Metal Remains as Relevant as Ever in 2018, and Here's the Proof

IMG SRC: Dowload Festival

One of the great joys about music is that it offers something for everyone and fans also have an opportunity to discuss and debate the merits of various bands or genres, as well as why they are less keen on others. However, if one genre seems to get caught up in such debates more than any other it is probably heavy metal.

Seemingly loved and loathed in equal measure, the genre has had to endure its fair share of battles down the years and the Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan recently offered his views on why that may have been. In an interview with Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich on Beats 1, Corgan discussed how he felt that despite being a popular form of music metal remains "disrespected" in some quarters. He talked from personal experience about how he felt the music was looked down on by a certain type of music fan and even hinted that those from better backgrounds particularly tended to dismiss it. He added how it offered solace to him in his youth and something that was "more closely aligned" to his own experiences.

A top seller

There probably is something in Corgan's comments about how metal has never been fully accepted by certain music fans. However, this has still not stopped the genre from enduring and remaining a fundamental part of popular culture. In fact, there remains plenty of evidence that metal of all sub-genres is as relevant as ever in 2018.

If you are going to look at the popularity of a genre then record sales are of course an important barometer of how things lie. While a look back at last year's top-selling albums may unsurprisingly have the likes of Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Kendrick Lamar and Bruno Mars at the top, it is notable to see another name stick out like a sore thumb. The creators of one of our all-time favourite metal songs, Metallica made the list with their Hardwired… To Self-Destruct LP being the ninth biggest selling album of 2017. To make matters even more bizarre, the position has the metal legends sandwiched between the '70s soft rock of the Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol. 2 soundtrack and the Justin Timberlake-infused cartoon pop of Trolls.

IMG SRC: Metallica

It is not just albums that metal – and Metallica in particularly – continues to shift though. The annual Download festival in the UK welcomes in the region of 80,000 fans every year, while Metallica made Billboard's Hot Tours rankings at one point last year when the first ten dates of their US stadium tour helped them achieve a combined gross of $49.5 million from an incredible 464,988 sold seats.

Breaking out

Another real test of how strong a genre is performing is its ability to take a step outside of its usual comfort zone and be embraced in other parts of pop culture – something that metal has managed in a number of surprising ways in recent years. Apparently, Metal has developed a close and fond relationship with the ever-growing craft beer. The individual areas both have a strong and devoted following so it is probably not a huge surprise that efforts have been made to bring the two together. Many metal bands have been involved in the creation of beers, with 3 Floyds Brewing in Indiana working with the likes of Mastodon, Skeletonwitch and Pelican to create new brews. Furthermore, as Revolver outlines, the company even hosts its own metal event to celebrate the one-day-only release of one of its signature beverages. Going even further, as Betway Casino outlines, it is not uncommon for online slot games to take their cues from popular culture like film, TV and music, including Elvis and Sex and the City. Yet, even with that in mind the fact that Swedish doom metal merchants Candlemass worked with slots developer Play N Go on the House of Doom slot is a real turn up for the books. In fact, Candlemass even released a new song as the slot's official soundtrack (see video below). Metal has also broken into video gaming with Avenged Sevenfold reportedly set to contribute a song to the forthcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.

While beer and heavy riffing may seem like a fairly solid fit, there are still plenty of other surprising places that metal has popped up in recent times. DO.OMYoga offers metal fans the opportunity to practice their various yoga moves along to doom metal, with the idea stemming from an experience that co-founder Kamellia Mckayed had while travelling in India. Speaking to, she outlined how she visited Rishikesh and felt too ill to practice, but was then spurred into action when a friend was playing an Om album. She said: "Eventually, my friend Sanna – who helps run DO.OMYoga with me – approached me and suggested it would be cool to practice yoga to doom metal. I said, "I already have been – and it works!' The rest is history."

A core part of music's landscape

All of the above highlights that, whether it truly is "disrespected" or not, metal remains in incredibly rude health and is undoubtedly as important as it has ever been to popular culture in 2018. From the enduring, lucrative success of Metallica to the genre's ability to branch it into new and surprising areas like yoga, interest and appetite for metal and its culture remains high.

While the genre may now come in a number of different forms since its first inception back in the early 1970s, it is safe to say it remains a core part of music's incredibly rich and diverse landscape.

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