As an older gent, I am frequently told I should get my recommended daily serving of iron. However, nobody ever stresses getting my daily dose of metal. Largely because heavy metal is considered music for the young, angry and restless. Being older and listening to metal is considered odd by many and in subtle ways, discriminated against. It seems the common expectation is to outgrow our love for all things loud, ugly and aggressive at a certain point in our maturation. Many of my friends did in fact outgrow it by the time they were finishing college, some sooner. Only a few of my life long friends still partake of things metal, although growing up we were all rabid fans. Even my parents expected me outgrow metal and assumed it was a phase. Hell, my mom even thought metal was a fad that would die out like disco. Nope.

This phenomenon of metal ageism leaves the older metal fan in a sort of ill-defined limbo. Do we fit in at concerts? Not really. Is it easy to find like minded friends into the same music? Nope. I get strange looks when I pull up at a stop light blasting Entombed or Bolt Thrower. I’ve also seen my share of puzzled expressions on the faces of women I’ve dated when they found out I liked Darkthrone, Slayer and Manowar. While some eventually came to understand why I liked it, others continued to think it was odd and maybe a warning sign of impending serial killer-hood. Thankfully, Steel Druhm found an Angry Metal Girlfriend that not only understands the music but likes a lot of it herself.

I accept that metal is never going to be seen as music for all ages and walks of life. I’m resigned to being that weird, old guy that hums “Raining Blood” as he pushes his cart through the grocery store. I don’t expect understanding from folks who never listened to, nor appreciated this music. Now, for all you youngins, next time you see an old dude at a concert, say hey and buy them a beer. They’re the elder statesmen of the scene and they didn’t outgrow it, nor turn their backs on it, despite society’s expectations. Until you end up an old metal dude yourself, you can’t guarantee you’ll be able to say the same thing.

P.S. No, that isn’t me in the pics. I’m not THAT old!

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  • Chris Kennard

    I hope I am still as awesome as you when I’m old!

  • Terje Rustestuen

    I’m only 26 myself, but I really hope to be angry and metal at least 26 more years!

    • I’m a ripe old 42 and managed to stay metal somehow. I think its my Germanic blood that helped.

      • I am a ripe old 43 and continue to bang that head that doesn’t bang.

  • I’m (gah!) 40. Don’t look it, though. This is clearly due to a rigorously applied lifestyle of  late nights, alcohol, eating whatever I like and listening to heavy metal. :D

  • Look at all these metal elder statesmen!! They need nursing homes for folks like us.

    • Anonymous

      The Valley of Death Retirement Home!

  • Anonymous

    The first record i bought was Black Sabbath, now at 56, the last record i bought is Battle Beast. My next concert is Amon Amarth in Montreal Canada. no doubt metal has kept me young and alive!

    • Wow man, you are the real deal. Big respect.

  • I’ve only been into heavy metal for five years now. I always find it silly how people call heavy metal a phase and if that’s the case, shouldn’t bands outgrow the genre as well? I honestly don’t know how long I’ll enjoy metal. Will I live by it for the rest of my life? It’s not certain since it’s really hard to tell where we’ll all be in 20 years time but for now, I’m enjoying metal to the max. I’m making the most out if it.

  • Dave Goss

    I first heard Metallica’s “One” when I was 12 and that was it.
    I’m 34 now and haven’t stopped.
    While my tastes in other music have changed over the years, metal still a constant in my day to day.
    Yeah, I catch odd looks, mostly from girls and people older than me, but I just chalk it up to jealousy.

  • Jeffrey Carter

    The first LP I ever bought with my own money was “Peace Sells…” at 14. Listening to Shining’s Halmstad as I write this, at the ripe age of 37. Metal for life, brothers. No other music inspires emotion in me the way metal does.

    • Mine was Point of Entry by Judas Priest way back in 81′.

      • Jeffrey Carter

        Awesome. And…though we have lots of awesome bands right now…in 1986/87/88 it seemed like every album I picked up was an instant classic. My first four were Peace Sells, Reign in Blood, Master of Puppets and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. I mean, you couldn’t ask for a better introduction. Not a bad song on the lot of them.

        • I consider the 80’s to be the Golden Age of Metal for that very reason. Every year saw the release of numerous timeless classics at a rate that hasn’t happened since. Especially 82-88.

          • Jeffrey Carter

            I turned this into nostalgia time. Also…where were my parents? Reign in Blood? Come on man. I was SCARED listening to that shit but I loved it. LOL

          • That’s funny. I would listen to Bathory or Possessed and my mom would be like “what the hell is that ungodly noise? What is wrong with you?”

          • That’s funny. I would listen to Bathory or Possessed and my mom would be like “what the hell is that ungodly noise? What is wrong with you?”

          • Sprite

            It was to cover up all the other noises coming from your room.

          • You would know best!

  • Jeffrey Carter

    Also…not sure about you other guys…but many of my friends weren’t able to ride out the rough period of the late 80s/early 90s (i.e, the “whiffle-thrash” years)  so lost a lot of believers there. They’ll still talk about how awesome Metallica was in the 80s, but haven’t heard a new metal act since 1990 because they got soured on Be All/End All or something. So much good stuff happened in the 90s, but it was pre-internet so you had to have your ear to the ground to even find it. Also you had to be able to experiment and broaden your tastes.

    • Yep, I experienced that. Once the Seattle-Grunge wave hit in the early 90’s, a lot of my metal minded friends kinda gave up and moved on to Pearljam and such and considered metal dead.

    • Yep, I experienced that. Once the Seattle-Grunge wave hit in the early 90’s, a lot of my metal minded friends kinda gave up and moved on to Pearljam and such and considered metal dead.

      • Jeffrey Carter

        It’s hard to blame them…our heroes were falling one by one with sub-par albums. Took a lot of effort to discover new bands (especially when, from an American standpoint, all the exciting new metal talent was overseas) rather than just go with what was out there. And it’s weird, right? Because in some fashion, it was like metal had won. The new radio gods played heavy music, wore jeans and disdained popularity, all tenants of metal. So it’s no wonder they converted a lot of metalheads over to grunge. 

        I’m sure some found their way back to the fold…

  • Jeffrey Carter

    Also…not sure about you other guys…but many of my friends weren’t able to ride out the rough period of the late 80s/early 90s (i.e, the “whiffle-thrash” years)  so lost a lot of believers there. They’ll still talk about how awesome Metallica was in the 80s, but haven’t heard a new metal act since 1990 because they got soured on Be All/End All or something. So much good stuff happened in the 90s, but it was pre-internet so you had to have your ear to the ground to even find it. Also you had to be able to experiment and broaden your tastes.

  • I can totally relate to your feelings on being an “old metal dude”. I’m 38 and have been listening to metal for more than 20 years now. Fuck I’m getting old! What really turned me on to metal was the first time I heard double bass drums – good man, I’d never heard anything as powerful before! It was listening to South of Heaven that did the job ;-) Before that I’d heard a bit of Mercyful Fate/King Diamond, Metallica (yeah, I know they also used double bass drums back then, but it was just not the same feeling), Judas Priest but it never really turned me on the way Slayer did.

    Without the Internet it was so much more difficult to get into the scene – maybe you could get your hand on an obscure magazine and when you eventually got slightly into the scene, you could start writing bands and buy their demos. Fuck, it was tough getting into the metal scene back then (the harder stuff like death metal). Then the big death metal break through came in ’89-’90 with releases from bands like Obituary (Cause of Death), Sepultura (Beneath the Remains), Atheist (Piece of Time), Pestilence (Consuming impulse), Death (Spiritual Healing), Carcass (Symphoni of Sickness) and so forth. It was a great  and amazing time!

    Today I still love metal. I probably would have lost interest if the scene had’nt evolved into so many other genres like my favorites - progressive-, viking- and black metal – because death metal hasn’t really evolved that much since back then (just my hunble epinion).

    Take care and let the metal flow! ;-)

    /Michael      

    • Jeffrey Carter

      So true. I used to go to music stores (especially used music stores once they started cropping up) and browse the racks for hours just looking for like…a logo…a label….a producer’s name….anything that would clue me in that the music inside was metal. You had to be a freaking detective to discover new bands. 

      • All through the late 80’s and 90’s  I would browse this big music catalog called Metal Disc and order  CDs from overseas and would shell out $30-40 per to get them from Japan or Europe, mostly based on what I read in Metal maniacs magazine. It was expensive and required a lot of research to even hear about the stuff out there.

    • jhjalmerlind

      Michael, I’m 38, too and sometimes wonder if it’s weird to listen to metal, but it’s reassuring to hear about others out there.  I took a grunge detour in the 1990’s, but European power metal (and great releases by Iron Maiden and Judas Priest) brought me back.  Now with Firewind, Avantasia, Blind Guardian, Dream Evil, Symphony X, Seventh Wonder, and Ayreon on my playlist, I couldn’t be happier! 

  • Bro…that made me laugh so much. Am with you ALL the way!!! 

  • I’m 41 and yeah I can definitely relate to the where do I fit in category. The 80’s was awesome…the 90’s pre internet was a disaster and the mid 00’s was like a Renaissance. I’m much more apt to want to discuss music with people my own age or closer to my own age because after years of experience tastes get refined. It’s funny how after I started my own site many people my own age started writing for me as well and it’s now become the “cool old uncle that listens to metal site”. Seriously our average age is probably 35:P

    • Thats how I felt since I started writing for AMG, like the kindly and slighly deranged metal grandpa. It amuses me no end.

  • Zadion

    Seeing all the people here in their late 20’s to early 40’s suddenly makes me feel like an outcast. I’m only 19. The sad part is that metal is supposedly for the “young people,” but most young people are into grunge/radio rock/core metals. I only have one friend into metal the way I am – and even he isn’t as much.

  • Tim Larsen

    About 12 years ago I was going through chemo-therapy.  I was tired all the time.  I needed something to keep me awake driving to and from work.  What’s more loud and obnoxious than heavy metal?  I started listening and I haven’t stopped.  I check your blog every day for new music to hunt down.  I’m 62.  People at work have always found me a bit odd… so liking metal doesn’t surprise them. 

    • I’m glad you got better and made a lifelong friend in metal! That’s a really inspiring story actually. Thanks for the readership Tim!

    • OzanCan

      62 years old?????? YOUSE THE MAN SIR!!! YES YOU ARE!!!! I guess that’s what you’d call “Keepin’ It Real”!!! :)))

  • Yeah, man, I’m 29 and I’m definitely still in this. Though I’ve been getting a bit burned out on the reviewing circuit, I don’t retreat from metal—I just retreat from always being forced to listen to new music. Playlist this weekend? Turisas. Crimfall. Vomitory. Vader.

  • Anonymous

    Although I am 44, I suppose I’m a bit different from others here, in that I only really started discovering and exploring Metal in more recent years. I grew up listening to Oz pub rock, and gradually started branching out from there. The internet and sites like this seem like a bottomless pit of new (and old) music to explore.

    Unfortunately, I know very people of a similar vintage who appreciate my taste. My wife just rolls her eyes and shakes her head. But there is hope for my legacy, in that my 9 y.o. son lists Dragonforce and Metallica as his favourite bands – and Morcheeba, because they’re a little easier to get to sleep to… ;-)

  • OzanCan

    I am 29 years old and I have been listening to heavy metal since I was 14-15 years old. Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden and Mezarkabul (ultimate, timeless Turkish HeavyMetal Trash-Folk Metal band from Istanbul) made me enjoy heavy metal music and I was driven to explore more about heavy metal and its sub genres since then…

    With this said, I’d like to say that (even though this may sound soooo cliché) true fans DO NOT age! Though maybe physically, but NOT in spirit. No sir, not one bit! :)

    I want to share a great memory with you guys and this one surely will strike you and I bet this’ll put  A BIG OL’ SMILE to everyone’s faces. I have attended to Sonisphere Festival 2011 in Istanbul this summer. I went to festival with 8 of my friends (6 guys and 2 ladies). Right after In Flames’ performance, I have sat down with my high school friend to rest a bit and drank beer and generally enjoyed ourselves in heat of festival’s euphoric atmosphere. Also, that day was the Father’s Day and my high school buddy and I happened to see a child wearing a “oversized” Metallica Tshirt and black baseball cap written ACCEPT on it and he was drinking a bottle of water. He was about 5-6 years old not older not even younger…anyways, I was telling my buddy what a kid was doing here by himself. Then HIS FATHER came :)) he was wearing an IRON MAIDEN Tshirt, a black baseball cap written AC/DC on it and was talking on his cell phone.

    Apparently he was an executive manager in a company because from what we gathered from his conversation on his phone. The guy was drinking beer, talking some business on the phone and keeping an eye on his SON  in the middle of festival area no less :))
    I asked the kid to give us the HORNS and the sweetest thing happened. This little angel showed us the HORNS and screamed METAL!!!! hahahaahah :D This little dude screamed METAL!!!! We were laughing so hard and gave him the HORNS and screamed METAL with him. The kid’s father was laughing out loud with us too. After that euphoric episode, the HEAVY METAL father gave us his iPhone so we could take a picture of them.  After I had taken the picture, I asked him if we (my buddy and I) could take a picture with his HEAVY METAL son and thus we did!

    After short while, my buddy turned to me and said, “Hell, man I wanna take my SON to a METAL concert someday!” and I couldn’t agree him more! We had the biggest smile on our faces and saluted the every heavy metal fan out there no matter the race, religion whatnot! :))

    So, what I am trying to say is that I don’t think we’ll ever get old as long as WE ARE ALL ABOUT HEAVY METAL!!!!

    Cheers to you all no matter how OLD you are!!! :))
    m/

  • Anonymous

    Dude, I’m turning 40 next month and I still bang to the likes of
    Usurper, Vader, Bloodbath, Emperor, High On Fire, Sahg, Kylesa  and
    Grave, among many others! A few days ago, my wife and I were driving our 5-yr old nephew to a Go-Kart centre, and I was asking him what he wanted to hear… He said “fast music”, so we put on Evile’s “Thrasher”, and he loved it! He then requested “even faster music”! Not sure if he’s ready for Black Metal yet… His mum would kill me!
    I think metal is for all ages, and should not be discriminated against for any reason, nor should headbangers look down their noses at older or younger fans, we are all METALHEADS, and we are taking over the world!  Rock on, all of y’all, and don’t feel
    alone!  m/

  • I’m 38 and have been listening to metal since I was 14. I have a very broad range of musical taste covering things such as folk, country, classical – but metal has been my favourite since I was young. I too have many friends who were more into metal when we were younger and as they’ve gone into their thirties seem less interested in anything heavy. However I’ve found myself listening to heavier stuff over the last year and less of the other genres I used to like, and I’ve discovered many a very heavy band through this site. I’m going through a phase of only listening to metal. 

  • As responses to this post already show, metal ain’t just a teenagers game — if it ever was. I probably no longer count as young, though I know plenty of people who are a decade or so older than me who are big ol’ metallers. Of course, like myself, may of them also listen to a wide variety of other genres and styles, which makes me think that in many (or at least some) cases we are talking about people who really like _music_, and metal is one of the many styles of music that keeps music lovers listening (and playing) till they drop!

  • Marc-Antoine Lamoureux

    Couple of years ago I went to see Lamb of God in Toronto. My pit days are long beyond me, I’m 43, so I was enjoying the show from the periphery of chaos that is a LoG pit when I looked over to see three kids, 10 to 14 years old, all moshing away and having a great time. The youngest one look up at me and gives me a weird sort of “You’re real old” look. I throw the little guy the horns and he grins and throws ’em back and me head bang. It was a couple minutes later that I noticed their mother standing next to them, ear plugs wedged in tight, taking in the love and respect that is a metal show. And that’s why I’m still a metal head. The music is one thing but the fans and community are second to none.

  • Last sunday I was at Tuska with my brother and we saw this old couple there. They were like 70 or something, definitely retired, wearing pastel colors and so on. But they were there at Tuska! And Amon Amarth was playing! Damn I feel a lot of respect for them and kind of regret that I didn’t go to talk to them. But after all this is Finland so maybe it’s not that strange :D

    • That might’ve been because tuska is(was?) free for the retired folk. So they might’ve been there just because it was free. Sorry for the cynicism.

  • Anonymous

    Man, great article. I’ve been thinking about this a lot now that I’m 38. Kind of get the impression I’m one of the older guys at shows, too. But that’s alright. Great to see you guys out there, too! It’s a great time to be a metal fan- I’m seeing Amon Amarth next month, and Opeth the month after that :-)

  • A.J Saenz

    This was actually a little inspiring article, I’m 25 right now, started liking metal at 14 when I listened “Emerald Sword” by Rhapsody, 11 years in the metal world isn’t that long, but I know that this is my passion, looking for new things to listen, and going back to those things that made me love this life style in the first place, that’s a happy way of living. I live in a place where metal isn’t very “hip” so I can’t really share, but walking down the streets blasting “Spirit Crusher” while everybody just walks by is quite empowering, anyways I’m committed to this, I’m a lawyer, I’m married and have a child, so this is not a phase, this is my life..

  • I feel so young with all there cool comments from older folks.
    Im turning 22 and have been listening to metal since about 13. Man 10 years soon, never thought of that.

    But the thing is that when I was somewhere around 10 years my parents used to buy cd’s from the swedish store called “Ginza” and I saw Fear Of The Dark and said I want that one cuz it looked cool.
    I remember liking the album and specially Afraid to shoot strangers, Be quick or be dead and the title song.
    Then after some time not treating the album carefully it got thrown away and I forgot the band.
    But at the age of 13 I was turned to begin with Nightwish, Rammstein, Slipknot, In Flames, Children of Bodom and eventually Dimmu Borgir witch lead me into Black Metal witch is my absolute favorite genre among every Metal genre.
    And to this day Metal have been the main force in my drive to keep going, its a passion, a life style and I know that this was never a phase, I will keep the horns up and the head banging to my deathbed!!! :)
    Its what I live for!!
    And ofc last year I bought once again for my own money Fear Of The Dark, among a few other Maiden albums. Thus the album hold a special meaning close to my heart. :)

  • kountsarpadeon

    It’s been about ten years since I got into a very limited portion of metal.  I mostly cruised the alternatives, unable to find where I sat and what I liked, and I still stick to the underdogs, the lesser-known and lesser-backed, that’s for certain.

    It’s been like…. ten years, at least, since I first listened to “Ride the Lightning” and nowadays, I often find myself exploring facets of metal I had just barely touched on.  I find that the older I get, the nastier, harder, uglier, more ravaging I need my metal.  Blacker, deeper, worse.   More noise, more riffs, more solos, more guttural shrieks!

    And, don’t worry – even at 25 I still hear “that’s way too hard, man,” or “why are you listening to that?” or “you STILL listen to metal?” and shit like that – like metal is a phase you grow out of. 

    In my humble and not so lengthy experience, it’s not.  It’s for life, like any other addiction.

  • This little article really seems to have touched a nerve with metal fans. Its very cool that everyone has their story how metal played a role in their lives. This is what the metal community is all about!

  • Anonymous

    My father is 53 and has been listening to metal since he was young, which was very unpopular in his family.

    I myself spurned all music until I was in 8th grade and brother drove me to school every day blasting Opeth, Protest the Hero, and some other bands.

    Protest the Hero was what got me listening to music.

    Opeth transitioned me into metal.

    I still don’t consider myself a full metal head, but I like Amon Amarth, Eluveitie (no love from AMG), Between the Buried and me, and Opeth.

    I stalk AMG daily to find new bands :P

    (Fintroll)

  • “I get strange looks when I pull up at a stop light blasting Entombed or Bolt Thrower.”
    “I’m resigned to being that weird, old guy that hums “Raining Blood” as he pushes his cart through the grocery store.”

    I love you.

  • Anonymous

    62 and 56 years old. Holy hell. I’m only a kid at 43! To me metal will always be cool. You can’t make it uncool if you tried … and how Limp Bizkit tried.
    There is NOTHING in the world cooler than pulling up to the traffic lights in my big black V8 absolutely blasting the new Vomitory album, looking at the teenager in the car next to me listening to some crap on his car stereo and just mouthing the word ‘gay’ as I blast off, laughing maniacally.
     
    Never bow to public opinion. They were idiots to start with.

  • Anonymous

    It’s so good to see so many so called “old blokes” still into metal. I’m 35, and got into metal when I first heard Metallicas “Battery”. That started the whole So Far So Good, State of Euphoria, Reign In Blood, Agent Orange, Beneath The Remains, Symphonies of Sickness, Extreme Aggression, Left Hand Path, Like An Everflowing Stream, Orchid, In The Nightside Eclipse, A Blaze In the Northern Sky, Tol Cormpt, Warmaster, Cause of Death etc. follow on. I no longer go to concerts here in Oz, but I’m proud to have been part of the scene that helped get metal to where it is today. I’m a sales rep for a world class chemical company and still drive around with Dying Fetus, In Flames, Vader or whatever blaring. I also have 2 kids and can’t see my interest in metal going away. Sure, society has expectations, but metal has never been about conforming to the norm. I’m happy with who I am, and as much as I adopt a bit of the “been there from the start” elitist attitude, it disappears pretty quick when you come to the realisation that the new guys are keeping it all alive. Metal isn’t disappearing into the background any time soon I’m thinking.

  • :)
    great article, and even greater to find that, after all, at 34 i’m still a kid… ;)
    metal has been a part of my life since i discovered the existence of hard rock and beyond, i think at the age of 9-10 (always been an avid fan of music, since i have recollections of my larval life), and – more so because i also love many other genres, though not that viscerally – i can’t see any plausible reason for ever growing tired of it… when and if i’ll ever choose to throw my genome in the evolutionary pot i’ll be a proud source of embarassment for my sons, no doubt about it! :)

  • mike gager

    Im 36 and have been a metal fan since I was about 10. The first time i heard master of puppets at a friends house i just KNEW that it was for me and that feeling has never left. The first metal album (cassette actually) i ever bought was Kill’em All!

  • Lauren Fonto

    I only got into metal at 17/18 (I’m now 20)! I thoroughly enjoy this passionate form of music. I’ve gotten the distinct impression from my parents that they think this is just a phase – I hope I never outgrow metal. The thought of being without it is a grim prospect.

    I salute all the older metalheads in the comments, and around the world. m/

  • ValentiaLyra

    I’m 53. I’ve loved metal forever, and I’m sure I always will. I’ve loved cats, reading, writing, running and apples forever, too, and don’t see that changing, either. The idea that you should “outgrow” something that has been a defining aspect of your personality is just bizarre to me.

    In 30 or 40 years, there will be a little old lady running  a marathon to Manowar’s umpteenth album (sounding remarkably like most of their others–except Joey will have to kick Eric to get him to scream anymore). That lady will be me, still throwing horns as she crosses the finish line. :)

    Excellent reading on this site, btw.

  • I can`t care less about other people opinions about my music, but as long as I find just the right music to make me feel good in a shitty morning, and so far I managed to find it, I will keep listening to it. I listen to a great variety of music, but still the most empowering – always beats any coffe – is a good blaring, ballsy metal album, now that`s what makes my day. After my shot of 20-30 minutes of metal I`m all good to go. Somehow I managed to find just the right music, in all these years (13 in total, since I started to `experience` music), I`m 29 at present. My likes in metal has grown with me, I like much more complex music than I started out with and really much enjoy the mixing of separate genres. A great THANK YOU goes out to all those wonderful people who create the  honest Metal Music, but as well as to all you guys, who open my eyes, ears and soul to everything that moves in this industry including the bunch at Angry Metal Guy. Thanks a lot and Respect.

  • HalfCrippledHeadBanger

    Man. I remember growing up in rural new York state having butt rock, and country music shoved down my throat. Then one day in high-school(I was about 14) my buddy comes up to me with his CD player and places the headphones over my ears. If memory serves it was For Whom The Bell Tolls and I just remember thinking “where the hell has this been all my life?” I guess the rest is history because I just keep wanting more. Everything from Thrash to Death to Black Metal. I guess it’s one of those things where you’re either A. Just trying to piss off your parents and grow out of it or B. It just clicks and sticks with you for life. Im 21 now and most of my friends have all but moved on from metal. I can see them starting to migrate to the likes of Deadmau5 and Daft Punk, my cousin has even turned to metalcore. My mom still thinks I’ll grow out of it in a few years… HA! I guess the metal torch is mine alone to carry. Or at least it’s starting to look that way…