Heavy Metal – Its Growing Mainstream Appeal

The music known as heavy metal has for years been misunderstood and much maligned by the general public each and every time they see someone in heavy metal clothing. This is very much due to the associations the genre has with negative social concerns including that of religion and the many cases of fans running afoul with the law. These same fans attend heavy metal concerts drinking large amounts of alcohol and end up drunk, leading to problems and accidents normally associated with the condition, including drunken fights and car accidents. Heavy metal bands and artistes generally do not help much to improve the image of the genre, as they are often portrayed as drunken rebels who indulge in material excesses such as the above-mentioned alcohol binges and drug use.

However, there are heavy metal artistes and bands who are wholly professional about their art, and are known as hardworking musicians who dedicate hours upon hours to their craft and music. Bands such as Dream Theater and surprisingly, Metallica, are serious musicians despite the latter’s famous partying ways often reported in the media. Music magazines that concentrate on specific musical instruments have invited various band members to provide musical and performance advice, and these individuals are very much lauded in the professional music industry for their effort and abilities. In fact, heavy metal bands can often boast of members who number amongst the top musicians in their specific musical instruments. Dream Theater’s John Petrucci has, for years, been considered one of the most gifted guitarists in modern times, and has been voted in numerous awards.

So it is solely the result of the merits derived from the work of these heavy metal musicians that the genre itself has over the years, been taken more seriously in both the music and entertainment industries. While heavy metal music has its foundations in basic power chords, chugging rhythms and fast paced songs, the many sub genres that has spawned from a free spirited creativity in the community has resulted in it being one of the most versatile musical genre in history. There are many camps within heavy metal that swear by its more specialized forms, but these purists also encourage diversity and exploration from their own work. It is not uncommon to find heavy metal bands to have a wide repertoire throughout their discography. The more mainstream bands such as Metallica have one time or another in their career, explored different musical forms such as classical, rock and even pop.

Perhaps to emphasize the influence heavy metal has had on both the industry and the public has been the increasing number of heavy metal acts that have populated the popular music charts, as well as the growing visibility of the genre in commercial marketing and advertising avenues. Heavy metal merchandise continues to be one of the top selling products in various forms, from heavy metal shirts and CD sales, to other apparel and even tattoos. Many heavy metal bands, no matter how underground they consider themselves to be, are also keen to include merchandise sales in their efforts to promote themselves and the music. Even the hardest forms within the genre such as black and death metal have been able to break into the consciousness of the public in major European countries, making constant appearances in their musical charts.

Neil Hornby is a music journalist who delights in heavy metal merchandise. He has amassed a huge collection of heavy metal clothing such as heavy metal shirts.

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