Heavy metal fans are being urged to keep the faith - by lobbying for their love of rock to be recognised as a ’’religion’’.
They are being asked to officially register their faith as ’’heavy metal’’ while filling in the next Census questionnaire.
Saxon frontman Biff Byford would become the faith’s ’’world metal peace ambassador’’
In the last census, a similar campaign led to 390,000 UK residents listing their religion as Jedi - the fictional creed created for the Star Wars movie saga.
Rock magazine Metal Hammer launched its campaign last week and has already attracted nearly 10,000 followers to a Facebook group.
It has even gained the backing of a metal figurehead, Saxon frontman Biff Byford, whom the magazine says will become the proposed faith’s ’’world metal peace ambassador’’ if the campaign proves successful.
Metal can trace its roots back at least four decades, probably to the release of Black Sabbath’s debut album, although many have argued that Helter Skelter by The Beatles may well be among the earliest tracks.
Other acts who flew the flag for the denim and leather-clad metal community over the years and helped the scene to develop include Judas Priest, Saxon, Motorhead, Iron Maiden and Metallica.
Despite splintering into an array of niche genres, the heavy metal community still thrives.
Although the 2001 campaign drew a large level of support, with more people listing themselves as Jedis than Sikhs, the Office For National Statistics pointed out at the time that this did not make it an official religion. In fact, Jedis were actually counted under the category of ’’no religion’’.
However, that campaign was credited with boosting the number of responses from those in their late teens and 20s.
Alexander Milas, editor of Metal Hammer, said: ’’Like a lot of good ideas, this one came about in a pub and the response online has been overwhelming.
’’It only reinforces the belief that heavy metal remains strong in its UK birthplace and across the globe. If the Jedi can do it, then we can too.
’’The only requirement to join our campaign is that you listen to heavy metal, our commandment: everything louder than everyone else.’’