metal-columnAs ArtPrize takes over Grand Rapids and scads of wandering people stare at paintings of Jesus and sculptures of pigs, my mind goes to heavy metal music. I think of it as art that’s worthy of ogling. 

However, a lot of people don’t understand that. So, I consulted with some metal friends to make a list of 11 reasons that heavy metal is indeed art.

1 – Metal can be incredibly technical, and in essence, takes classical music to an extreme level. Beethoven would be pleased.

2 – The metal genre is full of independent, interesting, creative people, who pour their souls into making music and don’t make shit for money — starving, dirty, happy artists.

3 – Metal stirs emotions more than most forms of art. Extreme, emotional release comes from deep within the metal. Whether it’s artists creating music, or listeners absorbing it, metal strikes a deep chord (or creates a mosh pit).

4 – There is no strict limitation to what metal can be. From death metal and grind core to symphonic and folk metal, it spans so many different types of sounds, tempos, instruments and influences.

5 – Speaking of influences, metal can be laced with almost every other genre. From rock and blues, jazz and classical to even rap and electronic music. The inspiration is endless.

6 – Like an odd sculpture you don’t ‘get,’ metal can be hard to comprehend. You may not understand it, but you can appreciate it.

7 – The mystery behind the meaning of a song’s lyrics is greater with metal since lyrics span a giant spectrum of topics. From death, gore and anger to science and Vikings, metal really does have it all.

8 – Heavy metal is MADE for heavy metal fans, so producers don’t typically change the artist’s vision as much as they do in popular music. The artists are fans, too, so they know what we want to hear.

9 – The visual aspect of metal is very strong, with amazing original album art, cool band T-shirts, and a band’s presentation on and off stage.

10 – Speaking of the visual aspect, many of the fans themselves are walking collections of art — body art, that is. There is no other group of musical family members that are so interesting to look at.

11 – Metal builds emotional connections and somehow stirs up a method of bonding with people. We call it the heavy metal family. Besides, what other type of art has its own hand signal? (horns high for our fallen metal brother Jake Rameau \m/ \m/ ) n