The place of 'Heavy Metal' music in the lives of Christians has crept up the agenda a little more recently - though I doubt it will ever overtake the Papal visit.
For many, Heavy Metal is the work of one Mr Lou C. Ferr, and in truth, its symbology does little to dissuade that viewed. It is often a genre of music that appears to be followed by the oily and lank-haired breeds who seek comfort from their leather jimmie-jams and and spider-web tats cast artfully across their acne-scarred visages. They wear jeans which are so tight they promote herniae; their ankles seem to be of a magnetic order that they can only exist poles apart, thus causing the legs of the 'Metal Head' to be forces to a perpetual inverse 'v', with each legged concluded as it is by scuffed boots with more buckles and straps that a clergy away-day!
'Bloody Noise', my dad called it. 'Awful Racket', Mrs Acular says. 'Why are they shouting', the Twins Aculae enquire. But they are mistaken, all of them.
For those of you unfamiliar with the breed, 'Heavy Metal' is something of a British invention, spawned of the likes of Ozzie Osbourne and Tony Iommi that then spread to America and brought to genesis the likes of Metallica and then onto splintered genres [Nu-Metal, Death Metal, Glam etc] which all have their own sound. In essence, these bands comprise one or more electric guitars, bass, drums (often double-pedalled for machine gun speed), and a lead singer who growls. Put another way, Metallists are musicians, often classically trained in their instrument, but nonetheless experts. Their music attends to subject matters that the fluffy popsters tend to avoid.
I have, I think, all the albums of Metallica and many of their tracks deal with a struggle with God and the pain that some human activity can bring to being. The lyrics often speak of struggling on in the face of the odds - and very often the struggle with evil. There are some very noble songs. Another group I like to listen to, System of a Down (since disbanded, sadly), write songs about justice and the horror of war and its machinery.
In short, these are musicians who deal with some of the spectres that live in all of us. I love classical music and with that I find this to be very compatible. Yes, the genre is loud and often angry, and it is often sweary and growly - but if you can get under the facade you can hear some poignant sentiments. Give me a moment of Metal music to a lifetime of plastic pap that Mr Cowell engenders. I would rather a moment of 'The Judas Kiss' than a year of 'My Baby-boo Is My Cootchy Coo' - bleh!