Multilingual Metal: Sociocultural, Linguistic and Literary Perspectives on Heavy Metal Lyrics University College London, 20-21 September 2018

Heavy metal music has been the subject of scholarly interest since the 1990s. Early academic studies focused on challenging the negative stereotypes of the sub-genre. The field has expanded over the years to include a wide range of sociological and musicological perspectives. For example, the connections between black and death metal, religion, nationalism and Viking imagery have been actively investigated, as have other controversies surrounding the scene, such as racism and sexism. Relatively little attention has been paid exclusively to heavy metal lyrics in this emerging field, with some notable exceptions (e.g. Weinstein 1991, Clendinning & McAuley 2009, Spracklen 2015, Sellheim 2016). There have also been some recent studies on heavy metal practices and lyrics in individual countries and cultures, e.g. Islamic societies (LeVine 2008, Wallach 2011, Hecker 2012), China (Wong 2011), the Easter Islands (Bendrups 2011), Aboriginal Australia (Mansfield 2013, 2014), Finland (Oksanen 2011) and Norway (von Helden 2017).

Inspired by these developments in heavy metal studies, the purpose of our multi-disciplinary conference is to explore further the textual analysis of heavy metal lyrics written in languages other than English. In cases where the primary language of the lyrics is English, loans or elements from other languages can be the topic of investigation. We welcome papers on, for example, the following different approaches:

– Poetics, literary analysis and metaphors in heavy metal lyrics

– Themes and localized narratives in heavy metal in a certain language

– Comparative analysis of heavy metal lyrics in different countries, societies or eras

– Comparative analysis of metal lyrics by different bands or in different sub-genres of metal

– Heavy metal in minority and endangered language contexts as a tool for empowerment and resistance

– Authenticity, originality and legitimacy for national identity in the heavy metal context

– Gender and race in non-English-medium heavy metal

– Representations of culture or identity in multilingual metal music

– Codeswitching and translanguaging in heavy metal

– Intertextuality in heavy metal lyrics

– Sociolinguistics and heavy metal lyrics

– Content Analysis, Discourse Analysis and Critical Discourse Analysis applied to multilingual metal

Please submit your abstract via Easy Chair by 31 May 2018 using the following link: The length of abstracts is 300 words, excluding bibliography. Talks are 20 minutes followed by 10 minutes for discussion. We will notify authors about the acceptance of their papers by 15 June 2018. Selected papers from the conference will be published in a peer-reviewed edited volume. If you have any questions about the event, please email: There is no conference fee for post-graduate students. Registration information will be available in June. The event is supported by the UCL Octagon Small Grants Fund.

Keynote speakers: tbc


Riitta-Liisa Valijärvi (UCL, Uppsala University)

Amanda Digioia (UCL)

Charlotte Doesburg (UCL)