Metalhead is a popular term for a devoted fan of heavy metal music and is often used interchangeably with the term "headbanger"; since the early 1990s, however, the use of the latter term has declined in favor of the more fashionable "metalhead" tag.There is one school of thought among the heavy metal subculture that the "metalhead" and "headbanger" labels represent distinctive groups within it, with metalhead being a generic term for metal fans as a whole and headbangers representing older fans or fans of older metal styles. This idea does have some merit as older heavy metal fans often dress in a distinctively 'retro' fashion from younger fans, favour different or more traditional bands and eschew some aspects of the culture that have developed in recent years. Nevertheless, both groups share common interests that go beyond a preferred musical style and together comprise a distinctive counterculture.
Socio-economic background and traditions
Metalheads are typically drawn from th