Wicke and Shepherd (1993) stated that socialist rock (and, by extension, metal) is more authentic than its capitalist counterpart because authenticity is tied to commercialism. This is, however, a very Western view of authenticity. Cushman's (1995) interviews suggest that rock musicians were themselves discussing authenticity in the late 1980s and with this comes notions of a socialist authenticity hitherto unexplored, related not to the official and unofficial cultures of Soviet Russia but rather to culture beyond that dichotomy. Other markers of authenticity also become more important: the Russian language is paramount here as the style of metal most prevalent at the time required clear lyrics, and so being able to be identified as a local, Russian, metal musician adds credence to one's status as an authentic, and particularly Russian, metal scene member. This chapter explores the precise circumstances in the early-mid-1980s which brought about metal music in Soviet Russia and how authenticity was determined among scene participants. It highlights the genesis of Russian metal in Russian rock and Western metal music. Then, a replacement is proposed for commercialism, the main marker of authenticity, in the Soviet Russian context, based on Yurchak's (2005) concept of vnye (meaning, approximately, to exist outside of or beyond Soviet society), as well as investigating other, less important markers of authenticity in their uniquely Russian context. One exemplar band, Aria, held both official and unofficial statuses, is used to illustrate the difficulty of making metal music in the Soviet period, as well as how certain aspects of authenticity could vary among rock and metal bands.
Hazle, D. (2020), "Delusions of Grandeur? Producing Authentic Metal Music in the Soviet Union", Valijärvi, R.-L., Doesburg, C. and Digioia, A. (Ed.) Multilingual Metal Music: Sociocultural, Linguistic and Literary Perspectives on Heavy Metal Lyrics (Emerald Studies in Metal Music and Culture), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 185-199. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-83909-948-920200017
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