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Although I suppose we could come up with a definition of metal based on some combination of objective musical criteria (e.g. double-bass drumming, de-tuning, distortion, etc.) or some common sense standard like the Supreme Court’s definition of pornography (i.e. “you know it when you hear it”), I have a nagging suspicion that metal is best defined by the particular emotions it most commonly expresses. Although I’m struggling to summarize what these emotions are, I would start by arguing they are a mixture of genuine anger (rage) with a surprising and contrasting sense of wonder and hope. In other words, it’s an emotional alchemy that turns negative feelings into something positive and (potentially) constructive. This allows the genre to encompass everything from epic Maiden tunes to seconds-long Napalm Death screeds. This also distinguishes it from related genres, which either lack the degree of anger (hard rock) or the sense of wonder or hope (punk). How does that sit with you?