Misconceptions about Heavy Metal Music

I just thought that many people would benefit if I had decided to make a thread about the many misconceptions regarding heavy metal. Too many to name, but here are some that I can point out. For a while, I used to be one of those individuals who stayed away from the genre as much as possible because I thought that it was full of nothing but crazy, Satanic, or anti-religious lyrics, but I was clearly wrong. The following link presents many great reasons to listen to not be afraid of this genre of music:

listverse.com/2011/07/09/top-10-myths-about-metal/

I will try to summarize better some of the points stated in the article, along with some other ones that I have come across on other websites about the misconceptions that people hold towards it.

Surprisingly, heavy metal is one of the most literate music genres out there, with so many more topics covered (i.e. war, sex, love, anti-religion/irreligion, religion, militarism, mythology, death, literature, just to name a few) and some very complex, intelligent, jargon (if you will) or words that simply are at a high school or college level. In fact, much of it reads like a poem. Not all heavy metal songs are about men doing nothing but death growls (or yelling, if you prefer to call it that). Some bands’ songs may also seem sexist, anti-religious, or racist, but placing everyone in one box is really overgeneralizing things. Besides, with all the different subgenres (symphonic metal, thrash metal, power metal, viking metal, etc.), it may even be more complex than any other genre.

Plus, studies have shown that those who listen to heavy metal tend to have higher IQs, just as has been said about classical music. In fact, heavy metal has a lot in common with classical music by being so difficult to master (like jazz itself) and for having various degrees of styles, from the tempo, to the instrumentation, to the lyrics, to drum/guitar playing style, etc.

Just to have a taste of what heavy metal is capable of, contrast the videos below with each other. Maybe then you’ll see how incredible and fascinating this music genre really is.

This first one is about the vikings, hence the fact that it fits into the viking metal subgenre.

youtube.com/watch?v=ZPRt6Tt6RyM

This next one is in German, by the band, Rammstein.

youtube.com/watch?v=CliEaa5dG-M

metrolyrics.com/ich-will-english-translation-lyrics-rammstein.html

Mother of Earth by Within Temptation:

youtube.com/watch?v=PX27gXHai6U

sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Mother-Earth-lyrics-Within-Temptation/DAEBF70D30E9F5FD48256C9C0014B9C0

Amaranth by Nightwish

youtube.com/watch?v=GdZn7k5rZLQ

sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Amaranth-lyrics-Nightwish/D03E52F804D268194825731B00263185

Also, note that it helps to look at the lyrics for these songs, especially some of the louder sounding ones like the first one (along with the ones in a different language), so I strongly advise you to also look at the links that I have provided as the lyrics for the above songs.

Thank you SO MUCH for posting this. I just got through posting in a similar topic and I was thinking a lot about the nature of art (I'm a classical singer). I was reflecting particularly on music. The first of now five musicology classes I've had to take to graduate was an ethnomusicology class that dealt with world music. The question posed to us at its beginning and end was this: is music autonomous, meaning: does music exist apart from the listener? I concluded for myself that music is not autonomous and one piece can mean any range of things to any range of people. All this talk of what heavy metal "sounds like" reduces its meaning to that and I wish people who took so much time and responsibility upon themselves to comment on art would first learn about the specifics of the art that they're critiquing. Apart from reducing an entire piece and sometimes an artist or even a genre to one or two elements of said piece, I think it also promotes and perpetuates this long-standing notion that all music should be analyzed and measured by a West-normative set of standards, which is also false. I get sick of people treating Gregorian chant as if it's some "perfect" form of musical composition because it sounds austere and pretty. I wonder if any of them would have a similar notion of organum duplum or triplum which comes out of the same tradition of using exclusively perfect intervals to compose music and personally sounds cool and pretty creepy at the same time (since the perfect fourth, the interval between the voices in organum, is dissonant).

[quote="Corpus_Cristi, post:2, topic:259891"]
. All this talk of what heavy metal "sounds like" reduces its meaning to that and I wish people who took so much time and responsibility upon themselves to comment on art would first learn about the specifics of the art that they're critiquing.

[/quote]

It's understandable. Growling is not usually associated with anything good. :p

I actually love metal.

When I listen to any type of music, I have this checklist in the back of my mind:

  • Don't allow it to become an obsession
  • Make sure that if Jesus asked me to to repeat the lyrics of any of songs back to him, I wouldn't be ashamed.
  • Make sure my motive is not get attention. Humility in everything.

It's funny. When I'm sitting on the train with my iPhone on smiling, no one has any idea what I'm listening to.

[quote="theflyingdove, post:1, topic:259891"]
IThis next one is in German, by the band, Rammstein.

[/quote]

I like all the bands you posted except for Rammstein. I'm sure you have heard one song they have out that is ummm un-Christian to say the least.

My favorite of the Old Nighwish is Sleeping Sun

My favorite Viking piece is Amberian Dawn: Valkyries

My favorite Within Temptation is: Forgiven

Inb4 Portrait :D Love that guys posts, I always feel like I'm reading the thoughts of a real gentleman.

Anyway, take this however you will, but as I have grown spiritually and mentally, and the closer I get to Christ the less I have listened to metal and any kind of music. I don't listen to anything but chant now and the occasional classical album. Nowdays, that kind of music bores me and invites me to reflect on myself rather than Christ. We are called to reflect on Christ 24/7. Personally, I do not find any kind of secular music all that great any more.

Which is not to say you're not a saint if you listen to metal. This is just my own experience.

[quote="NewsTheMan, post:4, topic:259891"]
Inb4 Portrait :D Love that guys posts, I always feel like I'm reading the thoughts of a real gentleman.

Anyway, take this however you will, but as I have grown spiritually and mentally, and the closer I get to Christ the less I have listened to metal and any kind of music. I don't listen to anything but chant now and the occasional classical album. Nowdays, that kind of music bores me and invites me to reflect on myself rather than Christ. We are called to reflect on Christ 24/7. Personally, I do not find any kind of secular music all that great any more.

Which is not to say you're not a saint if you listen to metal. This is just my own experience.

[/quote]

It's funny that you should say that because it's true. I seem to be immersed in the things of God. I hardly watch TV, I hang out on CAF all the time, I have Gregorian Chant on my iPhone.

However, I think eventually, I will start taking up some of my hobbies again, as long as they are not displeasing to God.

I have never found anything wrong about Metallica :slight_smile: apparently a few songs warn there is some swearing involved but thats no big deal IMO, especially if its not too constant.

[quote="TrueLight, post:5, topic:259891"]
It's funny that you should say that because it's true. I seem to be immersed in the things of God. I hardly watch TV, I hang out on CAF all the time, I have Gregorian Chant on my iPhone.

However, I think eventually, I will start taking up some of my hobbies again, as long as they are not displeasing to God.

[/quote]

A great discussion - thanks folks!

Yes, TrueLight, I think that your highlighted words are very sensible, and will probably come to pass, regardless of how you feel now.

~ Edmundus

In general, it's pretty easy for us to develop misconceptions about things we're not familiar with. Metal certainly isn't everyone's cup of tea. So I can understand a person being predisposed to accept anything negative that is said about it. Metal is certainly full of its share of colorful characters who do nothing to dissuade people from some of those misconceptions.

I am impressed sometimes with how well some of the European metal bands can write lyrics in English when it is not their first language.

[quote="TrueLight, post:3, topic:259891"]

I like all the bands you posted except for Rammstein. I'm sure you have heard one song they have out that is ummm un-Christian to say the least.

[/quote]

Yes, I understand what you mean. My main point of showing you its music was to compare and contrast between the other songs that I had posted there. It was meant to show the differences in tempo, guitar style, drumming style, song structure, etc. more so than to point out whether or not I like all of these bands and their songs.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.