The Most Important Feature of Metalheads

Posted: March 20, 2014 in General

Is it the beards? The long hair? The black band shirts? The general gnarly appearance? Excepting of course, all the lovely lady metalheads. No. The most important attribute of every metalhead, every TRUE metalhead, is forgiveness. Sounds strange but I’ll elaborate.

Metal fans are sometimes known for being elitist, snobbish fucks who don’t like anything other than metal and look forward to pissing all over bands who decide to change or if they release anything mediocre. That is true as well, especially on the internet where your opinion is so unlikely to get your head kicked in that people feel free to express their badly thought through feelings on everything and anything.

But we, in general are a very forgiving bunch when it comes to certain things. We forgive those enthusiastic crowd surfers who kick us in the head on the way over. We forgive bars whose heaviest jukebox song is Nirvana. We forgive people for not understanding why we like metal. Our forgiveness is mostly reserved for our bands though.

Remember ‘Cold Lake’? Ah yes, you don’t want to do you? But you have to. Celtic Frost’s magnificently poor fourth record that led to such a backlash that the band effectively disappeared after follow up ‘Vanity/Nemesis’ until the gargantuan ‘Monotheist’ in 2005. An album so good, so mind numbingly heavy that all was forgiven and Celtic Frost were reborn into acclaim and love. Until they broke up. But hey, that gave us Triptykon, so again we lucked out.

Celtic Frost are my favourite example of this. Their first three records, and previous work in Hellhammer, made them so influential and important that even a total failure like ‘Cold Lake’ could be banished from memory by something as toweringly essential as ‘Monotheist’. Metal is rife with such bands and moments. Deicide were essential for three, piss poor for three, then all of a sudden became scorchingly relevant again with ‘The Stench of Redemption’. Iron Maiden and Judas Priest both have gone through that ‘decent records with other singers’ phase that were both wiped from the face of the earth by ‘Brave New World’ and ‘Angel of Retribution’ respectively. Metallica have done it twice, first with the ‘Load/Reload’ and ‘St Anger’ into ‘Death Magnetic’, then again with the terrible collaboration with the late, great Lou Reid. Let’s hope the new Metallica album brings them back from the brink.

Anyway, my point is that metal as a genre is a place where you will always be allowed redemption, allowed a chance to contribute meaningfully again. Pop music would have you out singing in bingo halls or cruise ships within a year of a bad release. Hip hop would have you providing guest appearances on other rapper’s albums (if you’re lucky). Dance music well, actually, who knows? But, we have seen so many great returns in metal that we can always forgive. Forgiveness is a virtue that most metallers possess in spades, they just don’t know it. Although Dave Mustaine is starting to push it…

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