Most people who meet me would never assume I listen to metalcore. I can’t pull off the rocker look and my voice is too small to consider me fierce or rebellious. I exude innocence and therefore feel the need to blast my music as loudly and as often as I possibly can. Because of this, I sometimes get a “you know that music is satanic, don’t you?” or a “why are they so angry all the time?” Over the years, I’ve noticed these recurring statements have clung to the genre and its followers and, quite honestly, it’s annoying.
The last time this occurred, I was listening to Of Mice & Men’s “Second and Sebring” and was able to casually respond with “Oh Austin Carlile is just singing about the pain of losing his mother to heart problems when he was 17, no not the devil, no worries.”
Sure, the genre comes with a lot of angsty music that is perfect for those days when you’re sad or mad at the world, but rock musicians are like any other. They have songs that portray a range of emotions, whether fast-paced or slow. For example, when I listen to The Devil Wears Prada, sometimes I jam out to songs like “Dez Moines” and sometimes it’s a “Louder Than Thunder” kind of day.
More often I use the “Lady Gaga excuse.” When people try to claim metalcore is sacrilegious, I remind them that their pop music is as well, because who doesn’t have Gaga on their iPod? I have no problem with Lady Gaga and her Little Monsters but I don’t mind throwing her under the bus when it comes to defending my music. A lot of her songs on the topic of religion are controversial. “Judas” was called blasphemous and a mockery of Christianity by various religious groups and by reading the lyrics, I can understand why people would feel that way.
What’s not fair is that people tend to judge the nature of a metalcore song by its screaming and don’t even bother to consider the lyrics. The Attack Attack! song “Stick Stickly” is full of breakdowns, heavy guitar, drums, and obviously screaming, but it’s also straight-up about Jesus. Plus, Attack Attack! is only one out of many metalcore bands that have religious influence. There’s also August Burns Red, Sleeping With Sirens, Underoath, We Came As Romans, Blessthefall, Oceana, Texas In July, Flyleaf, Norma Jean… the list goes on.
I’m not religious; in fact, despite the amount of bands I listen to with Christian influence, I was raised in a Jewish household. I do however think that sacrilegious music is inevitable in any genre and I’m sure there are some “satanic” metalcore bands or songs out there (shout out to Cannibal Corpse). Nonetheless, it’s not okay to negatively judge people’s tastes in music and therefore, it’s not okay to claim metalcore as a whole is satanic – that’s called ignorance.
As for now, when people shoot me one of those reoccurring and honestly annoying statements, I just give them back a snarky and slightly sarcastic remark. They may mean no harm, but I can’t help but to take what they say as offensive because my music is important to me; it holds meaning in my life. And then I secretly laugh because a lot of the time, the band that gets insulted is identifiably Christian – oh, the irony.