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Metal and children.

Divus_de_Mortuus

Metal and children.
December 07, 2007, 05:23:07 PM
Most of us came across metal as teenagers. Many of us were already disenchanted by the world, or were drawn that way by further examination of metal philosophy. But some were exposed to the metal of old by our Sabbath shirt wearing mothers and fathers.

Now as we age, some of us are going to procreate. It is in our best interests to raise successful and balanced children. As a father, I find myself listening to classical and folk styles much more than metal these days, especially in the presence of my daughter and stepson. A responsible parent wouldn't let a five year old watch a bloody, violent program right? But where does Slayer fit into this? Is metal harmful to children?


Re: Metal and children.
December 07, 2007, 06:29:54 PM
I think that it may be useful to disentangle the silly, violent lyrical imagery that a lot of metal deals with and to recognize what is essentially communicated through its sound. While there cannot be any doubt that violence and darkness are a principle component of this sonic communication, I would suggest that it is not remotely similar to watching a horror movie, the majority of which function in a way essentially similar to pornography.

The question is do you conceal darkness and power from your children, or do you put it in its proper place, balanced with music that communicates very different principles?

I started listening to metal when I was eight years old, starting with Metallica and Megadeth. In Metallica's "Ride the Lightning" I found something that moved my young spirit very deeply. It was beautiful and strong! A healthy sort of masculine, joyous aggression. In no way did this damage my spirit. In fact, I think it strengthened it in crucial ways. It allowed me to tap into a much more potent, healthy energy than anything else in my environment.

Music like that had a sustaining quality for me during my early childhood.

I respect your wishes to not damage, distort or confuse your child. But recognizing that these elements are a natural and beautiful part of a holistic world is something that I think is crucial to peoples early development and understanding of the world, and something that has been utterly lost in our times. The trick is to introduce children slowly and compassionately to these things, the same way you would take great care in teaching a child how to start a fire or operate a complicated and potentially threatening machinery, or how to perform a rigorous and risky feat of athleticism.

In any case, I am glad to hear that you are taking the time to consider these things. It is one of the marks of a capable parent.

Also, don't forget that your child will have very direct assosciations between YOU and the music you listen to. Your behavior, attitude and relationship to the child will effect how she regards the music you listen to. If you are gentle, wise and strong, and Slayer is playing, there is going to be a very different result from what would occur if you were a snippy, distant asshole listening to Mozart.

Take care and set a good example.

Re: Metal and children.
December 07, 2007, 06:38:28 PM
My 9 year old brother likes some metal. He listens to albums such as: Kings of Metal, Killers, Stained Class, Painkiller. He also likes Vader, but I won't let him listen to it. I think black/death metal is not for children.

chrstphrbnntt

Re: Metal and children.
December 07, 2007, 07:29:50 PM
It's probably best to start listening to metal around or a little bit before puberty; I wouldn't suggest "Baby's First Morbid Angel" or "Darkthrone In The Womb", though.

Re: Metal and children.
December 07, 2007, 07:49:29 PM
It may depend on the whether the child is male or female, as well.

Like I said, I started listening to metal very early, and it just clicked into place. Something inside of me had already developed in such a way that when I heard this stuff, it said "Yes!".

Granted, it wasn't Incantation or Deicide. We should take into account that Asphyx and Emperor are actually very different from each other in the spirit they communicate, just as Burzum is utterly different from Morbid Angel.

The main point is that we should recognize that children aren't as frail as many would like to believe, and that their individual character will determine what sort of music they will respond to at a particular time in their life...

Divus_de_Mortuus

Re: Metal and children.
December 07, 2007, 08:18:39 PM
I agree that horror movies and the best extreme metal are very different, if not opposite even, but would a child be able to understand that? The fact you were moved by Metallica probably has more to do with the classical music textures of songs like One and Master of Puppets, and they too moved me as a youth, but in that case, why not first hand classical music?

Where good metal finds its beauty is in the complexity that anger, destruction and morbid themes are used to describe something deeper. Small children have no understanding of society, and thus could not understand metal, and thus would only interpret these messages in a wholly negative way.

Perhaps a truly balanced parent could raise a child so that they might not even need metal. Most of us were raised by normal people, be they conservative Christian 9-5ers, degenerate drug users, liberal hippies or blue collar mullet bangers that showed their children Black Sabbath, and Metallica right along side Ratt, Boston and Foreigner. Despite the superficial differences, most metalheads parents were morally conventional. Most of us discovered metal soon before or after we started to doubt and grow suspicious of society, and turned to metal as a reactionary response. If a child were raised with the full knowledge of societies current state, would the anger and darkness expressed in metal appeal to them?

Dunkelheit

Re: Metal and children.
December 07, 2007, 08:35:03 PM
Quote
In Metallica's "Ride the Lightning" I found something that moved my young spirit very deeply. It was beautiful and strong! A healthy sort of masculine, joyous aggression. In no way did this damage my spirit. In fact, I think it strengthened it in crucial ways. It allowed me to tap into a much more potent, healthy energy than anything else in my environment.


This just reminded me to let my 8 year old brother listen to this album. It's honestly one of the best metal albums to ever be made and fully expresses the hessian spirit. My brother enjoys old Heavy Metal such as Sabbath and what not. He also headbangs and plays air guitar to Death Metal and tolerates even some Black Metal but there's no way in hell he'd understand any of it. I think younger kids have much more of a chance of feeling the power expressed in Heavy and Speed metal. Either way, anything is better than letting them listen to what the majority of their peers do today.

Re: Metal and children.
December 07, 2007, 08:45:39 PM
We seem to fundamentally differ in our views about metal as an expression of something essentially societal.

I do not believe that it is.

I think that metal actually touches something independant of our experiences of the social order. I think that it touches something hardwired into the human soul: the desire for power, for conflict, the raw fierce joy of life.

When I was a child, I used to love to watch the discovery channel. I took deep pleasure from watching animals hunt their prey, watching their intense physicality and their vicious focus.

Similarly, I had a passion for fantasy. When I was probably two or three years old, I was really, really into Masters of the Universe. But only Skeletor. With his muscled body and his grinning deathshead face, he is an image of almost pure, "dark power". From that age until present, the Deathshead has been kind of sacred icon for me, which stirs things inside of me that I don't quite have words for.

Also, as I said before, I think that children are less frail than we often imagine. Less frail, and more wise. Frequently, they are more 'in touch' with their inner workings than adults, who are more or less socialized into a kind of numb, droning state where task performance and linear intelligence are their only means of apprehending the world.

I think this is where some familiarity with Jung's concept of the "collective unconscious" may become appropriate (although it is actually a much older idea, the origins of which stretch beyond our knowledge of history).

To me, metal is Nietzschean. It is also "Evolan". It is "Apollo and Dionysus fused", and it is the seamless unity of the "Solar and Cthonic". Everything that is awesome, brutal, terrifying, beautiful, feral and well ordered about nature is expressed in the very best metal, just as it is in the very best classical. It is not a "reaction against something", but rather a CELEBRATION of something which is basically eternal and not contingent on the vagueries of politics, economics, sociology, etc. And I think that this is precisely why we have the lyrical focus in metal that we do. This is why paganism pops up in it, and why Satanism pops up in it, and so on.

And that's what originally attracted me to ANUS. They seemed to sense this, and accordingly, to take it seriously.

Note that your child may not be this way. YOU may not be this way. There is nothing wrong with that, obviously. This isn't meant to be a statement of "my experience is more elite and true than yours", at all. I'm just offering you an explanation of my experience, use it as you will, and good luck!

Re: Metal and children.
December 07, 2007, 09:14:48 PM
Quote
To me, metal is Nietzschean. It is also "Evolan". It is "Apollo and Dionysus fused", and it is the seamless unity of the "Solar and Cthonic". Everything that is awesome, brutal, terrifying, beautiful, feral and well ordered about nature is expressed in the very best metal, just as it is in the very best classical. It is not a "reaction against something", but rather a CELEBRATION of something which is basically eternal and not contingent on the vagueries of politics, economics, sociology, etc. And I think that this is precisely why we have the lyrical focus in metal that we do. This is why paganism pops up in it, and why Satanism pops up in it, and so on.

you have described this very well. though there is an intrinsic desire for rejection of society and the current order of things, this could occur at any point in history. in black metal at least it there is always a sense of ancient and eternal anger offset against eternal beauty.

some other music like punk/grind/industrial for example is very much grounded in a rejection of our immediate surroundings. it goes no further. but to answer the question i think getting into all this is something that can only occur alone. a child must have the will to break away and find these answers more or less on his own. the best thing would be to show the child some genuinely good things about this world from an early age (the wilderness, creative artworks etc) - so that if he has the will, there's something to fight back with later on.

shadowmystic

Re: Metal and children.
December 07, 2007, 10:20:17 PM
I think if children want to listen to metal then that is perfectly acceptable, as long as they are educated about its meaning rather than just enjoying the violence of the music.  I doubt, however, that many children would choose metal over something more ear-friendly.

Divus_de_Mortuus

Re: Metal and children.
December 07, 2007, 10:55:30 PM
Quote
We seem to fundamentally differ in our views about metal as an expression of something essentially societal.

I do not believe that it is.

I think that metal actually touches something independant of our experiences of the social order. I think that it touches something hardwired into the human soul: the desire for power, for conflict, the raw fierce joy of life.





I wouldn't disagree, but I think metal reaches for that only because society is such a waste. Metal unlike the popular forms that spawned it is driven to those places by a lack of fulfilment in society.

I knew I wasn't the only one who valued the dicovery channel over the dumbass shows the other kids watched.

STS

Re: Metal and children.
December 08, 2007, 02:51:41 AM
Quote
Is metal harmful to children?


Speaking from a psychological background:

High frequency music, like Slayer (by your example) can hyperstimulate adversely leading to agitation, aggression and lack of focus on tasks requiring concentration (you want your children to develop their concentration, not ADD on you). This is readily demonstrable within sound Scientific research and isnít really something that can be refuted. The childís sensitive and developing mind simply isn't ready or conditioned to be exposed to and generate positive feedback from the trauma induced by high frequency, distracting music and cannot be expected to grow from it either.  Look for other ways to develop his emerging intellect instead; Slayer is not the way to do it.

So stick with Mozart; it isnít simply a fad, and your tot will be as happy as you are with the results..

chb

Re: Metal and children.
December 08, 2007, 11:43:46 AM
I was raised on classical music and it didn't do me any harm. Chances are, if your child learns to appreciate classical music, it will also get into metal later. Even if my child didn't, it wouldn't be a problem for me. There is other good music besides metal.

aimanirrajim

Re: Metal and children.
December 08, 2007, 03:40:20 PM
i think it depends on what kind of parent you are, and what kind of person you want your child to grow up into. for me i'd personally make my children listen to Burzum. (if my 'wife to be' let's me, which i am sure i will probably make her if she doesn't)

Re: Metal and children.
December 08, 2007, 03:57:37 PM
This can backfire too though. Listen to too much metal around your kid and they hit puberty and start to hate you, and suddenly they arbitrarily hate metal just because you like it.

Good friend of mine is like that. His dad was a metalhead back in the 80's, he grew up to hate it, and now he's a drunk punk oi. Then again his dad wasn't exactly the best parent.