There are many reasons explaining just why people like metal music. It’s not always obvious, though, particularly for casual listeners hearing overbearing noise.
The main reason why people like metal music is that it expresses strong emotions and provides a sense of catharsis to cope with difficult feelings or experiences.
You will also find some observers appreciating the technical skill and artistic expressions found within the genre.
It’s why you will find a huge army ready to rally for metal’s cause whenever you question its legitimacy. Below, you’ll find out more about the passion of heavy metal fans.
Why do people like heavy metal music?
There are many reasons why people might enjoy metal music. More often than not, these reasons may include:
- The intensity of the music: Metal songs often have fast tempos and intense energy, which can be exhilarating and make listeners feel more alive. They also contribute to producing intense atmospheres at live shows.
- The aggressive or rebellious lyrics: Metal music often deals with themes of defiance and resistance, which appeals to those who feel like outsiders or want to express their individuality.
- A sense of community: Many metal fans are part of a tight-knit community. This creates a sense of belonging and shared identity with others who listen to this music.
- Expressing strong emotions: Metal music can provide a way for people to express strong emotions and find an outlet for their feelings. This can be reflected in crafting songs or listening to them.
- Technical musicianship: Metal bands often showcase high skill and precision while playing. Guitarists, drummers, and vocalists push boundaries to create unique sounds that aren’t found in more mainstream genres.
By creating interesting songs and a tight-knit community, the world of metal is seemingly all-inclusive. This blend often sees it stand out as more than just a music genre.
What makes a good metal song?
Many different factors make a good metal tune truly stand out. These songs often transcend the genre and break into mainstream charts.
Despite metal being loaded with sub-genres, the most outstanding songs share some common traits. These traits tend to include:
- Strong melodies: There will always be a melodic hook that gets stuck in your head. Whether it is a soaring chorus like Enter Sandman or an iconic riff like “The Trooper,” a melodic feature always brings success.
- Dynamic range: A good metal song ought to have a variety of sections. This could be slow verses and booming choruses in a lead single. This shift in tone keeps listeners wanting to hear more and shows off various sounds.
- Technical Flair: The best metal songs show a band’s overall talents. This can be from face-melting guitar solos to impressive vocal performances. Just look at Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher” or Judas Priest’s “Painkiller” to see great examples of bands shining in all areas.
- Emotional Lyrics: A reason why people like metal music is that the lyrics dig deeper than normal songs. Metallica’s epic “One” is an iconic example of how a soldier feels after a horrific time in WWI trenches – both physically and mentally.
Ultimately, the signs of a good metal song will depend on the listener’s taste and what they value in music. However, finding songs with these elements is always a surefire sign that they will become classics over time.
Areas where metal is popular
One thing you will find about metal is that it has a dedicated following in all four corners of the globe. From the US to Australia, Scandinavia to Brazil, some bands have redefined the genre in some ways.
The impressive thing here is that all regional metal scenes vary significantly too. Across North America, you will find harder and dirtier sounds that are anything but polished. It’s how thrash and sludge metal have taken over.
Metal in America is huge and often blends into the mainstream. This has come about due to it leaning on hard rock and skewing in different directions over decades.
In the 1980s, underground bands in areas such as New York and California were influenced by the punk movement in the UK. They took the faster pace, powerful chords, and rough vocals and turned it up a notch. By doing this, it saw the likes of Metallica and Slayer become household names. This happened despite their songs being nowhere near as polished as poppier alternatives.
Moving into the 21st century, trends changed even more. Many bands added raps to metal songs giving listeners of both genres a comfortable middle ground to enjoy metal. It’s allowed the likes of Linkin Park, Slipknot, and Limp Bizkit to become some of the biggest-selling acts of the century.
In Europe, metal is often more polished and melodic than in other areas. The soaring melodies of power metal shine through in many British and German bands compared to those in America. What has occurred is the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and The Scorpions become successful megastars on both sides of the Atlantic.
Furthermore, bands in Nordic countries like Norway and Finland have blended metal with cultural stories to popularise doom and black metal. These bands often utilize orchestral sections and operatic vocals to create grandiose songs. It’s also added with dark costumes and makeup to give imposing looks on stage and even reference occult themes.
Elsewhere around the round
In Asia, metal has changed in more unique ways. Here, bands have taken the genre and fused it with local traditions to form entirely new takes on it.
In Japan, many acts take on unique personas to win over crowds. For example, the rise of “kawaii metal” has taken over with all-female bands producing brutally heavy sounds you would find in the US. However, it comes with them dressing up like anime characters to give off a deceiving innocent look. It’s how the likes of BABYMETAL have become huge stars.
Even in South America, you will find metal acts that have changed the world. The percussion-heavy sounds of Brazilian acts like Sepultura and Soulfly have even influenced metal giants like Slipknot, showcasing how metal’s influence travels worldwide.
Metal vs Mainstream Music
There’s always a fierce debate comparing metal against mainstream music. It’s a battle where casual listeners often disregard metal as a rogue or rebellious genre. However, it can be just as successful and meaningful as mainstream acts. Despite this, you will find some key differences between the two, which include:
- Overall sound: Metal music is always going to be heavier. This is thanks to metal songs lacking polish and shine compared to poppier alternatives. Furthermore, you will find more complicated sounds, instrumentation, and rhythms in metal, separating from more formulaic mainstream songs.
- Lyrics: Metal music will not shy away from controversial topics. Metal songs often deal with topics such as drugs, sex, and complicated relationships pushing conventional boundaries. This is a far cry from pop songs about everlasting love or all-night parties.
- Image: Metal bands often adopt a more aggressive or rebellious image. You will find bands donning heavy makeup, black clothing, and even scary masks to make an impression. Artists in more mainstream avenues will avoid extreme looks and often feature branded apparel in line with commercial deals they have signed.
Metal is quite different than other styles of music. Because of this, metal is often not found in the mainstream. Even metal in the mainstream, like Metallica or Megadeth, tends to sell lower numbers than other popular artists like Taylor Swift.
It is not that hard to see why people like metal music. The genre is extremely popular worldwide and has little variety that is always waiting to be discovered. With songs having plenty of substance, it is easy to connect with the music. This can be down to impressive musical performances, contrasting songs, or connecting with lyrical themes.
All these aspects are added to by a passionate community that lives for its music. This passion brings people together and allows bands to experiment further to connect with their audiences. It is a different approach to what works in mainstream pop music but is just as successful in gaining a following. It’s a successful formula that allows metal to thrive and showcases why people like metal music.