How Heavy Metal Influenced Pop Culture

Posted by on January 27, 2022


As a life-long heavy metal fan that’s been following it since inception, you probably already know everything about the history of the genre and how it influenced various spheres not only in music, but in our everyday life. However, if you are someone who’s just recently become interested in this type of music and only gone through the best metal albums of 2021, you might be looking to learn as much about it as you can. Here is a short guide on how heavy metal music influenced pop culture.

A short history of heavy metal

Heavy metal, often called simply metal, is a rock genre that started developing in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Its cultural origins are largely connected to the United Kingdom and the United States. The genre draws from blues rock, acid rock, and psychedelic rock and is characterized by distortion, loudness, emphatic beats, and extended guitar solos. A monumental year in heavy metal was certainly 1968, when Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath were all founded. Alice Cooper and KISS as well as Van Halen, Aerosmith, and Motörhead followed in the ‘70s. In the late 1970s, a new wave of British heavy metal started with bands like Saxon and Iron Maiden. The seventies also produced the “metalheads” and “headbangers” monikers that fans of this genre are known as.

How heavy metal influences human psychology

There are many misconceptions about those that listen to loud or aggressive music. However, there are also countless studies that have tried to connect certain behaviors and feelings with listening to heavy metal. For starters, it’s good to know that a 2019 study made the case that heavy metal music did not increase the anger of its listeners but actually boosted their positive emotions. Then, there is a 2021 online experiment that analyzed the language of internet users and cross-referenced it with their music taste. The results show that metalheads are among the happiest in the world, only after jazz lovers. Other benefits that listening to heavy metal can provide individuals with include lower blood pressure and heart rate, improved focus and productivity, and increased road safety. Pretty unexpected, isn’t it?

What other areas of life have heavy metal influences?

Being around for about seven decades, heavy metal was bound to influence various spheres of life. Here are some of the most interesting innovations this genre brought along.


First and foremost, heavy metal led to the creation of various other genres, such as glam metal and popular groups like Bon Jovi and Mötley Crüe. Then, we have thrash metal and bands such as Slayer and Metallica that broke into the mainstream, as well as death metal bands – Alcest, Cannibal Corpse, Death – and black metal bands like Mayhem. In the ‘90s, the definition of the genre was expanded to include groove metal and nu-metal as well. Grunge music is also known to incorporate elements of metal.

Video games

Since the early 1980s, heavy metal has also been influencing the gaming industry. From the developers being directly inspired by bands to using various groups as the soundtrack to their game, the ways how metal found itself in games abound. Furthermore, the creators of the 1996 Quake went to Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor for some soundtrack assistance. When it comes to original music, you can also check out Iron Maiden: Legacy Of The Beast. On the other hand, online slots are also a great way to see and hear some heavy metal icons. Bands like Kiss or Motörhead have their own slots, meaning that you can even encounter them in games offered in places such as the SkyCity online casino NZ. KISS, Megadeth, and Guns N’ Roses are also among the many bands that have inspired online casino games.


Metal has also had an effect on the fashion industry. For example, band merchandise has always been popular, but it’s gained even more exposure in recent years as chains like H&M started offering various heavy metal-inspired shirts that show AC/DC and Iron Maiden logos. Biker and bomber jackets, studded bags and bracelets, and combat boots are all mainstream pieces nowadays, although they were once considered alternative. Plus, it’s easy to spot celebrities sporting these shirts, regardless of whether they actually listen to the music or not.


There is no lack of movies that tackle the heavy metal scene, either. From the recent Mötley Crüe biopic, The Dirt, to some older movies, this genre never left the spotlight. For example, you can check out This Is Spinal Tap from 1984 or Metallica: Through the Never from 2013. Even if you don’t want to watch a full movie, just remember how Marvel used AC/DC for the Iron Man 2 soundtrack.


When staying in shape, many people turn to rock or heavy metal to push through their workout and achieve their goals. A 2010 study showed that cyclists perform well when listening to these genres. Moreover, many athletes say that they prefer metal as it can provide them with an energy boost. Although heavy metal can be a lifestyle for some people, we cannot disregard the fact that it has affected many spheres of life. As a matter of fact, it’s affected even those that don’t listen exclusively to this genre.



Metal Insider occasionally accepts paid content. Check here to find out more about our advertising policy.



Categorised in: News Around the World