When exposed to the raw ferocity of metal and when the music is absorbed into the person an immense feeling of power and triumph can be felt. It is this that attracts many different people to metal. Whether they feel in it comfort and support or a motivation for great deeds. Due to this attraction and a sense of being part of it, many claim that they truly understand what gives metal its power. Most of the time they are humanists who say metal is for everybody, other times they have an extreme right-wing political agenda.
Because of the fantasy world that metal projects it is used as an outlet for many deep rooted fears and frustrations by a large variety of (future) social misfits. To each of these metal represents something different in a philosophical context. And they try to show that to the world by affiliating with bands by wearing T-shirts, mentioning them in discussions, and eventually trying to pass them off as "their" bands as if memorizing the lyrics to a certain song gives you the copyright of it. Not only are these people often hugely mistaken in their perception of the artists, they are largely also cripple-minded people in need of a crutch to build their persona on.
Due to the depressing reality that our polluting society enforces upon it's subjects there is a dire need for instant fantasy to escape through. We can see that in the structures of most of modern society's art forms: the classic heroes are all dead and replaced with stereotypes representing modern man. In the second half of the last century in most of the west the middle-class has increasingly absorbed both the elite and the working-class, eventually to leave only a gray mass led by a group of interest-holders masquerading behind the (im)popularity of politicians. By increasing the amount of luxury-products available for the common man they have made this gray mass believe that they are part of the elite. Most of today's popular music is just a manifestation of this consumerist lifestyle. Music is popularized not to serve as propaganda but to be a distraction, as a colorful fantasy for a dull and gray life. Extreme metal opposes this fantasy, but replaces it with another.
The ideology of metal has always been an elitist one. But just like the expanding middle-class are led to believe they are part of the elite, so has metal become a gray mass that continues to absorb both the greatest and the worst. Due to it's increase in popularity with a mainstream crowd, metal has adhered to it's audience not to fulfill artistic expectations but those of technological values and an emotional acceptance of all it's fans. The same two standards are used to measure the happiness of a modern life: technological progress and social acceptance. And those are the very two elements of society that metal originally opposed by exploring an unabashed return to the glory and harshness of the past.
The now popular classic metal albums still have their strength, but they are diluted by the interpretations of the crowd. Their purpose is not lost, but their meaning is lost in the translations of others. Even 98% of the great artists eventually become estranged of what once made them so great. During christmas time the album-sales go up, and with each generation that drops the uniform a new one arises to start wearing it. But in the meantime the effect it promised on society has become a recurring trend that only affects the sale of T-shirts and the coming and going of artists who once assured a revolution.
Metal offers a fantasy that can inspire the need for a different reality. As long as that fantasy remains only a fantasy it will bear no consequences and will only be the dark sided equivalent of what it pretends to oppose. Life belongs to those who live it. And whether the listener understands the music or not, intelligent musicians understand that once they release their music it's not entirely theirs anymore: it becomes part of the crowd. But what the majority of popular bands eventually descend into is becoming property of the crowd themselves.