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’
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
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
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
The colonization of North America is an oft mentioned subject in metal, most famously in Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills.” Colonialism and its impact on First Nations and Inuit peoples in North America is typically talked about in a historical context in metal, and typically from the side of settler culture, as is the dominant culture in metal. Songs like “Run to the Hills” do some justice to the acts of violence done against Indigenous peoples, but there is an overlooked and unnoticed side to this story. As most metal fans can attest, metal’s appeal lies in its ability to provide a space to express a variety of emotions and discuss subjects which are difficult to deal with (namely, death and violence). Because of this, metal’s appeal is broad and reaches a variety of people with different experiences and backgrounds. Continue reading “Let Me In:” Some Reflections on Indigenous Participation in Local Metal Scenes
I went to a heavy metal art exhibition on Sunday. Not only did I go to the exhibition, but I spent the rest of the weekend ‘casually’ telling people that I went to the exhibition. This was for two key reasons: 1) As a cover for my otherwise unfulfilling social life and 2) because it featured work by incredibly talented artists ‘inspired by the heavier realms of art and music’. Arte Diabolica II was the second annual event showcasing the work of visual artists influenced by the cultures and aesthetics of heavy metal – many of whom are also Continue reading Works of art, painted black
When I attended a sold out Amon Amarth/Testament gig in London on November 4th, I was fully prepared to take of my academic hat, and to enjoy the gig as a fan. 15 minutes into the show, I was made fully aware that this was not going to happen: unfortunately, my academic brain does not turn off so easily.