The Peanut Gallery

The Three Stages of Being a Metalhead


The Peanut Gallery BannerLast week we posted a video by Brian Storm entitled “Are Heavy Metal Fans Destroying Their Own Scene?” and, as expected, the video provoked some heated discussion in our comments section, some productive, some not so much.

But one comment in particular stood out to me. It comes courtesy of MS reader DestroyErase, and it hits the nail right on its big, fat head:

There are different stages to being a metalhead:

First there is the plebeian stage, where kids are initially turned on to the genre of metal. They peruse nu metal and other metal-lite subgenres because it’s cool, new, and edgy. They haven’t yet explored the depths of the genre as a whole.

Once they’ve become hitched on the genre they move onto stage two: contrarian puritanism. Metal engrosses this kid’s life, and subsequently becomes very, very serious business online. They love to subjugate subgenres, pigeonholing bands under a single label and getting offended when people mess up said labels. Still susceptible to peer influence, they will pick up and drop subgenres based on what they think is “real” metal. Other genres of music become a no-go zone, because metal is objectively better than any other kind of music that has ever had the gall to approach the teenager’s well developed taste in music.

The third stage happens when a metalhead ages and matures beyond the point of edgy, black-and-white interpretations of the world. This stage is called the Grand Wizard. As an adult you realize that labels are silly and inhibiting a lot of the time. Metal is integral to your life, but it doesn’t make you who you are. You are free to enjoy the music you like on the basis of you enjoying it rather than if it fits within the genre. Other peoples’ taste in music differs from your own and you realize that’s just fine. You see comments you made calling out Korn and Disturbed fans for railing on extreme metal, telling them to go listen to rap and Justin Bieber like the homosexuals they are, and you get a little embarrassed.

tl;dr Basically, it’s about maturity.

That’s exactly it, right? The types of metalheads Storm calls out in his video are primarily in phase two — they also make up the majority of metal fans, at the peak of the bell curve if you will, or at the very least they’re the most vocal.

I’d like to think I’m in stage three now — it’s why I can appreciate something like Jaga Jazzist, the myriad synthwave bands flooding the scene, or a completely un-tr00 hard rock band like Shinedown — although I admit to sometimes still getting flustered and stangry about a miscategorization or a stupid scene band.

What do you think: does DestroyErase get it right, or is it more complicated? Chime in below.

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