Don't Blame Metal!
by C.J. Cain

The charges have been leveled, and the cases tried - the verdict NOT GUILTY! There have been, in the past, two very high-profile court cases in which heavy metal performers have come under attack for recording songs that allegedly compelled young people to take their lives. Parents of the youths blamed "backward messages" and lyrics for the actions of their children. I am not about to redirect blame elsewhere, but I do intend to remove it from heavy metal.

My sincerest condolences go out to the families, as there is no pain equal to that of losing a child. I hope their pain has stopped and that they have found peace. I cannot point an accusatory finger at the families for the lawsuits, but I can raise my middle finger at those who misrepresent heavy metal as "the devil's music," or who blame it for all of society's woes.

The lyrics are most often the center of contention. Let's see if we can make a valid argument out of this one. A group of children all march in a circle, chanting about stacks of dead bodies being burned. These must surely be the extremely "black" lyrics of a depraved metal band, right? Not really, it is the meaning of the schoolyard song "Ring Around the Rosie." The song's origin goes back to the Plague, where people died much faster than they could be buried. The bodes were stacked, and sprinkled with rose petals to mask the smell until the corpses could be burned, "ashes to ashes, they all fall down!" I have yet to read where any preschooler has taken a torch to a bunch of bodies because he or she heard it in a song. Oh, well, maybe this example is better. A maniacal lady chases animals around with a knife. No doubt fueled by heavy metal and looking for a sacrifice for some demonic ritual, right? Wrong - it's the farmer's wife chasing the three blind mice. Yes these examples are extreme, but so too are the examples that have been used to persecute heavy metal.

Don't Blame Metal! Page 2