The relationship between heavy metal and religious groups is one of asymmetrical dislike. Throughout metal’s history, religious groups have analyzed a few isolated incidents that demonstrate a culturally unacceptable effect of metal on society. Using these few examples, the groups impose stereotypes on the metal subculture. Then, these groups take these subjective stereotypes and argue that metal is dangerous to the youth and detrimental to society without any further evidence.
Here we will describe the two major religions and one pseudo-religion that are most often associated with heavy metal. The first religion that will be analyzed is Christianity. Perhaps the largest Western religion, this label covers both Catholics and Protestants alike and describes the first religion to oppose heavy metal. Second, we will analyze the relationship between metal and Islam. As metal expanded through the past two decades it came into contact with Islam creating an interesting and never before seen reaction. Finally, we will analyze metal’s relationship with Satanism. As both Christian and Islamic sources have often called metal devil worship and Satanic, we felt it necessary to describe metal’s view of Satanism and dispel any misconceptions there may be.
While reading this there are a few things that need to be kept in mind. One, metal as a whole does not possess many strong feelings toward religion. Indeed there are multiple examples of members of the metal subculture taking stances on religion, both for and against, but as a whole metal remains secular. Two, metal traces its roots to middle class England and the United States, expanding outwards from there. Since metal often maintains many Western ideals, what may look like a rejection of metal on religious grounds could in fact be a rejection of Western ideas. These are just a few things to think about while reading. Enjoy.