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Metal Music Research: Artists & Subgenres

Artists & Subgenres of Heavy Metal

Heavy metal is a huge genre that contains many different types of artists. In fact, it has become somewhat notorious for the proliferation of sub genres, and the classification of heavy metal musicians is practically an industry itself.  Some subgenres include thrash, hair metal, death metal, black metal, NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal), Nu-metal, industrial, and grunge. Below are some websites to help orient you to the diverse world of heavy metal music.

Research Samples by Genre

Below are a few samples of different heavy metal genres and some research sources specific to them. It is not meant to be comprehensive of all PHSC's holdings or heavy metal genres, but will give you an idea of where to start. You can find many more sources by searching the PHSC catalog, databases, or by talking to a librarian. Please note that you will need to be logged in to access the databases. Also, some books are unavailable in PHSC's collection, but are available for free through Interlibrary Loan. Film information links to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB). Many films are available for free from your public library through streaming services like Hoopla or Kanopy. 

Death Metal

Lee, Dennis William. (2018). 'Negeri Seribu Bangsa': Musical hybridization in contemporary Indonesian death metalMetal Music Studies Vol. 4, No.3, pp. 531-548.

This article explores musical hybridization in Indonesian death metal using the band Siksakubur as a case study, examining the ways they negotiate relationships with the overlapping contexts of death metal as a global genre, Indonesian death metal as a localized phenomenon and popular music in postcolonial/post-Soeharto Indonesia.

Noonan, David. (Jan/Feb2019). Dissecting the Bloodthirsty Bliss of Death Metal. Scientific American Mind, Vol. 30, No.1, p21-23.

The article discusses a study entitled "Who Enjoys Listening to Violent Music and Why?" by psychologist William Forde Thompson and colleagues. The researchers want to learn why fans of violent music report feelings of transcendence and positive emotions. They attempt to identify specific personality traits that distinguished death metal fans from nonfans.

Black Metal

Coggins, Owen. (September 2019). Distortion, restriction and instability: Violence against the self in depressive suicidal black metalMetal Music Studies, Vol.5, No. 3,  pp. 401-418.

In the underground subgenre of depressive suicidal black metal (DSBM), extremes of violence against the self are presented in combination with a restrictive version of black metal. I investigate DSBM as a case in which representation of harm in music is overt, explicit and extreme, yet the health impact of the music is undetermined. 

Wilson, Jim. (Dec 4, 2019). Fear and Loathing of Black Metal in the 2010s. UWIRE Text, 1.

Newspaper article about trends in Black Metal music.

Until the Light Takes Us (2008) 

Movie poster

"Interviews and news footage explore the rise of black metal music in Norway in the 1990s, including artists who were involved in suicide, murder and arson." - from IMDB

Glam Metal

Kurennaya, Anya. (2015). Look What The Cat Dragged In: Analysing gender and sexuality in the Hot Metal Centerfolds of 1980s glam metal. Critical Studies in Men's Fashion, Vol. 2, No. 2-3, 163-211.

Using the visual and sartorial material contained within the metal pin-up or centrefold, this article takes upon itself the task of understanding how glam metal musicians accomplish gender, with particular emphasis on the way ideas about heterosexual masculinity are packaged and presented to the consumer of such imagery.

Kummer, Jenna. (2017). ‘I Remember You’: Exploring glam metal’s re-emergence in contemporary metal music marketsMetal Music StudiesVol. 3, No. 3, 421-436.

Through a critical discourse and semiotic analysis of glam metal in reality television and television advertising, this article considers which attributes of contemporary culture might complement provisional identification with an extinguished subcultural style. Considering the notions of recontextualization and the aesthetic of the apparently real alongside postmodern discussions of identity and authenticity, this article’s findings suggest a move towards commonly held values of mature neoliberalism in the return of the glam metal genre in today’s metal music markets.

The Decline of Western Civilization Part 2: The Metal Years (1988)

Movie poster

"Documentary showcase, what life was like for the music artists living during the Los Angeles Heavy Metal scene in the mid and late 1980s." - from IMDB