VULGAR DISPLAYS OF POWER: THE POLITICS OF METAL
By T.K. McNeil
Pentagrams and Conservatives
Rob Halford Metal “god”
Several Metal artists have been associated with the political Right in recent years. Alice Cooper, and Judas Priest front-man Rob Halford are both outspoken Republicans. Antifa made a successful effort to get the Black Metal band Marduk banned from the United States. The effort to have Marduk banned was based on the asinine assumption that because they were a Black Metal band they must be fascist.
Early picture of Varg Vikernes
Marduk and others are often associated by misunderstanding to such cranks as fringe Black Metal genre figure Varg Vikernes. Vikerns is a Norwegian musician who spent 15 years in prison for church burning (arson) and murder. He was originally sentenced to 21 years but the arson charges were unproven and he had 6 years shaved off his sentence. There were also issues regarding the circumstances of the murder that later surfaced and brought some question into the case.
Varg Vikernes shown in recent picture
He has been called a racist and a neo-Nazi,* but that is not proven. In fact there is nothing in his music or published materials that are in any way racist. The Murduk band members rejected the association with fringe elements of Black Metal, going on record that they do not care about politics, and do not vote.
Queers, Chicks and Booze
Heavy Metal is neither subtle or politically correct. The satirical depiction of Heavy Metal fans presented in films such as Wayne’s World and FUBAR are depressingly accurate, at least with regard to America in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. Heavy Metal was and still is outside the mainstream and their fans know it.
Under The Surface
Was Poison Glam Metal or Hair Metal?
Heavy Metal fans tend not to care about traditional gender tropes, these being just part of the many trappings of the society they have rejected. This is why there are genres like Glam Metal where there is a lot of long hair and make-up, particularly eye-liner, on both men and women.
Fans can be somewhat casual in their use of the term “gay” as a negative along with other more deprecating terms. This is because Heavy Metal fans are immune to the power of such words, having been called these and several other things for most of their lives. There are only so many times one can hear the same, unimaginative insults before the words lose their impact, and become an inside joke of sorts within the culture. Like how Irish people will call each other “Paddy” in a playful way.