Social Question

Blackberry's avatar

Why isn't metal and heavy metal more popular? If you don't like it, can you give specific and detailed reasons why?

Asked by Blackberry (29341 points ) May 21st, 2012

Other songs cover emotions like sadness of a breakup or a jovial dancing feeling, while metal covers the emotion of anger with awesome riffs and drums. What’s your problem? More people need to listen to this stuff nowadays. I only want nice people to answer.

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60 Answers

chyna's avatar

To my ear, heavy metal has no melody or tune. It just sounds loud and clashing.

ucme's avatar

Because it’s Bad News!

zenvelo's avatar

It’s all gimmick, no real emotion nor real craftsmanship. Shrieking screams are all in the same timbre.

jca's avatar

I like Metallica and some older stuff like some Judas Priest and Black Sabbath, but a lot of the really hard stuff (what’s referred to as death metal and stuff like that) to me is too hard, too fast, not enough melody or song.

deni's avatar

Literally gives me a headache. It does not sound appealing. It’s too much going on. It’s unpleasant and if I had to give it a “mood” it would be ANGRY and I’m not an angry person, I don’t like angry people, movies, or music.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Metal can be good but more often than not its complete shit. Just bs screamin pig sounds. (and i used to be a metal head in my teens)

tups's avatar

I know a lot of guys who are really hardcore heavy metal fans and they can come up with all kinds of amazing arguments why it’s really cool; it’s deep, it’s meaningful, it’s hard, it’s emotional etc. They’re probably right – it is for them at least. I don’t know, it just doesn’t makes me feel, which is what decides what I think about stuff. Real art, to me, is what makes me feel a certain way. For me, heavy metal lacks touch, feel, beauty and a lot more. But that’s just me.

picante's avatar

I’ll try to be nice . . . for me, the noise factor is overwhelming. I can’t distinguish individual (fill in the blank—notes/instruments/words/moods) as easily as I can with other genres. I will say that I’ve seen some performances of metal that were appealling to me, but those are rare.

digitalimpression's avatar

I’m not really sure what qualifies as “metal” these days. I like the sound of Tool,Perfect Circle, Metallica, and even some Pantera (even though I find most of the videos/lyrics horrifying and in bad taste).

Some metal has appeal for time at the gym.. but would I ever turn it on in another circumstance? Probably not.

Quite simply it is loud, obnoxious, and repetitive. It just doesn’t mesh with my personality. I especially can’t stand loud + obnoxious music supplemented by a laryngitis afflicted voice-over which I can only compare to the dying gasps of a walrus.

wildpotato's avatar

Y’all seem to be conflating several different types of metal. Classic metal is actually quite popular, as it includes bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Grand Funk Railroad, Black Sabbath, etc. Then there’s early British metal like Iron Maiden, punk metal like Motorhead, glam metal like Motley Crue, and then thrash metal with Metallica, Anvil, Slayer, and the like. The newest is the more screamy-clashy type stuff I think most of you are thinking of when you think “metal”: death metal, nu metal, black metal, metalcore, and others.

Personally, some of my favorite music is classic metal; I like almost everything in that genre. Some of the other early stuff is pretty good on the whole, like Motley Crue, Motorhead, Metallica and Anvil. The new stuff has fun moshpits and great scenes, but I can take or leave most of the music, mostly because I appreciate something I can hook onto and groove with. Even noise music has more structure than much of the newer metal.

Dethklok 4EVR! And, Tool and A Perfect Circle are not metal.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

To me, heavy metal music means screaming and banging on instruments – not really any tune or music involved. I like songs like War, In a Godda da Vida, even newer stuff like Coming Down with the Sickness, and I guess they could be called heavy metal, but the intolerable heavy metal, to me, is more like what the band Deathclock puts out. Just horrible, irritating, annoying noise.

DominicX's avatar

Because I don’t care for the sound, in general. Hard to explain, really. It just doesn’t appeal to me. Much of the vocals I don’t care for (it’s very rare that I will like any kind of vocals considered to be “screaming”, whether that’s screamo, metal, etc.) My brother’s a fan and I’ve heard some stuff I like, particularly where it has been influenced by classical (he’s showed me some songs with elaborate guitar solos that resemble Bach’s organ music). But it’s just not my type of music.

That’s not to say I don’t like music that is angry and bombastic, that’s why I listen to Shostakovich. His music is all percussion and atonality and represents the sounds of war and Soviet oppression. It is certainly not to everyone’s taste.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Actual Metalhead here
The point of metal is not to be popular. After Sabbath made their first record, they said their goal was to scare the living shit out the flower child generation and to rebel against the hippie trend. It was just never meant to be a populist genre. It was supposed to alienate, offend and mock the norm (as we can see with Venom’s Black Metal, Bathory’s s/t debut, Slayer’s Reign in Blood, Mayhem’s Deathcrush, etc)

Trillian's avatar

I used to like some metal, and still like some of the older stuff. It seems that now all they do is scream incomprehensibly. I was mulling this over today on my way to work as I listened to some Godsmack, Limp Bizkit and Rage against the machine.

FluffyChicken's avatar

Um…. Metal IS popular.

ucme's avatar

My mother liked The Carpenters, you know, the famous “Light Wood” band from way back.

6rant6's avatar

I have trouble picking out a melody. And there seems to be little nuance or subtlety which I like in my music. When I can understand the lyrics, the subject matter often has strong emotional components which I like, but mostly, I can’t make out the lyrics.

Some of the bands I’ve seen have satanic symbols in their paraphernalia which turns me off. I don’t listen to anything religious.

Charles's avatar

What makes the original poster think it isn’t popular?

Blackberry's avatar

@wildpotato has a good point. I tend to listen to older metal where the lyrics are more coherent. It seems it’s not popular, because it doesn’t have much exposure compared to other genres, but there are plenty of other genres that aren’t popular, so they can’t all be popular of course (and what michael said). Thanks for the answers, fellow humans.

laurenkem's avatar

I just plain ol’ don’t like it. It’s angry and loud and there doesn’t really even seem to be any beat or harmony to it. I do like some of the glam metal bands (Poison, Motley Crue, Ratt), but the really hard core stuff? Meh – I leave it alone.

I prefer music that for some reason moves me, makes me feel something, hope for something, or wish for something. Heavy metal just doesn’t do it for me, personally.

woodcutter's avatar

It’s an acquired taste and probably is why most of it stays off the radio where stuff becomes popular. I don’t think it is supposed to “sound good” in the sense that popular music does. And it could be generational. The new stuff I don’t like and probably wouldn’t get along with those that do. Metalica I used to like, but now I can’t handle it, not their late stuff.

deni's avatar

@DominicX GA for using “bombastic”. Excellent word. If you happen to still know where the metal is that resembles Bach’s organ like you said, would you mind sending me it?! I’m curious.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Exactly for the reasons you listed @Blackberry! ”...metal covers the emotion of anger.” Why would I want to drown myself in someone else’s anger??

Blackberry's avatar

@DominicX Send it to me, too.

@Dutch Some metal sings about topics of life everyone can be angry about : )

Dutchess_III's avatar

I can be angry enough all by myself. I sure don’t need anything to feed it and make it worse! I’ll wind up living where I work!

MissAnthrope's avatar

It depends on the band. I can totally get into the right kind of metal, but it has to have aesthetic value… as in, the rhythm is good, driving guitars, the voice enjoyable to listen to, and decent lyrics. I have much the same requirements for other genres. I think the issue with metal is that when poorly done, it just sounds like noise. Bad noise, at that.

Why would I want to drown myself in someone else’s anger?

My ex said the same thing about ‘depressing’ songs. But you know, sometimes, I’m in a mood and I want to listen to music that echoes how I feel. So, when I’m pissed, I crank the L7. When I’m sad, it’s something like Trespassers William. It’s just nice sometimes to listen to something that expresses how you feel in the moment.

dabbler's avatar

There’s unfortunately little music in it. I don’t particularly like the anger either, but most “metal music” is very poorly put together and has no aesthetic to it, even an angry one.

Anger is a poorly processed pain emotion and there’s little use dwelling on it, it indicates a need to change what’s going on not celebrate it. Metal “music” is infantile bawling, noise.
It can be fun to relate to in an un-responsible, fuck-the-world, mood, but personally I don’t have that much appetite for that.

If you want some well-processed pain set to music, find some blues or folk songs about hard times.

woodcutter's avatar

It’s basically hip hop with a different equally horrid sound now.

Coloma's avatar

Because it’s not called head banging music for no reason. Yep, I don;lt like the ounding or the anger scene.
Hey, gimme some old Led Zeppelin now and then when I’m in a zippy mood but I like silence more and more these days.

AshLeigh's avatar

It’s very popular. At least in my school.
Half of the kids I know listen to it.
I enjoy it. The angrier, the better. :)

Fly's avatar

The overall sound of such music is just completely unappealing to me, if not almost repulsive. Why would I want to listen to someone scream to sporadic, cacophonous “music” with no apparent tune? The music just sounds like tone-deaf musicians with torn vocal cords…just awful. I’ll stick to my pop music, thanks.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I don’t like thrash metal. It’s someone making noise. I love AC/DC, Alice in Chains. etc. It doesn’t have to be someone pounding a guitar. Listen to Alice in Chains, Your Decision. It’s beautiful.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@wildpotato saw dethklok before. Awesome concert, almost got my teeth knocked out in the pit though lol

Plucky's avatar

It’s just noise to me.

For me, I wouldn’t call AC/DC (and the like) metal. I like them. Maybe that’s the old school metal. Like others said, it’s the thrashing screaming noise I detest. So, I guess it depends on what one labels as metal music. Most modern metal sounds like a bunch of tone deaf idiots assaulting instruments.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like Slayer.

Symbeline's avatar

Due to its aggressive nature, metal is highly labeled by social standards as having inappropriate content and having severe negative influential factors on its fans. A lot of it is rebellious, too. That counts for a lot. It’s resented and meets contempt, although metal is a lot more normal than what it’s labeled as. For what it’s worth, rap or pop can be just as inappropriate. This is isn’t any of my opinion, just observation, which may indeed be wrong.

Besides the social rut in which metal seems to find itself, it’s actually highly popular though. From the old forefathers with big white sneakers and tight leather pants to guys thinking they’re Vikings or vampires, metal has its niche. It just doesn’t invade and conquer like the mainstream does. But that doesn’t make it unpopular, in fact, I’m willing to bet it’s one of the most popular genres out there.

I love metal myself, mostly black and pagan metal, but I’ll always love industrial the best.

jerv's avatar

I find it odd that many of the “Metal isn’t music!” people can listen to either very simple instrumentals backing asinine lyrics (oldies; pretty much anything from the ‘50s and much of the ‘60s), or some drunken yahoo who can’t remember more than three chords drawling about how great it is to live in a country where you are free to marry your sister-cousin and call that “good music”. I see those genres as too simple to require much talent and therefore only marginally more musical than a toddler bashing a Fisher-Price piano while babbling, but that is just my opinion.

Thing is, many people cannot pick out patterns easily/intuitively, thus metal sounds like nothing but random banging and screaming to them. Granted, bad metal is just that; a lot of random chords and death growls in an attempt to sound “metal”; but then there are a few different styles of good metal. It takes more than just sheer volume and screaming to make metal, yet there are a lot of people (especially amateur metal bands) who don’t know that. It also takes an ear capable of telling rhythm guitar from bass and quick enough to follow >80 BPM (sometimes well over) in order to appreciate metal.

I am rather old-school, and have always been impressed by the layering of different tempos in Slayer’s Seasons in the Abyss. There are newer bands that likewise show complex yet well-executed composition. For instance, Slipknot is twice the size of a normal band, so they can pull off things that no 4–5 person band could ever dream of.

And then there is Dethklok who is… well, Dethklok.

@6rant6 Melody is a little hard largely because good metal has at least some melody to all of the instruments whereas most other genres consider everything aside from Lead Guitar and Lead Vocals (and possibly keyboard) to be mere background. As for discerning lyrics, not all songs are about words; some are about music.

DeanV's avatar

I’ll try and attack this from a music theory standpoint. Most popular metal (that I hear) has a lot of emphasis on all the downbeats, giving it a really heavy feel and a loud and agressive tone as a result. When you base your music around the 1 and the 3 beats in a 4/4 melody, things just sound really heavy and agressive by nature, and I don’t particularly think a large subset of the music-listening population likes heavy and agressive.

But hey, what do I know. I primarily listen to jangly indie pop and electronic.

jerv's avatar

@DeanV Could you explain the popularity of dubstep?

DeanV's avatar

@jerv It’s foreign, different, and has a lot of weep-woop sounds that are actually rather unique. It is heavy and agressive, but it’s also stupid easy to dance to, and even with its huge surge, I still don’t think most of the music-listening population likes it.

Trillian's avatar

^^ dubstep is pretty cool when done inventively.

wildpotato's avatar

@Trillian What you’re thinking of is called drum & bass :oP

jca's avatar

Like @Plucky said, I don’t think of AC/DC and Led Zep as metal. I think of them as hard rock. I am not sure they’re actually classified as heavy metal, either.

Blackberry's avatar

I’m listening to Dream Theater’s Pull Me Under right now. It so good, guys. So good.

Blackberry's avatar

Oh yeah, just feel it.

wildpotato's avatar

@jca Here you go.

Also, I take back what I said about Tool and APC above – wiki says they are alt metal/progressive metal. Fair enough; I didn’t know those existed.

jca's avatar

@wildpotato: I stand corrected! I was wrong. Still, I don’t think of Zep and AC/DC as heavy metal, but then that’s just me.

Trillian's avatar

@wildpotato Umwhat? I’m pretty sure I’m thinking exactly what I wrote
This Dreamer kid is amazing. My son forced me to learn about dubstep. I looked it up just to stop hearing about it. Then I was forced to apologize. This makes the robot look….wow. Just…wow!

tranquilsea's avatar

I’m rather sensitive to loud noises so someone literally screaming in a mic isn’t my thing. When I have listened to it I cannot for life of me discern what it is they are screaming about and by a couple of minutes in I have a headache.

I like artists who can actually sing. Queen’s Death On Two Legs is a great example of a song about being extremely angry at someone and being creative with expressing it.

wildpotato's avatar

@Trillian Thanks for introducing me to dubstep I don’t hate; that last song wasn’t bad atall. I was being snarky in my comment before; I will explain. Drum & bass is the precursor to dubstep. I adore drum & bass, and to me, dubstep mostly sounds like some idiot hipster version of it, like drum & bass that’s really really into itself. I’m pretty sure that South Park’s tween wave was a spoof of dubstep.

Also, this guy kicks those guys’ asses.

Paradox25's avatar

As a metalhead myself I can tell you that this kind of music does vary alot, and I don’t like many metal bands themselves. Some metal actually sounds like a decent tune, but just louder and heavier. Metal, unlike most other types of music, addresses more serious problems and many people seem to be turned off of it by this.

jerv's avatar

@DeanV Give me old-school Trance any day :p

One thing I have to wonder is how many metalheads are just generally into anything loud and percussive. I tend to favor that sort of music, whether it be Metal, Trance, Rock, certain Classical music, and world music like Corvus Corax as well as many of the works of Abney Park. It’s not the genre that matters to me so much as the style; often fast (with some exceptions like Lightning Crashes by Live), but always percussive.

@Paradox25… yet rap is popular despite the serious problems it deals with…

Paradox25's avatar

@jerv Metal isn’t the only type of music that I listen to. I’m not into rap at all. I’m still not so sure about rap being more popular than metal, at least where I live.

fundevogel's avatar

What I Did Over Summer Vacation

Why I like Heavy Metal

Heavy metal is challenging. It doesn’t have the sort of hooks and melodies our ears and brains usually use to identify and process music. And coming off of a mainstream music diet or really most any music diet heavy metal is going sound abrasive and overwhelming. You just wouldn’t have the sonic vocabulary to get beyond the brutality or it interpret what you’re hearing without a bit of exposure. And that’s perfectly normal. Most people don’t really have a reason to train their ear for a metal vocabulary and the assault that metal is on virgin ears doesn’t often encourage further listening. I mean, to subject yourself to more of that racket when you didn’t like it the first time is a bit masochistic.

It turns out I’m a bit masochistic. Metal is something I learned to enjoy. I was bored with the music I was listening to and metal represented a challenge. I listened to all sorts of metal bands most I didn’t care for enough to listen to again, but little by little my ear learned what it liked in metal music and I found a bunch of metal that moved me. It turns out I am a sucker for mid tempo melodic black metal when it’s folky or Viking.

I’m glad I learned to hear metal because I get something from metal that I can’t get from any other sort of music and it feels good. Heavy metal is the primal scream of music. It may not be pretty or proper but it feels really good to let it out. For me it isn’t about anger. It’s about release. None of my metal sounds angry to me, in fact if I’m really in a bad mood it’s black metal that calms me down and gets me feeling at peace again. I just love to sway to Thyrfing and growl with Ajattara. Actually, Ajattara turns me on.

@Michael_Huntington My best Halloween costume to date is concussed Mayhem fan with severed sheep head.

@Symbeline Perkele. May you sharpen your battle ax on the bones of your enemies and sate your thirst with their blood.

Blackberry's avatar

@fundevogel Very nice, great answer.

Trillian's avatar

@wildpotato I could debate that, but I’m not interested in being adversarial abut this. That kid was pretty good too, but kind of in a different way, I think. He was a lot less robotic, less controlled in his movements, more free flowing. I liked the hat and the whole Johnny Depp/Buster Keaton thing.
But you see what I mean, these kids are impressive.

Bellatrix's avatar

I went to see Deep Purple this week and I have to say, it was one of the best concerts I have ever been to. I was pretty deaf afterwards.

Dutchess_III's avatar

For the most part it’s jarring and stressful. I felt that way even as a teenager.

Plucky's avatar

It is basically just noise to me. Granted, there are a few older metal songs I like when I’m in the right mood. The heavier the metal is, the more annoyed my brain gets. Like the synapses are stabbing each other and screaming like banshees in my head. I can’t hear the message of the music when the music itself is raping my mind. It feels threatening and intrusive….like an obnoxiously loud commercial that you find yourself scrambling to mute.
The older one gets, I think, the less likely they can handle that mess of noise (I speak generally of course – there are always exceptions).

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