UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Multilingual Metal: Sociocultural, Linguistic and Literary Perspectives on Heavy Metal Lyrics

20 September 2018–21 September 2018, 9:00 am–5:00 pm

Heavy Metal

Event Information

Open to







Riitta Valijarvi


16 Taviton Street
United Kingdom

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.

Keynote speakers:

Imke von Helden (University of Koblenz-Landau)

Titus Hjelm (UCL)

Karl Spracklen (Leeds Beckett University)


Both Days £45.

Day 1 only: £25.

Day 2 only: £20.

There is no fee for postgraduate students- please contact the organiser for the booking code. 

There will be a panel discussion, a complementary drinks reception and a self-funded dinner on the first day. 



If you have any questions about the event, please email: r.valijarvi@ucl.ac.uk. The event is supported by the UCL Octagon Small Grants Fund.


Riitta-Liisa Valijärvi (UCL, Uppsala University)

Amanda Digioia (UCL)

Charlotte Doesburg (UCL)

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