Tag Archives: Heavy metal music

Extreme metal in Iraq and Syria

Heavy metal music can be a means of artistic expression; it can also be an accessory of war. Making its first appearance in Iraq and Syria in the 1980s, it has functioned as an agency of power, endurance, anger, and abuse. Artists, fans, and the military of al-Mašriq have found that metal can be used for catharsis, rebellion, or torture.

The extreme metal subgenres of thrash metal, death metal, and black metal have become important components of the Iraqi and Syrian civil conflicts. In these contexts, metal music can be a source of empowerment for both civilians and the military; it can be the only stability that some draw from during the continual devastation to their communities, and in exceptional circumstances it can provide passage out of the region.

This according to “Resistants, stimulants, and weaponization: Extreme metal music and empowerment in the Iraqi and Syrian civil conflicts” by Sam Grant (Metal music studies III/2 [2017] pp. 175–200).

Above and below, the Kirkuk-based Dark Phantom, one of the groups discussed in the article.

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Heavy metal cookbooks

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Heavy metal, a genre once considered a dangerous and transgressive force in popular culture, is now increasingly constructed as a light-hearted source of fun, comedy, and entertainment in a growing number of popular cultural forms.

Nowhere is this development clearer than in the recent phenomenon of the heavy metal cookbook, whereby domestic cookery is (sometimes seriously, sometimes comically) reimagined as part of a metal identity. Such cookbooks reveal not only how transgressive cultural forms can become incorporated and domesticated by the mainstream, but also how transgression can be repurposed to suit the changing lives of music fans as they age.

This according to “Hamburgers of devastation: The pleasures and politics of heavy metal cooking” by Michelle Phillipov (International journal of community music VII/2 [2014] pp. 259–72).

Above, the cover of Hellbent for cooking; below, the members of Warrant discuss a popular dessert with a friend.

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Filed under Food, Humor, Popular music

Malmsteen and classical music

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Two televised performances galvanized the young Yngwie Malmsteen: one by Jimi Hendrix when Malmsteen was 8, and, when he was 13, one by a violinist playing works by Paganini.

Malmsteen has openly embraced the premises of classical music more than any rock musician before him. With his fetishization of instrumental technique and his move toward absolute music he adopted classical music’s style and vocabulary, models of virtuosic rhetoric, and modes of practice, pedagogy, and analysis; he also adopted the social values that underpin these activities.

This according to Running with the devil: Power, gender, and madness in heavy metal music by Robert Walser (Hanover: University Press of New England, 1993, pp. 94–98).

Today is Malmsteen’s 50th birthday! Below, the birthday boy holds forth.

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In Extremo and Walther

Recent interchanges between medieval music and heavy metal open new perspectives on historically informed practice. A comparison of recordings of Walther von der Vogelweide’s Palästinalied by Thomas Binkley, Paul Hillier, and In Extremo illuminates how historic orientation and its inherent sense influence performance aesthetics.

This according to “Gothic und HIP: Sinn und Präsenz in populären und in historisch informierten Realisierungen des Palästinalieds” by Konstantin Voigt (Basler Jahrbuch für historische Musikpraxis XXXII [2008] pp. 221–234). Above, a portrait of the great Minnesinger; below, In Extremo’s historically informed rendition of Walther’s celebrated work about the Crusades.

Related article: Advanced musicology

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Filed under Curiosities, Middle Ages, Performance practice, Popular music, Reception

Sexual attraction by genre

In an experiment, male and female college undergraduates made and viewed videotaped presentations that included stating a preference for classical music, country music, soft rock, or heavy metal. These preferences were found to influence heterosexual attraction in specific ways.

Devotion to classical music and to heavy metal proved to be gender specific: A love of heavy metal greatly enhanced the appeal of men, but it proved detrimental to that of women, while a preference for classical music produced the opposite reactions. A love of country music was found to diminish attraction in both genders.

This according to “Effects of associating with musical genres on heterosexual attraction” by Dolf Zillmann and Azra Bhatia (Communication research XVI/2 [April 1989], pp. 263–288).

Below, Chuck Berry discusses genre preferences with some friends..

Related article: Air guitar and gender

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Filed under Curiosities, featured, Popular music, Reception, Science