Also known as headbanger, thrasher, or hesher, the metalhead is a typically male character that started showing up in movies and television shows in the 1980s as Heavy Metal became popular. As the title implies, he is a very passionate fan of hard rock and heavy metal music and is not shy about expressing it. Unfortunately, some express their opinions too much to the point of coming off as an elitist Jerkass (and No True Scotsman is by no means uncommon).
The metalhead can usually be identified by any combination of the following: long hair, tattoos, piercings, beard or mustache, a black t-shirt bearing the logo of his favorite band (occasionally a hoodie as well), a black leather motorcycle jacket, tattered denim jeans, camo pants, high-tops, skate shoes (almost always Vans Old Skools), Converse (typically All Stars), combat boots, or a denim vest adorned with pins and patches. They are also known for using the "heavy metal horns" hand gesture as a way of showing their approval for something. Most metalhead characters are male, though female examples exist. Metalhead characters usually live in a Poster-Gallery Bedroom with walls covered in heavy metal band posters (and sometimes they still live in Mom's Basement). Female metalheads will generally be presented as either The Lad-ette or as Gloomy Goths, and are liable to be either incredibly beautiful and ultra-sexualised (the male metalhead's assumed ideal) or comedy fat girls.
He usually has a menial job at a garage or factory and dreams of one day being in a successful band. He practices electric guitar, electric bass, drums, or singing and has a basement full of music gear. The band has regular practices, but there's usually more beer drinking and debating on heavy metal history than practicing. The band's name includes a Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut to make it more badass.
He likes to say "dude" and "awesome" a lot. Although he doesn't have a lot of book smarts, his knowledge of heavy metal history and songs is staggering and he can debate for hours what bands should and should not be considered "metal." Other stereotypical things that the metalhead loves are muscle cars, motorcycles, beer, hard liqour (especially Jack Daniels), Horror Films, violent Video Games, and (depending on the portrayal) marijuana or violent anime. S/he may also be portrayed as a Hollywood Satanist for good measure.
- According to this commercial football commentator John Clayton is a metalhead who still lives with his mom.
- The ad for Aviva Motor Insurance in Ireland has a stereotypical metalhead as the main character.
- Many minor characters in Detroit Metal City, given that the story centers around a metal band. (The main character is often disturbed by just how metalhead his fans are.)
- Kuroe Akaishi of Kaiju Girl Caramelise. One of the things she is shown doing when she is friendless and trying to shut out the outside world is listening to loud metal music with headphones on. It's later revealed that she first caught the metal bug from her Honorary Uncle Koutarou Hibino, who brings her metal album CDs as gifts when he visits and takes her to a metal festival.
- Sawako Yamanaka in K-On! (also animated by Kyoto Animation, see above) due to her age usually tries to suppress her inner metalhead but lapses into the wild behavior from her highschool days quite frequently.
- The title character of Norwegian comic strip Nemi is a female metalhead of the "beautiful ladette" variety.
- In Airheads, a trio of metalheads/struggling musicians end up taking a radio station hostage while trying to get their demo played.
- Wayne and Garth from the Saturday Night Live skits and Wayne's World films are a pair of sardonic, but likable metalheads.
- The Stoned Age follows a pair of stereotypical metalheads who are trying to get laid during a night in the late 1970s.
- The drama film Hesher is about a metalhead who helps a young boy overcome the death of his mother.
- Rock Star (which was originally titled "Metal God") is a film about a 1980s metalhead who suddenly becomes the lead singer of his favorite band after the original vocalist is fired.
- The titular characters of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.
- Little Nicky's only human friends are metalheads John and Peter (pictured above) and Ambiguously Gay budding playwright Todd. Nicky himself is a metalhead too, despite all the dorkiness. John and Peter die at the end of the movie, but inherit Nicky's old room in Hell. "They've never been happier."
- Pretty much everybody in Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny.
- Virtually everyone in Heavy Metal Parking Lot.
- In 30 Minutes or Less, Dwayne spends most of the movie clad in a Metallica Master of Puppets t-shirt. Also, the ringtone for his mobile phone is "Raining Blood" by Slayer.
- The teenage version of Lou from Hot Tub Time Machine has long hair, a leather jacket, and an Iron Maiden t-shirt. Making him a pretty typical 1980s metalhead.
- Kenny from Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead. In fact, the scary heavy metal posters on his bedroom walls are what causes the babysitter to die from a heart attack.
- The Icelandic drama film Metalhead is about a girl who witnesses the accidental death of her brother, who was an avid heavy metal fan. To deal with her grief and anger she remakes herself in his image by wearing his clothes and listening to his music at loud volumes. But as time goes on her acts of rebellion no longer satisfy her so she begins lashing out on a larger and more destructive scale.
- The New Zealand horror/comedy Deathgasm is about a group of high school metalheads who accidentally summon an ancient evil by playing a piece of old sheet music they found in the home of one of their heavy metal idols.
- A more streamlined version is Iron Man, who wears Black Sabbath shirts (and in the novelization, even listens to it while in his armor), fights a friend listening to Queen, and uses AC/DC to make glorious entrances.
- Metal Lords has Hunter, the best friend of protagonist Kevin, who admits he barely knew anything about metal before following Hunter's dream of forming a band.
- Strange Frequency has many metalheads in it.
- That '70s Show has Hyde, your resident '70s-era metalhead. Donna could also count to a lesser extent.
- The majority of the freaks in Freaks and Geeks could qualify as Metalheads around the end of the '70s beginning of the '80s.
- Season 4 of Stranger Things introduces Eddie Munson (played by Joseph Quinn), an avid RPG player and fan of heavy metal. Naturally, since it's The '80s, he's quickly thrust into the center of a Satanic Panic-tinged mystery.
- Teenage Bottlerocket has a song called "Headbanger," about a "heavy metal party" full of people like this, and singling out one guy who's headbanging so much it becomes a serious health risk.
He was a... headbanger!
He whipped his head around so fast, he gave himself a concussion
Dude, you better slow down, before you break your neck
You know that shit can't be good for your brain!
- The secondary gimmick of Balls Mahoney, ECW was full of metal music anyway so it wasn't especially noticeable compared to, well you know, chairs and stuff. Still, he made sure to let everyone know, even if it was just with the horn gesture.
- Triple H - as if having Motörhead do his theme songs wasn't enough of a clue, according to reports, he personally scouts relatively obscure metal bands to do a lot of WWE and NXT's theme music.
- Chris Jericho - He's a vocalist of Fozzy.
- Seth Rollins - He's favorite band are Metallica, Pantera and Parkway Drive. His theme song has a metal sound.
- Erick Rowan - He's started wearing a metal band shirt after an alliance with Daniel Bryan. He also involved with Amon Amarth Music Video Raven's Flight, Crack The Sky, Mjolner, Hammer Of Thor and Get In The Ring.
- Rhea Ripley - Her theme song has a metal sound. She's also a heavy metal fan and her nickname is The Mosh Pit Kid.
- Most of the good guys in the game Brütal Legend are metalheads. The main character is the world's greatest roadie, and there are even thick-skulled headbangers who overcome their foes by head-butting them to death.
- And their combo attack is the Mosh Pit.
- Doom Eternal portrays Doomguy/the Doom Slayer as one, as he has an assortment of electric guitars in the Fortress of Doom and throughout the game collects vinyl records of metal songs from previous Doom games (and from Quake).
- The character of Axel Steel from Guitar Hero is a stereotypical metalhead.
- The character of Casey Lynch also seems to be an example of a female metalhead, in addition to being a bit of a Grunge fan.
- Lars Umlaut is another metalhead character, albeit one who is mainly interested in Norwegian black metal.
- I-no from Guilty Gear is a musician that plays loud heavy metal as her moveset and Instant Kill.
- Averted in Power Gig: Rise of the SixString as the most metalhead looking character is actually a poet with a Dark and Troubled Past.
- Among the potential AI empire personalities in Stellaris, there is an extremely rare chance for a star nation to have the "Metalhead" personality. These species are strong, industrious, and insanely aggressive, having Aggressiveness and Bravery ratings of 10 when the likes of Fanatical Purifiers or Devouring Swarm are ranked at 2 or 3. "Metal."
- Ibuki Mioda in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, the "Ultimate/Super Highschool Level Musician/Light Music club member." She left her old band due to creative differences, from them wanting to play pop music as opposed to her love for death metal. In one of the special interactions with her, she challenges your character to a headbanging competition, and he ends up wondering why she doesn't get horrific neck pains from thrashing around.
- Once you push them far enough, the first killer in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Spirit of Justice, Pees'lubn Andistan'dhin switches from his New-Age Retro Hippie nature, plugs his dahmalan into some amps, and starts belting out some face-melting testimonies (complete with Guttural Growler voice blips). He's affectionately been dubbed "Heavy Metal Jesus" by the fans.
- Cheerleader from Teen Girl Squad doesn't fit any of the normal stereotypes (being a preppy teenage Alpha Bitch), but she's a big fan of Briankrieg, a death metal garage band that goes to her school. She's even seen headbanging during one of their concerts, much to the shock of What's Her Face and the Gregs.
- Daniel of Aqua Regia; Let's see, long hair, fan of Judas Priest, and usually dresses in leather, bonus points for being an outlaw in the society he lives in. Funnily enough, modern Cyberpunk fiction rarely mentions punk and heavy metal, which the story has a lot of it to drive the point further.
- Amy of Woo Hoo dresses in goth/punk style and is devoted to fictional death-metal band Bloodgoat. She's seemingly quite educated and intelligent.
- The metalhead stereotype is lampooned in this article from The Onion.
- In the CorridorDigital short "Dubstep Guns," a pair of metalhead twins are a couple of the music-based opponents the protagonists face.
- Similarly, Cracked pokes fun at it when referring to Def Leppard fans in the eighties:
In the band's heyday, fans of Def Leppard spanned all colors, genders, and hairstyles (or at least hairstyles typical of the late eighties). The vast majority of Heavy Metal fans, meanwhile, are widely known to be white males, either rail-thin or over 250 pounds, with so much hair they could supply a Locks of Love chapter in perpetuity.
- YouTube personality AlphaOmegaSin describes himself as one.
- The main characters of the YouTube series Heavy Metal Maniacs all fit the stereotype, but since the series was made by Metal fans, the characters represent different types of metalheads instead of the typical cliches.
- Beavis and Butt-Head is about a pair of extremely stupid and socially inept teenage metalheads.
- The character of Otto Mann from The Simpsons. In one episode he was forced to choose between his bride-to-be and metal. Guess what he chose?
- In Metalocalypse, Dethklok fans are portrayed as being stereotypical metalheads.
- Home Movies has the inarticulate teenage metalhead Duane and his band Scäb. In spite of his lack of ability to express himself verbally, he is a highly talented guitarist and has written a rock opera based on Franz Kafka.
- Muscle Man from Regular Show is implied to be a metalhead, judging by the song he refers to as his "jam" in the episode "My Mom", the music he brings for he, Mordecai, and Rigby to listen to while the three of them hang out in "The Night Owl", and the "ROCK ON!" poster seen in his trailer. He's also shown headbanging at least once. He fits some stereotypes associated with the trope; he's a Big Fun guy with an extremely loud voice, bad hygiene, and a menial job as a groundskeeper at a park. His eyes also have a pinkish tint, suggesting pot use (this is unconfirmed, but it may be intentional).
- DC Super Hero Girls 2019 has its version of Kara Danvers, who jams on her electric guitar and is a huge fan of heavy metal. This results in her looking down on other genres of music, as shown in the short "#TheSlowAndTheFurious," where she got into an argument with Zee and Diana over what music station they should listen to, jazz, classical, or metal, and in "#LeagueOfShadows", where she scoffs at Karen's preference for the boy band Up Past 8 and drags her to a metal concert instead. She also, naturally, has the civilian outfit to match: leather jacket, ripped jeans, and dark red combat boots.
- The "menial jobs and not book smart" description is averted in real life: a French sociologist studied the metal crowd, taking for basis the fans who attended the Hellfest Summer Open Air festival of 2011. His conclusion: higher diplomas and less unemployment among metalheads than other youth groups. Having a good job is often Truth in Television: shows and physical media add up real fast, and the "white collar metalhead" who wears band shirts beneath their work clothes as undershirts, ties longer hair in a man bun (if male) or has a shorter haircut, and maybe slips in darker-colored work clothing, wears Vans, Converse, or high-tops on casual Fridays, and listens to their music with the volume down in their office when no one is nearby is the rough metal equivalent of the "corporate goth".