Why Are We Letting Them Win?

As a longtime Metalhead and… let’s be brutally honest… a nerdy-type, there’s a few trends I’m increasingly uncomfortable with as I get older. Those trends are an increase in gatekeeping and intolerance of people who are “different”.

As a Metalhead, I’m used to being looked down upon as being an unintelligent, alcoholic thug, when I’m actually a lecturer in Applied Science at a Higher Education College here in northern England. I’ve been teaching for over 20 years and I don’t actually drink alcohol at all. So despite being 6’ tall with long hair and a beard, I’m pretty much the exact opposite of the stereotype.  I’ve even been followed around Waitrose by a store detective.  I kind of wish I’d’ve turned round on him and told him how much more an hour I earned than he did.

Because of the way society views me, and people like me, I’d probably be called a “woke snowflake” by certain parts of this society because I happen to believe that people shouldn’t be discriminated against because of accidents of birth and genetics. I’m also firmly of the opinion that sex work is work and being gay is perfectly natural and “normal”. I also have examples involving various non-human animals that prove my point.

Anyway, what has this got to do with The Wyrd Ways Rock Show?

I’ll tell you.

Wandering through social media, as I do to try and find new bands to play and new listeners to play the music to, I’m finding increasing polarisation, especially between the older end younger ends of the Metal “community”. A lot of it is being caused by the group I like to call “The Metal Taliban”, who seem to have gathered more recruits since I wrote that article nearly a decade ago.

As Rock and Metal have evolved and started to become more diverse and, in spite of what some people seem to believe, popular again, there’s an increasingly vicious backlash from the minority.

Guess who “the minority” are.

Yup. The Metal Taliban.

So while the likes of The Nova Twins, Fever 333, Scene Queen, Defences, Vanitas, Maya Karli, St Agnes, Vexed and a whole host of other bands push forward, forging their own path and attempting what the likes of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Korn, The Offspring and Slipknot did over the last few decades by bringing new life the Rock and Metal, there’s always some group trying to drag it back.


Well, they’re stuck in the past. Many people never move beyond the music they listened to when they were in their teens. Witness the sheer number of people who will swear blind that music was at it’s peak in the 80’s. Back in the 80’s (I know – I was there!) people swore blind that music was at it’s peak in the 60’s. You know what? They’re all wrong. Music doesn’t “peak” and “trough”. If it’s alive, and allowed to be alive, it evolves and changes, altered by the tastes, talents and emotions of the next generation of musicians. The worst thing that can happen to it is that it gets locked in a box and stifled.

So the worst people in music are gatekeepers. The ones who try to keep the music “pure”. We all know what happens to “purebreeds” and we also all know which animals are stronger and more capable of survival – it’s the ones who mix freely. The mongrels.

To give you a musical example, Thrash is a mongrel. It’s a fusion of Traditional Heavy Metal and Punk, crossed with the music from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, which was, itself a fusion of Heavy Metal and, specifically, British Punk. The diversity made it stronger. The same thing happened when Heavy Metal fused with Hip-Hop (another Working Class musical form, but this time with roots in Black American culture in Detroit, rather than Heavy Metal’s roots in the heavy industry of the Midlands in the UK) to create Nu Metal.

Metal is better when it’s diverse. It’s more imaginative and more exciting. Also the injustices perpetrated on the minorities that create that diversity feeds that anger and rage that makes Metal so vital.

That’s why I’m declaring The Wyrd Ways Rock Show, the website, podcast and social media feeds a Safe Place for everyone. It’s better when we pull together. I don’t care if you’re male, female, non-binary, black, white, brown, gay, straight, bi. So long as we are all passionate about the music, and we support each other and the bands, that’s really all that matters. I won’t reject your opinion if you have an OnlyFans any more than I would reject your opinion if you were a lawyer or an architect. Your job is your job, and it doesn’t define the person.

But I will judge you if you start trying to tell me that Black Sabbath aren’t Metal. They all but invented it (with some help from Deep Purple and a few others), so to say they’re not Metal makes you an idiot.


We are united in Metal. All hail the power chord and the drop-D tuning!

Let’s show ‘em what we’re made of.

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