Why is the contemporary, so-called metal fan bent on converting heavy metal into some sort of tree-hugging hippie commune? Contrary to what many like to believe, metal is an inherently conservative form of music. Yes, it has evolved as a genre, and it has branched out into various sub-genres over time, but it is no fallacy to suggest that it has also developed as much as it is likely to. Techniques and song writing tropes have been established for some time now; stray too far from these conventions and the music ceases to be heavy metal, at least to those truly literate in the style. This natural quality control, often misinterpreted as narrow-mindedness, is one of the redeeming features of this music, and has ensured its survival and its relevance for over forty years; while various other bastardized forms (nu-metal, metalcore, djent, deathcore, etc) regularly erupt and fizzle out with typical caprice and short-sightedness, in no small measure due to the absence of a self-driving ideal greater than the music itself, real heavy metal endures, propagating its intrinsic truths over time and generations. Essentially a timeless idea encapsulated, what many fail to realize in an age of information overload and readymade wisdom is that it is the music that finds you, and not the other way around.
And so there sounds a rallying cry, usually originating from those with no respect for these traditions and also, sadly, sometimes from those who’d like you to believe that they do care, to compromise metal’s insularity, to strip it of its identity and pride so it can be paraded around like another flogged caricature of modern tolerance and an open mind. Often adopting a condescendingly liberal stance, smug and secure in their refinement as all-embracing paragons of selfless virtue, these types actively campaign for a non-discriminating, mindless parity between real metal and things they perceive to be metal but are actually far more concerned with forming an all-inclusive safehouse for their ilk where genteel socializing takes precedence over any kind of real passion and conviction. The term “metal brotherhood” comes to signify this faux-scene; a brotherhood forged not through those similarly shared ideals and truths mentioned above, arising of the music and nothing else, but instead over an equitably missing lack of intent and a drink.
This craving to belong is completely at odds with the introverted expression of the self that is heavy metal. Metal is not group therapy and is not meant to feed one’s assorted insecurities; it is proudly unapologetic of its reclusive qualities and doesn’t need, in fact rejects, all manner of external validation. Hipsters and revisionists are most welcome to pursue whatever spur-of-the-moment fancy suits them best but in case they forget, it is NOT all metal.