Written by Timothy Saturday, 12 September 2009 10:06
We are a flitting race. We flit like the wind. But metal heads - what are metal heads if not a bit different from the flock that breezes south or north with the change of seasons? Full-blooded metal, in my opinion will always be about high ideals, and full-blooded metal heads will invariably identify with that statement. Though we flock to this one “genre” (way of life) from many backgrounds, heritages, and to feed different needs, metal is all about remaining true to some concept. Our black shirts are mostly gray; our hair is mostly long, but for what reason? What sets this “trend” (by appearances only) apart from all of the other bullshit that people try to preach or identify with?
High fucking ideals, that’s what separates us. Our shirts fade to gray because what better to wear in daily life? For those of us who don’t exclusively wear metal shirts, what makes us apparently metal to outsiders? Hair, piercings, tattoos… looking like William Murderface… But we are still in the superficial, my friends, and not everyone waxes metal the same way based on appearance. An honest, full-blooded metal head will not judge how true-to-the-ideal someone is based on appearance or he/she would indeed very shortsighted. Baldness is metal – look at Rhapsody of Fire’s drummer for confirmation. So what is at the root of metal once again?
Musashi was metal.
High ideals. A longing for love and a love of longing. A desire to not feel like shit in this place where it can be hard to feel like you're against the grain all of the time. I personally like to tie our metal ideals to ancient cultures. The codes of Bushido and chivalry come to mind immediately. No, we are not all warriors and we are not all polite, especially as members of the human race foremost, but remnants of those codes and cultures live on today. I would argue that those values still exist in part thanks to metal. A historian (who’s not a totally self-obsessed ass-hat – which is possible within the realm of any specialty [or lack of specialty, for that matter… hmm ass-hats are everywhere]) may not realize it, but they could be leading their life in a totally metal fashion by trying to respect the ancients without ever having needed to enjoy our favorite music. I feel for their loss, but I do respect them, because metal isn’t about the music. Metal is about being metal. Let's take what I said about love and longing and discuss the metal-ness of those things. Is there a person alive who could actually write these things off? No. If you don't have understanding you are failing in an innate and internal Darwinian sense. People who are into metal may have things to be pissed off about, but if there is really someone who doesn't long for allies then they are actually missing more than just an idealistic concept, they are missing the point of LIFE. It should be evident to most of you that I'm huge power metal fan so how could I talk about any of this without pointing a finger at many culprit power metal songs? There's a whole lot of questing/fantasizing going on about the perfect woman and way of life there. There seems to be a common thread of what I'm talking contained therein. But it's all good though. Having desires and principles regarding what you want is so unquestionably metal. Metal is not about settling for oppression or mediocrity - it's about combating it valiantly!!!
I am biased, but all of these are metal shirts to me!
So what's the actual thread here? What are the ideals I'm speaking of? Integrity, honor, strife. Why strife? I don't know completely. Something is just off in this modern experience and it feels like it's because tyranny gets to take hold in so many ways. Sometimes tyranny is in the way that a good friend succombs to something you dissagree with. Sometimes it's found in the way people aren't always treated like people. It feels to me that the true metal heads out there would be ready and willing to just stand up and fight a good fight against these kinds of things that are so insideously out of our hands. How can it be helped that it's a lonely path? Every day and decision is just training for a great event. But Ragnarok isn't just a cool sounding bit of ancient religion, it's day to day life, and we're all the dying type in the day to day. What principles will guide us into the grave with a sword in our hands and our boots on versus the all of the unprincipled alternatives? I feel like having a code to live by - call it whatever you want, I call mine metal - is the kind of thing that can allow a person to live with dignity. And if one truly craves a noble path, he would do best not to muck together a lack of compromise and code of honor with undying self-servitude.
The sad thing about everything I'm talking about is that I’ve probably known more people who were metal just based on their conduct and principles than I have actual metal heads. I am sometimes sadly reminded that some people only listen to metal as part of a fashion statement and that they are not actually metal. This is what I mean about not judging based on the superficial but rather the person’s heart. Hell, someone might still be cool, but they can definitely suffer from NOT qualifying as metal. Not everyone gets a piece of Ron Lumberg’s birthday cake. (Hahaha I don’t know why I referenced Office Space, Lumberg is as lame as it gets!!! Well actually Peter Gibbons is totally metal, so there you go.)
It’s not the power squeals, though those number amongst the most bad-ass things imaginable. It’s not the style of music or the appearance of the artist or listener. Metal is metal. Metal is high ideals.
Keep true if only for the sake of your children’s children, my cohorts!
-The Philosopher of Metal (a.k.a. Ancient Ideals)
P.S. My two other "metal shirts" pictured say Power By Pavel (a la dragondoor.com) and Beastskills.com - How could a man doing a full split and a gorilla doing a one arm chin-up not be considered totally metal?