Before metalheads earned their reputation as total badasses, they were stereotyped as a bunch of geeks and nerds. Consider the 80’s trope of an awkward teen who listens to creepy music. Now in the year 2018, we as a society are much wiser. It is obvious that you can be a radical dude, who is also an activist and intellectual. These different lifestyles aren’t mutually exclusive. Here to prove it are some brutal musicians who happen to give a shit about global issues, environmentalism, and animal rights.
This is one of the quintessential Swedish melodic death metal bands. Their thoughtful lyrics explore sociopolitical themes, as well as personal empowerment. I was surprised to learn that each band member is vegetarian. Lead singer Alissa White-Gluz is not only gorgeous and talented, she’s also passionate about veganism. Their music is strong and powerful, an inspiration to headbangers across the globe.
All members of this UK based metalcore band are vegan. Vocalist Sam Carter is also involved with Sea Shepherd, a direct action marine conservation organization. Their highly politicized lyrics and aggressive music are a platform for their strongly held beliefs. Even though their outspoken views have received significant backlash from listeners, their true fans have supported the band through good times and bad.
This band pioneered the subgenres of extreme metal, death metal, and grind. Formed in 1988, Cannibal Corpse blazed the trail for extreme music. Their album art, lyrics, and music are unflinchingly violent. Drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz has been vegetarian for 14 years, almost as long as he’s been in the band. One could argue that the violent artwork and horrific lyrical imagery are a reflection of society. One might counterargue that these gutwrenching scenes are cathartic. Or you can just enjoy the noise because you can’t understand what that guy is screaming anyway.
Hailing from Liverpool, the same place that brought us the legendary Beatles, Carcass were a different breed of British rock… If you could even call this rock music. They embodied a mix of death metal, thrash, hardcore, and extremely gruesome imagery. This style eventually became known as grindcore, gore grind, and several other variations of the terms. But before their musical success, Carcass started their journey as a ragtag group of misfit teenagers. Their lyrics were inspired by pathology books and medical dictionaries, which were not exactly the hobbies of the cool kids at the time. Every founding member was vegetarian or vegan,and original drummer Ken Owen has a degree in Ecology. They may be eccentric, but they’re also badass.
Even with a few line up changes over the years, Cattle Decapitation has consistently had vegan and vegetarian members since their inception in 1996. Based in San Diego, this gory deathgrind band has been shocking and disturbing their audience with bloody slaughterhouse imagery for decades. While their unique take on music is aware of bigger issues, this band is also true to the bloody roots of the genre. They sound, look, and feel brutal.
True musical trailblazers, the French band Gojira were one of the first groups to be called “Eco Metal” due to their lyrical content. Their songs convey messages about nature, mankind, pollution, extinction, and genocide. In addition to their deep ideological messages, their music is also highly experimental and complex. As musicians, their technical skills are impressive. Their enlightening songs give a new, literal meaning to the phrase “Progressive Music.”