“Metal connects with people, regardless of their cultural, political or religious backgrounds… Metal is freedom. And together, we are now a global tribe.”
These words by Sam Dunn conclude his documentary on ’Global Metal’- a deeper look into heavy metal culture, the world over. India has been featured in the film, but how can fifteen minutes do justice to a family of more than fifteen thousand in the Indian subcontinent? The answer is simple. It can’t.
Cultural expansion is a result of increasing exposure. India is a pot-pourri of tradition and lifestyles, and apart from our native ethnic influences, culture from the West and elsewhere in the world has also seeped in. One of the products of this sort of exposure is heavy metal.
As society celebrated with M.S. Subbalakshmi and Lata Mangeshkar, some music lovers asked for something different. Whether it was the sound, the lyrics or just the attitude, we began to fall in love with the sound of the loud guitar. We began to connect with AC/DC, Deep Purple, Judas Priest , Metallica and Iron Maiden. And eventually, India too, joined the metal family.
When we say we are metalheads, don’t think in terms of stereotypes. We may be rebels in a different sort of way, but our music is not a “bad habit”. Our music is an outlet that we do not find in our lives otherwise. Our music is a universal voice that not only expresses, but also unites us. Call it noise. Call it adolescent rant. Metal, to us, is the soundtrack to our existence.
Being a heavy metal fan in a country with orthodox values is not easy. Apart from the mockery about the black t-shirts and the long hair, there is discrimination in music circles itself. Heavy metal bands always lose out to funk and soft rock bands in competitions. But that also comes into the picture only if metal bands are allowed to perform. Often, because of the kind of music, performance is itself a question mark. We face hurdles at all levels.
Though the metal population in India started off small, it has struggled against bias and ridicule, and yet, is growing bigger by the day. We don’t care if we are judged. We will stand for what we believe in. Because metal is more than music, and more than an identity.
Headbangers.in is an Indian metalhead’s temple online. From band interviews and features, to gig information and cyber moshpits, you will find it all here. We are proof to the headbanging culture amidst the exotic food, snake charmers and elephants that the country is typically associated with. We are the supporters of a musical revolution. We are the Headbangers, India.