Corporatus Metallus: The Mad Social Experiment of a UK Metalhead

Our first column from London... where MADman embarks on the most ambitious social experiment of all: bringing metal into corporate culture, and submerging his colleagues into the fiery depths of all that is brutal. Will he succeed? Or will he simply be fired? I guess we're all just going to have to find out.

In every office there is, without exception, at least one metaller. Most of the time you can never be entirely sure who. There’s the guy in the IT department with the ponytail and sleeveless Iron Maiden t-shirt who’s a pretty obvious bet but who’s harbouring a brutal flaming Jesus chest plate under their crisp white shirt? Who’s got a bolt the size of a French baguette through their bollocks? No-one knows.

In case you hadn’t guessed, I’m that guy. Not with the Jesus tat or the nutsack ironwork but the guy with the ink that you never know about. The guy who moves in different circles. And I work in a big corporate company in London. The majority of people that I work with know I’m into the darker side of music and decide to take the piss accordingly but for some reason, they’re all absolutely fascinated. Why is that? Why does my boss, the £500 shoe-wearing tanned uber-salesman want to know about the logistics of a circle pit? Why does the East End football fan want me to get the camera phone out next time I’m in a wall of death?

The simple fact of the matter is we’re an interesting breed people. When a guy at work first saw one of my tattoos, the conversation went on to music tastes and I was soon being asked whether I drank my wife’s blood and sacrificed goats to appease the Fallen One. It seems that an allegiance to the metal way means you are, without exception, a grandmother-slaughtering, orgy-attending church burner. Now that’s as may be, but who likes being labelled?

You will also find, as a corporate metaller, you build very quick allegiances with others in the same boat. In my office of around 500 people, there are three of us; the massive behind-the-scenes shaven-headed bloke in the Burzum shirt, the mild-mannered ginger fellow in event sales (who is passionate Brazilian Jiu Jitsu enthusiast, loves his NYHC and has tattoos all over his arms and legs); and then there’s me. The non-descript, average height, average build, bloke in a suit. None of us work together. None of us are even on the same floor. But for some reason, we all get on, we all email each other and we all feel a unity through music. I’d known Burzum T-shirt for about a week before we went to a Cradle Of Filth/Gorgoroth/Moonspell gig together.

In my place of work, metal is a bit of a forbidden fruit; everyone wants a bite but most are too excruciatingly opinionated to give it a go. I had a ticket going begging for a Trivium gig (I like them, alright?) at a tiny London venue, and had a wealth of people telling me they’d be up for it but on the day, they were surprisingly all busy. Only one fellow admitted that he was in fact scared to go as he’d seen footage of a savage pit and was apprehensive about losing his teeth in the run up to his wedding.

This got me thinking: can a super corporate world every really be a comfortable place for a metaller? If not, why not? Can I change peoples’ perception on what metal is and what it represents? Should I even try to change peoples’ opinions? Do I want to ‘my thing’ to be the norm?

And hence this column was born. Be it taking my polo shirt-wearing colleagues to a death metal gig or getting them pissed in a metal pub, I’m going to show them what our culture’s all about. Call it a social experiment. And it should be a right laugh.

Or it'll get me fired.