Changes in metal and hard rock popularity, community and public perception you have personally observed

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Lord_Sauron
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Changes in metal and hard rock popularity, community and public perception you have personally observed

Post by Lord_Sauron »

First of all, sorry if there is a similar topic already, but I couldn't find any.

One thing that has always interested me is the change of the popularity and general perception of metal music during the years, but not only on a general (worldwide) level, but also on a local, personally observed level. By "personally observed", I mean "during the time the person was a fan of metal music", so all information from the stories of older generations are excluded (not meaning they are not interesting, just not what this topic is meant for). By "local" I mean in your country (for smaller countries) or federal state/region (for larger countries) or even cities or sub-regions.

The questions would be the following:
a) How long are you a fan of either metal or hard rock music (or both)?
b) How has the popularity of metal changed since you had started listening to metal?
c) How has the general perception (from people who don't primarily listen to metal or hard rock) changed during that time?
d) How has the metal community changed during that time?
e) Change in metal MUSIC presence on TV, radio, in pubs and other public places compared to when you have started to listen to it?

My take (please note that these are my abservations and yours could be entirely different, but still true :) ):
a) I have been listening to metal since the mid-00s (being born in very early 90s)

b) I would say a definitive decline, at least based on visual observation. When I started going to high school (some 15 years ago), there were at least a couple dozen of visually identifiable (long hair, band shirts, etc.) hardrockers. If we include those listening to classic rock/punk/grunge who have more than occasionally also listened to metal or harder rock, the number could go up to 40-50 (or 10% of the students). There were at least two heavy metal/hard rock bands and a few extreme metal solo projects featuring students during my time at high school that actually made some recordings.
I have recently found a high school yearbook from my brother-in-law (seven years my junior, so the book is likely from 2015-2017) and there were only two guys in the entire school sporting long hair and maybe one person wearing a band shirt. Of course, it could mean that many young people are only metal music fans and don't look like metal fans from previous generations, but I personally know precisely zero metal fans in my city born after 1997 (and I regularly train football and rowing with younger people, so no issue of not knowing younger people). My wife is few years younger than me and the only younger metal fan she knows is a member of her powerlifting team, who listens exclusively to NSBM (and some "ordinary" black metal).

c) This is actually interesting. Although the popularity of metal has definitely declined (or even because of it), I think the general public has become more acceptable of metal. Even in the mid-to-late 00s, hardrockers still had reputation among some (mostly older people) as troublemakers (alcoholics, drug users, generally aggressive), which was, of course, mostly untrue. I think this is partly since the first generation of people who started listening to harder rock was born in late-40s and early-50s and a most people born earlier are now retired or deceased, not present in workplaces, or as schoolteachers, university professors, etc.
Another reason for this could be that some types of modern metal generally attract members of geek culture (power metal, fantasy-themed extreme metal) and some (prog metal, djent) attract people with formal musical education, both of whom are viewed as "peaceful" by general public.

d) As somebody who never considered himself a part of "metal community" (I always had, and still have, friends who listen to metal, but it was not and it will never be my main criteria for friendship), this is harder for me to answer, but I can definitely see the shift towards what I mentioned in the previous section.

e) I think this is the area with the least change. There are definitely less rock-oriented pubs compared to 10-15 years ago, but apart from that, there was not much metal or hard rock was played on TV or radio or in non-rock pubs even back then.
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Prowler
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Re: Changes in metal and hard rock popularity, community and public perception you have personally observed

Post by Prowler »

Speaking of my schooltime back in the 80's (1980-1990) in the GDR, well I went into Metal around late 1986, while a friend I knew still from my kindergarden times told me that "tonight they will play the most dirty Heavy Metal band ever on DT 64 (old GDR youth radio channel)". He meant Motörhead of corpse, but that night they played half of "Kill 'em all"! Nevertheless I heard 80's Deep Purple in the radio and that's why I asked him if he had anything of them that he could tape me. Instead he showed me pictures of Ozzy, Wasp and Motörhead (they used to make fotos back in the day, taken of Metal Hammer or Bravo features (a Pop newspaper with some HM features as well) since in the GDR to get such stuff was incredible difficult without big money. Anyway, around 1986/87 there was a big Metal boom over here. In my class we've been 2 guys fully into Metal and 1 sympathizer (he hadn't really a clue but traded me a Van Halen button I had for a Slayer one ;) ), in our parallel class there was 5 more guys. My fellow classmate's cousin was in a different school in town (there was 4 schools), they've been almost all boys into Metal there in their class. My recent guitarist (same age as me) was in a different school and they've been almost the same. Majority of boys was into Metal. From the 4th school I knew guys from the time I used to play soccer with them "professionally" in a team during the early 80's and there've been MANY Metalheads too. These guys was wearing Metallica shirts!! :evil:
Everyone with long or longer hair in the neck, all evil. ^^
When I learned my first profession around 1991 I met a few more Metal guys from cities around, but also had guys in my class that had been Metalheads during the late mid 80's. Now their hair was gone and they listened to Pop music. I think they've claimed to be into Metal because everyone in their class was the same. During the very early 90's most have become Punks or Popper. Only we die-hard psychos remained Metalheads. From about 50 guys maybe 15 still listen to Heavy Metal, so these have been "true". But some of them have already passed away either (too young). My circle of friends consists of only Metal fans. It's just easier to find proper themes to speak about. When we meet at rehearsals we are wasting 1-2 hours with just arguing "if Ozzy was shit and Metallica THE Heavy Metal band of the 80's". LOL
However, Heavy Metal nowadays has a much bigger recognition within publicity than back in the 80's. In the 80's you've been close to a criminal to dress like a Metalhead. Nowadays it's nothing special anymore ... even normal guys wear long hair nowadays.
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Cochino
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Re: Changes in metal and hard rock popularity, community and public perception you have personally observed

Post by Cochino »

The biggest change that I've noticed, and it accounts for any other genres with a "culture" attached to it, is a lot of homogenization. Back when I was a teenager in the early 00s, you could clearly see groups that were formed around what kind of music they heard, and whenever a band played, you could tell what kind of music they played just by looking at the crowd.

Nowadays it's tougher 'cause there's a lot of mixing up, which in paper sounds like a good thing but unfortunately it results in some sort of ADHD where nobody really gets into anything in depth and with dedication. So you'll find someone wearing an Iron Maiden shirt that wouldn't know anything about Satan, but by the same token you'd see someone with a Joy Division shirt that won't know about The Stranglers or whatever (my comparison is probably way off but I don't really know much about that kinda music :mrgreen: ). And very often, it would be the same person wearing both :lol:

That being said, I do live in a rather isolated city with not much of a cultural movement in general so I'd bet it's completely different in a larger one where you'd have tons of bands and public and you'd probably have scenes of all sorts, if only by law of probabilities.
Last edited by Cochino on Thu Apr 28, 2022 7:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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bigfootkit
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Re: Changes in metal and hard rock popularity, community and public perception you have personally observed

Post by bigfootkit »

Lots to think about & repond to here, lemmy mull it over for a while...
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Re: Changes in metal and hard rock popularity, community and public perception you have personally observed

Post by Noisenik »

bigfootkit wrote: Thu Apr 28, 2022 5:40 am Lots to think about & repond to here, lemmy mull it over for a while...
Same here. Such topic needs some time. And some prep, too.
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Herkus Monte
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Re: Changes in metal and hard rock popularity, community and public perception you have personally observed

Post by Herkus Monte »

Yes, the metalhead population has declined somewhat where I live too, at least when compared to what it was like about 20-odd years ago when I got in the metal music. As for the youth, suffice it to say I can hear someone listening to rap off his phone outside my window very often (I live at an old town promenade) but I would be stunned if I heard someone making passersby listen to metal. That never happens.
As for where to find metal fans, I used to belong to a historical reconstruction group not a long time ago, a community which definitely attracts "offbeat" people. I cannot really say it was teeming with metalheads, but they were not uncommon there, or at least they were much more common than among the "pedestrian" youth you see this day and age.
Speaking of which, I do see youngsters wearing metal shirts and outfits sometimes, some of them even sporting shameless blast-from-the-past mullets. On a less pleasant note, I have seen recently people wearing Slipknot shirts. :x I had been naive enough to think people had forgotten about that cesspool of a band. Sigh.
And since this board consists mostly of people who miss the old days I must say I miss the retro-thrash times of around 2010-2014, also because of what young people into metal were like. Some people around here may scoff at new thrash, but teens back then were genuinely into this and the atmosphere at gigs was something I had been waiting for quite a long time.
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VictimeDelExil
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Re: Changes in metal and hard rock popularity, community and public perception you have personally observed

Post by VictimeDelExil »

Herkus Monte wrote: Thu Apr 28, 2022 8:51 pm Yes, the metalhead population has declined somewhat where I live too, at least when compared to what it was like about 20-odd years ago when I got in the metal music. As for the youth, suffice it to say I can hear someone listening to rap off his phone outside my window very often (I live at an old town promenade) but I would be stunned if I heard someone making passersby listen to metal. That never happens.
As for where to find metal fans, I used to belong to a historical reconstruction group not a long time ago, a community which definitely attracts "offbeat" people. I cannot really say it was teeming with metalheads, but they were not uncommon there, or at least they were much more common than among the "pedestrian" youth you see this day and age.
Speaking of which, I do see youngsters wearing metal shirts and outfits sometimes, some of them even sporting shameless blast-from-the-past mullets. On a less pleasant note, I have seen recently people wearing Slipknot shirts. :x I had been naive enough to think people had forgotten about that cesspool of a band. Sigh.
And since this board consists mostly of people who miss the old days I must say I miss the retro-thrash times of around 2010-2014, also because of what young people into metal were like. Some people around here may scoff at new thrash, but teens back then were genuinely into this and the atmosphere at gigs was something I had been waiting for quite a long time.
Yeah, I live in a fairly small town in KY. Never really seen any "kids" that were into non-Slipknot-garbage-tier-"metal" when it came to heavier music. Only person aside from me is my friend I jam with, and then there's some kid (I say kid cause he's like 16) who me and him know that is into some basic (but still relatively cool, at least in comparison to what's popular) stuff like Dokken, Queensryche, etc.. he'd be open to jamming with us but of course he's too pre-occupied playing drums in a cover band full of dudes 3x his age. :roll:
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Cochino
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Re: Changes in metal and hard rock popularity, community and public perception you have personally observed

Post by Cochino »

Well, cover bands is where the money's at. I remember watching a recent interview with the drummer/founding member of Monstrosity where he said that he makes a living playing in local tribute and cover bands weekly, and only on occasion would sit down and writer/record/play his own stuff, and that any extensive touring with Monstrosity would be just losing money. And that's another change that affects Metal music as well as basically all other genres. Tribute and cover acts tend to gather bigger crowds than bands playing their own material.
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VictimeDelExil
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Re: Changes in metal and hard rock popularity, community and public perception you have personally observed

Post by VictimeDelExil »

Cochino wrote: Sat Apr 30, 2022 2:42 am Well, cover bands is where the money's at. I remember watching a recent interview with the drummer/founding member of Monstrosity where he said that he makes a living playing in local tribute and cover bands weekly, and only on occasion would sit down and writer/record/play his own stuff, and that any extensive touring with Monstrosity would be just losing money. And that's another change that affects Metal music as well as basically all other genres. Tribute and cover acts tend to gather bigger crowds than bands playing their own material.
Yeah that is true, I just find what that dude is doing to be a bit embarrassing due to the fact that well - he's only in the band because he dates the lead singer's daughter. LOL
Lord_Sauron
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Re: Changes in metal and hard rock popularity, community and public perception you have personally observed

Post by Lord_Sauron »

I am glad to see that few of you actually took time to write your own experiences, it was a nice read. Although every story is unique and interesting, reading stories like the one that compared situation in DDR with today is simply extraordinary.

Also, I completely forgot to address the topic of cover bands, it is great that the issue was brought up. From what I have seen, most of the people would actually hear metal or hard rock songs performed live when played by the cover (NOT tribute) bands. I don't know if it is a regional thing (both me and my father were born on the territory of former Yugoslavia, altough in what are now different countries), but a lot of people who grew in the 70s or 80s used to listen at least some music that could be classified as heavy metal (or at least hard 'n' heavy). If we go by this site's standards of metalness (Eastern Euro 7" feature, for example), Divlje Jagode was a huge band, and Vatreni Poljubac (in Bosnia) or Osmi Putnik (in Croatia) still have some songs that are widely known by most people. So, it is not unusual to hear few songs by those bands performed by generic "ex-Yu rock" cover bands. I have even heard a song or two by Divlje Jagode sang by local folk/turbo-folk cover performer (such overlaps sometimes happenned even in the recorded music, in both directions, see Griva's cover of Lepa Brena's song in Eastern Euro 7" feature).

I went slightly off-topic, but there is one additional change in the past 15-odd years I have noticed and it is a shift from tribute (only in my first year in high school, we had Iron Maiden, GNR and Queen tribute bands performing in my city in, for the city, a relatively large venue) towards cover bands (for example, 60/70s rock, ex-Yu rock, etc). I see two possible reasons for it. The first is that the younger generations are more likely to be fans of SONGS and not BANDS in general, so the cover bands play only the most famous songs from other bands, while the other is that the cover bands are sometimes trying to appeal to general, slightly older, population's nostalgia by playing songs from some general era/decade, despite the songs themselves might include (usually) classic rock, new wave, hard rock, even some borderline punk or 80s heavy metal and in some extreme cases even some pop or folk.
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Re: Changes in metal and hard rock popularity, community and public perception you have personally observed

Post by DaN »

Great thread! Let's see now...
a) How long are you a fan of either metal or hard rock music (or both)?
Since 1984 I believe, meaning a year or 3 too late to really belong to the cool kids who could boast about how "Killers" or "Welcome To Hell" were their first introduction to Metal. In retrospect I think this feeling of being a 'kid' in a scene dominated by slightly older, in-the-know guys has humbled me some and left me slighly more careful of not pointing fingers of scorn at young'uns listening to the odd crap band. Except for H*mmerf*ll.
b) How has the popularity of metal changed since you had started listening to metal?
Well a lot obviously, but we all know this story: 80's good, 90's bad, 00's Hey Metal is fun again and I have lots of friends!, 10's still going strong, 20's Super-AIDS.

Come to think about it - rediscovering olde Steel in the late 90's and running into more and more people doing the same in the coming decade was pehaps as much a personal Golden Age Of Metal as the 80's itself.

Today I'd say traditional HM is still relatively popular around these parts (Sweden), with plenty of casual fans as well as collectors and die-hards, but there's less new blood coming into the scene than 10-20 years ago..
c) How has the general perception (from people who don't primarily listen to metal or hard rock) changed during that time?
From being filthy, scorned trash-culture for kids in the 80's to... well, not exactly 'hip' but fairly mainstream. Seems like the majority of people from my own and adjacent generations claim to like at least some "Hårdrock" - or confess to have done so at some period in their life.
d) How has the metal community changed during that time?
Difficult question. Probably a lot but from my personal perspective both the casuals, the die-hard nerdy FANS (my own subset) and the nutjobs look pretty much the same..
e) Change in metal MUSIC presence on TV, radio, in pubs and other public places compared to when you have started to listen to it?
Heavy Metal, or at least the old major bands feel kinda like the new 'Classic Rock' these days. If Rock is a meme, the accompanying soundbite is no longer a Dire Straits-riff but rather a Metallica-pastiche. I can't even say if this is a bad development or not... After all HM isn't Punk Rock, it doesn't HAVE to remain underground to keep its cool, it just happens to have a large part of its strongest heritage buried by time and dust..
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Re: Changes in metal and hard rock popularity, community and public perception you have personally observed

Post by Cochino »

Lord_Sauron wrote: Sat Apr 30, 2022 4:18 pm. The first is that the younger generations are more likely to be fans of SONGS and not BANDS in general, so the cover bands play only the most famous songs from other bands
This is very true all across the musical spectrum, but I wouldn't limit it to the younger generations. I feel like older people have also fallen into the "playlist" mentality and are also leaning towards singles than albums. Basically, we're back to an era where a successful single is what matters as it did in the earliest days of records and the album era that started in the 70s pretty much ended about 10 years ago (of course, talking about broad trends. Singles never went away, and people still buy/listen to records nowadays). I think that's why you have popular music becoming more about hooks, gimmicks and novely value than songwriting. And I'd say it's happening in Metal as well. I see a lot more care in aesthetics than anything else lately. The important thing is to look and sound right, the songs are secondary.
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Herkus Monte
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Re: Changes in metal and hard rock popularity, community and public perception you have personally observed

Post by Herkus Monte »

Given the amount of fillers old LPs included (and new ones do too) I really do not think the singles over albums approach is necessarily bad.
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Re: Changes in metal and hard rock popularity, community and public perception you have personally observed

Post by Prowler »

Well, wanna add something about the change of styles during the years. As mentioned above, I started in pre-Metal times (before 1986) with Billy Idol stuff, then accidentally liked 80's Deep Purple which led into a Metal rush. One of the first radio shows I heard with a metallic topic ((I probably mentioned in the German Metal guide that in GDR there was NO WAY to buy any western Metal LP, Metal posters, Mags or even shirts, buttons, patches etc UNLESS you wether had people in western Germany (which most guys hadn't) who could send over that stuff well hidden OR you bought it on the black market for horrible prices. I remember a friend back in the day bought the Venom Live DLP for 200 East Mark, while the monthly rent for the flat was about 70 East Mark. You could also pay with D-Mark, but if you hadn't any people of there in the other part, then you hadn't either D-Mark at all. For kids like us in school we had no fukn money than what our parents gave us monthly (I got 20 East Mark). A simple Ferro tape C-60 did cost 14 Mark and believe me there was MANY radio shows where you could cut songs from so practically every 2 weeks you needed a new cassette. BUT you also wanted to buy those cool fotos taken of Metal Hammer features or Bravo articles. 1 of these would cost 1-2 Mark (b/w) or colored 4 Mark. So imagine I've been about 12/13 years old in 1986.)) played Twisted Sister, W.A.S.P., Testament, Iron Maiden, Venom and Kreator (Bonebreaker!!). Imagine the impact that Venoms "At with with Satan" had on a young unspoiled innocent teenager and then imagine "Bonebreaker"! Then one more week later "Kill em all"! I completely left out the classic Metal stuff and started right with Thrash. I only had Thrash stuff on my old 80's tapes. We've been lucky in my territory because we could listen to western radio shows over here when the weather was good (LOL). While the GDR radio played Destruction, Kreator, Sodom, Living Death, Metallica, Assassin and Accuser, that western radio show broadcasted mainly underground Thrash and Hardcore stuff like Ludichrist, Psycho, Viking, Sabbat, Tankard, Slayer (due to "Angel of death" GDR officials had a problem with Slayer), Prong and bands of that caliber, while in late 1988 I for the first time ever heard Napalm Death and Bolt Thrower, who both blow me away immediately! Then you could follow the development of extreme Metal almost monthly. The Thrash bands got heavier (Sadus) and more and more Death Metal bands appeared on the western channel and I started listening to Thrash and Death Metal/Grindcore for a long time from '89 to 1992/93, when I turned into Black Metal with first Samael, Darkthrone, Masacre and Profanatica. This phase lasted until the mid 2010's. During the early and mid 90's (when all those important 80's records was sold for 5 DM) I started buying all of them (all styles from Heavy Metal - Thrash), but primarily my favorite style was Black Metal. During the 2010's I got tired of that genre since I only like the early 90's style and bands got uninteresting. So I started buying more old 80's stuff and still listen ONLY to 80's Metal nowadays. I even confess that in the 80's bands like Iron Maiden or Judas Priest was "Pop" to me, something I'd never have had spoiled my tapes with. Nowadays I even buy and love certain proggy Hard Rock bands of the 80's era. So, I went from a bad to the bone Thrash kid to a Death Metal teen and then Black Metal badass and back to classic Heavy Metal or Prog Rock lover. Yet, I listen to everything nowadays within that range. After Darkthrone's "Under a funeral moon" I'd throw Big Daisy on the turntable and wouldn't feel bad at all. :D
Sometimes you need a few years to recognize what bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden or Judas Priest meant for the development of that music since the 70's. And it doesn't really matters if it's Hard Rock, Thrash, Hardcore/Crossover, Speed or Death Metal. Just the Metal factor matters and that it's well done. I needed 2 decades to find out about it.
Just recently I met an old friend I lost contact with back in 2010 and I really spoiled that guy with 80's Power and Thrash stuff. He started with Bon Jovi, Guns 'n Roses around 1990 and then turned into Black/Death Metal and was ALWAYS into the really extreme stuff. I mean you could tape him the most boring noisy Black or Death Metal Demo and he'd reply "fantastic stuff". Now we've met again and he just came from a record fair buying records of Genesis (70's), Jean-Michel Jarre and Budgie, while at his house he introduced the band Mirror to me. Something that back in the day he'd never would have liked at all.
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Re: Changes in metal and hard rock popularity, community and public perception you have personally observed

Post by Cochino »

Herkus Monte wrote: Wed May 11, 2022 6:42 am Given the amount of fillers old LPs included (and new ones do too) I really do not think the singles over albums approach is necessarily bad.
I think that's more due to the "an album every year/two years" standard from back then. That's where the famous "sophomore slump" usually comes from. For the first record, they have songs they've been playing for years and a tracklist that has been weeded out but just a few months after putting that one out, they had to come up with another full length worth of new songs, and that's how you got the 3 or 4 good ones and then a whole bunch of filler or leftover tracks that weren't good enough for the first one.
Personally, I think Metal works at its best in 20 to 45 minute long releases. Anything below that feels a bit short to really grasp a band's signature style, but most of the time by the 45 minute mark I'm ready to move on. But I guess that would be whole other discussion :lol:
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