Heavy metal and mosh pits have captivated men for years. For some it is seen as an aggressive and rebellious thing to be part of. Other men enjoy it for its testosterone fueled tunes and emotionally charged lyrics. There is a deeper lesson we can take that goes to the heart of every man.
Recently I was interviewed on the The Eclectic Podcast about the Good Guy Swag movement, also why I love metal. I had no shame in saying that my love was born when I briefly took up ballet as a young boy. One time my instructor asked us to create a dance to a modern tune. In the 1980’s Alice Cooper was a massive phenomenon, and my mum had the 1989 Trash album on cassette sitting on her shelf. I chose to choreograph something to the track Poison. The moment that I put that tape in the deck my ears and heart enjoyed every heavy riff and breakdown that it offered. As I grew older I saw that my passion went far beyond heavy tunes, to something of a tight knit brotherhood forged in blood and sweat.
Within the metal scene community is displayed in the mosh pit. For many guys it is here that they enter a rite of passage. It is here where men find comradeship and solidarity that they might miss elsewhere. In the depths of the pit the corporate sales executive with long hair can stand alongside the accountant from the tax office, and the minister that leads a Church service the following morning. It is here that the weary stay at home father of two could head-bang with the best of them.
I have found that the mosh pit shows no disregard for men. Every man is equal, and no judgement is found. The bands can be diverse going from one end of the spectrum to another. On one hand you can have a bunch of men wearing tight pants giving power metal squeals singing about their love of Viking history. Then on the opposite side you can lean toward lyrical content and tunes that are much darker in tone. While this community may not appeal to everyone, for those that belong it is a family in more ways than one.
What major lessons can a man draw from heavy metal that he can use elsewhere? How does it encourage good masculinity, deep friendships, and create strong bonds?
Metalheads are Authentic
Authenticity is a cliché word that gets thrown around a lot, but the foundation of it is rooted in the idea of being real and raw. Today there seems to be a stigma for men to be open about things, and it often goes against societies conventions. The message that metal conveys removes all pretense and encourages brutal honesty. This truth goes to the core of being open with each other, because metalheads can spot posers and fakers a mile away.
I can tell if someone is into metal by looking at the bands they listen to, and the t-shirts worn. There is also a standard joke that the typical metalhead has a wardrobe full of black jeans and band shirts. These same men can walk into a supermarket and they know they are in good company when they see a stranger wearing the same shirt.
Metalheads laugh at themselves
Another way to develop deep friendships is through men learning to laugh at themselves through banter and shared memes. Men also need that safe place of “belonging” where they feel free to sharpen one another with humor.
In the metal community groups and pages exist that do extremely well today. The Reformed Mosh Pit offers discussion and support for Christian guys and girls. Deathcore Dad Memes and Wholesome Memes with Metal Themes are satirical social media pages that allow men to share banter over bands they may love or have issues with, but it is done with good faith. Memes and discussions can go from one extreme in the metal community to the other. They are always consistent in one theme, learn to laugh at yourself and each other. When men laugh together, they grow together.
Metalheads support each other
This community of men is fiercely loyal, and they will defend each other with every part of their soul. These men sacrificially dedicate themselves to lifting one another up. In the mosh pit when one man falls down his mates are always there to support him.
A real man lifts his brother when they are weak, by raising them up shoulder to shoulder. Posers tend to tear others down to make themselves appear superior in their masculinity.
When seeking your own tribe of men ask yourself these questions: “Will these guys support me if I fall? Would they encourage me and remain loyal if I struggled in life? Can they champion me to be a better man displaying wholesome virtues? Lastly, will this brotherhood push me to be an upright man?”
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“When seeking your own tribe of men ask yourself these questions: Will these guys support me if I fall? Would they encourage me and remain loyal if I struggled in life? Can they champion me to be a better man? Lastly, will this brotherhood push me to be an upright man?” @joshaaronjames from his upcoming article “Brotherhood In The Mosh Pit” on #GoodGuySwag
If you struggle to see this, then it might be wise to find yourself a better crew. Find a group that lifts you up even when the crowd surfing is not an option. Real brothers support one another.
In conclusion, men in this community may appear to be large, tough and aggressive. Underneath this hardened exterior they are all gentlemen. They desire nothing but the best for their mates in the mosh pit. In some sense this is a sacred space for men. It is a place where shared experience, “a baptism of fire” becomes a rite of passage. The result is that a bond is forged, and greatest friendships of all are found. This is genuine brotherhood… This is metal…