Satanic Panic is back but metal music has nothing to do with it

Lil Nas X and Doja Cat
(Image credit: Lil Nas X, Dazed, Marc Piasecki/Getty Images For Tiffany&Co)

In a world disgruntled by ever-changing political climates, a planet-wide environmental emergency and the aftermath of a global pandemic, humans can be left feeling uneasy, and found looking for new scapegoats to take responsibility for all the chaos. And it appears that conspiracy theorists are now taking aim at alleged Satanic worshippers, who apparently, are the real reason why the world 'just ain't what it used to be'. 

According to a new article by Dazed, Satanic Panic is once again spreading, but not in the same way as it first made itself known in the '80s and '90s. Before the millennium, it was the pearl-clutching, religious-minded conservatives of America that were taken aback by the darkened wardrobe choices and aggressive, heavy music listening choices of their children. Today however, all kinds of people are being sucked up into this returning conspiracy - from liberals to atheists - and even more surprisingly, metal music has entirely nothing to do with it.

As the fear of Satan spreads hungrily across social media, conspiracy theorists today think the real devil-dancers are mainstream pop stars, who allegedly have sold their souls to achieve their success.

For example, in 2020, rapper Lil Nas X released the video for his single Montero (Call Me By Your Name), which featured him glamorously pole-dancing down to hell to give Satan a lap-dance (pretty iconic if you ask us). He later brought out a pair of modified Nike Air Max 97s sneakers, emblazoned with a pentagram pendant and a reference to Luke 10:18, a Bible verse about Satan's fall from heaven. They also featured human blood in the soles. Nike then sued the musician, while he became besieged on social media with finger-waggers who claimed it was  "Satanists" like him who were the real cause of the world's travesties. “Me sliding down a CGI pole isn’t what’s destroying society," he later sagely remarked.

More recently, pop star Addison Rae became victim to a mass of internet trolls who alleged she was an advocate for Satan.

They arrived at this conclusion after viewing a photograph of the personality/actress which showed her modelling a bikini printed with the words “Father”, “Son”, and “Holy Spirit” (otherwise known as the Holy Trinity Bikini or Trikini, designed by fashion brand Praying).

And there's more: on the cover of Dazed's winter 2022 issue, a shaven-headed Doja Cat is featured pulling an unflattering face, which has led dim-witted theorists to believe that she's now Satan's bride, or something. The most popular theory however is that she's joined the Illuminati. A woman not conforming to conventional standards of beauty? Must be the work of THE DEVIL!

Others are pointing accusatory fingers at DC's recent "devil-themed" 27th birthday party, which was based on Eyes Wide Shut, a film that contained themes of sacrifice. 

"Back-masking", the process of playing music backwards to uncover hidden subliminal messages, is also back in the spotlight, remarkably.

Once used to scrutinise rock and metal artists (most famously linked with Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven, which apparently features devilish declarations such as "Here's to my sweet Satan"), it's now being adopted to study the lyrics of popstars, such as Doja Cat, who allegedly has similarly Satanic professions in her own songs.

Another absurd and considerably far-fetched belief is that of the harvesting of “adrenochrome”, a chemical that apparently guarantees eternal youth, which can only be found inside of the bodies of young children. As per the fantasies of TikTokkers, 4channers and Tweeters, there's allegedly a group of "global elites" who are practicing ritual sacrifice to harvest the supposed youth-bringing chemical from children's blood.  

Just last week, fashion empire Balenciaga filed - and then quickly dropped - a $25 million lawsuit against the creators of an extremely controversial ad campaign, which included documents from a Supreme Court case about child pornography - which The Internet saw as promoting/celebrating paedophilia.

While the backlash from this is more than understandable, rather than taking issue with the producers of the ad or with the brand themselves for possibly allowing such an editorial to happen (it even featured BDSM teddy bears), onlookers believe that the real culprit was... yep, you guessed it... The Devil, or at least, his worshippers. They believe these fashionistas are obviously in cahoots with the hell-ruler, and are out-letting their platform to spread his unsaintly message. While there is a extremely problematic issue at hand here, it's bizarre to see it scapegoated as Satanic. 

All these theories are nonsense, we know, but it's certainly interesting to see how Satanic Panic has evolved over the years, and to gage what type of person now falls into the firing zone. Clearly, us metalheads aren't as scary as we used to be.

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Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.