I heard some of the most horrifying stories about metal since I became a metalhead. Why? Damn, there are much more horrible stories in hip-hop! I tried to get some of these stories, which I felt represented the overall impression people get nowadays about metalheads. And the recent events regarding Dimebag Darrell's death gave me the last energy surge I needed to clarify some myths.
Myth: All metalheads are satanists and pagan-infused monsters.
Reality: I'm so overwhelmed by the fact that some people still think those kinds of things. Of course, when you see me coming around with my "Altar Of Sacrifice" Slayer hoodie, it's not that surprising. But hell, I thought that people got open-minded enough to accept the fact that it's SHOWBIZ! Tom Araya is catholic. Dani Filth is not a reincarnation of the demon. Dimmu Borgir aren't worshipping Satan in their basements. Emperor won't sacrifice live animals and humans on stage. Burzum isn't... ok. Bad example...
Yeah! There are these specific cases. Burzum is one. Mayhem is one. But you have to remember that these guys are playing music. Whether they play Power, Thrash or Black is not important. Ihsahn, Emperor's frontman once said that "The fact that I play Black Metal does not make me unhuman. I'm in fact someone who laughs and smile a lot. I also cry sometimes."
So please, the times where Catholics burned "Number Of The Beast" is over. Music is music. Styles are images used to transmit this music.
Myth: Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, System Of A Down and Evanescence are some of the hardest metal bands.
Reality: This one is mostly heard in the 12-14 year old range. The first thing that should be done is asking this question: Are they Metal at all? System was once classified as "Alternative Metal". I don't think they still are, but it's true they're hard. Limp and Linkin are coming straight from the Nu-Metal revolution, yet they both took a huge Mainstream Rock step these last years. Evanescence is the American clone of Italian Goth-Metallers Lacuna Coil. But! Evanescence is Gothic Rock, not Metal.
The arguable classifications of these bands come from logic. The active use of double-pedal and power-chord based riffing is not a sign of Metalness. If you look for the hardest metal bands, go seek some Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Emperor, Immortal, DarkThrone, Satyricon.
(really biased opinion here)
Myth: Metal was and still is an underground and shadowy genre.
Reality: Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motorhead, Motley Crue, Twisted Sister, Sonata Arctica, Nightwish, Stratovarius, Dream Theater, Pantera (R.I.P. Dimebag). Underground and shadowy? Yeah right...
Myth: Where does Rammstein belong?
Reality: Rammstein is Industrial. Industrial was always seen as one of the most fucked-up styles ever, because it can't be classified. Yet Rammstein has a lot of supporters in the Metal camp, so I guess they are Metal, but they could easily be Rock as well.
Myth: A metal band must have a Double-Bass equipped drum.
Reality: Not really. A double-pedal does the same job. The choice whether the band needs a second bass-drum or not solely belongs the band's drummer. Need examples? In Flames and Soilwork, both major players in the Gothenburg Death Metal genre are double-pedal players. Symphony X, a huge Progressive Metal act is double-pedal-based also. Metallica was double-pedal during the Load/ReLoad/Garage Inc. era.
Myth: Metal is solely sound, there ain't no technicality in it.
Reality: Uh... Dream Theater anyone? Some of the world's most technical musicians are in Metal bands. Metal is actually the musical genre who allows the most technicality because of its large and almost infinite range.
A few myths, some I think being the most stupid. Yet it's really biased. But I just wanted to do a nice intro to my next articles about Metal genres, which are probably going to clarify very specific myths about things very specific to each genre.