To first understand a metalhead one has to understand that there are people who listen to metal and then there are people that live it as if it is their purpose for existing. The most important thing in their life is metal, music, and living the lifestyle. If you are someone that just listens to metal and doesn't truly understand the nature of a metalhead then you do not fit into this category.
Metalheads are often loner anti-social types. Though some are lazy and uneducated, this does not go for many Metalheads who follow the ethos of strength and perserverence. Many older metalheads have lived a life being picked on and looked down upon, thus they tend to hit the gym and take up different fighting courses despite what many people believe. Otherwise, they're just born tough. They tend to work common working class jobs such as retail at Sears or Wal*Mart working in the back, or at warehouses loading and shipping equipment. Usually they'll go for a job that doesn't entitle the need for dealing with customers as Metalheads tend to pretty much hate everyone that isn't metal...unless you're an attractive broad that they desire, and then they pretend to like you so that they can get in your pants.
Though anti-social, metalheads above all other forms of sub-culture tend to flock towards their brothers in metal. Your rank and merit within their counter-culture is based on your knowledge and dedication to the music. If you are a flake that just likes to listen to the band you are probably on the outskirts of the metal heiarchy. If you spend hours a day getting into the music, becoming part of the lifestyle by being in a band, supporting your local scene and knowing your share of metal scene in general, then you gain a lot of merit.
Despite popular belief, metalheads do not look down on gangstas and rappers more than anything. They all tend to have one thing in common when it comes to hatred: their hatred for false metal and posuers who listen to false metal. Slipknot, KoRn, Disturbed, Limp Bizkit, Deftones, Papa Roach, amongst other Nu-Metal and Alternative bands are classified as false metal. Wearing all black and wearing make-up can quickly classify you as a false metalhead as well (unless you're doing it simply because you're black metal aka kvlt). In fact, many true metalheads will hate you no matter what or who you like just for mentioning you like Slipknot on basic principle. Simply put: Metalheads are militiant territorial and very openy biased toward any music or fans that they feel are encroching on their 'turf'. To quote one metalhead in particular:
"In these times of heavy music most people under the age of twenty are pretty ignorant when it comes to metal. There are many that like the core bands like Priest, Maiden, Venom, etc, etc, but a lot of these people aren't true metalheads either. Sadly, most don't even listen to these core bands. We are plauged by false metalheads that run around with their stupid hair dos and make up and they are blasphemizing what metal truly is and stands for. When some kid that has no idea thinks metal is just a bunch of pussy kids that complain about their life and preach to Satan and smoke pot all day then I blame these pathetic fuckers that are ruining what made metal great. Besides, everyone knows that metalheads are more likely to be alcoholics then stoners. Unless you're listening to Saint Vitus or Electric Wizard or something."
Metalheads tend to dress casuly. Denim jeans (black or blue), a band t-shirt, sneakers or boots, and a leather jacket or denim vest with patches of your favorite bands are the quintesential metal attire. In recent years camoflaughed pants, beige green khaikis, and flannel have been accepted as metal attire. Many metalheads have at least one leather bracelet spiked or unspiked to go with their outfit. Patches and pins are a major part of a metalhead's attire. The patched and pinned jacket goes a long way within the metal community. More so than a t-shirt that expresses a person's interest in one particular band, the jacket shouts out who and what you stand for because several bands can be added to the jacket. Some fans only have one or a few patches, but many go to great lengths and take up several hours looking for patches and pins. These people consider the jacket a part of them, and tend to take it with them everywhere.
Metalheads tend to keep to natural hair color and prefer tattoos over piercings and other forms of body modifaction. They either grow their hair very long or simply shave it all off. Metalheads with short hair are rare, and if they do have short hair they are in the midst of growing it. Many metalheads look down on people with colored or fancy designed hair, as this is a sign that they listen to false metal. Remember, being a fan of false metal is a HUGE no-no. You can be the nicest person on the Earth and it won't mean a damn thing. False metal is for posuers, and all fakes deserve to be killed.
Metalheads are quiet and tend not to get involved with others problems. They are not very trusting and tend not to care for anything outside their own little world. They are often anti-religious and against many forms of politics, but this does not mean they are not political.
At shows, true metalers tend to prefer to be in the front row so that they can headbang to their favorite act or throw up the horned salute or a fist. Because of the blasphemization of the horns many metalers do not recognize it's use as a call sign. It has in recent years been replaced with a simple fist or "the claw". At shows metalers also have different formats of dancing. This was originaly circle pitting, skanking, and stage diving, but the immature nature of 1990's nu-metal has incorperated several other forms of moshing. Many true metalheads think that moshing is at it's best: silly. Nu-metal fans would argue otherwise, but remember that they do not have a credible opinion because they like nu-metal.
They are very rebellious and place metal above all things. They will lose their job just to see a show that reeks of krieg (slang term used by metalheads to define something that is metal, great, etc) or lose their home because they're more interested in buying cd's and musical equipment. If you've lost your girlfriend because you spend too much time with your instruments then you're probably a true metalhead. If you've never even bothered with woman because you scare them all away with your hostility and your obsession with music then you are true metal.
Example of Important Metalheads: Phil Anselmo
, Dave Mustaine
, Chuck Billy
, Eric Adams
, Glen Danzig
Example of true metal bands: Pantera
, Judas Priest