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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

Metalhead or Metal Listener? (August 2001)

Metalhead or Metal Listener?
By EvilG

There is a clear difference between being a metalhead and a metal listener. Being a metalhead does not mean you are a better person then a metal listener. This is NOT what this is about at all. If you happen to be a metal listener then at least we have something in common!! If you are a metalhead, then we just will happen to have even more in common.

The main difference between a metal listener and a metalhead is devotion. I believe that Metalheads are the most loyal fans of any genre of music. Being a 100% metalhead usually affects many decisions and aspects of life such as: friends, appearance, clothing, attitude, etc. All are something affected by living and breathing metal 24/7/365. You also go to great lengths when pursuing new albums, seeing shows etc. A metal listener on the other hand is nowhere near as fanatical about the music. They do not do much searching out of new bands and many (not all) are fair weather fans. That means if metal is "IN" and in their face they will like some of it. If they have to lift a finger or put any thought into it then they don't get into the new bands or in many cases keep up with the bands they liked when they were the in thing. Another way to distinguish between the two is to look at the CD collections of each. If a person has as many metal CD's in their collection as they do other styles of music chances are they are a metal listener. If you are a truly devout fan of metal you don't usually have a lot of time to bother with much from other styles - I know I don't!! Keeping up with metal and the hundreds of bands and new bands that come out can seem overwhelming to a metal listener or even pointless to them. I'm of the mindset that the realm of heavy metal is diverse enough to keep me interested and un-bored. To suggest that you need a break from metal or that you need to listen to something different from time to time is the suggestion of a metal listener, it the suggestion of someone who doesn't know the broad range of choices that exist within metal. I won't bother to go into giving examples because that's not what's this is about. I'm sure some metal listeners will think us metalheads only mindlessly listen to one type of music. That idea is FLAWED! Metal is NOT one type of "music" and it is MORE then music. If they think that way then I think they just don't get it or even care to. And hey, that's fine…everyone has something in his or her life that turns his or her crank right??

So can a metalhead like something besides metal? Of course! I freely admit to liking some hard rock, some classical and the occasional movie soundtrack. The thing is, can I obsess over it or pursue it as much as heavy metal? Of course not!!! Metal is all consuming to me and I'm happy just the way I am knowing that there is something in this sick world of shit that I can always turn to, relate to and identify myself with. If nothing at all in this world makes you feel this way then I pity you. Call me close minded if you want but at least I know what I like and what makes me happy! METAL RULES!!

Metalhead Vs Metal Listener
By Rick

This month is a topic that I can identify totally with. It was only 2 days ago that I was speaking to one of my oldest friends on the phone. He has moved away and I unfortunately only get to speak to him via the telephone. He was telling me about his room mate. Another guy, a couple of years younger than us. He has recently gone on a big Metallica kick. Picking up the latest Loads of crap Metallica albums and also the latest Live video.. whatever its called. Anyway, my buddy was going on and on about how this guy thinks he knows it all about Metallica and that they never sold out and only got better when they put out the Loads. My buddy argued that it was the older metalheads like me and him that made Metallica what they are and then they sold out for the money when we had made them popular. Now when my buddy said this I almost had a heart attack laughing. He called himself a metalhead! Headbanger (the 80s equivalent) was the term he used. I had to excuse myself for a minute to have a real good laugh then got back to my phone call where he went off on some other tangents. Here is the perfect example of a Metalhead versus a Metal listener. Back in the 80s when metal was more popular my buddy listened to all the same stuff I did for the most part. Metallica, Suicidal Tendencies, Megadeth, Iron Maiden , Judas Priest, AC/DC etc etc etc. He also listened to a lot of music that was far from metal. Lots of pop songs from the radio etc. As time wore on and metal started to fall out of favour with the mainstream crowd my buddy lost interest in metal. Today he listens to whatever is on the radio or TV especially gangsta rap. I mean whatever. He was never truly a metalhead. This guy was a metal listener. Yeah he did listen to some metal but it was never his favourite type of music and even when given the opportunity recently to hear a lot of metal he still didn't like it. He liked the few bands he listened to in his teens but didn't like any of the new stuff. A metal listener is someone who might listen to metal but also listen to a number of other genres with equal interest. There is nothing wrong with that in my opinion. A person is entitled to listen to whatever they like. These people however don't live , eat, sleep and breath metal.

This leads me to the Metalhead. This is a person who eats, sleeps, breathes and totally lives metal. Metal is their favourite music beyond all others. I don't think that a Metalhead necessarily has to listen to only metal but if they do listen to other music it is in small amounts and could never take the place of their beloved metal. Being a metalhead requires that you have to hunt your music down from obscure websites on the internet, order it from mailorders run from shoebox like offices hoping that it will all come in one piece or that you can even get it at all. A Metalhead must be much more active in their pursuit of metal. Its not like its on the radio everyday or on TV. To find the bands you like and new bands to listen to takes time to search the web, webzines and fanzines. very different from the lazy pop culture who only listen to what their friendly neighbourhood MTV or Radio Station tells them is cool. Being a Metalhead also means that many of your choices in life are centered around metal. The clubs you choose to visit, the friends you choose to associate with and for some even the clothes you wear. I know that I am a metalhead. Metal is a constant in my life. I listen to metal all the time, have flown to other countries to see shows and just can't go more than few hours without hearing some metal. To sum it up. A metal listener is someone who listens to metal justto listen to music. A metalhead is a person who LIVES to listen to metal. Its as simple as that!!!!

Metalhead vs. Metal Listener
by CrashTest

I consider myself a fan of good music no matter what the genre. That means I listen to a helluva lot of metal, but not necessarily all the time. Of the more than 500 hundred CDs that I own, I'd say around 30% of them are by non-metal artists. I'm a big fan of classic rock, some classical, some pop music, some country and even a very small smidgen of rap. Does that make me less of a metalhead? Depends on how you set the standard, but I think not.

If a metalhead is someone who listens to metal only and has no time for other forms of music, then I don't fit the definition and never will. Then again, neither would metal gods like Dickinson and Halford, who have both had good things to say in interviews about alternative bands like Smashing Pumpkins and Stone Temple Pilots. Or guys like Warrel Dane, whose bands have covered Jefferson Airplane and Simon & Garfunkle. How many times have you heard guys like Dave Mustaine refer to the huge influence the Beatles have had on them and their music? We know guitar gods like Malmsteen have been classically trained and influenced. If you read enough of the interviews or listen to the music, you can tell that a great deal of people making metal music are influenced by and enjoy listening to all kinds of music. So listening to other forms of music doesn't make anyone any less of a metalhead.

I listen to what I like. A great majority of the time that means I'm spinning metal in my CD player, but there are some days where I'm into artists like U2, Journey, Bad Company, Pink Floyd, Queen, Boston or James Taylor. From time to time I pop in Mozart, Vivaldi and Beethoven. Every once in awhile I groove to Prince, Public Enemy, Matchbox 20 or the Dixie Chics. Having said that, I would never drive three hundred miles to see any of these artists perform (except Queen, but that would be impossible), but I have and will continue to do so for a good metal concert. It's all good though, because in the end I get it out of my system and I'm always drawn back to metal. And believe me, when I play it, I play it loud and with reckless abandon. That makes me a metalhead no matter how you define it.

In short, a "metal listener" is someone who enjoys metal, but doesn't make it a priority in their daily listening experience. I respect those types because they recognize good music and support the bands by buying the CDs. On the other hand, a "metalhead" is someone who listens to metal most of the time, not because it's cool or trendy, but because metal is a way of life. Only metal can give you the ultimate adrenaline kick that gets you through the day. Why? I think the name of this website explains it all ... METAL RULES!

Metalhead vs. Metal Listener
By Pete

If someone has just as much non-metal stuff in their CD collection as metal are they really a metalhead? Or are they a metal listener? Hmmmm, I've never really looked at it that way. As for myself, I have a fairly large collection, hundreds of vinyl, cassettes and CDs All ranging from Bowie to Slayer to The Rolling Stones to Iced Earth. I've been a music fan for years and having no older brothers and sisters I had to discover my musical tastes on my own. I'm sure if you question the various staff members, I'd say that they've owned a Billy Idol or dare I say Duran Duran album from the 80's?? Whether they've kept them or not (or even admit to once owning it) is another question. Myself, sure I still got all that "shit", but that's what makes me a music fan. I still get a kick out of playing it every now and again for a laugh. I guess my collection has just as much non-metal stuff as metal, with metal being at the front, as it's my music of preference. When people ask what music I'm into, I tell 'em my favorite is HEAVY METAL, but I'm into all kinds. I like to consider myself both a metalhead and a music listener.

Metalhead vs. Metal Listener
By El Cid

The question of whether there is a difference between a metalhead and a metal listener is very easily answered. There is a huge difference and I'll do my best to explain it here.

A metal listener buys metal, listens to it and probably loves it, but a metalhead buys metal, loves metal and makes metal a part of his life. Metal is not just a preference, it's a passion, it's something you live with, by and for. Ask yourself the question "Does Metal affect my life?" and "to what point?". A metal listener will stick to his bands, the stuff he likes, he'll go to the shows that are near him, he'll buy CDs when he can spare some money from his expenses, a metalhead on the other hand will go the extra mile, he explores new grounds, searches for new bands to like, go to the shows he deems worthy no matter what the distance, has a part of his income set apart for metal every month and will just do what it takes to keep the flame alive.

I think the amount of metal CDs on a person's collection depends largely on how much money he's willing or capable to spend in the stuff, if the person is a big fan of classical music he might have a lot of classical CDs, but a metalhead is more than a fan of metal. I am personally very much a fan of classical music, especially of Wagner and I have about 150 CDs of his work. On the other hand, my metal collection is just about short of 800 CDs nowadays and I can honestly say I think I spend 95% of my listening time with metal recordings. In all I think it's safe to say that the dividing line between a metalhead and a metal listener lies in the passion you feel for your metal. Is it just a way of entertainment, or is it your way of life?

In the end the choice is only yours, and it doesn't matter what you decide as long as you're happy with your choice. But in all cases you have to stay METAL.

Metalhead vs. Metal Listener
By Waspman

Is there a difference between a metal listener and a metalhead? To quote SCSA: "Oh Hell Yeah!" I think just about all of us here at Metal-Rules! fall into the category of metalhead. What is a metalhead? Simple: someone who lives, breathes, eats, shits, sleeps...metal! Yeah, cliché I know, but in this I argue that it's true. Metalheads go to (sometimes) ridiculous lengths to see shows, get new CDs, and get info on their favorite bands. More importantly, metalheads stick by metal, regardless of its status in the * cough fucking cough * mainstream. Metalheads don't care whether metal is popular or not. Metal listeners on the other hand, aren't really true to metal. They'll listen to metal if it's popular and maybe continue listening to a couple of true metal bands when the mainstream has inevitably turned its back. They are not however, true metalheads.

Now, does all this mean that metalheads can't listen to anything else? Bollocks to that I say! I've got no problem admitting that I listen to other forms of music such as classical, soundtracks, hard rock, punk (real punk, not that fucking Green Day shit), and even some more "popular" bands. Other than metal, the rest of the content of your album collection does not determine whether you're a metalhead or not. It's all a matter of loyalty. Metalheads are truly loyal to the music and metal listeners are not. Case closed.

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