Metal fans use the force to make Heavy Metal a UK religion Thousands of metallers ‘convert’ in effort to follow Jedi into 2011 census
Thousands of rock fans have already promised to convert to the UK’s latest faith, as they join a fast-growing internet campaign to see Heavy Metal recognised as a religion in the 2011 census.
Following an internet campaign before the 2001 census, 390,000 UK residents listed Jedi – the fictional Star Wars creed as their religion, making it the UK’s fourth largest. Now, Heavy Metal enthusiasts are looking to follow the trailblazing Jedi’s into the 2011 census.
Whilst the Office of National Statistics pointed out that Jedi’s inclusion in census results did not mean official recognition, it was given its own census code and sat alongside Church of England, Roman Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu as a religion.
Despite kicking off less than a week ago, the campaign launched by Metal Hammer – the UK’s best-selling Heavy Metal magazine – has already attracted nearly 10,000 followers to its Facebook group. As interest continues to grow with press enquiries from across the globe, high profile supporters are coming forward to back the campaign. Biff Byford, the legendary Saxon frontman was first to show support and will become Heavy Metal’s “World Metal Peace Ambassador” if the campaign proves successful.
Heavy Metal was born 40 years ago, when Birmingham band Black Sabbath released their self-titled debut album. The scene developed, with the release followed by bands like Judas Priest, Saxon, Motorhead and the almighty Brit Award winners Iron Maiden. Creating a genre of music, a community and a way of life, Heavy Metal is amongst the UK’s most significant cultural exports of the 20th century.
2009 was a highly significant year for the genre, with new annual metal festival Sonisphere coming to Knebworth Park and winning “Best New Festival” at the UK Festival awards, and US Rap-Metal band Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name Of” taking Xmas Number One, the most prestigious chart position in the UK’s music calendar.
Now, with metal bands like Iron Maiden (who headline this year’s Sonsiphere festival) and US favourites Metallica playing to sold-out stadiums across the world it has become a global phenomenon for millions of fans.
Alexander Milas, Editor of Metal Hammer said:
“Like a lot of good ideas, this one came about in a pub and the response online has been overwhelming. It only reinforces the belief that Heavy Metal remains strong in its UK birthplace and across the globe. If the Jedi can do it, then we can too. Our only requirement to join our campaign is that you listen to heavy metal, our commandment: everything louder than everyone else.”
To join the campaign, please visit – http://www.facebook.com/heavymetal2011census