Listen, we know that the comments section of a webpage isn’t exactly a breeding ground that things like the Renaissance grow from. And when you add the dynamics of heavy metal subject matter and anonymity, well, it’s not fair to expect that people’s contributions are going to come from a place of nostril-based respiration.
But science loves a good experiment, and so do we.
To determine whether discussions would be as savage as we predicted, we extracted all the user comments from three weeks worth of Metal Injection posts in December. From these, we were able to pick out the 50 most common words used by commenters on Metal Injection articles.
Note: common English words such as just, one, in, the and the like were manually removed prior to building.
Given the, uh, coarse nature of metal, it’s not surprising to see that three of the fifty most popular words are fucking, shit, and fuck. It’s sad that the word faggot is so popular – metalheads are awful sensitive to how easily mainstream music dismisses the headbanging arts, but rarely recognizes how the retrograde attitudes of many fans contribute to people’s negative perceptions of the genre.
It’s interesting that the most common words speak to the concept of judgment – bad, good, great, shit, love, want and better. I was really surprised that positive words (great, love, better) were more prevalent. Prior to analyzing, I would have guessed that your average commenter was more likely to shred artists than praise them. That speaks to not only the underrated quality of metal in 2014-15, but a level of open-mindedness among metal fans that runs counter to traditional stereotypes.
Also noteworthy is that Korn and Metallica, despite not having been culturally relevant in several years, were the only two bands to crack the most commonly used words. Further, not a single individual musician appeared frequently enough to join the top fifty.