How Heavy Metal Is Keeping Us Sane

The Atlantic delves into how heavy metal, through its (a) honesty and (b) desire for epic meaning to life, keeps us from going overboard:

Black Sabbath, from Birmingham, England, was heavy metal. No joy here, nor any wisp of psychedelic whimsy. From the first note, this band sounded ancient, oppressed, as if shambling forward under supernatural burdens. With his use of horror-movie atmospherics—the tension-building tritone or flatted fifth—and the leering majesty of his riffs, guitarist Tony Iommi redirected the spiritual drag of the blues into an uncharted world of bummers and black holes. Bassist Geezer Butler, a mystical vegetarian, wrote the lyrics. Raised Catholic, Butler as a youngster had entertained thoughts of the priesthood, and for all the band’s occult trappings, his view of things was essentially orthodox, if a little on the medieval side: God over here, Satan over there, man flailing and biting his nails in the middle.

[…]

Culturally, metal has lost its boogeyman privileges, having been superseded in infamy first by gangsta rap and then by Britney with her shaved head and her dangerous umbrella.

[…]

Nu metal, the big metal noise of the ’90s and early ’00s, has come and gone. Metalheads never really went for it—too much rapping in there, and not enough warlocks. Where was the dread? The moral-astronomical scale?

The great scholar of heavy metal Robert Walser, doing research for his 1993 book, Running With the Devil, interviewed a Twisted Sister fan who told him that the easy-listening music favored by her mother had made her paranoid. In Walser’s words: “It so obviously seems to lie to her about the world.” – The Atlantic

It’s good to see the mainstream give this some thought.

0 thoughts on “How Heavy Metal Is Keeping Us Sane”

  1. noble heavy metal warrior ov death, bringer of death and chaos says:

    FIRST!!!! MY LIFE HAS MEANING.

  2. bummer black hole says:

    “Bummer black holes”? “Not enough warlocks”? Who wrote this shit?

  3. Levy_Spearmen says:

    I bummed a black hole once…

  4. Angry Black Smurf says:

    “Culturally, metal has lost its boogeyman privileges, having been superseded in infamy first by gangsta rap and then by Britney with her shaved head and her dangerous umbrella.”

    Wow, so much bullshit in one line it’s making me want to punch the writer of that article in the face. Gangsta rap broke through in 1989 (NWA – Straight Out Of Compton) while black metal broke through in 1992 (Darkthrone – A Blaze In The Northern Sky) Both genres became saturated in 1996. The writer of that shit article probably thinks that 2pac was more br00tal than Burzum. Mentioning Britney Spears suggests the writer is just randomly putting stuff together to come up with an “entertaining” article for morons. And goddammit I’m so tired of people giving Black Sabbath more credit than they deserve just because they scared some hippies in 1971. The only good thing the mainstream can do is to stop existing. In fact I hope the whole world explodes today.

  5. Preacher of Islam says:

    Angry Black Smurf, you seem to have a lot of pent up energy. You should redirect it in more positive ways. Have you tried blowing up a cell phone tower for instance? Peace be with you.

  6. lol yay - resurgence. says:

    2011 spring: ANUS blog posts start kicking ass again.

  7. high school kid says:

    Hi guys, I know this isn’t the best place to ask but I’m sure many of you have gone through this. I’m a 15 year old guy in high school and there’s this really cute girl in my class I’d like to date. She seems kind of interested in me as I catch her looking in my general direction quite a few times and smiling. What should I do??? The only thing that stops me is that she seems kind of afraid of my Morbid Angel and Darkthrone shirts.

  8. zxcvbjnm, says:

    Angry Black Smurf makes a good point. Furthermore,

  9. Geezer Butler says:

    Spring Break 2011: NIHILISTS GONE WILD!!!

  10. Levy_Spearmen says:

    Won’t all the cannabis inhalation make me insane?

  11. ferwe says:

    > Spring Break 2011: NIHILISTS GONE WILD!!!

    I’m sooo drunk! I normally wouldn’t do this because I find it to be a populist gesture that denies the natural beauty of power and doesn’t reflect the essence of the inner viking but *flashes moobs*

  12. chim richalds says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5HRzaOFhec
    I get intoxicated on pink champagne and beat off babies to this song. THE WORLD IS MINE!!!!!

  13. poopjokes says:

    After visiting bars and concerts I often take metalboys home. First we talk about metal topics like how new Napalm Death is better than old Napalm Death and I ask them which Immolation album is their favorite. Then when I’ve won their trust I play this for them and start dancing:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chYba6bt4aA
    The look on their face is almost as good as a three hour shitting marathon! And that’s only when the fun starts! GHB is a powerful drug that has been helping me get laid since 2004.

  14. I wrote this like a day ago lol and forgot to post says:

    Actually, I think it’s you that doesn’t like metal at all, sport. There chunk of metal I like is much more recognized and representative of the genre than the boring shit you espouse, which, like your socially outcast ass, was always confined to some obscure corner.

  15. high school kid says:

    WHY WON’T ANYONE HELP ME?

  16. Fuck yeah good metal! Best chorus of all time, just fucking listen to it says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oDXRo78rtY

  17. listen at least til the Angra song says:

    Here you go fags, have a lesson in good metal:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjb2IwpyHng

  18. Levy_Spearmen says:

    I killed 3 homeless men today. My highest record yet. I doubt anyone can top that.

  19. Alpha Demon says:

    hey high school kid: just walk up to her with a serious look on your face and slowly stick your thumb in her mouth. she’ll get the picture!

  20. Gojira Fan says:

    Well I think that Gojira in the 2000´s is waaaay more influential to true tech-metal than black sabbath was to black-prog in the 80´s. Gojira’s music is passionate and beautiful in the avantagarde way they compose their music. Gojira is the future of metal once that Grindcore receded from prominence and alternative metal became infused with too much power-thrash structures. That’s why you all should listen to Gojira more than Burzum, Gorguts or similar grinding black-metal !

  21. Optimist says:

    High school kid : make her listen to Morbid Angel and Darkthrone, she’ll understand these are bands with depth and power for grown ups and you’ll score.

  22. Pessimist says:

    Would have worked in the 80s and 90s, not today.

  23. Realist says:

    Metal’s youth market is exclusively composed of out of shape virgin geeks.

  24. High school kid says:

    So I decided the best thing to do was to head into class wearing a GOJIRA shirt. I jumped on my desk and said in a commanding voice: ‘GOJIRA are the greatest metal band around today!’ I then began to shit myself and fling the feces all over the class. People were running around and screaming as I daubed an inverted cross on my now bare chest in my own excrement. Everyone else was terrified but that one girl looked at me and spoke thusly: ‘Wow! I’m so impressed by your transcendental blasphemy! Take me as your bride!’

  25. Idealist says:

    With the growing interest in Hessianism, those out of shape virgin geeks will go to the gym, chill out, and get laid.

  26. Low School Kid says:

    Woaw, high school kikd, you stole my technique !

  27. Relativist says:

    If a person wants to be a fat bisexual virgin who masturbates outside middle schools, then that’s just his lifestyle choice and it’s as valid and meaningful as anything else.

  28. GOJIRA FAN says:

    TELL ME JUST TWO OBJECTIVE REASONS WHY BURZUM OR MORBID ANGEL ARE BETTER THAN GOJIRA… WE ALL KNOW YOU CANT BECAUSE YOU HATE GOJIRA BECAUSE THEY ARE THE FUTURE OF METAL! BURZUM IS THE PAST.

  29. Naf Arijog says:

    ^: because MA and Burzum fans don’t write everything in full caps, this alone denotes a superiority in terms of self-control and general cultural level which you’ll never achieve by listening to Gojira.

  30. LOL YAY GO PETE SANDOVAL says:

    Man, not only do you need to get out more, apparently you need to get out more on the internet too. The Morbid Angel Myspace is full of beaners (majority of their fanbase) who do exactly that.

  31. GOGOGOJIRA says:

    YOU JUST HATE GOJIRA BECAUSE THEY HAVE MUSCLES AND GET LAID WAY MORE THAN U TRANSCENDENTAL BLACK METAL DORKS!!

  32. BRUNHiLDE FAn #1 says:

    LOL YAY GO BRUNILDE!!!

  33. rtyui says:

    “Transcendental” isn’t the word I think of when I see some spotty unemployed creep painting up like a clown and going “rarr”

  34. Subjectivist says:

    HEY! Relativist! You stole my view!

  35. Hail Folk Metal! The truest and most European metal in spirit of all! Also the best sounding, enjoy your redneck noisefail and clown paint, fags. says:

    This is how good metal sounds like, maybe not at its greatest heights, but definitely a local maximum:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnJzxZJFRlk

  36. DOUBT says:

    IS THERE ANYTHING WRONG WITH LIKING COCK? BIG JUICY COCK?

    AM I ANY LESS OF A METALHEAD FOR THAT?

  37. pop music with different instruments says:

    that was the worst shit ever

  38. True Metal Crusader, black and death metal are for autistic faggots says:

    Hey faggots. You aspies with your clown paint and childish rage can never appreciate good music like this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViEH57xQu1c

  39. uhh, folk music isnt pop music, you numbskull. and what the fuck do yout think metal is, heavy metal is just blues with distortion. says:

    pop music with different instruments

  40. Anal Metal says:

    There is no ‘blues’ in Heavy Metal – Heavy Metal is entirely derived from European Classical, German Waltzes and Celtic folk music.

  41. noble heavy metal warrior ov death, bringer of death and chaos says:

    As usual, Negruvoda embarrasses himself by posting puerile pop-rock.

    Songs like these are true art:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucQLw3_70HY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McoZ3yiYGG8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTpCHMEcTR4

  42. Harbinger of Death fuckin' Metal says:

    Here’s the real deal: I think this really carries the spirit of old school death metal, on a narrative structural composition that embraces the riffs and conceptualizes them in a neo-classical soundscape. Like Kraftwerk-cum-Bach played with distorted guitars.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdQ8w30j4CY

  43. Tax the rich! says:

    Fuck yeHA BROS!

  44. Niggers ( Black Man ) Wake Up ! Most Whites want to Destroy you ! says:

    fuck dis site

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpJZLwcVXOQ

  45. Levy_Spearmen says:

    This site sure attracts a lot of homosexuals. They must come for the anus.

  46. MCGUGGAH says:

    I WAS BLESSED BY GOD IN HAVING WHAT YOU FOLKS WOULD CALL A VERY LARGE PENIS. AS SOON AS I REALIZED I WAS UNABLE TO PERFORM COITUS WITH MOST WOMEN DUE TO MY EXTREME SIZE, I DECIDED TO GET INTO CHRISTIAN METAL. I BELIEVE IN GOD AND HIS SON JESUS CHRIST, AND I BELIEVE IN METAL TO BE A VIABLE MEDIUM TO SPREAD THE WORD OF GOD. I CONSIDER MYSELF A METALHEAD BUT I WOULD LIKE TO LET EVERYONE HERE KNOW THAT ONLY LORD JESUS CHRIST IS LOVES US ALL AND WE SHOULD ALL ALLOW HIM TO ENTER OUR SOULS THROUGH HIS UNENDING LOVE.

  47. Big Cock Beatrice says:

    God blessed me also with a mighty long penis. I tried many times to have sex with women but I could never fit all the way inside. This made me very depressed. I began fantasizing about being a woman myself, and taking massive cocks.

    I started wearing women’s underwear under my clothes at work and when going shopping. It made me feel very turned on. One day I wore a dress and a cute blonde wig to the office – everyone was very shocked but couldn’t say anything due to the sexuality equality laws.

    I called myself Beatrice and went to gay clubs; guys loved my massive dick. I let them fuck me up my ass. I told them to fuck my cunt. My dirty, messy, sloppy cunt.

    One day, a guy told me to fuck him with my huge dick. I was nervous, but after a while it went in the whole way! The guy was in some discomfort at first but then screamed at me to fuck him harder! I was so happy I was so happy I had finally managed to fit my massive cock up a asshole!

  48. Nokata yakima says:

    i have a tiny penis and women dont let me fuck them …

  49. Negru Voda says:

    Shit Levy, you know I come here for YOUR anus, baby. Love that tight, white skin around my black cock. Guess why they call you Spearman, you can take my tribal pole all the way day and night.

  50. Levy_Spearmen says:

    It’s “Spearmen” you dumb, faggit. Go die you fucking disgusting freak.

  51. LEVY_SPEAMEN FAN #1!!!!!!!! says:

    LOL YAY GO CHEVY_PRICEMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  52. Levy_Spearmen says:

    Hear that? The people want an encore(though what’s with chevy priceman?).

    You fags are pathetic. You fail to realize that you are just a construct of nature, but one that humans actually no longer need. Go die.

  53. tiny midget says:

    i wanna fuck levy spearmen’s mom with my tiny penis!!

  54. Levy_Spearmen says:

    No, you don’t…

  55. tiny dwarf says:

    i also wanna fuck levy spearmen’s mom with my even smaller pecker!!

  56. tiny hobbit says:

    can I also have a piece of that action too?

  57. Levy_Spearmen says:

    I’m taller than all of you.

  58. Been listening to Gojira since before they were a band says:

    Back when I was in high school, you didn’t need to smear yourself with feces in order to get women to notice you. In fact, there were no women at all. You just had extremely unsatisfying buttsex with your buddies and that was that, back when times were simpler.

  59. tiny half-hobbit says:

    I wanna see Levy_Spearmen fuck his mom with his tiny penis and her massive vagina!

  60. Levy_Spearmen says:

    Quit talking about that you sicko. My penis is a healthy six-incher with a robust, veiny girth, though it does bend to the left. I am sure women will not be frightened of it once I explain my confrontation with the jewish menace at my birth. They may even feel sorry for me, in a good way that only woman understand.

  61. I have been observing you, Chevy_Pricemen says:

    My dick is only 5 inches.

    I have heard much about your dick curving to the left.

  62. I dont have time for this shit says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w628V9_r-Mk

    Real fucking metal, far more artful and honest than your buttfrustrated goffik manchild blackmetal shit.

  63. doubtful tiny midget says:

    Is Levy_Spearmen’s mom hot? I mean is she worth banging? Cause I’m not dipping my 1.5 inch midget wiener into an old wrinkled flubbery wench! Does she even like anal? She better cause I’m giving it to her real hard and fast! She better have it clean too cause I’m not scraping no dried shit! Anyone here knows if Levy_Spearmen’s mom has a clean anus? Hey yo Tiny Hobbit, have you banged this guy’s mom in her anal fun hole? Does she like to swallow jizz?

  64. assertive tiny hobbit says:

    Yeah she´s clean man! I think. Wait… I was too drunk that night and I can´t remember if it was Levy_Spearmen’s mom I was fucking or her little slut sister. I just remember it was hairy fuzzy warm cavity… mmmh now that I recall it was a bit too hairy. She was moaning like a bitch giving birth. Wait… it´s all coming to me now… I remember we were on a very dark room and Levy_Spearmen was knocking on the door asking: “Dad are you okay?”

  65. Levy_Spearmen says:

    Honestly, “have fun,” is all I will say.

  66. Tiny Old Timer says:

    Back in my day, you didn’t need a “woman” to “have fun.” All a man needed to enjoy himself was a bottle of vaseline and a scouring pad, back when times were simpler.

  67. tiny faggot says:

    I fucked Levy_Spearmen’s mom! I made her sew her cunt shut and get a dick to fuck me up the ass.

  68. deadite says:

    Is there even a point in trying to seriously comment on these blog posts anymore?

  69. Levy_Spearmen says:

    Of course not. Fuck metal.

  70. deadite says:

    Disregard that, I want more gay porn stories!