Outside your favourite metal club the air smells like cigarette smoke, grungy looking guys stand around talking about their favourite bands, and asides from the music they all have one thing in common. Everyone is dressed in black. What motivates metalheads to wear black all the time? The phenomenon is so common that it has become something of a joke.
So what makes black such an important colour in the world of metal? Well, on one level you could say that it is due to metal being, by nature, a dark music. It wouldn’t make sense for fans of music about the darker side of society to be dressed in white right? Yet maybe, there are some deeper roots behind this. On a more primitive level black is often viewed as the colour of death, since ancient times in Indo- European culture. For the ancient Greeks, whose literary culture is strongly associated with metals themes black was the colour of the underworld. If you want to tie wearing black to more atavistic Norwegian black metal traditions then one should consider the Oskorei, who rode horses from the sky down onto their enemies.
So, next time you see a metalhead in a black T-shirt, consider that maybe, there is something beyond conforming to the groups norms. On some level, our wearing of black clothes represents the darkness that the pagan and Roman forefathers of Europe were so disturbed by. So by extension wearing a black t shirt, in a way represents a level of comfort with the darkness of society. Or maybe, black t shirts just look cool.
Written by- Matt Bacon