Interrogating the Origin Myth of Celtic Frost

The history of Celtic Frost begins with the band Hellhammer. Hellhammer was founded as a trio in 1981, and they released a couple of demos and an album before two of the members decided to end the Hellhammer project, kick out half the band, and reform under the name “Celtic Frost.” The band has promoted the idea that their work as Hellhammer was amateurish and earned such a bad reputation that they had to change their name to get people to take their music seriously. While I’m sure there is some truth to this story, the fact is that not quite *everyone* hated Hellhammer. One of the early German fanzines I’ve been reading recently actually gives a glowing positive review of Hellhammer’s first release! But as you will see, it doesn’t entirely contradict the story Celtic Frost tells, just adds some fascinating nuances. Continue reading Interrogating the Origin Myth of Celtic Frost

Bibles and Banging Heads: Dr Charlotte Naylor Davis and Striker/Thunderstone/Sonata Arctica

After trekking to the North of England for the day to see an academic presentation on heavy metal music and a gig, I can now say, without reservation, that the perfect gig pre-game is to attend a Biblical Studies paper.

The said Biblical Studies paper was presented by Dr Charlotte Naylor Davis, at the Ehrhardt Seminar, hosted by The University of Manchester. Continue reading Bibles and Banging Heads: Dr Charlotte Naylor Davis and Striker/Thunderstone/Sonata Arctica

Metal Music Studies journal is looking for reviewers

We are creating a database of reviewers for the journal to get more people involved from ISMMS and metal scholars around the world. If you are interested in reviewing material for the journal at some point, please fill out the form (also accessible from the menu above, under MMS Journal).

These are academic reviews written in English, however we are happy to have reviews of publications in any language.

Metal Music Manual and musings on ‘heavy’

Written by Mark Mynett,

If you are reading this, then you likely share a passion for metal music; so hopefully you’ll bear with me whilst, briefly, I wax lyrical about my love for the genre.

I was just 12 years old when my Dad took me to see Thin Lizzy at Preston Guildhall (FYI; 1981– the ‘Renegade’ tour). It was the closest thing I could imagine to a religious experience; the power, energy and glory of the show was mind-blowing beyond belief. This was quickly followed by a moment of clarity in the form of ‘That’s what I want to do with my life – rock musician!’ I got a guitar for my thirteenth birthday, and after entirely losing my teens to my newfound obsession, joined a band and played my first gig. Continue reading Metal Music Manual and musings on ‘heavy’

CfP: Metal and the Middle-Ages

Call for chapter contributions to Metal Music and the Middle-Ages

As part of the Emerald Studies in Metal Music and Culture book series, we are calling for chapter contributions for a collected edition on metal music and the middle-ages. This collection examines the ways in which metal music utilises images, texts, historical figures, music, and ideologies from the medieval period. We aim not only to examine the range of ways in which the middle-ages are referenced in metal music, but also to open up a discourse around the forms and reasons for the enduring fascination with this period within the genre.

We welcome proposals for chapter-length contributions on the topic including musical, textual, and media-based case studies; theoretical and methodological contributions; and in particular, international contributions on the use of European and non-European medieval cultural good outside Europe.

Please send a short English-language abstract (300-400 words, in Word or Open Office format, clearly marked with author’s name and affiliation) detailing your contribution to editors Ruth Barratt-Peacock and Ross Hagen by the 15th of April 2017.

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

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