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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…
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.
This chapter is an examination of the contribution of female musicianship to the Perth metal scene, particularly in relation to the positioning of women in frontier…
This chapter is an examination of the contribution of female musicianship to the Perth metal scene, particularly in relation to the positioning of women in frontier mythology and the ways in which we might read the gothic sublime in terms of women’s experiences. While it has been recognised that Australian metal music, in general, is tied to the colonial frontier narrative, Perth’s isolation produces a particular kind of frontier narrative which can be read in relation to the gothic sublime. In this chapter, the author examines three Perth metal bands which comprise female members: Claim the Throne (featuring Jess Millea on keys and vocals), Sanzu (featuring Fatima Curley on bass) and Deadspace (featuring Shelby Jansen on bass and vocals). The author will argue that there is a motif running through Perth bands that comprise female musicians that is tied to their positioning in the Western frontier narrative and its production in relation to the gothic sublime. To do so presents one kind of way to conceptualise a metal scene on the ‘Western Front’. The author emphasises that this is not a totalising conceptualisation, rather, it is one way to suggest how context might shape women’s experiences and, perhaps more importantly for this argument, the way in which women women’s experiences and historicity in relation to the legacy of ‘frontierswomen’ inflect metal music in this scene.