On Not Being a Douchebag: The Moral Obligation to Confront Sexism

Today I’d like to discuss sexism in metal. Don’t we talk about that all the time? I hear you ask. If you pay attention to publications in the field of metal studies, it appears that yes, we do. The topic is even getting significant uptake in mainstream metal press outlets like Decibel, Noisey, and MetalSucks. All of this is a good thing. So why am I bringing it up again, you may ask? Well, there are a couple of reasons. First, and most importantly, it would be harmful to assert that we have reached a point where it is not worth talking about. To quote an article (which is currently under review) I submitted with my friend, colleague, and fellow blogger Amanda DiGioia, ‘as academic feminists. . .we will be “post-feminists” in the “post-patriarchy.”’ The second reason, and this is the point of this little discussion, is that I believe that members of the metal community have an obligation to confront sexism and sexist behaviour within the scene. Continue reading On Not Being a Douchebag: The Moral Obligation to Confront Sexism

No remorse, no regrets: A night with Primordial, Fen, and Crom Dubh

On March 31st, I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Primordial, Fen, and Crom Dubh show at the Underworld in Camden. Accompanying me was a fellow metal music academic, composer, and Primordial fan Bill McGrath.

The Underworld is a suitably named venue. You descend almost immediately after entering, and are placed into an intimate venue that has a capacity of 500. I was thrilled to see Primordial in this setting: prior to this, I had only seen the band at festivals. Because both Bill and myself are staunch believers in seeing opening acts, we arrived at The Underworld in plenty of time to see all three bands. Continue reading No remorse, no regrets: A night with Primordial, Fen, and Crom Dubh

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, m.j.mynett@hud.ac.uk

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 ruth.barratt-peacock@uni-jena.de and Ross Hagen ross.hagen@uvu.edu 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

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