Heavy metal music is perhaps one of the most persecuted genres in music. Much like rap, it seems to be a scapegoat for parents, religious leaders, and even some politicians, gaining blame for everything from youthful rebellion to large crimes. Yet metal has never been about encouraging any of these things. Instead, it is a genre largely based in rebelling and revolting through music and based in giving people who do not feel as though they are part of the mainstream an outlet through which they can express themselves.
Criticism of heavy metal is not something that has come simply in the age of bands like Marilyn Manson. Groups like Zeppelin and Black Sabbath have long been targeted by critics in a number of areas, even while their record sales were off the charts. Ozzy Osborne drew a great deal of ire for both his stage antics and his lyrics, yet more than forty years after the band first played, he is able to count millions of people across the globe among his fans. Metal as we know it began in the 1960s in the US and the UK, and it has been earning both critical acclaim and condemnation ever since.
As to why heavy metal finds itself such a common target, there are really many reasons. The lyrics of the music are often rebellious and veer greatly from adherence to the mainstream. Many artists incorporate anti-religious or even satanic lyrics, partially due to personal beliefs and often due to a desire to anger those who are in the mainstream or in positions of power. The music is loud and considered offensive to those with more traditional tastes, making it an easy scapegoat. What few people recognize, however, is that the music is often an outlet for those who do not feel that they fit into the world otherwise. We all look for the things that make us feel accepted in this world, and heavy metal music often provides that. Music has never had the power to make people do things they do not wish to do, but it can certainly help people see that there are others out there who relate to the world in the same way that they do- helping make heavy metal one of the most loved and most hated genres of music in the world today.