Tag Archives: Heavy metal

Heavy metal and Classical antiquity

The early 21st century witnessed a surge of interest in comics and cinema regarding Classical antiquity, inspiring new studies in Classical reception. Heavy metal has also drawn on historical and mythological Classical material for subject matter, but this genre has received little attention from academics.

Classical reception in heavy metal illustrates an independent engagement with antiquity by the world outside academia, illuminating ways for scholars and students to better understand the impact of the field on contemporary media. Since the late 1970s Classical works, themes, and characters of Greek and Roman antiquity have inspired the lyrical, musical, and visual content of a number of heavy metal groups, with topics including works by Homer and Aeschylus, the founding of Rome, and the rise of the Principate.

This according to “Heavy metal music and the appropriation of Greece and Rome” by Osman Umurhan (Syllecta classica XXIII [2012] pp. 127–52).

Above and below, Ex Deo, one of the groups discussed in the article.

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Filed under Antiquity, Curiosities, Popular music, Reception

Metal music studies

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In October 2014 Intellect launched Metal music studies, a journal that aims to provide an intellectual hub for the International Society of Metal Music Studies and a vehicle to promote the development of metal music studies.

This new journal presents research and theory in a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary subject field that engages with a range of parent disciplines, including—but not limited to—sociology, musicology, humanities, cultural studies, geography, philosophy, psychology, history, and the natural sciences.

Below, Metallica’s Enter sandman, one of the songs discussed in the inaugural issue.

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Filed under New periodicals, Popular music

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

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

Eläkeläiset inebriated

The Finnish band Eläkeläiset (The Pensioners) is known for playing humorous cover versions of well-known pop and rock songs—including heavy metal—to a fast humppa beat (a traditional Finnish polka-like dance style). The other thing Eläkeläiset is known for is public drunkenness: The group’s members are notably inebriated for all of their performances and recordings.

This according to Eläkeläiset: Suuri suomalainen juopottelukirja (Eläkeläiset: The great Finnish drinking book) by Ilkka Mattila (Helsinki: Like, 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2008). Below, Eläkeläiset’s version of Zombie by The Cranberries.

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Advanced musicology

In October 2009 the Finnish branch of the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres (IAML) inaugurated the series Advanced musicology (ISSN 1798-3754) with Esa Lilja’s dissertation Theory and analysis of classic heavy metal harmony. The book’s author explores the implications of the harmonic language of heavy metal from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, with examples from bands including Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden.

Related article: In Extremo and Walther

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Filed under New series, Popular music, Theory