Heavy Metal

“Dancing is alien to heavy metal for two basic reasons. One is the continuation of the tradition of the youth counterculture. The audience for psychedelic music and for folk-inspired political protest songs listened while seated, to better concentrate on the lyrics. Second, dance music is understood in the modern West as an erotic activity. As a masculinist and overwhelmingly masculine grouping with an extreme heterosexualist ideology, the heavy metal subculture stresses male bonding, not male-female pairing…Yet heavy metal music is based on a strong regular beat that calls for the movement of the body…The solution to the problem of body movement was to create a code of gestural response to the music that could be shared in common. One of the two primary gestures is the arm thrust, usually a sign of appreciation but also used to keep time with the rhythm. The other primary gesture, called headbanging, involves a downward thrust of the head with a gentler upthrust…A distinctive demeanor and expression are also nurtured in the metal subculture. The familiar insult that  metal fans are “slack-jawed”, evincing a look of dull stupidity, needs to be examined. In part it is an accurate characterization of the faces of those emerging from a heavy metal concert, but it could also describe someone who has just spent several hours enjoying ecstatic physical activity. The look also reflects the impact of the downers and beer consumed by metal fans.


…Ingestion of massive quantities of beer has remained a constant feature of the metal subculture. Beer induced urination has influenced at least one venue in the U.S. to spread large amounts of kitty litter in the area near the stage.”
Deena Weinstein 

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