The Classical-Metal connection expands


For 20+ years, first with the Dark Legions Archive and next with the Death Metal Underground, the writers behind this site have encouraged comparison with heavy metal and two things: European Romanticism in art, music, and literature; and European classical music, which overlapped with Romanticism both in a specific time period and in themes it revisits even to this day. The similarities are abundant and apparent but offensive to those who want to believe the blues-rock spectrum was part of an authentic tradition, when in fact it was a commercial product simplifying earlier styles, and that — of course — metalheads cannot have any associations more profound than the sacred indie rock and its origins in 1960s protest music.

Now, others are taking up the call. Perfect Sound Forever, one of the oldest e-zines on the net, addresses the metal-classical linkage in an article in its current edition:

I’m here to show you that rock and roll and classical are very much relatives in an, albeit, diverse musical family. First off, the sort of person who enjoys classical music is the same sort of person who would enjoy metal or heavy rock music. Research by scientists at Heriot-Watt University has found that not only are peoples’ personalities linked to their taste in music – classical and heavy metal listeners often have very similar dispositions.

“The general public has held a stereotype of heavy metal fans being suicidally depressed and a danger to themselves and society in general,” explained Adrian North, the professor who led the study. “But they are quite delicate things. Metal fans, like classical listeners, tend to be creative, gentle people, at ease with themselves. We think the answer is that both types of music, classical and heavy metal, have something of the spiritual about them — they’re very dramatic — a lot happens. ”

Perhaps more will be known about not only the similarities between these genres, but — because every cause has an effect — what similar ideas or emotions motivated artists to make such similar music centuries apart.

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7 thoughts on “The Classical-Metal connection expands”

  1. fenrir says:

    Old News, if I remember well.

    Let’s attack this with their own ammunition.

    Let’s attack the fact that they have attempted to brush everything that is not so-called “art” music under the rug by collectively tagging it as “popular music”, while the vague description does not fit things like true black metal.

    1. That’s an interesting place to begin.

      1. Collector of Cocks says:


        How do you feel about later Wolfsheim albums after “No Happy View” ?

  2. LV says:

    The connection is interesting for “academic reasons.” However I feel that the link between metal and Western Classical is being used as a means to validate metal’s credibility; rather than allowing the genre to stand on its own merits.

    > Western Classical is Supreme High Art
    > Metal shares qualities with WC.
    > Metal is High Art, but lower than WC

    Metal can be, metal is, both good and artistically valid without the heritage.

    1. William Pilgrim says:

      I agree with this completely. We are our own genre and need to convince nobody else.

  3. Jason Gross says:

    Thanks for the shout out!

    1. You’ve run a great magazine for years, and I am glad to have it on these pages (and proud to have a story published in it as well).

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