Selected scientific bibliography about the Extreme Metal PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 30 October 2014 13:59

1. Venkatesh, V.a , Podoshen, J.S.b , Urbaniak, K.c , Wallin, J.J.d

Eschewing Community: Black Metal

(2014) Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology,



ABSTRACT: There is a great deal of literature that examines community orientations, in particular consumption-based subcultures rooted in the appreciation of music scenes such as heavy metal and its subgenres. Much of this literature focuses on aspects of community maintenance, reaffirmation of shared identities and building of social bonds. In the present article, we report a study in which consumption of, and fandom in a specific scene in extreme metal, namely black metal, may lead to very unique consumer cultural orientations. Our analyses reveal that black metal fans' identities reside in a realm outside of a desired collective identification and tightly knit community, but rather one that uses signification, or representational means to convey meaning and belonging, as a way to signal repugnance with society and a reverence of individuality. The study engages a mixed qualitative approach utilizing interviews, observational research and content analysis to demonstrate how self-identity related to the black metal music scene can thrive through an ideological and semiotic rejection of traditional community orientations seen in the majority of other extreme metal music scenes. This paper challenges traditional conceptualizations of group identity in music scenes by closely examining aspects of signification and fandom in black metal that represent a unique system of shared identities devoid of community building.



2. Kuppens, A.H.a , Van Der Pol, F.b

"True" black metal: The construction of authenticity by Dutch black metal fans

(2014) Communications, 39 (2), pp. 151-167.

ABSTRACT: In the black metal subculture, authenticity is a central concept. While there are ample academic studies devoted to authenticity in hip hop, rock, country, punk, and other music genres, black metal authenticity remains relatively under-researched. This manuscript discusses how black metal fans construct authenticity. In-depth interviews with Dutch black metal fans reveal that they define authenticity along four highly interrelated dimensions: sincerity, commerciality, country of origin, and extremeness. While these dimensions are highly similar to those found in other music genres, our respondents' constructions of authenticity are far from predictable. More specifically, they are much more complex and flexible than they might appear to outsiders to the subculture. We argue that this complexity is strongly related to the central role invocations of authenticity play in the drawing of boundaries around the subculture, as they ensure that authenticity cannot be easily staged but rather requires a profound investment in the subculture.




3. Podoshen, J.S.a , Venkatesh, V.b , Jin, Z.a

Theoretical reflections on dystopian consumer culture: Black metal

(2014) Marketing Theory, 14 (2), pp. 207-227.

ABSTRACT: This article examines aspects related to the dystopic consumption and production of the musical and performance art form known as black metal. Steeped in anti-Christian motifs, surrounded by a history of violence and brutal imagery, black metal is an extreme metal art form that has been growing steadily in popularity throughout Europe, South America, and the United States. We first examine black metal culture through the eyes of both artists and consumers, using mixed qualitative methodologies. Thereafter, we derive specific theoretical interpretations from the black metal subculture that are predicated on the emerging themes of signification, identity transformation, xenophobia, and a reconstructed mythology that all point to what we present as a dystopian consumption model. The model demonstrates how dystopia, in context, is at the heart of the symbiotic relationship between consumers and producers and is encapsulated by a specific set of processes and overarching conditions. Implications and relationships to utopian models are discussed.


4. Spracklen, K.a , Lucas, C.b , Deeks, M.b

The construction of heavy metal identity through heritage narratives: A case study of extreme metal bands in the north of england

(2014) Popular Music and Society, 37 (1), pp. 48-64.

ABSTRACT: Extreme and black metal is a music genre infused with ideologies of elitism, nationalism, and exaggerated masculinity. In this paper, we explore the ways in which four bands from the north of England - Winterfylleth, Wodensthrone, Old Corpse Road, and Oakenshield - construct mythologies, heritage narratives, and identity through their own reflections on their music, metal, and myths. These extreme metal bands in the north of England work inside the symbolic boundaries of their scene and exist within the imagined communities of their region. That is, the bands construct mythologies based around masculinity and around elitism, but also about "northernness."




5. Mayer, A.a , Timberlake, J.M.b

"the fist in the face of God": Heavy metal music and decentralized cultural diffusion

(2014) Sociological Perspectives, 57 (1), pp. 27-51.

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this paper is to explain the timing and location of the diffusion of heavy metal music. We use data from an Internet archive to measure the population-adjusted rate of metal band foundings in 150 countries for the 1991-2008 period. We hypothesize that growth in "digital capacity" (Internet and personal computer use) catalyzed the diffusion of metal music. We include time-varying controls for gross national income, political regime, global economic integration, and degree of metal penetration of countries sharing a land or maritime border with each country. We find that digital capacity is positively associated with heavy metal band foundings, but, net of all controls, the effect is much stronger for countries with no history of metal music prior to 1990. Hence, our results indicate that increasing global digital capacity may be a stronger catalyst for between-country than for within-country diffusion of cultural products.



6. Hoad, C.

‘Ons is saam’ 1 Afrikaans metal and rebuilding whiteness in the Rainbow Nation

(2014) International Journal of Community Music, 7 (2), pp. 189-205.

ABSTRACT: The South African general election of 1994 installed a democratic system of government in a nation that had ruptured by violent segregation since 1948. While the ‘miracle’ of the Rainbow Nation aimed for a unified state, the redistribution of power heralded by the rise of ‘new’ South Africa left much of the white Afrikaner population with a sense of loss. The task of the post-apartheid Afrikaner cultural industry is now concerned with finding a place for the Afrikaner in modern South Africa. As such, this article explores how ‘Afrikaans metal’ has been compliant in fostering a sense of community and encourages sentiments of localized belonging. The passion and dynamism of heavy metal allows for the proliferation of a metal scene explicitly concerned with the promotion of an Afrikaner identity, performing in Afrikaans and creating Afrikaans metal for South African metal fans. However, just as the Afrikaner community at large struggles to find a white identity untarnished by apartheid, Afrikaans metal fans and bands face a similarly complex mission. Afrikaans metal represents a site within which this ‘lost’ Afrikaner identity can be both reclaimed and contested, and thus renegotiates the role of Africa’s ‘white tribe’ into the twenty-first century.




7. Hill, R.L.

Reconceptualizing hard rock and metal fans as a group: Imaginary community

(2014) International Journal of Community Music, 7 (2), pp. 173-188.
ABSTRACT: This article sets out the case for a new framework within which to study hard rock and metal fans as a group. I argue that dominant frameworks in metal studies – subcultural theory and the concept of scene – are inadequate for understanding the experiences of women fans; the underlying gendered epistemology has resulted in a dismissal of women fans or, at best, a systematic reduction of their experiences. Utopic visions of hard rock and metal as a community (as proposed at the Heavy Metal and Popular Culture conference in April 2013), do little to change this understanding as they conceal the systematic discrimination that plays a crucial role in forming the specific experiences of women. I contend that a new framework is necessary that takes into account a wider spectrum of fandom and that addresses the feeling of togetherness that fans report, whilst also opening up the culture of the genre for a critique of its structures. I contend that my framework of imaginary community can bring new perspectives to studies of fans. The article is set within the context of debates about the inclusivity of metal, and in popular music studies about the usefulness of particular terms. I build upon the work of feminist popular music theorists, Cohen and McRobbie, to give a critique of masculine hegemony in stories about rock music; and upon the work of science fiction fan researchers and feminist critiques of community to argue that community is not a neutral term. I draw on Anderson’s theorization of the nation as an imagined community, extending it to develop the concept of ‘imaginary community’. This concept enables the consideration of how women fans imagine themselves as part of a community without eliding the difficulties imposed by structural sexism, and brings the focus back to the pleasure in the music.




8. Howe, T.R.a , Friedman, H.S.b

Sex and Gender in the 1980s Heavy Metal Scene: Groupies, Musicians, and Fans Recall Their Experiences

(2014) Sexuality and Culture, 18 (3), pp. 608-629.
ABSTRACT: Groupies, heavy metal musicians, and highly devoted fans (metalheads) were some of the most salient identity groups for teenagers and emerging adults in the 1980s-the tail end of the Baby Boom and the beginning of the newly emerging Generation X. Met with appalled reactions from conventional society, the heavy metal scene nevertheless appeared to help at least some disenchanted youth negotiate turbulent times. The present study of 144 middle-aged 1980s groupies, metal fans, and professional musicians used both quantitative and qualitative data to develop insights into the developmental processes of these emerging adults of the 1980s. Metalheads described their childhood experiences, including maltreatment, their sexual and substance use activities in the 1980s, identity issues, and reported on current indicators of adjustment, such as education, mental health, and happiness. The results confirm that youth involved in the metal scene had high rates of substance use, risky sexual behaviors, and especially for groupies, traumatic childhood experiences, as well as drug dependence and sexual violence during their groupie days. However, despite their trauma and risky behaviors, participants were able to thrive and develop healthy adult lives, from which they look back fondly on those 1980s experiences. The richness of these data provide insights into the search for identity for marginalized youth, and provide hypotheses for future research on the understudied developmental processes of such adolescent style cultures.



9. Spracklen, K.

Nazi punks folk off: leisure, nationalism, cultural identity and the consumption of metal and folk music

(2013) Leisure Studies, 32 (4), pp. 415-428.


ABSTRACT: Far-right activists have attempted to infiltrate and use popular music scenes to propagate their racialised ideologies. This paper explores attempts by the far right to co-opt two particular music scenes: black metal and English folk. Discourse tracing is used to explore online debates about boundaries, belonging and exclusion in the two scenes, and to compare such online debates with ethnographic work and previous research. It is argued that both scenes have differently resisted the far right through the policing of boundaries and communicative choices, but both scenes are compromised by their relationship to myths of whiteness and the instrumentality of the pop music industry.


10. Reyes, I.

Blacker than death: Recollecting the "black turn" in metal aesthetics

(2013) Journal of Popular Music Studies, 25 (2), pp. 240-257.


11. Podoshen, J.S.

Dark tourism motivations: Simulation, emotional contagion and topographic comparison

(2013) Tourism Management, 35, pp. 263-271.

ABSTRACT: This paper examines dark tourism consumption motivations. Using a qualitative and interpretative mixed-method approach, this study traces the dark tourism motivations related to " blackpackers" and fans of the musical performance art known as black metal. Steeped in anti-Christian motifs and themes, with a history of past violence, black metal is a long-existing and still burgeoning art form that is growing in popularity throughout Europe and the United States. Through examination that involved participant observation, nethnography and content analysis, simulation, coupled with the emotional contagion were found to be key motivating aspects of this dark tourism related to black metal. Additionally, it was found, that similar to media tourists, many black metal fans seek tourism activity to reconcile comparisons between imaged landscapes and topographical reality. In addition to discussing specific aspects of the blackpacking phenomenon, larger theoretical implications related to the greater realm of dark tourism motivations are discussed.


12. Larsson, S.

'I Bang my Head, Therefore I Am': Constructing Individual and Social Authenticity in the Heavy Metal Subculture

(2013) Young, 21 (1), pp. 95-110.

ABSTRACT: This article investigates the ways in which heavy metal fans construct their selves and collectives in relation to the music and the culture, by concentrating on subjective and intersubjective arguments on what it means to be an authentic heavy metal fan. The empirical material consists of focus-group interviews and single interviews with Swedish heavy metal fans of ages 18-27. By way of conclusion, I find that individual construction of an authentic heavy metal identity is the result of (a) arguments of long-term dedication, (b) being able to highlight symbolic events and attributes that are associated with the heavy metal culture and (c) arguments of making the right choices based on an authentic inner voice. Thus, social construction of a common authentic identity is the result of negotiations around an abstract moral. The study on which this article is based finds that the construction of authentic selves and collectives takes place partly in a close social in-group context, where individual and collective dedication is known and need not be argued for, as well as in a thematic in-group, where symbols and attributes are known but where dedication must be argued for.


13. Hecker, P.

Turkish Metal: Music, Meaning, and Morality in a Muslim Society

(2012) Turkish Metal: Music, Meaning, and Morality in a Muslim Society, pp. 1-230.

ABSTRACT: Turkish Metal journeys deep into the heart of the Turkish heavy metal scene, uncovering the emergence, evolution, and especially the social implications of this controversial musical genre in a Muslim society. The book applies the approach of 'thick description' in order to study social and cultural change in a Muslim society that is stricken with conflict over the, by turns, religious or secular nature of the state. Turkish Metal explores how Turkish metalheads, against all odds, manage to successfully claim public spaces of their own, thereby transforming the public face of the city. The book raises the question of how and why the young dare to rebel against the prevalent social and moral restrictions in Turkish society; and it examines whether they succeed in asserting their individual freedom in a society that is still well-known for sanctioning any kind of behaviour deviating from the norm. Above all, the book investigates the Turkish metal scene's potential for contesting Islamic concepts of morality, its relevance within the field of female emancipation, and its capacity to foster social relations that cut across national, religious and ethnic boundaries.



14. Williams, T.J.T.

A blaze in the northern sky: Black metal and crimes against culture

(2012) Public Archaeology, 11 (2), pp. 59-72.

ABSTRACT: This paper focuses on an act that can be seen to typify what heritage organizations might confidently describe as a 'crime against culture': the deliberate destruction by fire of a twelfth-century wooden stave church at Fantoft in Norway in 1992. This paper uses the case study of Fantoft to challenge the ways in which heritage organizations (in this case Norway's Directorate of Cultural Heritage) establish and protect mono-cultural narratives and push interpretative agendas predicated on an uncritical concept of universal 'value' and its equation with material authenticity. It also examines how distinct minority communities construct new meanings, values, and traditions without reference to institutional narratives, a process that, whilst arguably initiating a more meaningful dialogue with the past, brings in train a new set of problems.


15. Murphy, D.

Extreme Neo-Nationalist Music Scenes at the Heart of Europe

(2012) A Companion to the Anthropology of Europe, pp. 425-439.


16. Moberg, M.

Religion in popular music or popular music as religion? A Critical review of scholarly writing on the place of religion in metal music and culture

(2012) Popular Music and Society, 35 (1), pp. 113-130.

ABSTRACT: The highly conspicuous interest in dark religious themes and ideas found throughout metal music and culture has received increased scholarly attention in recent years. This article offers a critical review and evaluation of scholarly writing on the place of religion in metal music and culture produced thus far. The article highlights how this scholarship has interpreted metal music and culture principally as either providing its followers with important resources for religious/spiritual inspiration or, in quite different terms, as constituting a religion in itself.



17. Granholm, K.

"Sons of northern darkness": Heathen influences in black metal and neofolk music

(2011) Numen, 58 (4), pp. 514-544.

ABSTRACT: The focus of this article is on the influence of heathenism on popular music, specifically on Black Metal and Neofolk. These two genres, or more correctly scenes, are converging-something which is interesting in itself as purely musical similarities are nonexistent. Both scenes are permeated by heathen notions, and have the ability to function as "cultural systems" providing sets of ideology, meanings, and practices for their adherents. Thus, they comprise more than simply "musical styles." The appeal of heathenism in these scenes can be explained by its status as non-mainstream exotic rejected knowledge, which makes it attractive in the quest for authenticity and rebellion inherent in rock music. At the same time it is precisely the inclusion of heathen elements which provides the possibility to construct meaning systems that can sustain a coherent cultural complex.


18. Lucas, C., Deeks, M., Spracklen, K.

Grim Up North: Northern England, Northern Europe and Black Metal

(2011) Journal for Cultural Research, 15 (3), pp. 279-295.

ABSTRACT: In this article, the authors examine the tensions that surround the commercial success of black metal as a global music commodity and the identification of the genre with the conscious revival of myths and ideologies of an ancient northern European history and nationalist culture, via the ways in which an "imagined community" of Nordicness, identified with the original Norwegian scene, has been embraced and adapted by participants in the local extreme metal scene in northern England.


19. Brown, A.R.

Heavy Genealogy: Mapping the Currents, Contraflows and Conflicts of the Emergent Field of Metal Studies, 1978-2010

(2011) Journal for Cultural Research, 15 (3), pp. 213-242.

ABSTRACT: What is metal studies? How can we define and characterize it? How has it emerged as a body of academic enquiry? What are its dominant disciplinary strands, theoretical concepts and preferred methodologies? Which studies have claimed most attention, defined the goals of scholarship, typical research strategies and values? How has the claim for the legitimacy or symbolic value of metal scholarship been achieved (if it has): over time and through gradual acceptance or through conflict and contestation? How can this process of formation, or strategy of legitimation, be mapped, examined and interrogated and which methods of historical, institutional and cultural analysis are best suited to this task? Working with the most complete bibliography to date of published research on heavy metal, music and culture (the MSBD), this article employs Foucaults archaeological "method" to examine the institutional, cultural and political contexts and conflicts that inform the genealogy of this scholarship. Such analysis reveals a formative, largely negative account of heavy metal to be found in the "sociology of rock"; a large volume of psychology work, examining heavy metal music preference as an indicator of youth risk, deviance and delinquency; sociological work on youth and deviancy critical of the values of this research and its links to social policy and politics; culminating in the work of Weinstein and Walser, who advocate a perspective sympathetic to the values of heavy metal fans themselves. Following Bourdieu, I interpret such symbolic strategies as claims for expertise within the academic field that are high or low in symbolic capital to the extent they can attain disciplinary autonomy. I then go on to examine the most recent strands of research, within cultural studies and ethnomusicology, concerned with the global metal music diaspora, and consider to what extent such work is constitutive of a coherent subfield of metal studies that can be distinguished from earlier work and what the implications of this might be.


20. Kahn-Harris, K.

Metal Studies: Intellectual Fragmentation or Organic Intellectualism?

(2011) Journal for Cultural Research, 15 (3), pp. 251-253.


21. Masciandaro, N.

Metal Studies and the Scission of the Word: A Personal Archaeology of Headbanging Exegesis

(2011) Journal for Cultural Research, 15 (3), pp. 247-250.


22. Weston, D.

Basque Pagan metal: View to a primordial past

(2011) European Journal of Cultural Studies, 14 (1), pp. 103-122.

ABSTRACT: This article explores the genre of Pagan Metal, specifically located in the Basque country, in an aim to define what kind of identity it represents. It is argued that Basque Pagan Metal expresses a specific musical identity, with links to the ideology of the 1980s Basque punk movement Rock Radikal. Further, Basque Pagan Metal has diverged from this musical heritage, in that the identity it expresses is apolitical: while Rock Radikal expressed an openly political identity, that expressed in Basque Pagan Metal is explicitly culturalist, resonating more with primordial nationalism espoused by the 'father of Basque nationalism', Sabino Arana. A discussion of the genre within the social and cultural context of the rise of Basque nationalism in the late 19th century, the emergence of radical nationalism, and the Rock Radikal movement, is problematized through a discussion of interpretation versus intent. The group Numen is put forward as a representative case study.


23. Farley, H.

Demons, devils and witches: The occult in heavy metal music

(2009) Heavy Metal Music in Britain, pp. 73-88.


24. Nilsson, M.

No class? Class and class politics in British heavy metal

(2009) Heavy Metal Music in Britain, pp. 161-179.


25. Liew, K.K., Fu, K.

Conjuring the tropical spectres: Heavy metal, cultural politics in Singapore and Malaysia

(2006) Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 7 (1), pp. 99-112.

ABSTRACT: The evolution of moral panics is dependent on the particular social context and the ability of certain issues to trigger concern within society. In this paper, the authors have employed a cross-comparative study of the heavy metal music subcultures in Singapore and Malaysia to understand the differences in the issues that generate such panics based on the socio-political context of each country and its current concerns. Although the youth involved in both cases are marginalised male Malays, the framing of their alleged deviance and criminality permits, in the case of Singapore, only a limited possibility for moral panic creation given the conservative socio-political governance that limits allegations such as 'Satanism'. In the case of Malaysia, where a 'large-scale' moral panic involving black metal emerged in 2001, the recent trend towards Islamisation gave fodder for the condemnation of black metal based on the allegations of the anti-Islamic behaviour of Muslim youth involved in the black metal scene. In both cases, such groups were exploited by parties claiming to defend the social fabric of the moral majority, but in the latter case it took on grave implications due to the extent of the state and public response. This paper thus argues that the framing of these moral panics is an important component determining the relative 'success' of the panic or its ability to capture public and state imaginings.


26. Walzer, N.

The religious black metal recomposition: distance and religious influx of musicians of black metal [La recomposition religieuse black metal: Parcours et influx religieux des musiciens de black metal]

(2005) Societes, 2005 (88 2), pp. 53-91.

ABSTRACT: The black metal subculture sets up a will to power, a neverland's search with music and composition. The author talks about the circonstances where the religious fact is created in opposite against the actual cultural homogeneisation. The religious dimension overlines the simple musical addiction and its stars as rock could create. It is written in the deepest way of the religious, negativist and satanic imaginary of the musicians.


27. Martin, F.

For a musicological approach of black metal [Pour une approche musicologique du black metal]

(2005) Societes, 2005 (88 2), pp. 103-108.

ABSTRACT: Black Metal is an extreme music expressing a profound distaste of reality. But its aesthetics sticks to its draft, its musicians having brought off a genre, which, within fifteen years bloomed over every continent - a genre paradoxically unwholesome because of its caracteristic sound and rousing from the melancholy it frees.


28. Bobineau, O.

The metal music: sociology of a developed religion [La musique metal: Sociologie d'un fait religieux]

(2005) Societes, 2005 (88 2), pp. 93-102.

ABSTRACT: Musical act that already deals with three generation of musicians and audience, metal is a social feat which has multiple shapes that gives a first impression of an item really hard to understand or even to assimilate. Indeed, the author suggest(s) to consider this music with a religious sociology point of view. This proposition stands out from the usual exggerated and amalgam papers oj journalists and observers who take metal as a fake culture with dreadful consequences. In that direction, it does underline the specificity of metal : hybridization/ mix of imaginary and reality, reffering to ordinary and extraordinary events, true belief or dismissal belief... which are dimensions and characteristics that we also found in the religious deed.


29. Mombelet, A.

The metal music: flashes of religion and a liturgy. For a sociological comprehension of metal concerts such as contemporary rites [La musique metal: Des « éclats de religion » et une liturgie. Pour une compréhension sociologique des concerts de metal comme rites contemporains]

(2005) Societes, 2005 (88 2), pp. 25-51.

ABSTRACT: The metal phenomenon is a protean social fact still ignored in France. A religiosity as well as a liturgy are two of its ingredients. Its actors gather around charismatic figures during rites marked by excess. In the same way, metal fans share a stock of images and ideas referring to excesses and forbidden themes too (sex, death, Evil, rebellion against institutions). This stock and this rite constitute an aspect of what may be named the « metal liturgy ». Just like the signs of recognition (black clothing, large shoes, sign oh the beast, precise jargon) that they adopt more precisely during the rites, but also in their everyday life and which proceed of an initiatory progression.



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