Mealtime Musings: What is Metal?

Some of you may know that I eat lunch with a group of eight guys from work. Everyday, A pair of us will make a lunch for all of us to share and we’ll sit together sharing in fellowship. The conversations we have during our lunch hour are pretty lively as is wont to happen with that many people sharing a meal together. The topics have ranged from starting our own Olympic handball team to discussing the existential subtext of Adventure Time.

One of our favorite topics is attempting differentiate different musical genres. Since one of our group members is a huge fan of metal, we often attempt to answer the question, “What is metal?”

I present to you the findings to this question after one such discussion. You can read the entire conversation below.


  • Feeling deathly ill to fine in less than 24 hours
  • The phrase “deathly ill”
  • Things that cause pain, death, and/or suffering
  • Conversations that end in the death of millions
  • Doge, Lord of Darkness
  • Aric, but just a little bit

Not Metal:

  • Wood
  • Being good at spelling
  • Arguing Semantics
  • Arguing what is and isn’t metal
  • Being hardcore just for the hell of it
  • None of the rest of us

IH: Sorry I didn’t let you guys know I was gone yesterday. I was deathly ill but now I’m fine.

BR: That’s So Metal.

MW: Wow, from deathly ill to fine in less than 24 hours. Impressive!

IH: I confess, I’m just trying to sound more metal than I actually am.

JM: Oh, so you’re trying to sound wood (A fictional un-metal musical genre)?

BS: Well done, BR. “deathly ill” is definitely metal.

BR: I’m not sure Dethklok would call this metal, but it technically counts.

MW: Dethklok didn’t pass their Kindergarten spelling class. I don’t think their definitions count.

BS: Being good at spelling is decidedly not metal.

JM: Amen to that. For real.

MW: I suppose having a legitimate opinion as to the definition of words isn’t metal either.

BS: I don’t know what you just said, but no, that’s not metal either.

IH: If this is so, how is a philosophy major also a metal head? Or is the inherent irony the whole point?

BR: MW makes a good point, arguing semantics isn’t metal. Wait, does that mean that arguing what is metal and what isn’t metal decidedly not metal?

MW: BR, I think you win.

BS: A philosophy major would try to create a systematic classification system for what is or is not metal. Such a person might argue semantics. A metal head would simply know if a thing is or isn’t metal. None of you are metal.

AN: I think ultimately, it’s all about motive. If arguing semantics somehow causes pain, death, or ruin–it’s decidedly metal. It’s not so much the act in and of itself, but the devastating effect of any given act. Will this conversation somehow result in the death of millions? If so, it too is metal.

MW: Or if it’s just hardcore for the hell of it. It doesn’t need to cause pain.

AN: But that’s just the thing, it can’t be hardcore unless it causes pain. Unless you give me a satisfactory definition of hardcore that undermines my thesis.

BS: After that comment, AN might be a little bit metal.

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