In two interesting blog posts at The Immanent Frame and Neuroanthropology it is argued that Metal is not simply a rebellion against religion, it is competing with religion. It does “not just to oppose religion, [it] oppose[s] it by occupying a very similar stance toward the world”. Hence, “the particular mood and emotional posture of Metal is – ironically perhaps – parallel to certain Western religious ways of dwelling in the world.”
However, all metal is not focusing on Satanic imagery, etc. The “hair bands” of the 1980s (Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Europe, Poison, etc.) were quite far from this genre. But they were, of course, despised by “true” metal fans and to mention these bands in the same sentence as Sepultura would be a sacrilege. Hence, Manowar is still chanting the slogan “death to false metal” even though these bands no longer have any impact.
I consider myself an atheist in praxis but an agnostic in theory. What I mean is that I cannot prove or disapprove the existence of a god but in my work I do not include the possibility of a divine order. For me religion is of little interest. So why do I continue to listen to Metal then if it is so similar to religion? What I probably do is to “surrender over to a musical flow that communicates a set of verbal images in the lyrics. More importantly, however, the sonic stream psychologically summons emotions and sensations through the sound: texture, volume, intensity, pitch, harmonies, and especially vocal dynamics. As ethnomusicologists point out, these aesthetic associations are largely cultural, not natural, but some are very much grounded in pervasive experiences of the human body…”
Hence, when I “pray” to my own Metal Maniac Master Mind it is more similar to a Spinozian God than a Christian God. I am simply following the Deleuzian view where God is a lobster…