Distorted guitars, long hair, horns in the air and leather jackets are some of the usual topics of metalheads. We analyze this movement, their clothing and what kind of music they listen to . Contrary to what many think, we will discover that it is one of the largest and most diverse urban cultures that have ever existed.
Being heavy is no longer in fashion and metal music has lost its presence in mass culture, but there are still certain subcultures that are considered heirs to the movement. And as in all cases, there are always purists of the genre who do not admit change. We briefly review the genre and tell you everything you need to know about metalheads, the truths and lies of a movement that has shaken the music industry for decades.

  • It may interest you: What are the Cybergoth, what music do they listen to and how do they differ from the Gothic

The first thing to keep in mind is that heavy metal is a very broad concept that is divided into several musical subgenres, and each of them has its own style or even a different clothing. Let’s start with the most basic. Heavy metal
This genre originated in the United Kingdom and the United States, at the end of the 70s, and was born as a more aggressive variant of blues rock and hard rock. Some consider Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin as pioneering groups of the genre and forerunners of the 80’s boom, however the music has been evolving to more diverse aspects. Thrash metal
With more aggressive, forceful and fast rhythms, thrash metal has given us metalheads glorious bands likeMetallica or Slayer, two great institutions of the genre . It was one of the first subgenres to appear and its influence has been enormous in this urban culture. We must pay attention to the importance of the alternation between the bass drum and the snare drum in the drums and the weight of the riff (guitar and bass phrases) in each song. Death Metal
Metal is also marked by the presence of guttural voices, one of the most complex and characteristic vocal techniques of heavy. Although these alternate with clean voices, they are of vital importance in death metal, one of the most listened to genres. Some representative bands are In Flames or At The Gates . Black metal
One of the most extreme subgenres, characterized by high-pitched shrieks, denser, darker atmospheres, and fast beats. This type of music has been related to Satanism, and it is a recurring theme in their lyrics. This does not mean, of course, that all musicians who practice the style worship Satan. Some recognized bands are Mayhem, Darkthrone, Immortal or Gorgoroth . Other genres
We can list hundreds of subgenres in heavy metal, although we cannot ignore alternative metal and nu-metal, with more modern influences, and other more established ones such as hardcore, doom or glam . The tree is as broad as the creativity of the artists who start from this style. Outfit
Metalheads, always in very general terms, are characterized by very particular clothing. The big things to watch out for are tight pants and black leather jackets (chupas) . About the leather jacket, it has been said that it has its origin in the clothing in the live shows of Rob Halford, vocalist of Judas Priest, inspired by the homosexual aesthetic Leather Knights.
Judas Priest, one of the representative metal bands, in 1985. | Image from: BT.com
We can also include in this category accessories with spikes and metal studs, especially in the followers of black metal bands, or military aesthetics in some cases. However, this clothing is not followed as a dogma by the members of this urban tribe, but rather constitutes a sign of identity that not all share. 5 ways to experience heavy metal
What better way to understand what it means to be a metalhead than through the testimony of five people who experience the movement from within. Edu, 38 years old
Being heavy is a feeling with which you enjoy a style of music, with electric guitars and singers with lyrical voices. But not everything is based on heavy, but on the whole tree that metal, death, thrash, black, hardcore, doom entails… the range of styles is awesome. It is knowing how to enjoy an underground stylea pure feeling! Ricard, 46 years old
For me it is transgression and subversion made music . An attitude, a way of living. A way of making and feeling music. Gabriel, 30 years old
When I heard metal for the first time I was entering my teens and I was amazed by its sound. He was strong, beast and very aggressive. It was perfect for me, because I was a very hyperactive kid. I quickly felt identified with that move, it was like going against the current. It was like carrying something so personal and so solid, something thought only by myself. It helped me cope with problems, to smile on the worst days. I quickly wanted to set up my first group, and I couldn’t wait for the rehearsal day to arrive, it was something that was priceless. It is something you carry inside when you are born. It’s not a fad, it’s like a religion. Now, at 30 years old, I couldn’t leave it, I have helped by doing my bit and I intend to continue doing so as long as possible. Jesus, 28 years old
Although, by definition, I cannot consider myself a metalhead, I have always felt that I am part of the same family. I will never be able to express the gratitude I feel to those who taught me what this move consisted of.Metal music keeps me alive and sane , and only in it can I find notes that communicate passion, hate, rage and, ultimately, all those things that also make us human. Albert, 38 years old
For me, heavy metal is passion, it’s a storm, it’s shouting at the sky, it’s freedom. Heavy metal grabs your biorhythms, shakes and alters them until they blow up in your face . A music capable of this does not understand trends or generations. Heavy metal can be a breeze and a gale, with infinite nuances and various textures, but once it has caught you, it accompanies you to a greater or lesser extent for the rest of your days. breaking with the topics
Metalheads and heavies, as members of an urban tribe, have always been stigmatized by a series of topics. Contrary to popular belief, people who consider themselves to be within the movement do not stand out for maintaining a particularly violent attitude nor do they share a radically pessimistic view of society, although the music they listen to has a lot to say in that regard.
A musician does stage diving during a concert. | Image from: Rock Sound.
Another of the cliches that accompanies metalheads is the almost compulsive consumption of alcohol and drugs. Once again, we are faced with a distorted and biased vision of this urban tribe. Although any metalhead would admit to being a beer lover (yes, we accept this topic),There is no clear correlation between drugs and musical genres.
Negative cliches are always present in literature, movies and on television. Many fictional villains or antiheroes are characterized by listening to extreme music, drinking beer as if there were no tomorrow, and wearing leather jackets, to the point that “heavy badass” has become a classic resource.

  • It may interest you: 8 myths and legends of Marilyn Manson, are they true or false?