Metal “You have to look behind the mask, behind the noise”

Black metal, power metal, heavy metal, glam metal, speed metal, nu metal, true metal … the list of sub-genres is a long one. One thing’s for sure – not all metal is the same, and different music styles are being mixed more and more. Young metal fans vary just as much as today’s musical orientations. Nevertheless, they have a few things in common: the desire for a really unique musical experience, belonging to the big metal family and a love of head-banging.

David Sorget, 25, Berlin, wrought-iron craftsman

David Sorget, 25, Berlin, wrought-iron craftsman David Sorget, 25, Berlin, wrought-iron craftsman | Photo: Andreas Kiener I have been listening to metal for eleven years. To be precise, I am just starting to rediscover this musical direction. In recent years I have been listening more to electronic music, PsyTrance and Goa. Dark, fast stuff – that’s something they have in common with metal too. For music to interest me it has to carry a certain energy. That’s less the case with big commercial bands, it applies more to less well-known projects. Arkona for instance. That’s a Russian band I really like at the moment. Unfortunately I’m pretty much on my own with my love of metal right now, my friends mostly listen to other music. You have to look behind the mask a bit, behind the noise and yelling. Metal addresses primal urges. If you want to interpret it like that it even has a spiritual component, as indeed does any type of good music. Of course many people associate Satanism with metal, but that isn’t what I mean. In the end it’s more than just music because of the energies brought about by the music.

Begüm Tekcan, 21, Berlin, studies design and communication

Begüm Tekcan, 21, Berlin, studies design and communication Begüm Tekcan, 21, Berlin, studies design and communication | Photo: privat What fascinates me about metal is difficult to explain. The music quite simply touches me, as if it was in the rhythm of my heart or soul. In a variety of ways: some songs are hard, for head-banging, some are gentle. I only go to concerts once or twice a year. Unfortunately I can’t do any more than that for financial and health-related reasons. I have to take medication that makes me physically weak because I have a chronic eye disease. Because of this, going to a concert is a big effort for me, but it’s fantastic. I recently went to the System of a Down concert in Berlin, it was really a very special atmosphere. You could feel how much the audience were caught up in the music, how they were singing along or head-banging right from the heart. There isn’t really a scene as such, but I usually hit it off straight away with people wearing metal T-shirts.

Tobias Schreiner, 20, Dortmund, studies journalism

Tobias Schreiner, 20, Dortmund, studies journalism Tobias Schreiner, 20, Dortmund, studies journalism | Photo: Andreas Kiener

For a while I was quite a “music fascist” and only listened to metal. Now I have become more open-minded and I also listen to other genres of music, but when I have the choice it’s usually metal. I started out with more superficial bands like Bullet for my Valentine, System of a Down or The Rasmus, which I’m fairly embarrassed about these days. Becoming involved in this musical direction was like a drug – I wanted to get to know more and more bands, they had to be harder and harder. I had a school friend, who was the only other person in my class to listen to metal. He got me into it a bit, recommending me songs and bands. The metal scene is very music-focused. At concerts you can chat for hours with almost anyone about certain albums, or about the fact that a particular band used to be much better. There is no such thing as metal per se. It’s just an umbrella concept covering a large number of different musical directions. What is actually typically metal is difficult to describe. In any case it isn’t political. It’s also not a matter of releasing aggression – quite the opposite, the mood at most metal concerts is very relaxed and peaceful, even though some of the concert-goers look freaky. I like the scene. Until recently I played in a death metal band myself. People know each other, contacts for young and upcoming bands are passed on, people exchange views with each other. It’s almost like a big family.

Kevin Lesniewski, 20, Moers, studies East Asian studies

Kevin Lesniewski, 20, Moers, studies East Asian studies Kevin Lesniewski, 20, Moers, studies East Asian studies | Photo: privat Some metal listeners would be offended to learn that I also listen to metalcore bands. That’s a mixture of hardcore and metal. People who think they are the prophets of true metal don’t like that and would give me a long talking-to about what proper metal actually is. But luckily that’s only a few people. By and large the scene is like a huge, welcoming circle of friends, people for whom you don’t have to put on an act. Tolerance and openness are important though. You often hear from people who are not familiar with the music that it always sounds the same, or that it makes people aggressive. If anyone brings up that subject with me, I explain that virtually no other genre is as diverse as metal, and that it’s more about dealing with emotions than aggressive behaviour. I like going to concerts and do so frequently. In the past five years I have seen around 60 bands live, and half of those even two or three times. It’s great when a band manages to put across the mood of their songs in a live performance as well. Some bands, Rammstein for instance, put on spectacular live shows too. At the moment my favourite is Vengeance Falls by Trivium. As well as that I also like listening to stoner rock, grunge, hard rock or classics like Deep Purple.