Before traveling to Oslo, my relationship to metal has been practically nonexistent. I had these preconceived notions of it being a very impersonal genre that is difficult to penetrate. Everything I had heard about metal were tales of caution and horror stories of the occult and burning down churches.
After experiencing my first metal show, I can confidently say that old view of metal was two-dimensional and entirely incorrect. I had seen metal as purely an aesthetic, but now I realize that there are people behind it, people who are highly knowledgeable in their art and who are pushing the envelope and evolving the genre.
This became obvious to me in an interview with Bent Ronde, who contributes vocals and plays guitar for Oslo metal band Blodspor. His knowledge of politics and the world in general are evidenced in his music. Ronde is not just making music, he is also taking a stance. He was eloquent in his words, perfectly articulating the legacy and future of metal.
Metal is packed with history and, as a genre, has the potential to carry so much emotion within it. The abrasive quality of the sound is able to portray a spectrum of emotions, ranging frustration to even vulnerability. The lyrics on top of the sonic background add a layer of awareness to the song by quantifying feelings and political ideas into a melody. If anything, this makes metal an ever-present form of art.
The metal crowd was as pleasant as could be as they reveled in the music. I was asked multiple times by patrons is I would like to move ahead of them so I could see the show better, something I have never experienced before at any previous concert.
As I felt the music pounding out of the speakers I began to realize why metal is so important: it is a community above anything else. I got lost in the sound and lost in the crowd.