listen to extreme metal? This is a question I’ve been asked quite often, of late, sometimes prefaced with ‘You don’t look like a metalhead’, or ‘Really, I would have never guessed!’.
To reply to the first comment, maybe the fact that I look like an unprepossessing banker in the city has something to do with the fact that I don’t look like the typical metalhead.
To answer the question, I must say that I do because it is strangely soothing. It is gloriously cathartic to have someone growl and scream on my behalf while the music rages on. I suppose one has to be able to identify with the basic emotion in death metal. Some might say it’s anger, others power, others yet aggression. Like most forms of art, it becomes a Rorschach for the observer. The listener in this case simple hears whatever they want to hear.
The average person probably gives death metal a wide berth because of the imagery and the undecipherable vocals. These are the two most standard complaints. I like to think that the imagery is just a rock n roll gimmick. After all, no normal person, one would hope, cavorts around in graveyards frolicking in necrophiliac ecstasies with the dead. The imagery is also a refutation to a lot of what mainstream society stands for. The average person does not want to be reminded of the darker side of man all the time. The average person would rather drink beer and discuss last night’s sports game or some other such endeavour.
Before you think I’m trying to conclude that death metal afficionados are evolved humans who can discern between complex philiosophical ideologies while holding discourses on the evils of globalization, let me assure you that this is most certainly not the case. Most metalheads are little better than semi-literate apes who can barely comprehend the writing on the next band poster. One only has to actually go to a death metal concert to see this.
As for the vocals, it’s a bit like classical music. No one listens to classical music, with the exception of Opera, for the vocals and it’s a similar case with extreme metal. The lyrics in most extreme metal songs are complete rubbish anyway.
So, in the end, like most forms of art, it boils down to being a purely subjective matter. If you like heavy rock n roll and want to try something a wee bit heavier, there is always death metal. Otherwise, no harm done.