Tag: heavy metal

An Israeli gig poster may have changed my life. Back in 1992, backpacking round Israel as a student, I kept seeing posters advertising a gig by Benediction, the British death metal band. And every time I saw one I wondered ‘A metal scene? Here?’ (More…)

Amongst all the frenzied accounting over whom to blame/credit for Donald Trump’s victory, one group has escaped notice – the metalheads. Indeed, there is no evidence that metalheads voted for (or against) Trump (if they voted at all) in greater numbers than anyone else. (More…)

There is a kind of literalism that permeates metal culture when it comes to the word ‘metal.’ Metal is hard, unyielding, unbreakable, weaponised, destructive etc etc. Metal is a metaphor that is applied to the music and to its culture; it represents an ideal as much as a description. (More…)

Someday, Lemmy will die. Maybe that day will come soon. For the last couple of years, he hasn’t been a well man. He walks with a stick, slurs his speech and his rapier wit seems diminished. He has even made half-hearted attempts to cut back on the booze and cigarettes. (More…)

When I set out to do ethnographic research on extreme metal for my doctorate in the mid-1990s, it was the transgression that fascinated me. I wanted to immerse myself in a culture dedicated to musical celebrations of the dark side, that flirted with sonic oblivion, that stared into the abyss. (More…)

In my early years as a metal fan, in the 1980s and 1990s, everything was interesting. The process of musical discovery was a slow one, proceeding in fits and starts as I gradually managed to buy, copy and hear enough metal to become knowledgeable about the parameters of the genre. (More…)

The other night I saw Skull Orchard, the latest side band of the Mekons’ Jon Langford, in Brooklyn. I was hungry for some good music, and the show was filling—but not the same way even the best reunions, such as Flag’s recent set, or the Avengers show a few years back, have been. (More…)

If metal has become incoherent, there’s little sign that it is dying. Yet there are two dangers that are beginning to loom large over it. The first is that metal gradually dissipates. The music moves in a thousand different directions, by a thousand different artists. Any sense of it as an overarching idiom, a cultural identity, and a social space is lost. (More…)

Historically, scarcity has played a crucial role in metal, particularly in underground extreme metal. Until recently, there were considerable logistical barriers to recording, releasing, circulating and publicising metal recordings. It took considerable time, money and commitment to make a demo, to trade it and to market it. Copying tapes, printing flyers and hand-answering fanzine interviews required a certain degree of determination. (More…)

Metal today is in crisis. Metal’s crisis doesn’t feel like a crisis. In fact it sometimes feels like quite the reverse. This is a crisis in which most are unaware that there is a crisis – and that is the crisis. The crisis is one of abundance. (More…)

There’s no more overused an adjective than legendary. ‘Legend’ used to be reserved those men and achievements that surpassed the norms of everyday experience. Now it is called into service to validate everything from the engine of a Dodge pickup truck to the onion rings at the local diner. If ever the term was properly applied,  it would be to Jon “Metalion” Kristianson and his Slayer fanzine. (More…)

Edited by Titus Hjelm, Keith Kahn-Harris, Mark LeVine, Heavy Metal Controversies and Countercultures presents a wide range of perspectives and approaches to the topic, probing the ways that race, gender, violence, and politics find expression in the wide range of instantiations of metal. The editors of this collection all have serious bona fides in the scholarly study of metal. (More…)