The fellowship of the metalheads

In a hole in the ground, there lived the metalheads, a misunderstood people. We have invited you here today to tell you one thing: We are looking for someone to share in an adventure. An adventure to show you the metal world. Don’t be scared.

(Andrea Bárcenas/AQ)
(Andrea Bárcenas/AQ)

“If you’re looking at metal from afar, that’s not the whole story,” says Daniel Monteith, a local musician.

“It’s not like if you listen to it you’re going to join this cult of people that sacrifice things to Satan every other night,” adds Nathalie MacPherson, a first-year student at Saint Mary’s University.

Welcome to the fellowship of the metalheads. Some of us do have tattoos, piercings, long hair and often wear black. But until you look into this community and get past the surface, you’ll never be able to see the gold beneath the earth.

Julien Richard, a fourth-year electrical engineering student at UNB, says members of the metal community are not aggressive.

“At a metal show, you know you can get knocked around pretty hard by somebody and still be like ‘hey dude… you’re awesome,’” says Monteith.

Brotherhood is a word which has been mentioned by a few people to describe the metal community. These people will always be there to help a brother (or sister) out.

Richard says people think of mosh pits as being dangerous — they can be — but there are two rules in a pit: push people around and pick up whoever is on the ground.

“Usually there will be like five guys helping him out,” Richard adds.

Marc Babineau, aFredericton carpenter, says metalheads are the most dedicated fans. Those who grew up with metal in the 80s are still going to metal concerts and they are around 50 and 60 years old.

Monteith adds, “Metal. It’s something that stays with you.”


Matt Dinan, a professor at St. Thomas University who will be teaching a class on J.R.R. Tolkien as a Catholic writer next year, is an outsider to the community but agrees it’s misunderstood.

“In respect to metal, I think, people don’t understand how diverse it is, probably.”

Samuel Filion, in his mid-20s working for the government, says there are hundreds of sub-genres. Anything between hard core death metal to folk metal.

But within these sub-genres, there is one that rules them all – black metal.

Babineau says Tolkien is the biggest influence within the black metal genre.

Tolkien’s influence on the metal genre does not end with black metal. Other metal artists have songs that reference Tolkien.

Monteith names a few works outside the black metal sub-genre, for example: “Over the Hill and Far Away” by Led Zeppelin, “The Wizard” by Black Sabbath and “Rivendell” by Rush. There are many more.

One of the best known Tolkien based bands is Summoning, taking almost all their lyrics directly from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books and naming some of their albums Minas Morgul and Dol Guldur.

“If you look closely the nerd and metal cultures are closely related in part because of works of literature like The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, science-fiction fantasy and heavy metal – they are all connected,” Monteith says.

In the 70s, the guys who were getting into metal, when it was starting, are the same ones who played Dungeons and Dragons. The nerds..

Babineau adds that black metal fans are basically the nerds and geeks who want to rock out.

MacPherson says the Tolkien world is a place where anything can happen. You are always at the edge of you seat. This is the feeling fans get from most metal music, she says.

Tolkien is not the only author whose work has inspired metal bands and their songs.
Caladan Brood is a metal band that base their lyrics and themes from the series Malazan Book of the Fallen, written by Steven Erikson.

“I think a lot of people might not expect to find authors and intellectuals having anything to do with metal. I guess people should reconsider that,” says Monteith.


Now that we have been “there and back again” into the world of metalheads, you should remember that Aragorn was first feared by the Hobbits for his looks, but in the end he revealed himself to be a loyal companion who would have followed Frodo into Mount Doom.

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