I don’t need you to tell me I’m all right!

All right, it was very entertaining, nice even, to see an article telling the world that metalheads are actually much less miserable than most people think. It felt like a small retribution to have someone outside the metal circles defend the fact that metal music has much more valuable qualities than being loud and obnoxious and can piss off the neighbours in just a few minutes.

But then a fucking trend kicks in, and it stops being cute. It started out like “Ohhh, some poor schmuck finally gets it. I’m so happy for you, Schmuck, you want me to put some Pantera on? No, they lied – “him” is a pronoun, not metal.”

Now it’s come to “Yes, asshole, I do know that loud angry music actually made me feel better about my life as a teenager, that’s why I blasted it all the time. That’s why I’m still standing here, and – might I add – so are you!” That’s why it peeves me to have articles trying to explain metal to everyone like it’s a sociological experiment with a new trend.

I’m in no way saying that I speak for all metalheads around the world, but I am positive that quite a few of them would stand with me on this one – metal music is not meant to be trendy! Metal music is meant to be digested individually – regardless of whether you’re listening to an album alone in the dark or at high noon in the park with a bunch of other people – so that everyone can take away what he or she needs from it. It’s like reading a poem, but no one is telling how you must understand the author’s words. Sure, there’ll be people who give unsolicited advice and opinions, discussion and argumentation are part of showing appreciation, but it’s up to you to make up your mind, to find your own thing.

And once you find the thing – that reef, that bridge, that line in a song that grips you by the throat and makes your heart pump faster and faster… That’s when you know you’re all right. Yeah, your life might be shit at this particular moment, but now you know that you’re also allowed to feel like shit for a while. You can break down, fall apart, cry and scream and mosh, and that’s all right. That’s catharsis, that’s absolution on an entirely different level that, however temporarily, relieves you of how much it sucks to be a chubby teenager or to be pacing in the school toilets waiting for a pregnancy test. Metal is a sanctuary. Which is why the metal community is so famous for being a unified front. If you’re a metalhead in a tight spot, you will ALWAYS find support from “your people”.

Yes, metal is actually quite well known, worldwide. Varied. Even popular. And yes, there are more and more trends associated with the music – certain clothes, certain shoes, tattoos, body modifications, accessories, etc. But that’s always been like this, and if a person, who listens to a certain type of music, chooses to take part in any of these trends, does that make him or does it make the music he listens to trendy?

What I mean to say is that metal, like everything else, evolves through the years, it changes, it incorporates new things. To a large extent, because the world changes. There were times and places (e.g. ex-Soviet bloc countries, Iran) where simply possessing a metal record, let alone listening to it, could and would get you arrested. This, too, has changed. Well, I don’t about Iran, but there are now more concerts in one year in Bulgaria than I would’ve hoped to see in ten when I was a teenager. What hasn’t changed is the people who listen to metal music. Not literally, of course, generations come and go, people’s taste in music changes, so there’s ebb and flow across all genres. But the sentiment is the same – we listen to metal (of all kinds) because it’s raw, because it’s true for us, because it’s brutal but honest, because we get it and it gets us!

It’s really hard to listen to something or dress a certain way only so you can piss off your parents when you’re a teenager. Trust me, I know. I’ve done it! 🙂 But you can’t keep that shit up for a long time. At the end of the day, literally, at the end of a long hard day, you just want to listen to music that makes you feel – sad, happy, satisfied, accomplished, whatever. There’s a whole array of feelings and emotions that people use to “tag” their activities on Facebook with, but have forgotten how to really enjoy. And this is where us metalheads differ.

It’s not obvious to the naked eye – may be due to all the distortion and double bass drums, may be lack of good observation skills – but metalheads are not miserable when they listen to their music, they’re cathartic. The expression of anger, or anguish you might see on our faces is all those negative feelings leaving our bodies, leaving our souls. We’re not angry at the world when we scream in unison at the top of our lungs at a metal concert, we’re ecstatic! It’s a release that no drug can give you because it drains you of all your problems while it elevates you, inspires you at the same time. I’m telling you, if the Grinch were a metalhead, all you’d need to do for his heart to grow a size is play him this:

Because what these brainiacs keep omitting in their “scientific proofs” is that not all metal is angry and loud, not all metal is scary and rude. There are songs that are as soul-crushingly sad as holding your dying best friend’s hand and songs that are as gentle and loving as a lover’s kiss. And they’re all metal to the core!

So I don’t need your pat on the shoulder, 11737181_1475208542772888_1684682144_ntelling me that I’ve actually (surprisingly?) turned out quite fine, despite all that wretched music I’ve been listening to. I resent that!

And I certainly don’t need you telling me, from your high horse, that I’m all right.

I have metal for that!

\\m// Rock on! \\m//

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About Yoanna Novakova

Yoanna is a reader, writer, traveller, concert goer, hiker, drinker, thinker and, of late... a blogger. She's currently doing a lot of travel writing (obviously), but fiction, fantasy and life-writing all have a representative in her portfolio. A reader of varied tastes, she's even been called "strange" for enjoying Stephen King and Terry Pratchett alike. In her pre-teen years, she used to be the kid who'd re-read her favourite books over and over again. Now she knows life is just too short for that. Always reading more than one book at a time, always writing more than one project at a time, she is yet to find her perfect pace. But she's working on it!
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