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What does Metal mean to you?

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Poll Question: What does Metal mean to you?
Poll Choice Votes Poll Statistics
0 [0.00%]
1 [6.67%]
4 [26.67%]
0 [0.00%]
3 [20.00%]
1 [6.67%]
0 [0.00%]
0 [0.00%]
0 [0.00%]
0 [0.00%]
0 [0.00%]
6 [40.00%]
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Hologram784 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 23 Jan 2022 at 7:57am
Hello fellow metalheads,

My name is Alex and I am currently on my last year of uni.

I have chosen to write my dissertation on the cultural value of Metal for metalheads and the wider public.

So, I would really appreciate your responses to this poll, even if they are not included in the list above.

And if you are not happy with me using any of your data please feel free to send me a private message.

Thanks so much for your participation and time. Smile
I am a student writing a Dissertation on Metal and will appreciate any responses to content I post. If you don't want me to use your comments simply say "No" at the end of your comment.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LightningRider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2022 at 3:35pm
I treat metal as I treat other genres, an artform, albiet potentially my favorite artform.
And the Trogdor comes in the NIIIIGHT!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hologram784 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2022 at 3:54pm
Thank you very much for engaginging with this and giving your response. Helps a bunch.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Nightfly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2022 at 4:03pm
It's primarily an entertainment source these days but in the past when I was younger I could have also said a form of identity, a community and a lifestyle. These things apply less so as I've got older but I still consider it an art form and being a musician, certainly a creative outlet and a culture of expression.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote UMUR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2022 at 11:52pm
To me it´s a community, but that´s maybe because I attend a lot of gigs every year, and experience the culture up close. I used to play in a band too, and we had a small community of bands in the local area, who knew each other and shared similar interests. I guess that´s where it all started for me. At least in thinking of heavy metal as a community of similar minded folks.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DeathofMan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jan 2022 at 9:19am
I use metal to channel my emotions. I tend to be a lonely, quiet person and metal allows me to express emotions such as anger and sadness in a healthy way.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hologram784 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jan 2022 at 11:45am
Thank you so much for your response!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote BitterJalapeno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jan 2022 at 12:20pm
For me, it's a combination of all of the options above besides political. Since I was a teenager, I've always proudly worn band T-shirts no matter how old and scabby they become which covers identity. Similar to Jonas, I love gigs and have made many lifelong friends thorough the mutual love of metal which covers community and sense of belonging. Metal gives me great emotional support also. Nothing better than blasting an incredibly heavy album on the way home from work while thinking "fuck you" about the bastard colleagues. No other music could beat metal for that feeling..
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote adg211288 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jan 2022 at 12:52pm
I identify with most of the poll options in some respect. The most notable exception being the political one. 

When I first got into metal (via heavy rock) it resonated with me in a way that other music I was being exposed to just wasn't. Certainly I was not getting on with the music my parents exposed me to and what was popular at the time was generally annoying pap. Then Metallica came out with a new album and everything changed.

Ironically that album was St. Anger. 

Here was an album that when I look back in hindsight I realise has a lot of issues. But when you were in your teens and never really found your outlet before, that album kicked all kinds of arse. It's aggression was, to me, unprecedent at the time, when the heaviest thing I must have heard at that stage was Evanescence, whom I also liked but didn't allow me to make the connection to metal as a genre the way Metallica did. It was an album that no one I knew seemed to get (my best friend of the time memorably called me a 'grunger' for listening to it). It certainly wasn't the sort of music my folks would have had me listening to even though my Dad thought his taste erred toward the heavy. Even more so it wasn't the sort of music my circle of friends were listening to, which included acts like Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Blink 182, Green Day and Feeder. All acts they seemed to also expect me to like and reacted flabbergasted when I didn't. In some way Metallica offered a form of rejection of social expectations, which continues to some extent to this day.

Building on that, I don't go in so much with every aspect of the metal culture. I have long hair, which now I'm in my 30s I'm seriously considering doing away with. I don't want to end up looking like Devin Townsend did before he shaved it all off. Similarly I don't go in for tattoos, piercings or anything like that. My limit is a few band t-shirts which given that I live in England, I don't get that many opportunities to wear. I'm very far from what non-metal think when they think what a metalhead is. 

The metal community on the other hand is a different matter. While every community has outliers who let the side down, the metal community has always been a place of acceptance, united by a genuine love of the music. I don't get to enjoy this in person that often, but online is a different matter. A platform like MMA (and other sites in the past) allows me to connect with fellow metalheads from all over the world. And it is through these interactions that I know metal is a very welcoming community. While NSBM types can kindly fuck off, most metalheads and musicians really don't give a damn about things like race, gender identity, age or all the other things that may make people feel excluded from a community. 

But the bottom line is that it's a form of entertainment. We wouldn't listen to metal if we didn't enjoy it. That's not all it represents for me, but it is the root of it. It's entertainment. It's also art. And a culture, a non-physical place I belong and can state my opinion within without feeling like an outsider. Sometimes its an outlet for anger, its heaviness and aggression actually being a calming influence. Other times it's actually comfort music. 

And as an overall genre of music it is so incredibly diverse that even after listening to metal for close to 20 years I'm still finding new sounds and genres and it also has staying power. There are very, very few metal bands I once liked but soured on. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hologram784 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jan 2022 at 8:04am
Thank you very much for such a detailed and nuanced response. I included the political option in order to prove a little bit of a prevalent consensus that has seemingly permeated the academia on Metal. The scholars seem to think that Metal is either fully apolitical or is completely radicalised. And what I am trying to prove with this research and what you guys are contributing to so wonderfully is the argument that Metal isn't that polar. It is apolitical, but it is only apolitical towards what is considered normal and mainstream. Thank you so much again, lots of really great nuance there.Star
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote UMUR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jan 2022 at 8:10am
One point of critique that can be made about metalheads (not all of course, but I encounter it quite often, and I am guilty of it too sometimes) is that they are often elitists or have an elitist opinion about which genres of metal are the real deal, and which genres are "poser" genres. It´s not a particularly sympathetic characteristic, but it can´t be ignored that quite a few metalheads feel that way.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Archisorcerus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jan 2022 at 4:02am
I used to be a gigantic metalhead. Now I'm almost 41. I'm still a metal listener, nonetheless. Metal ist krieg!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Vim Fuego Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jan 2022 at 1:37pm
I voted "An entertainment source", because that's what metal started out as for me, but it's moved on and expanded to encompass most of the other points here too.

I started seriously listening to heavy metal in 1987. By "heavy metal" I mean Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, and Twisted Sister, although I'd been in to Twisted Sister since the release of Stay Hungry in 1984 without realising what it is. Not particularly metal by today's standards, but that's where it began.

I started identifying as a metalhead in 1988, and started growing my hair to be like the bands. I started buying metal magazines in 1989, and realised there was a community of like-minded people out there. I started at university in 1990 and met some of these people and got to see a few bands live. I felt I'd found my niche (belonging) and have pretty much been there ever since.

I'm not terribly musical (I can sing a bit) so metal as a creative outlet for me was out until I figured out that writing about metal was also creative. I still do it, which is the main reason I joined this website.Wink

A quick run through the other points:
Emotional support - I've always been reasonably emotionally stable, but there's definitely times when just the right metal song can make you feel better, like after a stressful day at work.
An outlet for discussion - That's what we're doing right now!
An art form - Anyone who denies the artistic merits of metal doesn't know what art is.
A lifestyle - Sort of. It doesn't define my entire being, like it might if I was in a band full time or something, but it's a major component.
A platform for political change - Metal is a lot less political than punk, but there's an element of it there. Anti-war, anti-religion, anti-corruption, environmental consciousness, social consciousness etc, have all featured in the music I've listened to over the years, but I don't think it's ever influenced me politically other than to reinforce the point you should be good to other people.
A safe space - Very similar to emotional support. 
A culture of expression - yes, I suppose it is. When I write reviews and things, it gives me an outlet to express opinions and ideas. They aren't necessarily earth-shattering, or always even sensible, but there's an outlet nonetheless.
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