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Five djentlemen and a girl walk into a metal bar: Thoughts on a ‘metal after metal’ metal studies

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As a nascent academic field of study, it is an optimal time for metal music scholars to fashion a metal (music) studies focused on (heavy) metal’s status and development as genre, as tradition, as culture – in other words, as subject/object of broad scholarly enquiry – that productively resists orthodoxies not only by maintaining metal scholarship’s current multidisciplinarity, which I applaud, but also by expanding the notion of ‘metal musician’ and ‘metal music culture’. The first idea is a relatively noncontroversial position to assume; however, I want to push on the second idea through a discussion of two performances of the composition, ‘Aviator’, which demonstrate some of the limits within current metal studies. Before turning to ‘Aviator’, however, I will take some time to outline the broader discussion within metal studies around the issue of academic legitimation.
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Keywords: djent; gender; metal studies; pop; race; virtuosity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Columbia University

Publication date: 2016-09-01

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  • Metal Music Studies is the journal of the International Society for Metal Music Studies.

    The aims of the journal are:
    • To provide an intellectual hub for the International Society of Metal Music Studies and a vehicle to promote the development of metal music studies;
    • To be the focus for research and theory in metal music studies – 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, natural sciences;
    • To publish high-quality, world-class research, theory and shorter articles that cross over from the industry and the scene;
    • To be a world leader in interdisciplinary studies and be a unique resource for metal music studies.
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