I have always had a great attraction for heavy metal since I was around 20.The dawn of metal is generally accepted to have started with Black Sabbath in 1970. When I heard that album- I was blown away as were so many others. Heavy metal has always been both crticized and praised- there is no middle ground if you talk about metal- either you love it or you hate it. Metal has see sawed in popularity since the 70's.It waxed and waned accordingly to the times. The 1980's were the great decade of the hair bands. Metal waned during the 1990's after the onset of grunge, but rebounded again with the dawn of the new millenium.
Metal has never been truly accepted as a distinct musical form- this has only added to it's attractiveness among fans.
The famous rock and roll hall of fame in Cleveland has always been reluctant to accept metal into it's members until only recently.
Metal may be loud but it is never boring. It has always generated excitement. The top name metal bands like Priest, Mettalica and Maiden can sell out almost any stadium in the world. This is made more remarkable by the fact that metal hardly gets any airplay on radio stations. This seems to be changing. More and more radio stations are broadcasting in a hard rock- metal format.
One of the most popular metal shows is Eddie Trunk's friday night rocks broadcast on fm radio and worldwide on the internet every week. The Eddie Trunk hosted - "That Metal Show" on VH1 is a top rated show with metal fans.
VH1 TV has also picked up the pace in showing other programs featuring the top metal bands and stars.
What makes metal special most of all is the attitude. The "in your face" attitude. Metal could be described in one word- freedom. Freedom to do whatever you want onstage and the freedom to be who you are both publically and privately.
Now for the not so glamorous and dark side of the Metal scene .It's a sad fact that drugs and alcohol have always been a part of the Metal scene .Because of the raucous lifestyle of metal musicians, many have ended up in rehab centers over the years. Tragically for some, drugs have taken their lives.On the bright side, many Metal stars like Slash have sworn off substance abuse and are living much happier lives because of it. Metallica released a movie a few years ago - "Some Kind of Monster" telling of their struggles with substance abuse and recovery.
Classical musicians,opera singers cabaret performers and the like have to act and dress a certain way on stage. Metal groups have no restrictions. They can do anything they want on stage- it is expected of them that they do what they want - and too bad if you don't like it.Metal has a great flexiblilty and adaptability. There have been concerts where classic symphony orchestras have played with metal groups onstage- the results has been dynamite- two groups which come to mind are Mettalica and Scorpions.
That what makes metal metal- from slow deeply moving ballads to thrash head banging- Metal is forever!