It doesn’t matter how you wear your hair, it’s what’s inside your head!

So read the defining lyrics of the S.O.D. Classic Metal Forces. I think that now more than ever Billy Milano’s legendary words are important for us to remember. In a world where free speech and personal liberties are ever more threatened metal heads need to stay together. Yet, like Milano implied, it’s not just metal guys we need to reach out to, anyone who supports the ideals often espoused by metal should be welcomed to the fold, because, in the long run, it’s more than the music, it is our personal lives and independence that is at threat here.

What provoked my writing of this article is a simple and rather mundane anecdote. I live in the Passy neighborhood of Paris, it’s an area defined by conformity and hypocrisy. For the first time Tuesday a dude saw my Slayer sweatshirt and flashed me the horns. This small gesture made my day, that even in this cesspool of neo-Fascism and societal oppression metal can live. Historically metal and punk music has been tied to independence movements, both from government oppression (as in Iran) or through societies tyranny. (Which as Bakunin tells us can be more oppressive than the legalized despotism of the state) Yet there are lots of people who support our ideals without calling themselves metal heads or punks.

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So what do we need to do if we want to stay free? Well, though metal is often an insular and isolated culture (For good reason) we need to open up more and try to share the key ideals behind extreme music to our peers. A world made exclusively of metal fans, while admittedly totally awesome in concept, probably will never happen. (Although with Deafheaven in Apple ads you never know) So for now what we need to do is reach out and share the core ideals, of liberty, equality, and always watching each others backs. This way, even if we can’t always spread the music, bit by bit we can open people up to the other things that draw us to metal. The endless search for freedom that drives us all.

We need to help the whole world if we want metal to continue to strive on allowed to do what it will. If we become complacent we could become oppressed and limited, not allowed to spread the music we all know and love. For the good of our genre, and beyond that, our futures as human beings are inextricably tied to ascertaining our own basic liberty.

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past, searching, like Gatsby for our very own green light.

– Matt Bacon (Metaljesus Magazine)

 

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