Barbarous Book Club

The Phrase “Heavy Metal Music” is Used More In Books These Days


heavymetalclassroomAs an avid reader growing up, it always pissed me off how most authors portrayed metal and metalheads. It was always this loud music played by homophobic dickheads who were going nowhere in life (well, I’ve grown up into an overly-sensitive blogger, so who’s the bitch now).

Anyway. Using Google’s Ngram viewer — a program that allows you to track the use of words and phrases in books over time — we’ve discovered that the usage of the phrases “heavy metal music” and “metalhead” have increased dramatically over the last three decades. Check it out:


Even though metal had its heyday in the 1980s, it’s not surprising that the use of the term in literature only exploded afterwards. When metal was first coming about, most people working in books didn’t know what to make of it, and most of them assumed that metalheads weren’t the most voracious readers.

It’d be interesting to map certain milestones on this chart — specific books, like Chuck Klosterman’s Fargo Rock City or Ian Christe’s Sounds Of The Beast, or the inclusion of terms like grindcore or deathcore into the mainstream — which might have taken away from referencing straight heavy metal.

At the very least, it’s good to see that metal has infected the world of high literature. Now how long until J.K. Rowling includes a reference to pornogrind?

Thanks to MetalSucks reader Anna F. for bringing this to our attention!

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