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From Hell's Heart

"From Hell's Heart..." is an editorial column written by the team. Every other month or so we pick a metal-related topic and share our thoughts, feelings and ideas on it.

Check out past editorials

Does race matter in metal? (July 2001)

Is Race Important In Metal?
By Michael De Los Muertos

Race is absolutely irrelevant to metal. Period. If the metal scene is not 100% color-blind, it certainly should be. It's hard enough to find a context in which anyone's race IS relevant to anything, but metal certainly isn't one.

Is metal "white people's music?" I'm not sure I even know what the question means. If the implication of the question is that metal IS only listened to by white people, I denounce that idea as absurd because anybody can see it's plainly untrue. I know black metalheads, Asian metalheads, and a Native American metalhead. Hell, there are Manowar fan organizations in West Africa! If the implication of the question is that metal SHOULD BE only listened to by white people, I denounce that idea as absurd, and I denounce anyone who promulgates such an idea as a racist and a bigot. To state that any particular race of people have a particular claim or priority in the metal scene is ludicrous, as ludicrous as any racist idea anywhere, whether it has to do with music or not.

To me racism is a very cut-and-dried issue. It is wrong. Racism is completely unjustifiable in any form, period. It shames me that, after thousands of years of history rife with irrefutable proof that ideas of racial superiority are utterly without basis, such ideas still persist into the 21st century, and in our supposedly advanced and progressive age people still hold such sick, twisted and ignorant beliefs. People who believe that one race is better than another are, by definition, twisted individuals who believe in such ideas either out of rank ignorance, or because they are bad people. There is no such thing as a kinder, gentler, tolerant racist. It is impossible to be a racist without being a vile scumbag. As with any segment of society, metal has its share of those people. Until the scourge of racism is erased from our civilization, we're fated to see the occasional presence of such a person in the metal scene, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't get mad as hell about it when it happens.

There is racism in our scene. Nearly ten years after his crimes, there are still misguided metalheads who applaud the ideals and philosophy of Varg Vikernes of the one-man band Burzum, despite Vikernes's open worship of Nazism and Adolf Hitler and his recent denunciation of black metal in general. Some bands from the Northern European scene, and/or fans of such bands, have forwarded ideas that such bands (particularly black metal bands) somehow support or advance neo-pagan or "Aryan" supremacy, and should be seen as rallying points for people to "take back" white homelands "threatened" by inferior peoples. In North America, racism in metal seems a little less prominent, if one discounts the ugly scene of Nazi hardcore, punk and ambient outfits which aren't really metal anyway, but it undoubtedly still exists. Thankfully these kinds of ideas tend to occupy a lunatic fringe of the metal scene, as I don't feel that the majority of metal fans or metal bands embrace, or even tolerate, racist tendencies. To the extent a guiding philosophy can be ascribed to metal as a whole - and such a thing can't be done without making generalizations, to be sure - it would seem that individualism and self-determination are basic ideas to most metalheads. Racism by definition conflicts with these ideas, so I doubt there's too much chance of the metal scene as a whole becoming predominantly or substantially infected by the poison of racism.

For that reason I don't see why race matters at all when discussing metal. I couldn't care less how many, or how few, black/Asian/Hispanic metal singers, guitarists or drummers there are, or whether metal owes more of its heritage to "black" jazz or "white" European classical music, or anything along those lines. It's just not a part of the equation, and it should never become one. End of rant. Period!


Does Race Matter in Metal?
By EvilG

Is heavy metal only for whites? Hell no!! It's for anyone who likes it regardless of race. I have often wondered why more heavy metal bands are not from a race other then "white." Of course there are several bands who have non-whites in the band - Death Angel, Suicidal Tendencies, Steel Prophet to name just a few. It is however clear that most of the metal I listen to is written/played by white people. That doesn't exclude anyone else from listening to or playing it!!!  I am usually surprised when I see a black person playing in a metal band that isn't rap / hip hop based. By surprised I do not mean I think he/she shouldn't be there. I mean surprised as in a reaction like "COOL." Same thing goes when you find out about those who are metal heads because METAL IS FOR EVERYONE. 

I know it's a stereotype to associate blacks with rap, but the majority of rap artists are black and when you see a white dude doing the rap thing I always wonder why he's acting like a black gangster. So perhaps there are black rap dudes who look at one of their buddies strangely who listens to metal because they like music mainly played by whites. It's very petty to view music like this but it is the way it is. So there are differences that I see between what people of different races seem to like, but metal can cross those boundaries and make us all brothers.

Racism is so silly anyway. We're all people, we all are pretty much the same. What will racists do when the aliens come to town and they are green, purple, blue and those that are not even corporally shaped? What will they do then? Learn to hate the purple aliens with one leg and seven eyes but the green aliens with four legs are cool? See how retarded that sounds? Well that's just how retarded racism is to me. If you want to hate something, hate it for a reason not for a skin color! No wonder the aliens haven't revealed themselves to us. I wouldn't if I were one and looked at our society where people hate and kill one another based on their skin color and religion. This world is fucked up...and now, back to my metal bubble.


Does race matter in metal?
By Rick

This months topic is one that has never crossed my mind before. I have never thought of metal as a genre of music which is organized on racial lines. Sure its a European and North American phenomena but there are Japanese metal bands such as Loudness, bands with black members such as God Forbid etc. Metal doesn't play to a specific race. The message is not directed towards specific ethnic origins. Its made for everyone and anyone who is interested in listening to music that is made for the love of the genre and not for the money. Does Race play a part in metal? Sure it does!! The only race that should listen to metal is the human race.


Pete's Mini-rant

"Does race matter in metal?"
To be perfectly honest, the thought has never entered my mind. If the music kicks ass, turn it up! Only if the lyrics are racially motivated, then it becomes a problem.


Does Race Matter In Metal?
By Waspman

Does race matter in metal? Is it only for whites? That may be the perception to a few close-minded morons but it is certainly not the case! Metal, despite the great personal importance that many of us (including myself) put on it, is just a form of music. Well, O.K., it is the greatest form of music, but I digress. Music is meant for enjoyment by as many people as possible and not a simple minority of "whites" or whatever. This is especially true for metal! Unless everyone suddenly turned hypocritical or I just missed the Aryanization of metal, it's always been referred to as a "brotherhood". Last time I checked brotherhood was an inclusive term.

Unless you are a hermit, you've probably had many conversations with other metalheads. In my experience metal fans are, by and large, a very open-minded group where racism is generally not tolerated. Every group will have its share of misinformed idiots who like to stir of trouble but I'm proud to know that metalheads are one of the most tolerant groups around. A perfect example of this can be seen right here at our home. Our message board is filled with a variety of cool people while bigots are quickly put in their place.

Racism is one of the worst plagues in the world. The scary thing is, most racists fail to realize that they believe in a philosophy, whether it is called Aryanism, White Supremacy or whatever, that is totally false. Any quality scientific study on the subject will lead you to the same conclusion: there is no such thing as race. Race does not exist, and it never did. The fact of the matter is we all came from the same origins so like it or not we're all in this thing called life together.

'Scuse me a minute while I climb down from the soapbox...there, that's better!

All joking aside though, racism has no place in metal, or anywhere else for that matter. Metal was created to be enjoyed by as many intelligent people as possible and it welcomes everyone, so long as you check your bigotry at the door. Does race matter in metal? No.


Keith's Editorial

NO...race does not matter in Metal. What does matter is great ass-kickin' songs that carry over to an even better live show. I think if a metalhead walked into a club full of blacks and saw a black metal band cranking out incredible material, they wouldn't care and would wind up enjoying the show. Metal fans are interested in bonding with other metal fans because there aren't very many of us out there (compared to other more popular genres). Music is universal. It's emotion, feel, and what's in your heart...not on your skin.


Does race matter in metal?
By Skyklad

No, absolutely not! Regardless of what race you are, Metal is a form of music that can reach anybody at an emotional level. As people we are all the similar (as in we experience the same types of feelings) when it comes to the spectrum of human emotions. Metal encompasses a wide variety of those emotions. Therefore race does not matter.


Joe's Rant

Does race matter in Metal? Why should it matter in anything? The colour of a person’s skin is irrelevant to their ability to create. If a band is good, I don’t care what their ethnic background is. As long as the music doesn’t suck, I’ll listen to them. The only people who would let such a petty factor keep them from enjoying good music are those intellectually-challenged, beer-swilling f*ckwads who like to drive around in their pickup trucks wearing their mother’s pillowcases on their heads and burning crosses in the woods. I think the intelligent people of the world should start a hate group against stupid people and start hunting them down. How could we get into trouble with the law for it? By killing these people off we’d be doing the government a favour because then there’d be fewer welfare cheques to hand out.

"Dang, Pappy! Sum folk jus’ drug Cletus down tha road b’hin a BMDubbya!!! ‘E wuz squealin’ like a stuck hog!"

Do we really need these idiots in our society??? I think not...


Here's a guest opinion from a fellow brother in metal, Nicholas Cervenka (Fiddler On The Green)

First off, I'm not *black* per se, I'm mulatto (black/white) but this still applies, I think. 

Once, a while ago, I was at McDonalds in a Metallica shirt and my CD player on.  This guy comes up to me and asks me what I'm listening to.  I tell him I'm listening to Iron Maiden.  He's like aren't they a metal band?  I'm like, yeah.  He says but your black, why don't you listen black people music, like rap?  I'm like what?? He's like I thought black people only liked rap.  If your black why do you like metal and not rap?  I didn't know what to say at this so I just say I don't know, I guess I like white people music.  He left after that.  But I'll never forget that.  It got me to thinking.  What the fuck difference does my color have to do with my liking metal?

I can see where he was coming from, though.  The whole "black=rap" stereotype is almost too common for it to be a stereotype.  There aren't too many black metalheads.  (I'm the only one I know) I thought the same thing when I saw a Mexican in a Pantera shirt last week.  Rap is as big with Mexicans (here at least) as it is with the black people. 

To me, the reason a black person can be into metal could be the "nature vs. nurture" theory.  A persons personality is developed either by birth or by how they're brought up.  In this case maybe they simply didn't live in an environment where rap was popular.  This is the case with me.  I've been around white people all my life.  I live with my white mother, and see her white family.  I don't even know the black side of my family AT ALL.  I've never met them before in my life.  I guess I'm a "bracker"  (black cracker :)) as opposed to a whigger.  I'm a black guy into white shit.  To me, that explains my interest in metal.  If I had been a environment, I would have been into rap, no doubt about it.  Thus could be the reasons why there are black metalheads.  It can just be the environment in which they were raised.  (Incidentally the same case could apply with the whiggers)

In the end what does it matter.  Red or Yellow, black or white, if they like metal, its alright!!  :)

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