The theme of darkness within heavy metal is not a celebration of, but rather a recognition of, the negativity, hate and sadness within the world. In acknowledging this, heavy metal fans believe they can move on from it. They attempt to move on from it by joining a subculture with others who also reject this negativity and a hurtful way of being; a subculture which encourages, at the heart of it, true happiness and love found via the music and community. Live music is particularly appreciated because it enables individuals to experience both happiness and love. It offers moments of total happiness by enabling heavy metal fans to temporarily forget the reality of usual life and it enables them to experience love as it is enjoyed simultaneously with others together; it is simply them, the music and thousands of others, all mutually enjoying the same experience in sync, as one crowded group. In short, it is a contemporary expression and demonstration of love, of a pure, inclusive and, almost completely, unconditional love.
Heavy metal fans also hope for a better life - one where abuse, prejudice, oppression, bullying, loneliness and any kind of hatred has ceased to exist and qualities such as inclusivity, equality, sharing, respect, open-mindedness, non-judgement and all pure genuine expressions of love reign. They have a deep-seated hope for this way of being, for this happiness and love they discover, to transcend into all areas of life and society. So rooted deep within heavy metal is a hope for love to prevail over hatred and darkness throughout the whole world. Therefore, by ‘joining’ the heavy metal community, an individual’s search for love is complete, found in a subversive subculture that basically lives out the concept of love in a contemporary way.
From Darkness to Light
During a recent Lent, Rev. George Smith interviewed a wide selection of people involved in the Heavy Metal community, from which she has pulled together this summary of what lies behind the scene