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

Triumph of the maggots? Valorization of metal in the rock press

Hélène Laurin
Issued Date: 14 May 2012


It is generally accepted that heavy metal has been hated by the rock press more or less since its emergence in the early 1970s, because it is supposedly too hedonistic, too stagnant, too noisy, or too immature (Weinstein 2000; Walser 1993). Is this consensus regarding rock writers’ judgements about heavy metal justified? Looking at reviews, articles and interviews written by rock critics and journalists about metal bands who crossed over to rock culture, this article explores three valorization processes and what is at stake behind them: authenticity strategies (how metal musicians prove their authenticity to prove their legitimacy), historiographical (re)writings (how metal gets told and retold through the years and how it is differentiated from other genres) and art and self-consciouness in metal (how metal came gradually to be described as art done by self-conscious musicians). In conclusion, we see that metal has been assessed more positively than originally thought; more precisely, the rock press changed attitude concerning metal through the years.

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DOI: 10.1558/pomh.v6i1.52


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