Metal and Religion

The Department for the Study of Religions at Masaryk University invites your participation in a conference on the overall theme of “Metal and Religion” to be held in Brno, Czechia, 7-8 September, 2022.

Metal and religion are very closely intertwined areas. From its beginning in the 60’s and 70’s with Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and alike, metal is sourced by various religious themes, especially mythological, demonological, apocalyptical, or occult. Some branches of metal are even explicitly associated with specific religious and spiritual identities, such as Left-Hand Path or Satanism (mainly in black metal), Paganism (mostly in black/pagan/folk metal) or Christianity (Christian metal). There are metalheads who declare that metal is their religion, and also some scholars discuss that metal has a social and psychological function(s) as a religion. On the other hand, religion can be a relevant target for controversial and transgressive acts of metal bands and fans, as could be seen e. g. in offensive declarations against religion by many metal bands (e. g. against Christianity in the West), which can even lead to criminal activity (with the black metal church arsons of the 90’s being the most famous example). From a different angle, religious actors, mainly from fundamentalist or conservative religious spectrum, have also traditionally played an important role as opponents in public struggles against metal.

As this cursory overview exemplify, the interferences between religion and spirituality on the one hand and metal music culture on the other are numerous, multifaceted, and sometimes even contradictory and to study them, one investigates the multidimensional and changing nature of religion and music cultures in the modern world. It is these intersections we would like to devote our conference for. The topics we seek to cover include (but are not limited to):

  • Religion and spirituality in metal
  • Metal as a religion
  • Metal against religion
  • Religion against metal
  • Metal, religion, and controversy
  • Metal, religion, and war
  • Metal studies in Central and Eastern Europe
  • Theoretical/methodological approaches in metal studies
  • Intersections of metal studies and the study of religions

The conference is multidisciplinary and is open for contributions from different fields of studies (e. g. metal studies, musicology, the study of religions, anthropology, sociology, cultural studies etc.).

Organizing bodies:

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