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MMS 101

Our series of short posts on different topics in metal studies, written to introduce a general audience to current research.

Metal Methodology

A podcast series hosted by ISMMS Secretary Owen Coggins featuring interviews with notable scholars in metal studies.

Events, CfPs & more

All information about events, calls for proposals, and other announcements related to metal music studies.

All Posts

Black Metal in Turkey w/ Douglas Mattsson

Black Metal in Turkey w/ Douglas Mattsson

BLACK METAL IN TURKEY  Douglas Mattsson  “Black metal? We don’t have that in Turkey.” - The middle aged Turkish academic sitting across from me in a restaurant in Istanbul is not the first to have expressed surprise, even disbelief, when I told him about my topic of research. Although literature on metal music in Muslim majority societies has multiplied during the last decade, black metal, one of metal music’s most extreme subgenres, has rarely been the subject of study. A Turkish black metal scene, however, exists since the late 1980s.   In 1988 Turkey’s first black metal band Witchtrap,...

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Metal and Synthesizers with Fulya Çelikel 

Metal and Synthesizers with Fulya Çelikel 

METAL AND SYNTHESIZERS  Fulya Çelikel    As a metalhead and a metal musician, it has always amazed me that metal research that touches on organology (the musicological term for the study of musical instruments) is mostly on the electric guitar in some way. There is very little in terms of timbres or techniques that are considered “metal” for non-guitar instruments, such as bass guitars and/or drums. Although synthesizers have been in use in metal music since 1988, with Iron Maiden’s Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, and since then the metal spectrum has widened to contain many a synthesized...

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Ethno-journalism in Metal Research w/ Edward Banchs

Ethno-journalism in Metal Research w/ Edward Banchs

Ethno-journalism in metal research  My research has come about because I could not answer a simple question when I was in graduate school: What did I know about metal in Africa?  Though I was never educated to become a journalist, I have utilized a more journalistic approach in order to properly profile scenes, and their respective nascency’s throughout the continent, as little had ever been published about metal in Africa when I began. My work has since incorporated academic aspects in order to study these scenes more critically, including hybridity between this Western-rooted music and...

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MMS101 – Black Metal Ontology: Performing the Witch with Dr. Jasmine Hazel Shadrack

MMS101 – Black Metal Ontology: Performing the Witch with Dr. Jasmine Hazel Shadrack

Black Metal Ontology: Performing the Witch Dr Jasmine Hazel Shadrack   Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and as terrible as an army with banners? (qtd. in Grey, 2013, p. 14)   Through my performance as Denigrata Herself in the black metal band Denigrata, something ‘other’ has been advancing in parallel with my on-stage persona. She has made herself known to me through our shows, promotional pictures, album art and videos. Whilst I had no a priori desire to create Denigrata Herself in these terms, she has evolved this way nonetheless....

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CFP: Music and Social Conflicts – Zapruder World

http://zapruderworld.org/2021/05/cfp-music-and-social-conflicts/ Introduction Music has often been described as a “soundtrack” for social conflicts. However, as recent scholarship has begun to demonstrate, music’s role within social movements and conflicts runs much deeper than just sonic representation. Indeed, in both its auditory and lyrical forms, music has played a multifaceted role within many social movements, conflicts, and uprisings. Music has in fact often served as the primary social and cultural instrument through which conflicts have emerged and, over the much longer term,...

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The Role of Rock and Heavy Metal Mothering w/ Joan Jocson and Julie Turley

The Role of Rock and Heavy Metal Mothering w/ Joan Jocson and Julie Turley

SNARE DRUM AT MY WOMB: THE ROLE OF ROCK AND HEAVY METAL MOTHERING  Joan Jocson and Julie Turley   “After giving birth, I told the doctor I needed to leave the hospital for five hours. Our band was opening for Johnny Thunders. I think I was on an adrenaline rush.”   Cynthia, 67, B-Girls, Renegades, New York Junk     Musicking, a term first coined by professor-musician Christopher Small (1998), is the active way in which we take part in the creation of music and in establishing relationships with society--a form of engagement...

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Metal and Whiteness w/ Julian Schaap

Metal and Whiteness w/ Julian Schaap

METAL AND WHITENESS Julian Schaap ‘Music brings people together,’ as the common saying goes. In reality however, it often seems to do so by sticking to the different groups we find in society. For example, when one ventures into a metal music concert, chances are that the audience members are overwhelmingly white (and very often also male), while a quick expedition into a hip-hop concert would probably confront one with a much more ethno-racially diverse audience. This poses a paradox: music unites, yet music divides. Our taste in music is not – like our racial or sexual features –...

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Thoughts on the 10th Anniversary of Metal Rules the Globe w/ Jeremy Wallach

Thoughts on the 10th Anniversary of Metal Rules the Globe w/ Jeremy Wallach

THOUGHTS ON THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF METAL RULES THE GLOBE  Jeremy Wallach    According to major streaming companies’ market research, heavy metal is the most popular genre in the world.  Not only that, when the US market is subtracted from the total global market, metal’s popularity goes up.  It turns out a music genre that has been all but written off by mainstream culture in its places of origin has diehard fans around the world.    I have been asked to share some remarks to mark the tenth anniversary of Metal Rules the Globe, a collection of academic essays on metal bands and scenes...

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MMS101: Decoloniality w/ Nelson Varas-Diaz

MMS101: Decoloniality w/ Nelson Varas-Diaz

DECOLONIAL METAL MUSIC IN LATIN AMERICA Nelson Varas-Díaz   “You want to make it sound like it came from a Latin American being,” said Luis, the lead singer of the Mexican band Acrania, as he explained why he integrated the trumpet and salsa arrangements into his death/thrash metal band. That encounter echoed many other experiences in my ethnographic work that evidenced metal’s transformation in the region. This transformation was not only related to its sound, but also to the regionalization of its lyrical content and visual dimensions. This transformation, I argue in my work, is not...

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Bibliography, Webmaster, New Website

Bibliography, Webmaster, New Website

Some exciting ISMMS announcements have us in good spirits! Awhile back we advertised for a Webmaster position on the ISMMS Board, and we’re happy to say that we now have Dr. Steven Gamble of University College Cork in the position. Steve is the author of How Music Empowers: Listening to Modern Rap and Metal (Routledge 2021), and has published on modern metal breakdowns in Metal Music Studies and on prog metal band Karnivool in the  Journal on the Art of Record Production, among other things. He has quickly gotten to work on refashioning and updating things, so we are also happy to announce...

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Heavy Metal Therapy w/ Kate E. Quinn

Heavy Metal Therapy w/ Kate E. Quinn

If you ask metalheads why they love heavy metal music you will get loads of answers: the energy of the music, the intensity, the loudness…  But there will also be quite a few who will say that metal saved their life, or keeps them sane.  Music is a great coping strategy for many people, but metal in particular has only recently been understood within research as a potential tool for enhancing wellbeing.  Many metalheads seem to have this shared experience of finding extreme music helpful for mental health, and Heavy Metal Therapy exists for those people.   At its core, it is a peer support...

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Metal and Reflexive Anti-Reflexivity w/ Keith Kahn-Harris

Metal and Reflexive Anti-Reflexivity w/ Keith Kahn-Harris

Metal has often been critically reviled, subject to prejudice and persecution. Metal’s pretensions to art are frequently seen as laughable. It’s understandable, therefore, that the first scholars to take an interest in metal, were keen to emphasise its ‘seriousness’ as a genre. Pioneering studies by Deena Weinstein and by Robert Walser, published in the 1990s, demonstrated metal’s aesthetic value, together with its social value. This work of validation was necessary, but also missed something important. When I began researching metal scenes in the mid-1990s, I noticed that metal scenes were...

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