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For some, gender remains a mechanism of marginalization within mainstream popular culture because of expectations concerning what femininity and masculinity entail. This…
For some, gender remains a mechanism of marginalization within mainstream popular culture because of expectations concerning what femininity and masculinity entail. This marginalization refers both broadly to the way girls/women are marginalized as well as the marginalization of those boys/men who fail to conform to societal gendered expectations. If alternativity is synonymous with resistance to this mainstream popular culture it would be logical to then assume that alternative spaces could provide opportunities for pursuing alternative understandings of gender. But to what extent does empirical work support this proposition? Are alternative spaces created or used in ways which envision gender differently to hegemonic discourses concerning femininity/masculinity? Or do normative gendered beliefs and practices prevail? This chapter will critically explore these questions through a number of alternative spaces, drawing out key themes and emerging gaps. This exploration will take the subcultural work of the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies as its starting point, acknowledging the limitations of such work in theorising gender within alternative spaces, before exploring what empirical work across a number of subcultural spaces ‘offers’ in relation to gender. Before concluding the chapter will, more briefly, consider a relatively more recent consideration of online alternative spaces.
Masculinity and heavy metal share a clear and well-documented relationship, with many of the key texts on metal centering around its representation of gender (Walser…
Masculinity and heavy metal share a clear and well-documented relationship, with many of the key texts on metal centering around its representation of gender (Walser, 1993; Weinstein, 1991). Less discussed is masculinity in Australian metal, as Australian metal itself remains underrepresented in scholarly research. In this chapter we discuss the music, media and image of Parkway Drive – a popular metalcore band from Byron Bay, Australia – via a reading of two of the band’s feature-length rockumentary films. We draw on concepts and theories of gender (Butler, 2006), and public image (Leonard, 2007), as well as studies of Australian masculinity, specifically those pertaining to mateship, surfing, and adventurousness. As the metalcore subgenre has not been widely studied, this approach provides a basis for understanding the subgenre as well as its relationship to gender, commercial success, and Australian heavy metal, focussing on the decidedly Anglo-Australian representation of masculinity performed by Parkway Drive. We argue that the band typifies a distinctly Australian type of hegemonic masculinity, one that draws on discussion of Australian identity, beach culture and surfing. We further examine the band’s use of ‘rockumentary’ tropes to build their public image and to tighten affective bonds with viewers.
After the extreme turn of the late 1980s and early 1990s of metal music, three northern England-based bands – My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost from Bradford, and Anathema…
After the extreme turn of the late 1980s and early 1990s of metal music, three northern England-based bands – My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost from Bradford, and Anathema from Liverpool, commonly referred to as ‘the Peaceville Three’ – went on to pioneer the musical style which came to be known as death/doom. Mid-1990s have seen these bands’ stylistic shift into a more gothic rock-influenced sound. This Paradise Lost-led shift gave birth to the style gothic/doom. Around this deviation, these bands also started to employ a different sense, or rather a sense, of locality in their music: Paradise Lost started calling themselves a Yorkshire band, instead of specifically Bradford; Anathema shot a video for their 1995 song ‘The Silent Enigma’ in Saddleworth Moor (historically part of West Riding of Yorkshire) in Manchester; and later, My Dying Bride became more and more ingrained in the Goth culture of Whitby, including releasing an extended-play titled The Barghest o’ Whitby (2011), a Dracula-inspired trail guide, and frequently appearing in festivals in Whitby. This ethnographic research with both musicians and fans further suggests the involvement of the North in making and perception of gothic/doom. Applying Michel de Certau’s idea stating that ‘every story is a spacial practice’ within the context of northern England landscape, gothic/doom metal style emerges as an act of northernness. The author proposes to discuss how this act is performed within these bands’ oeuvre and how it is perceived from the listener perspective using interviews with people from around the world, and musicological analyses of significant songs from the repertoire of this trio.
This chapter explores the theoretical foundations of Hazeen, a Muslim blackened death metal band formed in 2015 by the authors - Safdar Ahmed on guitar and vocals, and Can…
This chapter explores the theoretical foundations of Hazeen, a Muslim blackened death metal band formed in 2015 by the authors - Safdar Ahmed on guitar and vocals, and Can Yalcinkaya on the drums and darbuka. It provides insights into the musical and performative practices of our band that are informed by traditions of black and death metal, but which also re-interpret them through an engagement with anti-fascist, anti-Islamophobic politics as well as Sufi/batini elements. Hazeen responds to a rising tide of Islamophobia in Australia, using our lyrics and performances to attack racist stereotyping and the dehumanisation of Muslims. In our performances, we dress in black, Islamic attire and apply ‘corpse paint’ to become the much feared ‘other’ of the post-9/11 world - the monstrous, rabid, zombie-like Muslim that has haunted the right wing/conservative imagination in the West. Our lyrics address such issues as the inhumane treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia, halal food conspiracies, orientalism and the so-called ‘clash of civilisations’. This chapter presents a critical exegesis of Hazeen’s output in the form of live gigs, art performances and studio recordings. It seeks to identify Hazeen’s place within the broader Australian metal scene, posing questions of authenticity and how metal enables us to question hegemonic notions of identity. Hazeen’s use of art spaces as venues of performance and involvement in the indie/zine community highlights an unconventional position within the local metal scene.
This personal, non-fiction essay explores the punk subculture and themes of death as a teenager growing up in the post-industrial city of Buffalo, New York, in the 1990s. Within this text, punk and indie music releases, exposure to live performances in unconventional spaces, independent record stores as an alternative education, and participatory fanzine culture, serve as a pivotal catalyst for rejuvenation and release – for creativity and self-expression while grieving the loss of one’s mother from cancer. The punk subculture and its related ‘do-it-yourself’ (DIY) media communities which eventually led to a professorship prove to be both inspirational and a transformative method of healing and being.
The key characteristics that eventually came to be considered to be Australian ‘heavy metal’ emerged between 1965 and 1973. These include distortion, power, intensity…
The key characteristics that eventually came to be considered to be Australian ‘heavy metal’ emerged between 1965 and 1973. These include distortion, power, intensity, extremity, loudness and aggression. This exploration of the origins of heavy metal in Australia focusses on the key acts which provided its domestic musical foundations, and investigates how the music was informed by its early, alcohol-fuelled early audiences, sites of performance, media and record shops. Melbourne-based rock guitar hero Lobby Loyde’s classical music influence and technological innovations were important catalysts in the ‘heaviness’ that would typify Australian proto-metal in the 1960s. By the early 1970s, loud and heavy rock was firmly established as a driving force of the emerging pub rock scene. Extreme volume heavy rock was taken to the masses was Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs in the early 1970s whose triumphant headline performance at the 1972 Sunbury Pop Festival then established them as the most popular band in the nation. These underpinnings were consolidated by three bands: Sydney’s primal heavy prog-rockers Buffalo (Australia’s counterpart to Britain’s Black Sabbath), Loyde’s defiant Coloured Balls and the highly influential AC/DC, who successfully crystallised heavy Australian rock in a global context. This chapter explores how the archaeological foundations for Australian metal are the product of domestic conditions and sensibilities enmeshed in overlapping global trends. In doing so, it also considers how Australian metal is entrenched in localised musical contexts which are subject to the circulation of international flows of music and ideas.