The Soft Side of Music’s Hardest Genre

When someone thinks of uplifting music, hardly ever does a metal song come to mind. With angry guitar djenting, double-bass drums booming, and nearly inscrutable vocals, many people are put off by hardcore music. But the genre isn’t scary. In fact, it’s hard to find a hardcore band that is.
Many find comfort in sad music because it’s relatable. Metal provides the same solace; lyrics commonly are about unity, strength, struggle, and motivation. But metal doesn’t fit in. It’s judged and written off as “just noise.” Because of this, it’s a genre for those that fit in as poorly as it does. Metal’s rejection from the mainstream bonds bands and fans into a family.
At concerts, this communality is especially evident and the connection with the band is real. I’ve been to numerous metal shows: Warped Tour 2014; the Let The Ocean Take Me tour, headlined by The Amity Affliction; A Day to Remember with Of Mice & Men; and, this Friday, Of Mice & Men again. (I’m pumped.) At each of these shows, I’ve seen and felt the passion and unity of the crowd. When a guy gets knocked down moshing, hands all around him reach down to help pull him up. People are are eager to help crowdsurfers “get up there.” And if someone happens to get dropped, they’re helped back up on their feet in seconds. I’ve seen people lose hats and shoes, and there’s always someone to find the lost item and give it back. While there are always less than nice people in any crowd, it seems that metal crowds are exceptionally friendly to each other. Furthermore, there’s a bond with the band felt at concerts; my heart swelled when The Amity Affliction played my favorite and most relatable song of theirs, “Don’t Lean On Me.” I screamed the lyrics as singer Joel Birch did, fists in the air. I crowdsurfed to the stage (it was a small venue with no barriers), quickly embraced Joel and bassist/vocalist Ahren Stringer, and stage dove back into the crowd. It was one of the best nights of my life.
Bands make music about life’s hardest trials and inspires us to overcome them. Metal bands bleed passion for their fans. And like a stress ball or an intense workout, hardcore purges negativity. There’s nothing as therapeutic as immersing oneself in the quick tempo and heavy beats and shedding away anger and sadness. If music is what feelings sound like, metal is the sound of life‘s hardest times. And that’s precisely why it’s the most comforting genre of all.
*Photo courtesy of Static Media Group

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