For as long as I can remember, I’ve always heard that metal was the music for the outsider. In the 2004 documentary Metal: a Headbanger’s Journey, Rob Zombie commented, “it’s outsider music and outsider subjects, and as a kid I was an outsider and the loner and I think that’s where it begins.” With my years of being a part of this community, I can’t help but agree. Metal is outsider music. I don’t hear bands like Behemoth or Obituary being played on the radio, and if I did I think it would be a very confusing moment. However, the further I go into this community; I can’t help but see elitism pop up with certain scenes. I see people who enjoy the more extreme genres of metal mock those who like more mainstream bands for their “lack of taste.”
That needs to end. If you alienate those who only want to enjoy the music they want to listen to, then you risk alienating the whole metal community to outsiders looking for a way in. Not only that, but you also give everyone else a bad name as well. Moments where I see bullying makes me disappointed to even be anywhere in this scene, and a part of this culture. Thankfully, my faith is restored in those moments where I see metalheads recommending new bands to people looking for something new to listen to, or when I see them appreciating the tastes of other people instead of shutting them down.
Metalheads need to stop acting like it’s the only pure form of music in the world. I hate to break it to some people, but your favorite band is not that special in the grand scheme of things. It doesn’t matter if you worship Black Sabbath as the creators of metal, or Metallica as one of the most celebrated bands in the world, you should not be putting down someone who enjoys music like EDM, rap, or country just because they prefer those bands over your favorites. Instead, you need to calm down and try to understand why they enjoy those sounds over the ones you do.
It also won’t hurt to stop trying to exclude women from metal. This comes down to basic rules of human decency, but women have every right to enjoy the same music as you do. Take a look at female fronted bands like Arch Enemy, Nightwish, Delain, Epica, and the many others who came before them. Go to any show and watch women rock just as hard as guys do.
Elitism in music needs to stop, and the only person that can stop it is you. If you see yourself shutting down others because of their overall enjoyment of something else, then you need to rethink what you’re doing. Instead, metalheads should be shaking hands with those who enjoy other things, and continue to enjoy metal in their own way. Metal will always be metal, and it will always be there for you to enjoy.