Heavy Metal - Controversies and Countercultures - Titus Hjelm

Heavy Metal - Controversies and Countercultures - Titus Hjelm

Introduction: Heavy metal as controversy and counterculture

Heavy Metal - Controversies and Countercultures - Titus Hjelm

Titus Hjelm [+-]
University College London
Titus Hjelm is Lecturer in Finnish Society and Culture at University College London. He is editor of Religion and Social Problems (2011) and Studying Religion and Society (2013). He is also the bass player of the internationally acclaimed metal band Thunderstone.
Keith Kahn-Harris [+-]
Birkbeck College
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Keith Kahn-Harris is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Religion and Contemporary Society at Birkbeck College. He is the author of Extreme Metal: Music and Culture on the Edge (Berg, 2006) and writes the blog Metal Jew.
Mark LeVine [+-]
University of California, Irvine
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Mark LeVine is Professor of modern Middle Eastern history, culture and Islamic studies at University of California Irvine and author and editor of several books, including Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam (Random House/Three Rivers Press, 2008 and Impossible Peace: Israel/Palestine Since 1989 (Zed Books, 2009).


Heavy metal is now over forty years old and has developed into a diverse and multi-faceted genre. Wherever it is found and however it is played, metal's fascination with transgression has often meant it has been embroiled in controversy. Controversies surrounding the alleged connection between heavy metal and, variously, sexual promiscuity, occultism and Satanism, subliminal messages, suicide and violence have made heavy metal a target of moral panics over popular culture. Metal has variously embraced, rejected, played with and tried to ignore this controversy and it remains irrevocably marked by its controversial, transgressive tendencies. This anthology provides a thorough investigation of how and why metal becomes controversial, how metal 'scenes' are formed. It examines the relationship between metal and society, including how fans, musicians and the media create the culture of heavy metal. This collection looks at some of the consequences of heavy metal’s transgressions. As we shall outline in this introduction, metal’s transgression has caused it to be a frequently controversial music.

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Hjelm, Titus ; Kahn-Harris, Keith; LeVine, Mark. Introduction: Heavy metal as controversy and counterculture. Heavy Metal - Controversies and Countercultures. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 1 - 16 Apr 2013. ISBN 9781845539412. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=20691. Date accessed: 16 Feb 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.20691. Apr 2013

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