Musings on metal and its evolving demography

2016 Metal in Strange Places Conference


Last week, I flew to Ohio with the wife to attend the MISP (Metal in Strange Places) conference at University of Dayton. It was held in the same space as the 2014 MACI (Metal and Cultural Impact) conference and was coordinated by Bryan Bardine, who put together the previous one. Coming from a library slant, wifey presented on using social media as a resource for research and introduced the concept of the netnography to the group, which is essentially ethnographic research conducted using online resources, especially social media.

During her presentation, she used examples from her thesis work on women in New York’s extreme metal scene to illustrate steps of the research process. She also spoke about, and gave examples from, the Metal Music Librarians group on Facebook, which she created and is geared towards academic metal discussion. It includes CFP’s (call for papers) and other topical metal news, along with library-related information, like creating special collections dedicated to music or ‘zines. The group isn’t solely for librarians, so if you’re interested in joining, feel free!


Unlike last time, we were able to see all of the panels, although we electively missed one on the first day because we were drained from travel and needed to crash at the hotel. It was a fantastic showing, with a great variety of panels and presentations. Some of the speakers were new to us, and others were people we knew from previous conferences – including people who my wife has presented with before – so, it was like coming home.

Also, the final keynote speaker this year was Henkka Seppala, the bassist from Children of Bodom. His talk was called “Playing Metal for a Living and Studying Human Capital: The Music Scene, Scholar System, and their Future in Finland”. Like the others, it was insightful and fascinating.  He spoke about the Finnish education system, playing in a band and touring the world while getting a higher education degree and about the Finnish metal scene in general.

I’ll write about the panels in a upcoming posts. For now, here’s the schedule of events:

Day 1

Thursday, October 20, 2016 Keller Hall, University of Dayton Law School, Mathias Heck Courtroom

  • 3:00-5:00 p.m.—Registration
  • 5:15-5:30 p.m.—Welcome and Introduction: Bryan Bardine, Andy Slade (English Dept. Chair)

5:30-6:45 p.m.—Session #1
Session Chair: Bryan Bardine

  • Keynote #1—Tracy Reilly: “Heavy Metal in Court”

7:00-9:00 p.m.—Fiction Reading: Metal and Literature (Snacks and Drinks Provided) Session Chair: Bryan Bardine

  • Dean Swinford: Reading from the Death Metal Epic Trilogy: The Inverted Katabasis and Goat Song Sacrifice

Day 2

Friday, October 21, 2016 Kennedy Union Ballroom
9:00 a.m.-All Day—Registration
9:20-9:30 a.m.—Opening Remarks: Bryan Bardine

9:30-10:45 a.m.—Session #2: Metal Community around the World
Session Chair: Nelson Varas Diaz

  • Edward Banchs: “They Will Scream Quietly: The Metal Community of Zimbabwe in Times of Peril”
  • Kris Fletcher: “The Rise of Mediterranean Metal”
  • Felix Reyes: “Move Over J-Pop: Empowering Women Ruling with Resistance in the Japanese Jukinzoku Scene”

11:00-12:15 p.m.—Session #3: Metal and the Winds of Hostility
Session Chair: Brenda Walter

  • Matthew Unger: “Teaching Brutality: Methodological Reflections on the Study of Extreme Metal Aesthetics”
  • Eric Smialek: “Extreme Metal and Its Others: Metal Audiences’ Hostility Towards Adolescence”
  • Brenda Walter: “Visceral: Disemboweling the Bodily Architecture of Black Metal”
  • 12:15-2:00 p.m.—Lunch Break
  • Jebeneezer Law: “Moments in Time: Capturing Dayton’s Metal Scene” photography exhibit will be in room 207 for the first half of each lunch break during the conference.

2:00-3:15 p.m.—Session #4
Session Chair: Amanda Reed

  • Keynote #2—Gabby Riches: “Researching on the Edges: Reconceptualizing Extreme Metal Female Fandom through Moshpit Practices and Affective Encounters”

3:30-4:45 p.m.—Session #5: Black Metal around the World
Session Chair: Brian Hickam

  • Mei-Ra St. Laurent: “Metal Noir Quebecois: Understanding Black Metal Representations of Nationalist Ideology in Quebec’s Black Metal Scene”
  • Russell Skelchy: “Worshippers of the Sugarcane Fields: Black Metal and the Politics of Inversion in Indonesia”
  • Brian Hickam: “To Cast a Shadow: Semiotics of Color in Black Metal Cover Art”

5:00-6:15 p.m.—Session #6: Which Side are You On?
Session Chair: Edward Banchs

  • Aaron McPeck: “American Folk Metal: Homegrown Sounds in Panopticon’s ‘Kentucky’”
  • Jasmine Shadrack: “Mater Onmium and the Cosmic Womb of the Abyss: Nomadic Interiorities and Matrifocal Black Metal Performance”
  • James Kopf: “From Helvete to Headphones: Black Metal, Disreality, and the Temporary Autonomous Zone”

Rest of Evening: Explore Dayton
We will have a list of local restaurants and bars in the area if you are interested in going out for the evening, including a sign-up sheet for various places.

Day 3

Saturday, October 22, 2016 Kennedy Union Ballroom

  • 9:00 a.m.-All Day—Registration
  • 9:20-9:30 a.m.—Opening Remarks: Bryan Bardine

9:30-10:45 a.m.—Session #7: Researching Metal Studies
Session Chair: Ross Hagen

  • Ross Hagen, Nelson Varas Diaz, Jasmine Hazel Shadrack, and Joan Jocson Singh: “Looking for Metal: Rethinking Methodologies in Metal Studies”

11:00-12:15 p.m.—Session #8: Taking a Closer Look at Dayton’s Metal Scene
Session Chair: Bryan Bardine

  • Neilson Hixson, Jebeneezer Law, Marc Godsey, and Benny Bodine: “Exploring the Dayton Metal Scene from the Perspective of a Club Owner, Metal Photographer, and Two Musicians”
  • 12:15-2:00 p.m.—Lunch Break
  • Jebeneezer Law: “Moments in Time: Capturing Dayton’s Metal Scene”

2:00-3:15 p.m.—Session #9: The Look, the Sound, and the Fashion of Metal
Session Chair: Brad Klypchak

  • Toni-Matti Karjalainen: “Exploring the Use of Country-of-Origin References in Metal Media”
  • Brian Kirkmeyer: “Engineering Design Concepts in Heavy Metal”
  • Amanda Barnett: “Denim Metals: Does Heavy Metal Dress Code and Subgenre Sabotage or Supercharge the Battle Jacket Experience”

3:30-4:45 p.m.—Session #10: Understanding at the Margins
Session Chair: Kevin Ebert

  • Kevin Ebert: “Teaching Metal: Navigating the Reactions in the Classroom”
  • Masie Kaiser: “The Myth of ‘Genderblindness’ in Metal Culture”
  • Jeremy Wallach and Esther Clinton: “United We Shall Never Fail: Thoughts on Metal and Disability”

5:00-6:15 p.m.—Session #11
Session Chair: Chris Burnside

  • Keynote #3—Henkka Seppala: “Playing Metal for a Living and Studying Human Capital: The Music Scene, Scholar System, and their Future in Finland”

6:15-6:30 p.m.—Conference Closing

8:00 p.m.—Charity Concert Featuring: ZUEL, Engraved Darkness, EpiKisT, 4 Star Revival, and Forces of Nature at Oddbody’s Music Room, 5418 Burkhardt Road, Dayton, OH



5 responses

  1. Pingback: I met Henkka Seppala! | Ugly Bass Face

  2. Pingback: Black Friday / Cyber Monday 2016 | Ugly Bass Face

  3. Reblogged this on ontheshelves and commented:
    Hi folks, I don’t think I ever summarized the last conference I presented at but it was this past October – The Metal in Strange Places Conference. My husband did a great job of talking about it at his blog so instead of reinventing the wheel, I’ve re-posted his review of it here. Thanks Vish!


    January 6, 2017 at 9:42 am

    • vishalicious

      I actually have to finish this. I meant to write about the actual panels, but haven’t made time yet!


      January 6, 2017 at 9:43 am

      • heh-it’s a good starting point. I hadn’t even written up a recap yet!

        Liked by 1 person

        January 6, 2017 at 9:44 am

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