What Heavy Metal Music Terms Mean

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

If you’re a fan of heavy metal music, you’ve probably come across some terms that you don’t quite understand. In this blog post, we’ll explain what some of the most common heavy metal music terms mean.


Headbanging is a metal music term that refers to the act of violently shaking your head up and down, usually in time with the music. The term can also be used more broadly to refer to the metal music subculture in general.

The act of moving one’s head up and down or side-to-side in time with the music

Headbanging is a common element of heavy metal music. It is often used in headbanging competitions, where participants compete to see how long they can keep their heads banging. Headbangers typically use their foreheads or the backs of their heads to bang against objects, such as the ground, walls, other people, or chairs.

Headbanging can also be used as a form of expressing emotions, such as joy, anger, or sorrow. For example, headbanging may be used to express rage during a break-up or show excitement during a sporting event. Headbangers may also use headbanging as a way to relieve stress.

A way to show enthusiasm for the music

While the origins of headbanging are unclear, it is widely believed that the practice began in the early 1970s as a way to show enthusiasm for the music. Headbanging can be seen in many different genres of music, but it is most commonly associated with heavy metal.

There are two main types of headbanging: vertical and horizontal. Vertical headbanging is when a person bobs their head up and down, while horizontal headbanging is when they shake their head from side to side. Headbangers often use both styles interchangeably, but some prefer one over the other.

While headbanging is mostly done for fun, it can also be used as a form of communication between band members and fans. For example, metal bands will often encourage fans to participate in “wall of death” moshes, where everyone in the crowd rushes towards each other and start violently headbanging. These moshes can be dangerous, so it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and follow the band’s instructions.

Mosh Pit

A mosh pit is an area in a concert venue where people can go to mosh. Mosh pits are usually found at heavy metal and punk rock concerts. People who mosh in a pit are known as moshers.

An area in front of the stage at a concert where people can dance

The mosh pit is an area in front of the stage at a concert where people can dance. It is usually surrounded by security guards to keep people from getting injured. Sometimes, people will form a circle in the middle of the pit and take turns moshing (i.e., slam dancing) with each other.

Can be dangerous if people get too rough

Mosh pits are commonly associated with heavy metal music concerts, but can be found at any concert where there is a large, enthusiastic crowd. They are usually unorganized and can be dangerous if people get too rough.

The term “mosh pit” is thought to have originated in the late 1970s or early 1980s, and comes from the verb “to mosh,” which means to dance in a violent or aggressive manner. Mosh pits can vary in size, but are typically large enough that people can move around freely and jump up and down.

People often wear loose clothing when moshing so that they don’t get too hot, and shoes with good traction to prevent slipping. It is not uncommon for people to injure themselves in mosh pits, so it is important to be aware of your surroundings and be careful not to hurt yourself or others.

Air Guitar

Air guitar is the art of pretending to play a guitar without actually having a guitar. Air guitarists use their hands, arms, and sometimes their whole body to create the illusion of playing a rock or heavy metal guitar. Many air guitarists use their imagination to create the sound of a real guitar. Air guitarists may also use props such as imaginary guitars or fake guitars.

Playing an imaginary guitar

The electric guitar is an icon of rock and roll music. It’s also the instrument that most people think of when they think of air guitar. Playing air guitar is simply pretending to play an imaginary guitar. It’s usually done by rhythmically moving your hands and arms in time with the music, and often includes making exaggerated facial expressions and body movements.

Air guitar can be done alone or in groups, and there are even competitive air guitar competitions held around the world. Air guitar is usually associated with rock music, but it can be done to any type of music that features a guitar solo or riff.

A way to show excitement for the music

Air guitar is a way to show excitement for the music, usually by pretending to play an imaginary guitar. The term can also refer to a type of guitar that makes no sound when played.

Crowd Surfing

Crowd surfing, also known as body surfing, is a mode of audience engagement in which participants are passed overhead from person to person, usually during a concert or mosh pit. The “crowd” in crowd surfing refers to the participants in the mosh pit who are passing the individual along.

When someone is passed over the heads of the crowd

Crowd surfing, also called body surfing, is when someone is passed overhead from person to person in a crowd. It is most commonly associated with crowded music venues, such as concerts and festivals, but can also happen at sporting events or other large gatherings.

The term can be used both as a verb (to crowd surf) and a noun (a crowd surfer). It originated in the punk rock scene of the early 1980s, when fans would jump onto the stage and surf over the heads of the crowd back to the exits.

Nowadays, crowd surfing is seen as a way for fans to show their appreciation for a performer, and it is not uncommon for bands to invite members of the audience to come onstage and surf during their shows.

Can be dangerous if not done properly

Crowd surfing, also known as body surfing, is a maneuver whereby a person is passed overhead from person to person, usually in a large crowd at a concert or music festival. The technique requires some level of physical strength and stamina as well as awareness of the crowd around you in order to be successful.

While it might look like fun, crowd surfing can be dangerous if not done properly. There have been several reports of people being injured — or even killed — while crowd surfing. In one particularly tragic incident, a teenage girl was crushed to death by the weight of the crowd during a Metallica concert in 1988.

If you do decide to try crowd surfing, be sure to protect yourself by wearing closed-toe shoes and making sure that your clothing is secure (no loose belts or shoelaces that could get caught on something). And be aware of your surroundings at all times — if the crowd doesn’t seem to be catching you, it might be time to bail out.

Similar Posts