Heavy metal music is a genre of popular music that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The genre is characterized by amplified and distorted electric guitars, bass guitar, drums, and vocals. Despite its popularity and influence, heavy metal music has faced criticism from various quarters, including accusations of being elitist and exclusive. The following is a detailed examination of how these factors have negatively impacted the genre.
Gatekeeping refers to the process of controlling access to a particular community or cultural activity. In the context of heavy metal music, this has often taken the form of creating an exclusive list of approved bands and styles, as well as creating rigid definitions of what constitutes "real" heavy metal music. This has led to a divide within the heavy metal community, with some fans and musicians feeling excluded or marginalized.
One of the main consequences of gatekeeping has been the suppression of artistic expression. By limiting the types of heavy metal music that are considered acceptable, gatekeepers have effectively silenced or discouraged new and innovative artists from exploring new sounds and styles. This has stifled creativity and limited the genre's growth and evolution.
Elitism refers to the belief in or promotion of superiority based on a particular attribute, such as wealth, intelligence, or cultural background. In the context of heavy metal music, this has often taken the form of snobbery and condescension towards other genres of music and fans of those genres. This elitism has had a negative impact on the heavy metal community by creating an atmosphere of exclusiveness and making it difficult for new fans to become involved in the genre.
Moreover, this kind of elitism has also led to a fragmentation of the heavy metal community, with different sub-genres and factions forming around specific musical preferences and tastes. This has resulted in a lack of unity within the heavy metal community, as well as a decrease in inter-genre collaboration and cross-pollination of ideas.
Furthermore, the perception of heavy metal as being elitist and exclusive has also led to a decrease in the genre's mainstream popularity and acceptance. The elitism associated with heavy metal has caused many people to view the genre as being inaccessible and unapproachable, which has made it difficult for the genre to reach a wider audience.
In conclusion, gatekeeping and elitism have had a negative impact on heavy metal music by limiting artistic expression, creating division within the community, and reducing the genre's mainstream popularity and acceptance. By embracing diversity and inclusiveness, the heavy metal community can continue to thrive and evolve, and reach new heights of popularity and influence.
- “The Metal Elitism Problem: How it Hurts the Genre”, MetalSucks, 2020.
- “Gatekeeping in Heavy Metal Music: An Examination”, Decibel Magazine, 2021.