How Heavy Metal Is Keeping Us Sane

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April 29, 2011 –
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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Culturally, metal has lost its boogeyman privileges, having been superseded in infamy first by gangsta rap and then by Britney with her shaved head and her dangerous umbrella.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.

No comments

  • Angry Black Smurf

    “Culturally, metal has lost its boogeyman privileges, having been superseded in infamy first by gangsta rap and then by Britney with her shaved head and her dangerous umbrella.”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

  • Preacher of Islam

    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.

  • high school kid

    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.

  • ferwe

    > 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*

  • poopjokes

    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.

  • I wrote this like a day ago lol and forgot to post

    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.

  • Alpha Demon

    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!

  • Gojira Fan

    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 !

  • Optimist

    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.

  • High school kid

    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!’

  • Idealist

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

  • Relativist

    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.

  • GOJIRA FAN

    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.

  • Naf Arijog

    ^: 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.

  • LOL YAY GO PETE SANDOVAL

    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.

  • GOGOGOJIRA

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

  • rtyui

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

  • DOUBT

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

    AM I ANY LESS OF A METALHEAD FOR THAT?

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

    pop music with different instruments

  • Anal Metal

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

  • Harbinger of Death fuckin' Metal

    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

  • Levy_Spearmen

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

  • MCGUGGAH

    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.

  • Big Cock Beatrice

    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!

  • Negru Voda

    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.

  • Levy_Spearmen

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

  • Levy_Spearmen

    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.

  • Been listening to Gojira since before they were a band

    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.

  • tiny half-hobbit

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

  • Levy_Spearmen

    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.

  • I have been observing you, Chevy_Pricemen

    My dick is only 5 inches.

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

  • doubtful tiny midget

    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?

  • assertive tiny hobbit

    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?”

  • Tiny Old Timer

    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.

  • tiny faggot

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

  • deadite

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