Feeling Out of Step in Metal

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Do you feel like you’re an integral part of your local/regional/national metal scene? Because I haven’t been feeling that in a while.

I don’t mosh. I’m sorry to break the news to you like this. I also don’t drink, smoke, do any sort of drug, I don’t eat sugar and I rarely eat any animal products. I’m basically the most boring person you could ever encounter in any setting, let alone at a metal show. Hell, if it wasn’t for my rare Evile 2011 Tour longsleeve you wouldn’t even know that I like metal. I’m letting you know about this not for your pity, but because you need this information going into the rest of this piece.

Whenever music comes up in conversation, I’ll usually mention I like metal, someone’ll say “oh I LOVE Linkin Park!” and then I’ll politely say something like “haha yeah great” and move on. I don’t really look like a metalhead, because metalheads have long hair, leather jackets, chains, spikes, boots, etc. For a long time I put a lot of effort into looking “legit” and not like a poser, but in the last 3-4 years I’ve progressively realized I should just do/dress/listen to whatever I feel like and not care about what anybody else thinks. And by doing this I could still feel like a part of the “metal family”, right? Well…

I want to, but I have a problem with how the average Spanish metalhead behaves and what he/she stands for. I know I’m at risk of generalizing here, but my experience with the national metal scene (particularly with the Death Metal scene) has been littered with rampant homophobia, racism, sexism and a general lack of understanding of social, cultural, religious and political issues. I have a lot of unpleasant examples, including the head of an important Spanish metal label asking a group of people if they were “metalheads or faggots” because of how they were dressed, or the leader of a very prominent Spanish metal band asking a female singer, upon meeting her, if she was there because he owed her money.

It’s because of things like this, which are sadly very commonplace, that I struggle when asking myself if I “feel” like a metalhead, like part of a bigger club or even family. I have that thanks to the Toilet ov Hell, but the reality is when I go to a show here or just strike up conversation with an average metal fan, the answer is usually “no”. Other than having (some) music in common, a lot of people I’ve encountered are inconsiderate, rude and unwilling to even consider learning about lifestyles that don’t fit into their narrow mold of a worldview.

Really, I have no real way of knowing if these issues are endemic to my culture, to metal in general or to my brain, but at any rate it’s kinda disheartening. What do you think? Do you also feel like an outsider in an outsider culture? Was I just really mad about nothing in particular when I wrote this? You decide.

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