Metal and Religion
6th Czech Academic Conference about Metal
7-8 September 2022
Masaryk University, Brno, Czechia
The Department for the Study of Religions at Masaryk University and Czech Metal Studies invite you to the international academic conference “Metal and Religion” to be held in Brno, Czech Republic, 7-8 September, 2022.
See Call for Papers for details about the topics of the conference.
In-person participation encouraged but online presentations are also acceptable.
The conference is without a fee.
(Extended) abstract submission deadline:
31 July 2022!
Registration deadline for passive attendance only:
5 September 2022
For the registration follow the link.
Offical web: Metal and Religion | MUNI PHIL
For the actual information you can also follow FB Event of the conference: link
Main organizer: Ing. Mgr. et Mgr. Miroslav Vrzal, Ph.D.
Call for Papers:
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):
- Religionand 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.).
Programme of the conference will be available in the mid of August 2022.
1st keynote lecture
(Åbo Akademi University in Turku)
Marcus Moberg is Professor in the Study of Religions at Åbo Akademi University in Turku, Finland. His research focuses on institutional religious change in the Western world, religion, media and popular culture, and the discursive study of religion. In addition to these topics, Moberg’s research has also focused on the relationship between religion and metal music and culture. Key publications include Christian Metal (Bloomsbury 2015), Church, Market, and Media (Bloomsbury 2017), The Bloomsbury Handbook of Religion and Popular Music (co-edited with Christopher Partridge, Bloomsbury 2018), and Religion, Discourse, and Society (Routledge 2022).
Metal and “Religion”: A View from the Discipline of the Study of Religion
Ever since its emergence and initial development during the late 1960s and early 1970s, heavy metal has been characterized by its, often highly conspicuous, fascination with the apocalyptic visions of the Bible, the world of mythology and legend, different strands of Occultism, Western Esotericism, Paganism, and Satanism. These themes have since long ago developed into an integral and defining characteristic of the genre as a whole. Largely for this reason, the history of heavy metal has also been ridden with controversy. The genre has been the subject of numerous moral panics and Satanism-scares in social contexts as varied as North America and Western Europe, former socialist Eastern Europe and, more recently, countries such as Indonesia, Iran and Egypt. The presence of “religion” throughout the world of heavy metal has, by now, also received a fair amount of scholarly attention. However, due to a lack of proper and critical engagement with the both folk and scholarly category of “religion”, a substantial part of this scholarship remains problematic from a Study of Religion point of view. This address outlines some main areas of focus in the study of metal and religion, discusses their respective virtues and weaknesses, and provides some suggestions for how the study of religion and metal could usefully develop in the future.
2nd keynote lecture (online)
(University of Central Lancashire)
Niall Scott is Reader in Philosophy and Popular Culture at the University of Central Lancashire. He is the principal editor of the Intellect journal Metal Music Studies and was a founding member and chair of the International Society of Metal Music Studies (ISMMS) and co-creator of WMC, the World Metal Congress. He has published widely on heavy metal music and its culture from a philosophical and theological perspective, including in edited collections such as Reflections in the Metal Void (2012), Heavy Metal and Gender with Florian Heesch (2016) and Heavy Metal Music and the Communal Experience with Nelson Varas-Diaz (2016).
Apophatic transgressions and hymns to the void
Christianity often receives bad publicity in the metal world. A range of views can be identified from explicit anti-Christian sentiments expressed in ‘satanic’ and existential hatred of the religion and its institutions through to seeing it as ‘peculiar’ in the case of Christian metal (Moberg, M. 2012). In a more charitable vein being both a Christian and a metalhead may be met with bemusement. Previously I have written on inconsistencies in the Christian perspective regarding theologies concerning evil and some of death and black metal’s rejection of the Abrahamic conception of God. In this paper my aim is to show that metal culture, especially extreme metal, is arguably indebted to Christian theology, especially concerning role of apophasis and the contribution negative theology makes in its lyrical expression and aesthetics of sound. Apophatic tendencies, I maintain, are transgressive in both spheres – of religion and of metal in a differentiation between a negative negation and a positive negation of the divine.