Thrashtalgia in the heavy metal heritage market

Some recent research I’ve been doing on metal’s discursive ‘death’ in the 1990s has coincided with the release and promotional whirlwind of Metallica’s latest album (which I unapologetically love, by the way) in ways that have made me consider a few different questions surrounding traditionalism, longevity and nostalgia within metal markets. The fact remains that my love for Hetfield will never fade, let’s get that out of the way first. If I could make an entire blog post about his adventures in fashion I would. Yet Metallica and many of their 80s thrash peers remain intriguing examples of bands which emerged from an initial ‘outsider’ position to achieve substantial international success, and outlast the glam metal market which they and the wider thrash metal scene were initially rebelling against. The ongoing valorisation of thrash’s ‘traditional’ acts suggests that approaches to thrash authenticity are still firmly rooted in decades past. Which leads me to a few questions – why are the 1980s still given such significant subcultural capital within discussions of thrash metal? And does this then mean that modern thrash acts can only ever be referential nostalgia to the ‘glory days’, playing the Blackened riff for all eternity? Continue reading Thrashtalgia in the heavy metal heritage market

A Night With the Alex Skolnick Trio

Have you ever been to jazz club that is in the basement of a Pizza Express? Have you ever been to a jazz show where audience members proudly donned Judas Priest and Megadeth shirts? I have, and it was great!
The occasion where these worlds met was, or course, the Alex Skolnick Trio gig at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho, London.  The band consists of Alex Skolnick (on guitar),  Nathan Peck (on bass), and Matt Zebroski (on drums). Continue reading A Night With the Alex Skolnick Trio

Tunes for the Resistance: On the Importance of Staying Outraged

At this point, it feels fair to say that most of the world is in a state of disbelief and righteous anger. In case there was any doubt about which events the world is in disbelief or righteously angry over, it would be the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States of America. This event, and the rising populism in many countries, including my own, has had me thinking recently about how metal and politics fit together. Much of metal’s history with politics has been somewhat tumultuous, with plenty of politics in regards to censorship. I think we’re all familiar with Dee Snider of Twisted Sister’s appearance at the PMRC Senate Committee hearings, and his passionate speech against the censoring of his and other music. For many people, this is more or less the extent to which metal gets political for them, and for a lot of people it is probably fair to say that’s how they prefer it. Continue reading Tunes for the Resistance: On the Importance of Staying Outraged

Inversion in Ghost’s ‘Cirice’

If you don’t know the Swedish band Ghost yet (used to be spelled “Ghost BC” in the US for legal reasons), you might not be paying much attention to metal industry news. They are a rapidly rising star in the metal cosmos: their latest album hit the top of the charts in Sweden and charted no. 8 in the United States (these days, breaking into the top 10 is a rare feat for a non-American metal band), and the band even won the Grammy for Best Metal Performance for their song “Cirice” this past year. Continue reading Inversion in Ghost’s ‘Cirice’

From The Land of the Ice and Snow: An Evening with Insomnium, Barren Earth, Wolfheart, and Dr. Ville Friman

Insomnium is one of Finland’s prominent melodic death metal acts, whose tracks often incorporate aspects of doom metal, progressive metal, and black metal. This winter, Insomnium is on the road with supporting acts Barren Earth and Wolfheart, to play their latest album: 2016’s Winter’s Gate. Prior to the show, I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Ville Friman, who, along with being a lecturer in Evolutionary Biology, is a guitarist in Insomnium, Continue reading From The Land of the Ice and Snow: An Evening with Insomnium, Barren Earth, Wolfheart, and Dr. Ville Friman

Gender, Metal and the Media: Women Fans and the Gendered Experience of Music

By Rosemary Lucy Hill

@rosemarylhill

Women fans of popular culture are often derided or overlooked – and music is no exception. But academic work about music fans does not tend to think about the ways in which women music fans might experience their musical engagements differently to men – in part because of the derision. In fact, when it comes to rock music, a lot of work about fans does not think very hard about pleasure in music at all; it tends to use a framework of subcultural theory which means that consumer practices like attending concerts and buying records are prioritised. Music itself, and enjoyment of it, gets left out. Continue reading Gender, Metal and the Media: Women Fans and the Gendered Experience of Music

Extreme Music: Hearing and Nothingness Conference Recap

On December 1st and 2nd 2016, the research group The Performance of Everyday Living at SDU welcomed a variety of scholars to ‘Extreme Hearing and Nothingness’. Conference Chair Cynthia Grund and Vice-Chair Vitus Vestergaard organised a wonderful event, uniting scholars across various disciplines to present on various types of extremity in music and sound. Continue reading Extreme Music: Hearing and Nothingness Conference Recap

New book series in Metal Music and Culture

Emerald Studies in Metal Music and Culture Series editors – Rosemary Hill and Keith Kahn-Harris

We are delighted to announce the first scholarly book series on heavy metal: Emerald Studies in Metal Music and Culture publishes monographs, edited collections and research books about metal and its associated subgenres within the humanities and social sciences. Continue reading New book series in Metal Music and Culture

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