The hammers that forge heavy metal (Part 2 of 3)

Text by: Kimmy Baraoidan
Photos by: Chris Quintana

In this three-part series, Kimmy talks about some of the problems that plagued and continue to challenge metal bands and fans, her experiences as a former member of a metal band and her personal thoughts about the local metal scene and those of several local metal band members. The points she raises take off from the documentary film Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey by Sam Dunn.

In a previous article, I talked about the moral panic that ensued in the West when heavy metal music started to reach a wider audience. Alvin Baes, vocalist of local death metal band Rumblebelly, also related his experience when he got in trouble with school authorities for organizing a gig that included metal bands. In this article, I will share some thoughts about and insights into the local metal scene.

A tight-knit community or a breeding ground for haters?

Moy Lapiz (left), vocalist of metalcore band Last Action Heroes, greets friends at a gig in the band's hometown of Los Baños, Laguna. (Photo by: Chris Quintana)

Moy Lapiz (left), vocalist of metalcore band Last Action Heroes, greets friends at a gig in the band’s hometown of Los Baños, Laguna. (Photo by: Chris Quintana)

Metalheads, as pointed out in Sam Dunn’s documentary film Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, have a close-knit community. When I was still in a metal band, playing mostly at underground and sometimes mainstream gigs, it was often the metalheads who were surprisingly friendly and accommodating. I have made friends with members of metal bands over the years. And every time we see each other at gigs, we always happily congregate, exchanging high fives, stories, and jokes.

Even outside gigs, when we see each other on the street or at the supermarket or at the mall, there is this sense of belonging to a sort of secret (but not -so-secret) society to which the people around are oblivious. And then we would sort of nod our heads when we pass each other by, or shake hands and pat each other’s backs, as if we had just been to a kickass gig the night before. Other people may think we’re a bunch of lowlifes probably because of our typical overall appearance and clothing preferences–shoulder- to waist-length hair (or longer), similar to the crazy beards people are trying to grow nowadays to look ‘indie;’ arms and/or legs covered in tattoos, studded or spiked belts and accessories, chains, black clothing, or dark shirts bearing indecipherable logos of other metal bands. But metalheads can be some of the kindest and most open-minded people you’d meet.

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