What is National Metal Day?
National Metal Day history
“These go to 11.”
The famous This Is Spinal Tap scene explaining how the band’s amps go up to “one louder” than 10 is the basis for National Metal Day’s unique date . Moreover, the day was first celebrated in 2011 (so yes, 11-11-11) by 24-hour music network VH1 Classic. The celebrations began on November 1, allowing more time for the network to focus on airing metal concerts, specials, movies, and videos each night — leading up to the grand finale on 11-11-11, when VH1 Classic premiered the film “Metal Evolution.”
Metal is a subcategory of hard rock, and is one of the most controversial and complex genres of music. It’s not made for those light of heart and modest, but is made to be enjoyed in excess through its music, aesthetic, and lifestyle. The genre originated from industrial working class areas within the UK, specifically in northern and midland England, where a number of factories process actual metal and steel. Early metal bands would reference the sound of these factories as a direct influence on their sound — Judas Priest’s Glenn Tipton had remarked on how the steel mill was always within audible distance.
But metal comes from more than just factories, it has a strong British blues rock influence, with heavy impact from acts like The Rolling Stones, The Animals, and The Kinks. There is also influence from guitar legends Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. Metal began owning its title as a genre in the late 1960s early 1970s, with Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple sharing ownership as the first metal bands.
Metal has since spread into many different sub-genres such as thrash, death, black, doom, Christian, and the oft-reviled nu-metal. Some of the biggest names in music are metalheads, like Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, Motorhead, and Pantera. So, if you can properly answer this question: “Who would win in a fight, Lemmy Kilmister or god?”* this day may just be the excuse you need to bang your head.
*It’s a trick question. Lemmy IS god. Rock on.
National Metal Day timeline
Distraught parents sued Judas Priest over son's suicide
When a young Judas Priest fan took his own life, his parents sued the group claiming he heard the words "do it" when the song was played backwards. The band ultimately won the case.
Zappa testified before Congress
Visionary musician Frank Zappa appeared before Congress to protest attempts to legislate and censor the lyrics of heavy metal songs — with Zappa saying that the proposed legislation was like "treating dandruff by decapitation."
Rob Reiner film spoofed metal band culture
The metal mockumentary This is Spinal Tap, about the adventures of a metal band on tour, turned into an iconic tour de force starring Reiner, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer.
Leather and studs entered metal fashion
Judas Priest's album, "Hellbent for Leather," introduced the pairing of leather and metal studs as a fashion statement with a nod to gay lifestyles.
Metal born in England
Black Sabbath used loud clashing guitar solos as a reaction to the despair and dreariness of life in the economically depressed area of West Midlands, England.
National Metal Day FAQs
Is the Beatles song "Helter Skelter" metal?
“Helter Skelter,” which appeared on The Beatles’ 1968 “White Album,” is considered by some to be the first metal song and noted for its pro-metal roar.
Why is it called heavy metal?
Who are the Big 4 of metal?
National Metal Day Activities
Listen to all your favorite metal bands
National Metal Day is just an excuse for non-stop head-banging music. Start out with Black Sabbath and just move through all the incarnations of the music from decade to decade. Throw in some Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, and Deep Purple too. Close the day out with a viewing of This is Spinal Tap.
Throw a metal fashion show
Much of the fascination with metal is the fashion. The jewelry, the hair, and the clothes are a big part of metal's draw. Have your crew dress up as their favorite musicians. Dare someone to be Marilyn Manson for just for a couple of hours and pick up some food at the Quickie Mart.
Play metal video games
Believe it or not, there are scores of video games dedicated to heavy metal. The plots revolve around a band like Iron Maiden or Metallica. Grab your die-hard metal gamers and get a competition going. Turn it up and turn it out but just let the neighbors know ahead of time.
5 Mind-Melting Metal Things To Know
A metal fan in Sweden claimed and received disability for his metal "addiction" because his attendance at 300 concerts during one year rendered him helpless and unable to work.
Anyone can sing lead
A parrot was the lead vocalist of a death metal band.
You're never too young to rock
In Finland, there's a dinosaur heavy metal band that's all the rage with kids.
Metal goes sky high
Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson is a professional airplane pilot who flies "Ed Force One," the band's private plane.
It's an unusual career choice
Dave Mustaine of Megadeth chose heavy metal as a career to irritate his brother-in-law, who punched him for listening to Judas Priest.
Why We Love National Metal Day
Heavy metal, or just plain "metal" to most fans, is characterized by long, over-amplified guitar riffs. The wild-haired musicians wield their guitars like weapons to the delightful cheering of their fans.
It glorifies the occult
Metal music seems to idealize the occult and Satan specifically. But this Devil is not the one to cast you down and dance on your soul; metal's Satan is like the ultimate rocker — a guy who jams all day and all night — but in hell. There's a party going on that never stops with all the debauchery, sex and drugs, i.e. fun. The fashion in metal is heavy with inverted crosses, devils' head necklaces, and lots and lots of leather. It's an acquired taste.
It's about rebellion
Metal bands like Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, and Marilyn Manson take pride in running against the grain. These bands believe that being authentic about your art and your inner self is the only thing that matters in a wasteland of commercialism. But of course, it never hurts to sell lots of albums. If the search for the naked truth offends society, these are not the folks to invite for a tea party.