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National Metal Day

National Metal Day

In honour of the classic metal mockumentary “This Is Spinal Tap,” National Metal Day falls on November 11 every year. Metal declares independence from the mundane and conventional, while insanity, alienation, and death are the foundation for gloomy introspection, which is all part of the culture! However, it’s not all doom and gloom; some metal can even be uplifting! 

History of National Metal Day

“These go to 11.”

The famous This Is Spinal Tap scene explaining how the band’s amps go up to “one louder” than 10 is the basis for National Metal Day’s unique date. Moreover, the day was first celebrated in 2011 (so yes, 11-11-11) by the 24-hour music network VH1 Classic. The celebrations began on November 1, allowing more time for the network to focus on airing metal concerts, specials, movies, and videos each night — leading up to the grand finale on 11-11-11 when VH1 Classic premiered the film “Metal Evolution.”

Metal is a subcategory of hard rock and is one of the most controversial and complex genres of music. It’s not made for those who are light of heart and modest but is made to be enjoyed in excess through its music, aesthetic, and lifestyle. The genre originated from industrial working-class areas within the UK, specifically in northern and midland England, where several factories process actual metal and steel. Early metal bands would reference the sound of these factories as a direct influence on their sound — Judas Priest’s Glenn Tipton had remarked on how the steel mill was always within audible distance.

But metal comes from more than just factories; it has a solid British blues rock influence, with heavy impact from acts like The Rolling Stones, The Animals, and The Kinks. There is also influence from guitar legends Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. Metal began owning its title as a genre in the late 1960s early 1970s, with Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple sharing ownership as the first metal bands.

Metal has since spread into various sub-genres such as thrash, death, black, doom, Christian, and the oft-reviled nu-metal. Some of the biggest names in music are metalheads, like Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, Motorhead, and Pantera. So, if you can adequately answer this question: “Who would win in a fight, Lemmy Kilmister or god?”* This day may be the excuse you need to bang your head.

*It’s a trick question. Lemmy IS god. Rock on.

National Metal Day Timeline

1968
Metal born in England
Black Sabbath used loud, clashing guitar solos as a reaction to the despair and dreariness of life.

1978
Leather and Studs
Judas Priest’s album, “Hellbent for Leather,” introduced the pairing of leather and metal studs as a fashion statement.

1984
Metal band culture spoof
This is Spinal Tap, the metal mockumentary about the adventures of a metal band on tour, turned into an iconic time de force.

1985
Zappa testified before Congress
Frank Zappa appeared before Congress to protest attempts to legislate and censor lyrics of heavy metal songs.

1990
Judas Priest sued
When a young Judas Priest fan took his life, his parents sued the group, claiming their son heard the words “do it” in a song played backwards.

National Metal Day Faqs

Is the Beatle’s song “Helter Skelter” metal?
“Helter Skelter,” which appeared on The Beatles’ 1968 “White Album,” is considered by some to be the first metal song and noted for its pro-metal roar.
Why is it called heavy metal?
The name “heavy metal” originates from the sound of steel mills in the UK. But it only takes a few listens to understand why it’s called “heavy.”
Who are the Big 4 of metal?
Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth are often called the Big 4 of metal.

National Metal Day Activities

Listen to all your favourite metal bands
National Metal Day is just an excuse for non-stop head-banging music. Start with Black Sabbath and move through all the incarnations of the music from decade to decade. Throw in some Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, and Deep Purple too. Close the day out with a viewing of This is Spinal Tap.
Throw a metal fashion show
Much of the fascination with metal is the fashion. The jewellery, the hair, and the clothes are a big part of metal’s draw. Have your crew dress up as their favourite musicians. Dare someone to be Marilyn Manson for just a couple of hours and pick up some food at the Quickie Mart.
Play metal video games
Believe it or not, there are scores of video games dedicated to heavy metal. The plots revolve around a band like Iron Maiden or Metallica. Grab your die-hard metal gamers and get a competition going. Turn it up and turn it out but just let the neighbours know ahead of time.

Why We Love National Metal Day

It’s loud
Heavy metal, or just plain “metal” to most fans, is characterized by long, over-amplified guitar riffs. The wild-haired musicians wield their guitars like weapons to the delightful cheering of their fans.
It glorifies the occult.
Metal music seems to idealize the occult and Satan specifically. But this Devil is not the one to cast you down and dance on your soul; metal’s Satan is like the ultimate rocker — a guy who jams all day and all night — but in hell. There’s a party that never stops with all the evil, sex and drugs, i.e. fun. The fashion in metal is heavy with inverted crosses, devils’ head necklaces, and lots and lots of leather. It’s an acquired taste.
It’s about rebellion.
Metal bands like Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, and Marilyn Manson take pride in running against the grain. These bands believe that being authentic about your art and inner self is the only thing that matters in a wasteland of commercialism. But of course, it never hurts to sell lots of albums. If the search for the naked truth offends society, these are not the folks to invite to a tea party.

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