Death Metal and Music Criticism: Analysis at the Limits

Front Cover
Lexington Books, Mar 15, 2012 - Music - 172 pages
0 Reviews
Death metal is one of popular music's most extreme variants, and is typically viewed as almost monolithically nihilistic, misogynistic, and reactionary. Studies tend to view the music as a reflection of these listeners' social conditions and are concerned with metal's pleasures so long as these can be seen within that context: as responses to cultural and economic circumstances.

Michelle Phillipov's Death Metal and Music Criticism: Analysis at the Limits, in contract, offers an account of listening pleasure on its own terms. Through an analysis of death metal's sonic and lyrical extremity, Phillipov shows how violence and aggression can be configured as sites for pleasure and play in death metal music, with little relation to the 'real' lives of listeners. In some cases, gruesome lyrical themes and fractured song forms invite listeners to imagine new experiences of the body and of the self. In others, the speed and complexity of the music foster a 'technical' or distanced appreciation akin to the viewing experiences of graphic horror film fans. These aspects of death metal listening are often neglected by scholarly accounts concerned with evaluating music as either 'progressive' or 'reactionary.'

By contextualizing the discussion of death metal via substantial overviews of popular music studies as a field, Phillipov's Death Metal and Music Criticism highlights how the premium placed on political engagement in popular music studies not only circumscribes our understanding of the complexity and specificity of death metal, but of other musical styles as well. Exploring death metal at the limits of conventional music criticism helps not only to develop a more nuanced account of death metal listening—it also offers some important starting points for a rethinking of popular music scholarship as a whole.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

The Rise of Political Criticism
1
The Politics of Popular Music Studies
19
The Search for the New Punk
35
A Promise Unfulfilled
53
The Pleasures of Death Metal
71
Death Metal and the Reorientation of Listening
73
The Pleasures of Horror
89
Becoming Death
107
Bodies Prepared for Slaughter
119
Conclusion
133
Select Discography
137
References
139
Index
153
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

Michelle Phillipov is a lecturer in journalism, media, and communications at the University of Tasmania.

Bibliographic information