Metal is a rebellion against Idiocracy


For years our media saw heavy metal as a kind of deviation from normal pop, which was presumed to be innocent and healthy. Metal, on the other hand, embraced the dark and obscure, the labyrinthine and the terrifying, and — unlike most pop — failed to condemn war, conflict, murder and occultism as “evil.”

As time goes on, it becomes clear that the terms “good” and “evil” are frequently inverted, with each taking the meaning of the other. For example, totalitarian dictators have a tendency to portray normal life as evil in order to make their systems of control seem “good”; conversely, pop music and other products like to pretend they are good and metal “evil” in order to infiltrate your headphones.

Increasingly, however, research shows that pop music is instead the siren call of a civilization collapsing into idiocracy, or rule by morons for idiots. As portrayed in the movie Idiocracy, this state occurs when the thoughtless and incompetent outbreed the intelligent and insightful, resulting in the ultimate consumer society of know-nothing, apathetic people.

That condition could also describe pop music in its current form. Recent research points out that pop music is indeed dumbing us down. In a recent article entitled “Scientists Prove That Pop Music Is Literally Ruining Our Brains,” Jordan Taylor Sloan argues that:

Research proves what our parents have been saying all along: Modern pop music really is worse than older generations of pop music. Not only that, it has negative effects on your brain, too — if you’re chiefly a pop music fan, you’re likely to be less creative than any other kind of music lover.

In 2008, Adrian North of Scotland’s Heriot-Watt University published the largest study yet of musical taste, involving 36,000 people, 60 countries and three years of work. He asked each participant to rank their favorite genres of music. He discovered that the most common characteristic among all genre listeners was creativity. However, one group of listeners showed a genuine and significant lack of creativity: pop music lovers.

This suggests what metalheads have said for years is in fact true: metal embraces not just forbidden topics, but acts out the forbidden idea that some music is indeed brain-dead and should be avoided. Wimps and poseurs leave the hall!

Further, heavy metal — by the complexity of its composition, the intricacy of its thought and lyrics, and the technicality of its instrumentalism — acts as a counter-force to this great dumbing down. Unlike music which tries to be popular by challenging no one and making sugar-laden over-processed musical junk food for the inattentive, heavy metal engages its audience and speaks forth social taboos in order to expand the mind and challenge the intellectually sedentary.

It is unlikely that the mainstream media will take note of this. It only takes note of metal when it is “socially conscious,” or flattering our current pretenses of being an upward society moving toward Utopia, instead of a dying civilization creating dystopia through oblivion toward reality as a result of popular narcissism. But parents might take note as they see their children become glazed-eye zombies in the hands of media designed to support idiocracy, not challenge it.

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11 thoughts on “Metal is a rebellion against Idiocracy

  1. veien says:

    Metal of the ‘true’ variant (-1% existing) is second only to 33% of all classical and 0.01% electronic and ambient. As the genre grew older in years the stakes got higher in terms of creating something that actually endures, and so many of the artistic mindset burned out before even starting while everything else about the genre became over intellectualized and well, … just part of a process. Anyway, if it hasn’t been said already, to hell with anyone that disagrees.

    1. Nester says:

      The best of metal is better than anything else.

  2. tiny midget says:

    i’d like to ask u how would your life be if metal had never existed. if black sabbath and what came after never had existed, how would that have affected your existence? would u still be the same person that you are now? u know what i mean…

    1. Hard to tell. I’d probably be dead. The basics of my philosophy would not have changed but I’d probably be in a room somewhere with Cro-Mags, Discharge and Amebix on loop.

      1. veien says:

        As a healthy, living, thriving musical genre, it arguably doesn’t exist even now at this point. I missed the glory days by half a decade or so but could never have imagined how much worse things would get (or how much more cynical I could get). But without metal I’d probably still be spinning ambient, classical, trance, martial medieval whatever while wandering in fields/woods and generally just trying to get through life without fucking up too badly (bit late though huh lol ;_))

        1. To put that in other words, the spirit found in metal exists elsewhere too, but not in the same form of pure intensity. Then again, expecting intensity all the time could create a kind of heat death in itself, and metal certainly seems to burn itself out and leave cold ash quite quickly.

    2. veien says:

      But even if Black Sabbath didn’t come along, there would still eventually be some equivalent thereof the culmination of time and -bio-cosmic pressure of civilisation. Same with Hitler and many other great artists.

  3. Roger says:

    Listening to good metal does not put you into a ‘special’ club. It’s about how you live your life and what you do with the small amount of time ‘you’ have. So get off your computers.

  4. To me the best distillation of the meaning of metal is captured in the Judas Priest song “Turbo Lover”. Forget all that whiny existential nihilist stuff (” waah I wish I was a viking!!1 I hate humanity!! Waah!!”), metal’s raison d’etre is the liberation of human sexuality from the oppressive hetero-normative, cisgendered patriarchy who wish to enslave us to “traditional” morals. Pfft, who are they to tell me what to do in the privacy of my studio apartment? C’mon guys, who’s with me?

    1. veien says:

      I can sort of see your viewpoint because in the past many have come forth proclaiming to be true when they where in fact false to their very core and only good at arguing various points of disinterest. Your point about sexual depravity I can never agree however as it is a diseased frame of mind no matter how well it can be argued otherwise and the only way to avoid spiritual hell is to cut off from all that is unhealthy to one’s true nature.

  5. Cyrill says:

    Metal also encourages the listener to look for more artists, to mix other genres, to be more active in his band/scene. Metal expresses many different subject in the world whenever it’s politics, religion, personal development/struggles, drugs, fun and games, history and so on. Metal can express anger, sadness, happiness. It can be loud and aggressive, it can be mellow and calming. Metalheads are much more united than most, if not, all other music lovers. People actually save up a lot of money to fly to a foreign country to a metal festival just to listen to the music they love. Metal doesn’t die with time, old bands are still being heard by the people who were listening to them in the 70’s/80’s/90’s unlike pop music where people forget that once there were the Spice Girls, Jonas Brothers, Britney Spears and etc.

    It’s indeed a special genre with no other alike.

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