source; Facebook--with slight edits by yours truly.
Three years ago, in this blog's infancy, I threatened an extensive post on "hair metal" bands of the 1980s. Folks, that day has arrived.
Advice: Turn up the volume--then continue reading.
Prologomena: "Metal" is both an adjective and noun, and no, I don't mean the chemical form. Metal means heavy metal music: loud, abrasively rhythmic, searing guitar riffs and solos, usually piercingly high (male) vocals, and often dark, gothic lyrics. Metal sings both of human depravity and resistance. Metal songs can celebrate the crass debasement of sexuality...or it can illuminate the downtrodden nobody else knows about. It does so retaining some sort of melody, too. Metal is not punk, at least not in its origins. Crafted and spawned in American, British, and Canadian working classes, metal has defended "the rock and roll lifestyle" long after other genres sold out for better sales, better haircuts, and more exposure. Hence the adjective: "metal." Something metal means it's tougher, harder, unfiltered...and transcendent.
Metal resurrects because in its frequent celebrations of death it also looks to life beyond death. If it's metal, it might be dangerous, occasionally unholy, and a stark threat to your entire personal being...and afterward you'll want another shot. Metal is not a drug; in fact, most illicit drugs offer only ersatz metal experiences. Metal overwhelms, pulverizes, and remakes your previous self. Metal is simultaneously cathartic and converting. Overkill's 1989 classic "Elimination" includes the defiant line "Fatal? You're sh*****g me! A second opinion's what I need!" Metal resists, even when it might seem all resistance is futile. Metal certainly disdains--and, let's face it, often seeks to destroy--Victorian tact and prim morals. Nevertheless, metal certainly understands Christian martrydom and the question of (apparently) unredeemed suffering.
Prologomena, part II: Thus, despite stereotypes rooted mostly in the shallowness of white, evangelical Protestantism, metal and Christianity are not mutually exclusive. Roman Catholics especially enjoy theological, spiritual, and even historical connections to metal. Born-again Christians are stuck eschewing Led Zeppelin's classic Stairway to Heaven, concerned that nobody goes to the Father except through Christ (John 14:6). They are, of course, correct on one level, but, really, who can listen to that song and not see Tolkien's Lady Galadriel pondering Frodo's free offer of the One Ring? (H/T to Hillsdale's Dr. Bradley Birzer for that hermeneutic.) The song itself balances acoustic grace with, well, leaden guitar chords, just like a Gothic cathedral's own chiaroscurro. Led Zep recalls Tolkien--whose Catholic credentials need no defense here--in several other songs: "Misty Mountain Hop," "Ramble On," etc. Sometimes metal recognizes with frank clarity how the Christian faith's struggles amid the world's turmoils, needing God's grace and intervention to make it through. Skid Row's 1991 Quicksand Jesus (written by guitarist David Sabo, whose lyrics exude Catholic sensibility) offers an eloquent example.