If you’re amongst the crowd that has taken the reference of Highway to Hell much too seriously then you are missing out big time on the Paradise City and Stairway to Heaven! (Yes, that was a pun. And you’ll find many more in the article because why don’t we just Let the Music Do the Talking?)
What is generally labeled as the noisy, satanic, aggressive, rebellious, unorthodox, and crazy headbanging senselessness is what is known to us as Classical Rock and Metal music.
Not to get into the never-ending tussle of metal against the world because every genre of music has its essence and is to be appreciated equally as art.
Here we have the myth-busting of metal music and the benefits it bestoweth on millions around the world in focus, so why don’t we get into a little background about the music and go through some of the pioneers before we can lift the main curtain?
The Making Of Metal Music
The foundation stones for metal are said to have been placed by Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath in the late 60s as they practically transformed the way music was heard around the world. Of course, we had amazing music before that but who would’ve imagined losing themself and banging heads to the classical operas and the melodic tunes of Bill Monroe! (That’s another myth busted for you if you think it was the electronic music of late that provoked people to jump around in ginormous crowds!)
The trend of listening to loud music and really partying hard was introduced as people don’t usually listen to metal music but when they do, so do the neighbors.
It was in the 70s that the official title of Metalheads was given to the diehard fans of the genre as many artists gave their own distinct touch to it, further dividing the metal into many distinct genres.
The energetic performances and igniting music by Kiss to the melodic Blues-influenced Metal and melodic music of Aerosmith was just enough to plant its roots in Great Britain from where Iron Maiden was to leave a mark on the genre forever.
The 80s are widely credited as the “Golden Era For Rock And Metal” because of the outrageously influential bands like Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, ACDC, Anthrax, Slayer, and Megadeath all had a distinct hall of fame created for them in music that is always going to be a class apart.
Distinctive Features Of Metal Music
Metal music is about showmanship as much as it is about music. The pillars of a typical metal band are Rhythm guitar, Bass guitar, Drums, and Vocals, which combine to create loud and emphatic music. The song is made up of strong power chords with momentary mute playing to distort the sound through the amp and is backed by a bass guitar that plays the most important role in Metal than it does in any other genre of music.
The drumming provides a baseline and the vocalist has to convey the lyrics in such a manner that the tone of his voice should be much more important than the lyrics themselves, which is why we have seen a generation of remarkable vocalists like Axl, Chester, Hetfield and many more.
Every metal song generally starts with either a short intro solo or just a rhythm guitar setting up the base tune with other instruments and vocals joining shortly after. The verses go on as they do in any other type of music except that they are really fast and loud and brings the entire focus on the chorus.
The most important part of a metal song, however, remains to be a moving solo by the lead guitarists who gets the stage to himself alone for that moment.
Amidst the many stains that tarnish that way metal is viewed around the world, one feature has a lot more truth to it which is it is,” Rebellious”. Metal music drives emotions through the listeners while most of the focus remains on the suppression by the society or even the governments.
Songs like Civil Wars and Fade to Black have long been a phenomenal fuel to the fire of rebelliousness but they stand to be one of the greatest and most meaningful songs ever to be written. The key element of raging emotions is not to rebel but to unveil the curtain of lies that always seems to be pulled close.
Strong emotional lyrics that reflect on the naked hardships of life are why the fans find it so relevant to relate to.
Contrary to the common belief, it has helped many people around the world by simply portraying that life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows and they are not the only ones. It makes a worldwide community of fans that can relate to and understand the problems of one another.
Popular Genres Of Metal Music
Not all types of metal music are hard-to-hear, it has developed over a dozen sub-genres since the initial introduction in the late 60s. But black nails or long ones, skinny leather pants or spiked, shiny snakeskin belt or the one with bullets, long hair or Mohawks, a see-through shirt or a skirt altogether, we are all one and all under the same umbrella of metal music.
The most popular among common folk is the alternative metal, which is rather ambient music that has been highlighted by the likes of Linkin Park, Breaking Benjamin, and the infamous Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Black metal is the typical idea you have in mind about metal in general. It is an extremely aggressive form of metal music that includes infuriating lyrics given out in shrieking voices backed by high-pitched vocals and loud distorted sound of the instruments. It has been quite often linked with various church burnings and Satanism because of the overly exaggerated blasphemous phrases the artists love to use but is a rather dying and less popular form of the music and even the pioneers have not been able to mark their name in stone. Hellhammer and Celtic Frost are by far the most successful ones out of the sub-genre.
Grunge metal is probably what balances out the high shrieks and loudness from Black metal and bringing out a combination of all forms of rock and metal altogether to make distinctive music. Nirvana and Pearl Jam are the most well-known out of the sub-genre. The specific mention of Eddie’s voice being used as an instrument in the Yellow Ledbetter by the pearl jam is a modern breakthrough in the genre’s creativity and innovation.
Heavy metal or Death metal are some rather aggressive forms of music as well, but most of them target the evils and injustice of the society rather than a particular group of races. Metallica, Iron Maiden, Slayer, and even Pantera have made some major contributions to the genre by composing timeless music.
The Myth-Busting And Benefits Bestowing
There is quite a restricted crowd in every community who appreciates the genre of heavy metal. It is comparatively a hard-to-pickup genre because you don’t see much romanticism come out of it, which is the key emotion that drives everyone. Not here to say that chasing chumminess is in vain, but every hour has its name, and so heavy metal covers a completely different aspect of music and emotions, as mentioned above already.
One can go on for days and weeks putting together a playlist to guide you into liking heavy metal music, starting from the blues and progressing up the ladders of alternative and punk to finally have you level with the metalheads’ community, but the truth be told, it just comes to you. Just like you can’t trick yourself into liking broccoli because it is healthy, you can’t develop a taste in a different kind of music out of nowhere.
Three Common Myths About Metal Music
You Can’t Be Nice And Like Metal At The Same Time
It is always blithering naivety to judge a person by the type of music they love to listen to, if that were to be true anyways, I think it’s the people who listen to symphonies and remain ridiculously calm while they play piano stress that you really need to watch out for! (If movies have taught us one thing it’s the calmness of a highly unstable person to exceptionally deceiving)
Moving away from the blame game, it is well-known fact to have an activity where you channel your energies into, it can be working out, playing a sport, rowing, or just banging your head and going aggressive on that delicate guitar of yours. People listening to metal music might have a better coping mechanism towards stress and anxiety or they might not, it’s just music!
Straight Out Blasphemy!
The general picture of heavy metal being played by the demons hanging around by threads while most of us are descended to hell is a rather attractive setting if you ask me personally, I’d love to be welcomed by exuberant creatures knowing no matter how screwed up it gets, we’re going to be rocking anyway. But that is just an opinion, again!
To label the entire genre of metal by Satanism is like judging Toyota by Prius, sure it is a great production car and gives you many miles per gallon but that’s really not what Toyota is. You will be surprised to know that there is a sub-genre to metal that is “Christian Metal” or, “Unblack Metal”, If you think it’s weird enough already, wait till you hear a song like “Defeat of The Satan” and albums like “Martyrium”! Metal is all about speaking up strongly against what suppresses your beliefs and opposes your thinking, it is a form of art and the artist may do as he pleases. Sure there are blasphemous songs, but then there are really emotional and uplifting ones, if you are picking out spots to bring Metal music down, it only proves that you are intimidated by it and that is awesome!
Where’s The Song Through That Noise?
Primarily, if you think all metal songs are just noises, shame on you!
There probably isn’t any solid explanation as to why it is so loud and has distorted instruments being played because that’s how it is. But the fact that most people find it rather noisy, loud, and fast is because it is not generally heard being played in commercials or themes that we come across all day.
There are a setting and time for everything, you can’t overly charge yourself with metal on your honeymoon (Bad Idea!), and you can’t portray a guy being all forms of macho in a movie or make up an image for chaos by playing Taylor Swift in the background. So, if you really think its noises and loud, try asking a metalhead to turn the volume and you’ll know for real what loud is.
Over To The Benefits Of Metal Music
As it had been repeatedly stressed upon in the writing that metal music is just a genre of music. Neither is it a curse that will get you a one-way ride to hell and nor is it a means of redemption that will have your life sorted out with a single record.
Time to get technical, dopamine is the happy hormone or molecule that is produced by the brain to make you feel happy and it is released in ample amounts when listening to a song of your liking, can be any genre. The only plus point that heavy metal gets is the rather fast BPS (Beats Per Minute), it has been proven from studies that the beats of a song have your heartbeat synced with it after a while. The heavy metal thus naturally increases your heartbeat, which in turn makes you more active to have the following benefits.
Makes Workouts Even Better
While it is amazing how Frank Campana has a style of training Tommy classical symphonies like “Ode To Joy”, that isn’t the case in most gyms and workout sessions. Besides the cheerleaders, it is a rare occasion to see someone exert so much energy to music with melody, you need a hard beat to keep that pump from going cold and ruining your entire workout day.
As much as it is nearly impossible to not have worked out with heavy metal rippin’ the speakers, if you still haven’t tried it out then it is needless to say that you are missing out on quite a lot. Listening metal gives you that extra push you need one more rep every time, and works even better if you’re mostly consumed by cardio. With your heartbeat trying to catch the explosive 170BPS of an average metal song, you will have one of the best workout experiences you have ever had.
Channel Negative Emotions
There’s a dire need of mentioning it again, listening to any type of music you like will have a positive or negative effect on your emotions. Now coming to the confines of releasing anger, what do we generally do when we are infuriated? Try to punch through the wall? Throw the lamps on the floor and see them shatter as they spread across the floor in fragments? Scream in frustration? Or you just haven’t been that angry yet?
Jokes aside, metal music makes you want to jump around, and yes, headbang! While you may look like an absolute lunatic from across the window to your neighbors who can’t hear the jam you’re playing, you will be channeling much of your negative emotions into the energy you are exerting. And yes, it is a medically proven fact, not about the metal music in specific but the channeling of your energies. So why does it even matter how you do it, as long as you’re doing it?
Ever been caught off-guard by a song that you used to love listening to suddenly being played by the radio? Without a second thought, you reach out and turn it up with a faint smile on your face as it brings back the long cornered memories of our seemingly colorless life. Whether it is a heavy metal song or cheery country one, it brings back the nostalgia all the same.
Metal music is no cheat code against depression and anxiety and there is no valid proof of it being so. The only factor that counts here is that Metalheads feel a part of a global community, one that is not driven by lust or desire, but by sticking out for each other. The music mainly focuses on the hardships, injustices, and traumas one goes through, they in-return act as a consolidating emotion to the listeners of making them belong in a world that is so cruel. So yes, although there isn’t scientific evidence to put into the favor of metal music here, it can be noticed evidently that Metalheads are more about saying no when they want to, and that helps build confidence and fight depression and anxiety.
At the end of the day, Heavy Metal isn’t about dragging other music genres down and toppling over them to prove something extra-ordinary to the world, and neither are the other music genres that way. Music is always going to be music and fans are always going to fans. Although there is some serious questioning on you even being a fan if you don’t defend your music taste, bringing others down is definitely not something a person should stoop to.
Some all-time-great records come from the Heavy Metal genre that are a must listen to regardless of what type of music you like. To make it even convenient, I’ll include a list of some of my favorite hits that I think needs to reach the ear of as many people as it can. Try out with an open heart, and who knows you might end up being the controversial, yet rebellious Metalhead yourself, Cheers!