.

      You include a lot the High School factor, and it’s awesome, because those times without internet were hugely different than these ones. Thanks for sharing your storie, Old Metalhead.

      I’m still waiting for Kvlt Taco’s story <3

      You guys rule.

      • OldMetalHead

        You guys rule Brother. I’ve gotten more good music advice on this blog in the last 6 months!

    • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

      Great post man… its great to hear someone describe the impact of Van Halen at the beginning related to the music scene at the time. They catch a ton of shit here but the fact is they were heavy as fuck.

    • Guppusmaximus

      Hell yeah… Columbia House. Get that first Tape for 1 cent then never pay the bill and never order anymore items. *bad boy*

  • I started listening for the heavy, angry, aggressive elements. I then got more interested in the musical and technical wizardry behind it, and now it’s a combination of both that keeps me interested.

    • i just discovered that Lazer/Wulf is playing in your great city tonight. due to A) not knowing this information beforehand and B) being on-call for work, i have missed a great opportunity to see them live 🙁

  • I listen to metal because I wanted to stack the deck against myself in high school. Also at the time Counter-Strike and metal seems like a pretty even trade off to sex and drinking.

    • The W.

      Counter-strike >>>> sex.

      • Shrimp in a Pizza Box

        When you can get scores better than 3/14, that is Q_Q.

        • The W.

          Sometimes I miss the old days of lan parties in high school. Going to some rinkydink computer store that reeks of sweat and urine to play CS with chubby nerds all night or lugging a hefty CRT tv to a game night for a Smash tournament. Those were glorious times.

          • I played video games over hanging out and doing stupid shit a lot in high school (still managed to do some of that, too though) no regrets.

  • old_man_doom

    While I do find a release for anger and aggression in our music, for the most part I tend to have a positive outlook in regards to it, despite the heaviness or bleakness. My positivity stems not necessarily from the content but from the stimulation that it provides to my imagination. I can experience a vast array of emotions or “journey” to whole other dimensions with metal, something which cannot be accomplished with pop. It distracts me from the pressures of the real world and it is my favorite form of escapism (apart from music and film).

    The real world fucking sucks; I don’t want to hear about that shit. I just want to smash my head against the concrete and caveman stomp to some Mastodong.

    • GROG TEACH YOU TO STOMP!!!

      • old_man_doom

        Jimmy! Please tell me that you are not Grog or the various profiles that upvote him regularly.

        • I upvote the cavemen and cavewoman all the time, I find them hilarious. But I am definitely not them ..

          • more beer

            Many seem to think you are.

          • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

            me support u grog support…

  • TheRedman(formerly God ov All)

    Honestly, I’ve always suffered from some severe clinical depression (chemical imbalance in my brain. Family inherited, makes me sad even when I shouldn’t be, but what can you do?) and was raised in a religious household (with myself still being religious, even though now I’ve got my own beliefs of what Christianity is, yada yada whole other story altogether) where Christian pop music was a constant. It never clicked with me as happy music when I’m sad just made it worse. It annoyed the hell out of me. And then one day, I stumbled upon the world of Christian metal. I Myself, and I’m sure many others here, knew this to be my gateway to the world of heavy metal music and simultaneously no longer being held down by my depression. Metal taught me at times to embrace it and it’s okay to feel down every now and again, as long as you punch depression in the fucking face later and let yourself be happy. Metal taught me that sure, I’m weird, but so is everybody else and I had a place I belonged. It’s commrodarey, it’s a passion, it’s an obsession. For me it’s my treatment. Metal picks me up when depression has me down. It takes me to a realm of speed, darkness, self empowerment, and dreams. This is why I listen to metal. I’d probably be dead by now without it.

  • The W.

    Hey everyone, thanks so much for your comments!

    • OldMetalHead

      This is a great topic. Glad you wrote this so I could thank you personally for all of your contributions on here. Thanks also for introducing me to The Monolith Death Cult.

      • The W.

        Hey, you’re very welcome. At the end of the day, I get to talk about music I love and hopefully introduce people to stuff they’ll enjoy. That isn’t bad at all!

    • Pump Up The Vulva (KJU)

      And thank you too, you hunky slab of Ph.D wielding beefcake!

    • Óðhinn

      W. You write some great articles my friend.

    • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

      thanks for your effort!

  • Guppusmaximus

    Great Question! I’d like to be able to say that I started listening to Metal because I’m into dark & creepy shit and that I have a vengeful & spiteful anger that resides in the deepest chasms of my mind…but…I’d be lying. Well, maybe, I had some underlying mental issues that I wasn’t consciously aware of when I was younger but I’m fairly positive that I got into Heavy Metal because I loved the sounds, the videos & the clothing. I think I was initially drawn to the drums because I bought Killers when it first came out (well maybe my mom bought it – I was 7, seriously) and ‘Ides of March’ as well as ‘Genghis Khan’ made those little prepubescent hairs stand up on my little neck. m/ m/

  • The Devil

    Because I was the inspiration for the entire genre

    • The W.

      Ayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

      welcome back.

    • Yooooo! Long time no see.

      • The Devil

        Yeah. Things were totally FUBAR for a handful of months when the Great Old Ones broke free of their prisons beyond space and time. It took the combined forces of Hell, Mount Olympus, and Valhalla to seal them up back again, and it was a huge pain the ass.

        Jehovah was too busy playing The Witcher 3 and watching the NBA playoffs to lend a hand though–that fucking ass.

    • whoa, hey guy! miss you

      • The Devil

        How’s my favorite detective? I’ve been heating things up in Baltimore lately just for you.

        • well i’m on season 4 and apparently i’ve settled down with the cutie blonde from the docks and am drinking less 🙁

    • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

      What about Creed?

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    I find I listen to metal mostly for the journeys these days. Song doesn’t have to be long or slow or anything, just has to go places. Slum, slaughterhouse or the stars, labyrinths of our minds or aliens’, black past or vast future. Despair into hope, sunlight into despond. It’s all good. Just like to roam around in it.

  • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

    When I was a kid the people in charge (parents) were a mess. The hypocrisy and insanity made me angry and Metal fit the fucking bill. As I grew older the people in charge (bosses, govt officials, authority figures) were a mess. The hypocrisy and insanity made me angry and Metal fit the fucking bill. And so it goes…

    • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

      PS, the P’s are doing much better now, as am I. Change is possible…

  • Lilo’s Penis Tornado (KJU)

    It sounds cornball, but from an early age it connected with me, before I was ever able to think about actual reasoning. My dad told me a while back that around 2 or 3 years old, I’d scream and cry whenever he put on Bruce Springsteen, but I’d go to sleep next to the amp whenever he put on Judas Priest. So I guess it’s a primal thing, corny as that sounds.

    • this bro approves of your new profile!

      • StudmanGetYourPull666_69

        Hehe thanks! Your Supreme Leader is deep undercover.

  • Hotdog Clifford

    Me and Jack Bauer are the exact same person except I never got into Rammstein.

    • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

      plus the whole hot dog thing…

  • IfJthenS

    Man. Well, first, I really just ran into metal in the days where MTV used to play music video by persons not named Mariah Carey(this was pre-Britney Spears and the cookie cutter pop explosion of ’98). Marilyn Mansons’ Lunchbox was weird, wild, and just drew me in… don’t know if it was the lyrics, the guitars, or both, but I loved it and it spoke to something in me… that I wish, like other things, I didn’t feel I had to hide in a closet with the other shit. I got deep into metal because I needed a place to release all that aggression… and then I needed hope afterwards, strength afterwards. Metal gave me both – an outlet to get all the fucking anger out, and then something that made me stand tall too; thrash AND power – Slayer AND Iron Maiden. I love that feeling – its the best drug in the world, and I can share it unabated with guys and girls that are into it, or keep it to myself. And now that I’ve grown and started going to show after show, it feels good to see that other people get that same feeling without having to say a word to them – you just see it in their eyes. I think that’s why I continue to listen, to try and get into new bands – I like the feeling of seeing and hearing not only the bands, but the people that are really into it. Kind of makes the shit-sandwich life can be sometimes really, really worth it.

  • Max

    I’ve always felt that the oft-cited reasons only factor in mildly for me:

    1) A sense of identity.
    This one’s paradoxically gotten more important for me as I’ve gotten older, but I didn’t actually identify as a metalhead for a long time once I got into it at 17. I was a skater who listened to punk/grunge and transitioned over to death metal; still wouldn’t have a bar of anything earlier (thrash, NWOBHM, etc.) at that point and certainly didn’t dress like a metalhead or even hang out with them at school.

    2) Catharsis for alienation, anger, etc.
    I was actually quite popular at school, plenty of girls liked me, etc. Adolescence wasn’t THAT rosy and I can be a hateful or depressed person at times, but music’s never had much of a role in emotional comportment for me. I don’t listen to cheer myself up or reflect my lack of cheer.

    3) Rebellion.
    I could be quite rebellious, but any rebellion I needed was coming from punk. Metal at that time (1992) was, in fact, not seen as a particularly rebellious form of music. It was regarded as apolitical, escapist and was sort of passe too. It might be rebellious if you hail from a religious family; but again, I was raised an atheist in a totally secular environment (and Australia in general is a much less religiously-observant country than the US). Needless to say – also, at 40, working three jobs, paying taxes, living in my own flat etc. I don’t feel like a particularly rebellious person.

    So what does that leave? The music itself.

    Death metal is the first type of music I ever listened to where I wondered why it sounded the way it did and how that had been accomplished in terms of playing, production, etc. I’d never thought about such issues with any music previously. It’s also the first music I heard that motivated me to learn an instrument or try my hand at recording.

    Thinking about it, I’d say that’s even more important as the main reason I’m STILL listening to it let alone why I started. Metal isn’t designed to be heard; it’s designed to be listened to. There is a distinction. Good listening is invariably a challenge motivates curiosity somehow. Metal is one rock sub-genre that makes a particularly good fist of combining a proven formula of loud, powerful delivery with progression and envelope-pushing that has sustained its survival over decades. It’s kept interesting yet satisfyingly familiar at the same time, which is why it tends to retain its listeners when other popular music sub-genres shed them.

    • Guacamole Jim

      Can you just write all our articles from now on?

      • Max

        I’d run out of ideas real quick!

  • john

    For me it was my mom, oddly enough. She was huge into heavier rock from the 70s, proto-metal as some call it–Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, AC/DC, but also some of the more blues-ey influenced rock like Bob Seger, George Thoroughgood, Boston and Steppenwolf.

    So it became a natural progression for me, as the angry, angsty teen growing up in the 90s–I was a bit of a nerd, had trouble with the ladies, had some dark thoughts in my head, and metal (and to a much lesser extent, some grunge) was arrived at, after listening to stuff like Zeppelin. Metallica was my entry level, …And Justice For All specifically, with songs like Dyer’s Eve really hitting home for me. It went from there. It wasn’t until well into my 20s that I started to pick up on Power metal specifically, with its themes similar to my other hobbies.

    tl;dr metal spoke to me as an angry teen in the 90s.

  • CT-12

    To sort of paraphrase Rob Zombie in “Metal: a Headbanger’s Journey”, I was the weird kid when I was young, and probably still am. I had a family and personal situation that wasn’t the perfect, gift-wrapped apple pie of awesomeness that I saw on tv day to day, and I didn’t really know any other kids at the time who were dealing with the same problems I was. I think this drove me to seek out more alternative – dare I say, more authentic – ways of thinking, entertainment, people, etc. As soon as I found something that I knew maybe not a lot of people took the time to understand, I obsessively pursued it.

    So, when I first heard and learned about heavy metal, I was instantly intrigued. Here was a genre that I rarely ever heard mention of that was angry (like me), pissed (like me), and very against mainstream music and mainstream life in general (like me haha). It was a community of people who embraced and actively pursued the alternative with the obsessive fervor I had, while shunning the status quo of the normal world. So, I came to the conclusion that this was where I belonged and what I wanted to pursue in my life, and by doing so, it’s helped to fill many voids in my life. Thanks metal.

    • Pump Up The Vulva (KJU)

      Excellent film, btw.

  • J.R.

    Ed’s comment of “the aesthetics, inventiveness, and impressive musicianship” hits it pretty on the spot for me. The Bauermiester and I took similar gateway-metal paths, and JAG we are happy you didnt suicided!

    I like listening to Metal because the songs tell better stories. Country and Rap are good outlets for telling stories, but so much of their catalog is hokey dopey garbage trash. Concept albums and Amon Amarth stuff really pulled me in to the Metalsphere. It is a cozy place.

    And “Metal”, within its forked and splintered halls, has the greatest potential for exploration of both sound and subject inside its established confines, if that makes sense. In order to make a “canonically metal” album, there is a lot more freedom. A lot of other genres seem to be very narrow in what is accepted. I dunno. I ate too much

  • Óðhinn

    ‘Cause this:

    *crank the volume*

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hkuDpd1JYU

    Fuck yeah!

  • Grease Sells… But Who’s Frying

    Great responses everyone.

    One thing that I think most Metal listeners have in common, is a low tolerance for the bells and whistles that often comes with more mainstream music.

    If you’re presenting your music as a form of Metal, talking the talking might get people interested, but you better be able to walk the walk.

    It’s hard to hide when you’re in a Metal band, regardless of what instrument you’re playing, as there’s a certain level of technical competence and focused energy required to convince the often critical Metal crowd, you’re the real deal.

    This gives Metal a certain in-built authenticity. If you’re not delivering, it will be painfully apparent to all.

    You may not necessarily think about this when listening to a new band or song, but I think that core energy, vibe, feel, call it what you will, grabs you from the get go and keeps you involved.

    Metal can be a lot of different things to different people, but rarely is it boring. It’s by nature engaging and provocative, which appeals to those who crave something different, something that stimulates them beyond their day to day activities.

    • Guppusmaximus

      Actually, I started my journey to Metal from artists like Michael Jackson and that man was far from mere “bells and whistles”. I still listened to Thriller almost daily when it came out while jamming to Maiden, Black Sabbath, Sweet, Black & Blue, Twisted Sister, etc. Though, I do agree that most of the bands that were the foundation for their respective sub-genres of Metal possessed a level of technical competence and focused energy, but, that’s usually par for the course when you have a musical vision & the talent to back it up…

      • Grease Sells… But Who’s Frying

        Good point.

        None of the things I listed are exclusive to Metal, but things I see as large part of defining it.

  • Ahmed Johnson The Reef Eater

    The reason I listen to metal is because I like it. The reason I listen to any music is because I like it.

    • Ahmed plz elaborate!

      • Ahmed Johnson The Reef Eater

        I listen to metal because I enjoy the way it sounds. Something about the way it sounds gives me comfort.

  • Oli Fucking Sykes, Son.

    Because the sound of it appeals to me. Same with any genre.
    I know its short, but that’s my reasoning.