Appels à contributions : Metal Music Studies (Journal)

Appels à contributions pour des numéros de Metal Music Studies 

Échéance des articles pour le numéro spécial ‘Fade to Black: Philosophy and Psychology Through Metallica’ : 31 janvier 2022

Échéances des propositions pour la section 2, “Is Metal a Subculture?” : 20 septembre 2022

This peer-reviewed journal provides a focus for research and theory in metal music studies, a multidisciplinary (and interdisciplinary) subject field that engages with a range of parent disciplines. It provides a platform for high-quality research and theory and aims to be a unique resource for metal music studies. It is the intellectual hub for the International Society of Metal Music Studies.

General Call for Papers

Metal Music Studies is explicitly multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary: embracing both musicological research and music theory about metal music, and social scientific and humanistic research about metal music as a genre. We are interested in original papers on metal music. We aim to receive contributions from researchers and theorists aligned with the subject field of metal music studies, but also researchers and theorists from other disciplines who feel that their interest in a form of popular music marginalizes them from the core debates in their discipline.

The journal consists of two sections: a main section for full papers; and a second section for shorter pieces, reflections and reviews.

We would be happy to receive contributions from scholars in the parent disciplines of music theory, musicology, aesthetics, music technology, performance, art, policy studies, politics, cultural studies, economics, pedagogy, sociology, linguistics, psychology, history, regional studies, theology, philosophy, and natural sciences. As well as new research and theory on metal music in all its forms, the journal will accept and commission shorter pieces from those involved in the metal music industry: journalists, label owners and other industry insiders, managers, musicians and fans.


We are now accepting full papers (no more than 8000 words) for section one of the journal, and book reviews and short articles (3000 words) for section two.

From volume 8 onwards, MMS welcomes the following new contribution formats for section two:

Critical album reviews – These are 1500–3000-word reflections on albums that have marked the evolution of metal music in some manner. These critical album reviews will link the album’s music, lyrics, and images to theoretical debates in the field of metal music studies.

Critical concert reviews – These are 1500–3000-word reflections on concert related experiences that help us understand metal music and its current directions. These reflections may include perusals about COVID-19’s impact on concerts, the short- and long-term implications of online concerts, themes addressed in concert dialogues that may be linked to theoretical discussion on metal music, and personal experiences in concerts that may shed light on how metal is manifested throughout the world.

Interviews with musicians, producers, and other industry personnel – These are 3000-word transcriptions of interviews with individuals in the music industry, or even within academia, that can shed light on topics of interest for metal music studies. These may include interviews with musicians, conversations with the producers of albums of interest, and/or insights from other personnel in the music industry that can accompany ongoing theoretical reflections in metal music studies.

All submissions should be sent via the ‘Submit’ link on this page, which will direct to the MMS manuscript submissions system.

Special Issue Call for Papers

Special Issue: ‘Fade to Black: Philosophy and Psychology Through Metallica’

The heavy/thrash metal band Metallica has received minimal philosophical and psychological engagement. There is currently a limited body of literature and the novelty of this Special Issue is to provide a venue in which new multidisciplinary/ interdisciplinary topics can be explored and expanded upon.

The book Metallica and Philosophy: A Crash Course in Brain Surgery by William Irwin (2007), is one of the foremost full book-length studies currently available that deals explicitly with the topic of a philosophical understanding of ‘all’ things related to Metallica. The chapters contained therein, written by different authors, provide unique insight into and describe how (1) the band as a collective, (2) the individual members (with focus on James Hetfield) and (3) the band’s musical output, can be understood through a philosophical lens. Additionally, Irwin’s second book The Meaning of Metallica: Ride the Lyrics (2022) aims to philosophically unpack the meaning behind iconic Metallica lyrics.

Another fundamental text that analyses the band, using a combination of philosophical and psychological ideas and concepts, is the book Damage Incorporated: Metallica and the Production of Musical Identity by Glenn Pillsbury (2006). This text is focused more on psychological and sociological insights and bridges the gap between philosophy and psychology.

The works by Pillsbury (2006) and Irwin (2007), therefore, serve as foundational texts that can be used as a theoretical point of departure that can assess what has been done within this field thus far.

The intention of the Special Issue is to highlight and reveal potential new philosophical and psychological insights that can be made. These new insights can be achieved by either discussing/proposing new ideas or linking back to previous knowledge to support current and/or past claims.

This is an opportunity to engage with a viable research endeavour because Metallica still continues to make a lasting mark on the metal music landscape. The band’s relevance over the past two decades, as a boundary-pushing force, can be seen specifically with the release of albums such as Death Magnetic (2008) – with its EP Beyond Magnetic (2011), the collaborative album Lulu (2011), Hardwired to Self-Destruct (2016), and the most recent ‘Black’ album re-issue The Metallica Backlist (2021). The existence of these albums can either confirm previous arguments, which were first discussed by Pillsbury and Irwin in 2006–2007, or spur on new philosophical and psychological theorizations.


If you are interested in submitting an article, you can send a preliminary abstract to the guest editor at The submission portal for completed articles will then be opened to abstracts that have been approved. The deadline for the completed articles is 31 January 2023. This Special Issue will publish six full-length articles (8000–9000 words). The article submissions must be in English and should adhere to the Intellect house style. All contributions will go through a double-blind peer review process.

Call for Papers for Section 2

Dialogues: ‘Is Metal a Subculture?’

Metalheads have for decades conceived of metal music as a heroically disfavoured subculture that stands in opposition to mainstream culture. This ideal coexists somewhat uncomfortably with metal’s history as a consistently popular and massively profitable commercial force across the globe. A recent manifestation of this tension followed the inclusion of Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets’ in the most recent season of the Netflix series Stranger Things: some metalheads appeared in all seriousness to lament the mainstreaming of one of the most popular bands in the world. Similar examples abound of metal’s reach into surprising places – even the US broadcast of the 2022 Wimbledon finals used a generic metal groove as ‘going to commercial’ music. Further, numerous metal scholars and critics have pointed out that metal’s resistant stance hides the fact that metal cultures often reproduce and even intensify the hierarchies of dominant cultures, both online and out in the world.

This CFP seeks a series of short essays (3000 words max) that will debate questions related to metal as a subculture. As an academic term, ‘subculture’ has a long history and the decades since its entry into cultural studies have seen a number of scholars add layers of nuances and reassessments. Although writers are encouraged to approach subculture in the manner they find most appropriate, they will also need to engage with this body of scholarship.

Articles might address questions such as:

Is the subcultural aura of metal really a commercial appeal to individuality and rebellion?

Do younger generations of metalheads still conceive of ‘being metal’ as an act of defiance or resistance?

Was metal ever really a subculture, or has it always been a part of mainstream culture?

How does this debate translate to metalheads from historically marginalized groups, or who live in the Global South or under authoritarian regimes?

Is the subcultural cachet of metal useful for metalheads and/or metal academics in some circumstances?

Can metal be a subculture without necessarily also being resistant?

Are there aspects of metal that might always remain subcultural?

Naturally, consider the questions above not as limits but as prompts that might inspire further thought and exploration.


– Interested authors should send an abstract (500-word max) to Nelson Varas-Díaz ( and Ross Hagen ( by 30 September 2022.

– Authors will be informed of their selection by 10 October 2022.

– Invited authors should submit their final article (3,000 words max) by 31 January 2023.

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