The heavy metal scene is one that is blessed with a diverse catalog of passionate fans that will — in a lot of cases — do whatever necessary to spread a wealth of knowledge about the music that we all know and love. I’m assuming that passion, or at the very least growing interest, is the reason you’re here reading HBIH in the first place. Or you just have a really odd sense of ironic humor. However, there’s also a lot of misinformation and negative connotations about metal that is spread outside of the metal community, and there’s very little being done about this. No one seems to want to do any research about heavy metal unless it can be directly linked to psychosis in teenagers, or a growing love for Satan in children (both of which can be fully explained when one watches the soul crushing GOP Presidential primary campaign).
So with that in mind I would like to direct your attention to the efforts of my friend Max. Max is a senior at Pennsylvania State University who, like all of us, enjoys heavy metal music. He enjoys it so much so that he has decided to have it be the main subject in an anthropological study for his senior English class. The exact assignment is to either research an issue in depth or look at a sub-culture or cultural phenomenon and research it. He has decided to do the latter and research the sub-culture that surrounds heavy metal music. In his research he is looking for insight on why people enjoy heavy metal music, what brings them to the genre, whether or not there are implications or stereotypes that are associated with being a metal head, whether or not there are genre-based barriers within the community itself (e.g black metal fans hating on power metal fans), and ultimately how we in the community benefit from the music. The man is trying to give a voice to all of us who happen to be fans of heavy metal music, and help dismiss any preconceived notions others might have about us.
I think it’s a fascinating idea and honestly, you should too. So that’s why I’m making this post; I want to reach out to our readership and ask for you to help this man out. He’s one of us and he deserves some support. If you feel like it please take a few minutes out of your day and answer the brief questionnaire below. Once you’re finished, you can shoot those answers over to Max in an email at wms5043[at]gmail[dot]com. Preliminary data is due on Friday March 23 — that’s tomorrow folks — so please take the five minutes out of your day to do this. You’re going to be helping out a great guy in such an easy way. You can read Max’s full statement below.
I’m studying metal from an anthropological viewpoint. What makes us who we are, why we like it, and what we benefit from it. I have a few short questions for preliminary research, and I would love for any input at all. You can message them to me, or email at [email protected]
1.) What is it about metal that attracts you to the genre?
2.) Do you think there are any implications to being a metal head? Like are there any social traits you would expect a metal listener to have?
3.) What is it about metal that you believe brings us all together as a community?
4.) Do you think that people outside of the community have wrong stereotypes about metal heads? If you do, what do you think they are? Do you imagine yourself being in any of those categories?
5.) have you ever seen Sam Dunn’s “Metal a Headbanger’s Journey?” Do you think we’re a culture of people that deserves some research. For instance, do you think that the community would benefit from telling others who we are?
6.) Metal has a ton of different sub-genres. LCTR is progressive, Darkthrone is black metal so on and so forth… Do you think these genres present a barrier within the community? Does it separate us at all?
7.) When you go to a metal show or see one of your favorite bands, what do you like to do at a venue? Are you able to experience life in a way that is unlike anything else? Do you get aggression out or relieve stress or anything like that?
8.) And lastly … if there was one thing you wanted the world to know about you, and how you feel about music what would it be?