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Critical Introduction: What Is ‘Australian’ About Australian Heavy Metal?

Australian Metal Music: Identities, Scenes, and Cultures

ISBN: 978-1-78769-168-1, eISBN: 978-1-78769-167-4

Publication date: 4 June 2019


This chapter serves as the introduction to the edited collection, calling into focus the diverse ways in which ‘Australia’ is asserted in the spaces, scenes and practices of Australian heavy metal. This chapter responds to earlier quandaries in the sparse research on Australian metal which question if there is anything definitively ‘Australian’ about the characteristics, themes and narratives demonstrated within Australian heavy metal scenes. In response to this challenge, the author uses this chapter to establish critical foundations for addressing how Australianness has been represented ‘Downunderground’ (Phillipov, 2008, p. 215) – historically, musically and geographically, as work in this collection affirms. This introduction foregrounds the concerns of the edited collection at large, which addresses how national identity has been imagined and constructed in ways which can at once celebrate problematic patriarchal nationalist symbolism, yet also call into focus the resistant and subversive ways in which metal scenes have deconstructed, critiqued and renegotiated the parameters of what it means to be ‘Australian’. This chapter asserts that any interrogation of the ‘Australianness’ of Australian metal must problematise the notion of a singularly ‘Australian’ identity in the first instance. Here the author argues that ‘Australian metal’ as a consolidated signifier must be problematised to instead come to an understanding of the multisited ways in which ‘Australianness’ is experienced within scenes. In doing so the author establishes the critical trajectories for the edited collection at large – to track the genealogies of Australian metal as a component in a wider global scene, and consider the plurality of its contemporary manifestations.



Hoad, C. (2019), "Critical Introduction: What Is ‘Australian’ About Australian Heavy Metal?", Hoad, C. (Ed.) Australian Metal Music: Identities, Scenes, and Cultures (Emerald Studies in Metal Music and Culture), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 1-15.



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Copyright © 2019 Catherine Hoad