Metal music has certainly shown up in the mainstream more than it ever has before in recent years. Metal bands constantly surface as Jeopardy! answers, Late Night With Seth Myers is always recruiting metal band drummers to play with the 8G Band, endless celebrities have worn metal shirts, and TV shows and movies certainly haven't shied away – from Metallica in Stranger Things to As Oceans getting a shout out on Dead To Me. Hell, Disney even included a brief Mastodon clip.
Award shows and accolades are something different. The GRAMMYs barely acknowledges the genre and doesn't televise the segment at all (unlike other countries), while the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame snubs outright legends. The latter happened literally yesterday when, despite getting the fan vote, Iron Maiden was once again left out in the cold for the hall's Class Of 2023.
One anonymous voter for the hall recently spoke to Vulture (during the voting process, so even before the disappointments came) and they made a good point about the hall, but a point that resonates in a much bigger sense – people don't take metal music seriously as a genre. It's a fun inclusion in pop culture and a solid butt of the joke in TV shows, but institutions like the GRAMMYs and the Rock Hall don't seem to respect the genre.
"I'm not voting for them, but they're a groundbreaking band that brought the new wave of British heavy metal into the rest of the world — and they have a gimmick," said the voter. "Their thing with Eddie and their iconography, and the fact that Maiden is similar shorthand as Metallica or Slayer. They're definitely in the 'big four' of being reliable icons for what a metalhead is.
"Metal still isn't taken seriously by a lot of people, whether it's because of its fan base or the fact that it's a lot of super-nerdy musician types geeking out over various mythologies of evil in tandem. I think for somebody from metal to be in, we should nominate Slayer for the Hall of Fame. They had a great career. They headlined stadiums around the world and arenas, and they left a mark. Maybe there should be a metal wing at the Hall or something. It's one of those genres where the lack of respect is so inherent to its existence at this point. It's music for people who don't feel like they belong."
Don't get me wrong – this isn't some lengthy complaint about how the world needs to respect metal. It's there if they want to get into it, it's still there if they want to ignore it. And I don't need to sit here and extol the virtues of the genre. You're reading a website about heavy metal. You know. It's just interesting that the genre tends to have these "less serious" places within the pop culture world, but when it comes time to actually show some real genuine love, is shunned. And seeing a quote like the one above, even prior to knowing what we know now, is a catalyst for those feelings coming to the surface.