Diary of a Metal Fan: The Metal Brotherhood
Written by Matt Drummond
Have you ever tried to explain to someone who doesn’t listen to metal why you love it so much? It’s nearly impossible to convey through words, so just save your breathe. On the flip side of that, have you ever run into a random metal fan at a bar? That scenario is much different; it’s an immediate camaraderie that is also impossible to describe. I heard about the “metal brotherhood” quite a bit growing up, but at the time didn’t fully understand the magnitude of it. Now that I’m older I’m passing along what that means. Look I don’t think I’m shocking you when I say the unfortunate fact that we as metalheads make up the smallest group of music fans worldwide. Now regardless of our numbers, we remain the undefeated champions of passionate fans. This isn’t even open for discussion, we ARE the most passionate. It’s weird how there can be so few of us, but those of us who do listen to metal can love it so much. Are we the crazy ones, or is the rest of society the crazy? Well, we all know we’re the crazy ones, but I really don’t care. I heard a guy say once, “when I’m walking down the street and I see another guy wearing a Slayer shirt, we just look at each other and know that guy gets it.” To me, that’s the clearest and most simple way to describe the metal brotherhood.
What is it that makes us connect with heavy music? I don’t think I’m alone here when I say metal is a huge part of who I am. Yes, people think I’m strange and they’re probably right, but at least I’m not another carbon copy of conformity. Most people hate metal, but to me that’s because they don’t comprehend the heart and love metal bands put into every song. They’re too busy trying to fit in and buying music other people tell them is cool. Cool to me is picking up a complete stranger when they go down in a pit, not following trends.
All of us have that one album that solidified us as lifelong fans of heavy metal. We all have a countless number of songs that give us chills every time we hear them. Getting those chills is an amazing feeling; it’s a connection most people will never experience. For me, Pantera’s ‘Vulgar Display of Power’ is the album that made me say “holy shit!”, especially the album’s second track, ‘A New Level.’ That song literally sent me down a new path and the chaperone was whiskey, weed, and heavy metal.
I take pride in putting on a Slayer shirt, and I take pride in being a metal fan, when I bleed guitar riffs, and my heart beats like double bass drum. Recently, I walked up to a bus stop in my home city of Chicago wearing a Devildriver t shirt. There was a woman sitting down waiting for the bus; she glanced up at me, blessed herself, and bolted. All I could do is laugh and think how bad her life must suck.
In the words of Caliban, “We are the many, alone we are nothing, together we are crushing.” That is a brutally true statement. I’ll take 50 metal fans vs. 200 fans of any other style of music. We may look strange to society, and we may have hearing damage, but we’re proud people and we’re loyal fans. Always remember that the metal brotherhood exists and we’re all a part of it.