Are we metalheads all beer drinkers and hellraisers as per the Motorhead 1977 cover version of the ZZ Top classic?
Yes, there is a perception that surrounding the aura of all self-respecting hard rockers and metalheads there is a definite beer fug off the breath – an aroma of hops, barley etc? But is the stereotype justified? After all, for a genre steeped so much in musical ability, societal commentary and the need to concentrate when in the ‘pit’ surely a state of ale or lager inebriation would be at best a handicap, and at worst a hazard to health.
For many musicians and fans who listen to heavy metal alcohol is neither a pre-requisite, nor necessary ‘social glue’. Travelling to Hagues, Lisburn for a SO:NI event, moving your gear to Belfast for The Distortion Project’s Saturday RockD, or wending your merry way to Ahoghill for the Diamond Rock Club ‘s offerings. Beer bus aside, the travelling means that many arrive stone, cold sober…
Does this affect judgement? Does this mean the fans take less enjoyment from the pummelling of Zombified, the madness of NASA Assassin or the thrash of Scimitar or Acid Age? No. But the reality is that many, many parts of the heavy metal ‘culture’ or ‘scene’ is lubricated by copious amounts of beer, cider and other C2H6O-based concoctions. [That’s ethanol by the way.]
While there are certain genres within metal – locally and internationally – which almost means there is an obligatory toast raised. Think local rising stars Maverick. Their hard rocking metal sound is such a happy noise that it is difficult not to raise a glass to the stage and quaffing it quickly in order that you have it finished before the chorus.
Coming out soon on Massacre Records in November is the band’s ‘Quid Pro Quo’ album. Already having released the video for lead track off the album ‘Paint By Numbers’ (check it out on Youtube!) the band produce an infectious fusion of classic metal and hard rock that requires a pint in hand!
But let’s not forget the genre of metal most associated with empty beer cans and mad antics – thrash metal. From the early progenitors of the Big Four it has been a madcap fusion of punk, metal, prog and speed that requires copious amounts of lubrication for neck muscles…and we’re not talking about Deep Heat for headbanging…
Locally, once again Northern Ireland has a healthy thrash scene. At the top of the tree Sinocence, who will celebrate their 13th Birthday as a band on September 6th at Limelight 2 as they prepare to release No Gods, No Masters Vol 2 (part two of a three ep series of releases).
Then we have Bakken readying the release of their EP Worldwide Genocide in October and the next Northern Ireland thrash wave of Scimitar, Acid Age and Wardomized. Beer has been known to feature…
Finally, let us not presume that the serious matters of hardcore, grind, black and death metal are all scowling proponents of technical excellence, scathing commentary on our world and downcast looks. We have seen members of Zombified, Fuckhammer. Overoth, War Iron and Defyed occasionally sup from the hollowed out from the skull of a scenester and they assure us that it is just beer….