It’s safe to say, it isn’t for everyone, which is completely understandable. Music taste varies, and each individual has their own tastes and opinions, which is what makes the music industry so vast and complex
Even though metal music doesn’t suit everyone’s taste, it is time to break through the hostile and rather malignant stereotype that metal has sadly been branded with. For this revolutionary breakthrough, I will be using the beautiful work of Slipknot, one of the most well-known and successful metal bands in the world.
Since their formation in 1992, the Iowa-born band has had seventeen different members, from percussionists to guitarists, and including of course, bassist Paul Gray, who tragically passed away in 2010. Corey Taylor has been the band’s frontman since 1997, and has truly given Slipknot, and metal as a whole, a voice that has been heard worldwide.
Known for their notorious image, the deranged masks that they wear onstage and their huge fan base, whom they refer to as their “maggots,” Slipknot pushed the boundaries of metal and proved that nothing could ever be taken too far within this genre.
From having former drummer Joey Jordison’s kit suspended vertically during a concert to Corey Taylor being set on fire by fellow band members, Slipknot weren’t afraid to do, as they would say, whatever the fuck they want.
It is, of course, understandable for many to be weary or even frightened by this behaviour that was displayed in Slipknot’s early days. Beneath their hard exteriors, however, Slipknot have so much more to offer than screaming down the microphone and setting each other on fire.
I admit, I did initially accept the way that the band presented themselves at face value. Back in 2013 when I attended Download Festival, they were headlining the Friday evening. Much to my discontent, my cousin insisted we get in the crowd and watch them, saying “Trust me, you’ll love it.”
I didn’t believe a word of it, and I can imagine many other first-timers to the band didn’t either.
How wrong I was. After their two-and-a-half-hour set, the group had gained themselves another fan. Their music wasn’t just Corey Taylor screaming incoherent noises into the mic. It really blew me away, and so did the unity of the 90,000 people in the crowd.
There were undoubtedly the famous mosh pits throughout the performance, with a few that I found my rather nervous 17-year-old self being unwillingly pulled into. I came out with the odd bruise or two, but the thoughtful people alongside me constantly made sure we smaller folk were doing okay.
Corey Taylor repeatedly said to us as a crowd, “We are all a family.” The passion and dedication he has towards the fans is something rarely come across in modern music today. Slipknot care just as much about those who follow them as they do about album sales.
It wasn’t just this two-and-a-half-hour set that opened my eyes to the rock and metal community as a whole. Throughout the entire weekend, I was lucky enough to experience heavy rock and metal legends Iron Maiden and Rammstein, and the crowd that Download hosted was indescribable. It was a space in which anybody was welcome, without judgement or ridicule.
I even walked through the campsite wearing a Rush t-shirt, and instead of the usual jeers I would experience from this choice of clothing, I received yells of appreciation.
After experiencing many heavy rock and metal concerts, it’s safe to say you truly can’t meet a more humble and kind crowd of people as you can in this community. Metal music has brought millions together worldwide, and it’s our differences that has united us so strongly.
So next time you see someone in the street wearing a Slipknot t-shirt, don’t judge. They’ll probably be the nicest person you could ever meet.