Popular Music History, Vol 6, No 1/Vol 6, no 2 (2011)

The extreme metal ‘connoisseur’

Nicola Allett
Issued Date: 14 May 2012


This article draws on the author's research with extreme metal fans to consider the construction of extreme metal community in the UK, in the light of controversies and set against a wider culture that is increasingly celebrating the extreme. It considers a discursive strategy by fans to define extreme metal against a mainstream and legitimate their taste by adopting a system of values and distinctions that position themselves as ‘connoisseurs’. The author demonstrates that her respondents’ consumption of extremity contrasts with their presentation of selves as connoisseurs of ‘high’ art who value knowledge, virtuosity, distance and expert judgement. Such an emphasis upon connoisseur values and ‘high culture’ characteristics place extreme metal music as art, removing allegations of profanity and distancing extreme metal music and community from the ‘low’ culture of the popular mainstream.

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DOI: 10.1558/pomh.v6i1.164


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