I am obsessed with music. I listen to it, play it, research it, grow from it. I can hear any genre and instantly delve into and learn all its secrets and history. Without a doubt music has become a defining pillar of my self identity. All music is wonderful, all music is important and I don't know where I would be without it. However, ever since I started down my this path there has always been one genre that I always come back to. No matter how much I explore and discover it always reigns as the superior genre, the best kind of music out there. This music is of course metal.
Music at its core is art, the fundamental purpose of art is to express emotion. Music therefore expresses our emotions and it is this musical form of expression that I identify so much with and love. Even cookie-cutter pop music has its own emotion to it. It expresses that glitz and glam high life, that too rich, too perfect world that most of us are just too jaded to believe. The blues will walk you down an old dirt road as it tells of a melancholy journey that fills the soul with sadness. Country music sparks that sense of adventure. You're thrown into the grit of the old west as you and your posse of cowboys ride off into the setting sun. Rock puts you on top of the world. You are an invincible star and nothing can smudge your shine.
Metal has never fully acclimated itself into our culture the way genres such as pop or even rock have been able to. While its more excepted today it's still not quite normal, nor will it ever be. Images of the Devil and unholy power come to mind. Flashes of the occult and scenes of the explainable. The idea of a complete dominant power and the insignificance of humans are all themes that come to mind when most people think of metal. To these people metal likely expresses the emotion of anger. To their credit they're not completely wrong either. Albums like Rein in Blood exude the idea of a completely evil and totalitarian force taking over and controlling us. Albums like Dopethrone use their sludgy riffs, dirty screams and unforgiving lyrics to lift the veil out of our eyes and show us the horror of complete depravity. We see just how far humanity can fall if given the chance. But there are also albums like Pallbearer's Sorrow and Extinction that give to us pure grief. Without hope or heroes this music is a great catharsis of sadness and will bring tears to your eyes if you let it.
There are more politically charged bands like Rage Against the Machine and System of a Down that force us to confront our own hypocrisy. With their fast guitar and their rap influenced vocals they are able to help bring metal to the modern platform. Through them we are able to see the problems we face today and work towards fixing them. Bands like Cannabis Corpse hold the mirror up to themselves. They poke fun at both the tropes of metal and our own imperfect world, exploiting both and creating something that is at the same time both funny and brutal.
That is why I am proud to be a metal-head. Because to me it is the only genre that touches on all the delicate aspects of what it means to be human. I love all music and I never want to judge someone for their musical tastes. I'm not trying to start a debate or say what certain music means about its listeners. All I know is that for me, while the image and community are amazing and very cool, that is and never will be why I am a metal-head. It has always been about the music. Metal is beautiful and real and more than anything else, in all its vastness it expresses what it really means to be human.