With its first issue due in 2015, the realization of Metal Music Studies represents a long and difficult path from the origins of metal study in the 1980s but shows how far metal has come.
Other than a handful of academics, few have chosen to explore the subcultures and values of metal music, preferring to group it into the broader cloud of popular music. The past few years have seen a convergence of academia and the more literate of popular metal journalism, with academic symposiums and publications intermingling with popular books on metal and its history.
Metal Music Studies promises a bridge between these two worlds. “To publish high-quality, world-class research, theory and shorter, timely debates that serve as a bridge between the Academy and the wider genre of metal music writing,” it states as part of its goal.
It further notes a desire to be a hub for for the International Society of Metal Music Studies (ISMMS), and “vehicle to promote the development of metal music studies as an interdisciplinary, international subject field.” This academe-speak means roughly what you might expect, which is that since metal music studies does not fit neatly into any particular field, it must bridge multiple fields, including ethics, musicology and philosophy.
The journal states its purpose to “be the focus for research and theory in metal music studies – a multidisciplinary (and increasingly interdisciplinary) subject field that engages with a range of parent disciplines, including (but not limited to) sociology, musicology, humanities, cultural studies, geography, philosophy, psychology, history, natural sciences.”
For those of us who have labored for years under a desire to see metal music given more serious study, and who have believed that this art form has more to communicate that adolescent rebellion and profitability, it is gratifying to see this journal getting ready to launch.