- The Oxford Handbook of Music and World Christianities
- Music, Convert, and Subject in the North Sumatran Mission Field
- Mission Music as a Mode of Intercultural Transmission, Charisma, and Memory in Northern Australia
- Coexistence of Causal and Cultural Expressions of Musical Values among the Sabaot of Kenya
- Indigenous Innovations on Music and Christianity at Ratana Pa
- Music as Shared Space in Mennonite Development Work in Chad
- Are Western Christian <i>Bhajans</i> “Reverse” Mission Music?
- Drums in the Experience of Black Catholicism in Minas Gerais, Brazil
- Chant as the Articulation of Christian Aramean Spirithood
- The Politics of Pronunciation among German-Speaking Mennonites in Northern Mexico
- Hidden Histories of Religious Music in a South African Coloured Community
- Music and Religiosity among African American Fundamentalist Christians
- Songs of <i>Oru Olai</i> and the Praxis of Alternative Dalit Christian Modernities in India
- The Renaissance of the Corsican Confraternities and Their Musical Negotiations
- Local Music Making and the Liturgical Renovation in Minas Gerais
- The Survival Story of Syriac Chants among the St. Thomas Christians in South India
- Russian Church Music, Conundrums of Style, and the Politics of Preservation in the Emigre Diaspora of New York
- Parading Protestantisms and the Flute Bands of Postconflict Northern Ireland
- Everyday Musical Ethnicity and Roma (Gypsies) in Hungarian Pentecostalism
- Transnational Connections, Musical Meaning, and the 1990s “British Invasion” of North American Evangelical Worship Music
- Negotiations of Faith and Space in Memphis Music
- Tropes of Continuity and Disjuncture in the Globalization of Gospel Music
- Mainline Protestantism and Contemporary versus Traditional Worship Music
- Negotiating the Tensions of U.S. Worship Music in the Marketplace
- Contingency and the Symbolic Experience of Christian Extreme Metal
- Palestinian Christmas Songs for Peace and Justice in Sacred Place and Politicized Space
- The Diffusion of Gregorian Chant in Southern Italy and the Masses for St. Michael: To Barbara Haggh and to the Memory of Michel Huglo
- Performing Pannkotis Identity in Haiti
- Christianity and Korean Traditional Music
- Congregational Singing, Orthodox Christianity, and the Making of Ecumenicity
- Afterward: Sound, Soteriology, Return, and Revival in the Global History of Christian Musics
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter explores Christian extreme metal as a window on the way religion is expressed in contemporary Western culture, drawing on continental theorists of the post-secular. Christian extreme metal lyrics, sonic and structural musical features, and visual features are remarkably continuous with “secular” extreme metal, which positions itself in explicit opposition to Christianity and the “mainstream” world. But Christian extreme metal fans see Christian metal as qualitatively different from “secular” extreme metal. This apparent contradiction shows powerfully how religious symbols circulate in Western late modernity: religious symbols (e.g., biblical texts, stories, languages, and characters—and their symbolic inversions and opposites, drawn on in “secular” extreme metal) have been divested of their truth value and instead circulate as symbols, as meanings with experiential consequences. This allows for a surprising flow of symbols and meanings between secular and Christian extreme metal, and at the same time for qualitatively unique experiences.
Matthew Unger is a doctoral candidate in Sociology (social theory) at the University of Alberta. His dissertation is a hermeneutical analysis of the aesthetic discourse surrounding the genre of extreme metal, in order to examine our contemporary fascination with horror, the grotesque, and transgression. It takes the aesthetic material of this subculture as paradigmatic of the ways in which contemporary experiences of the unknown repose upon pre-theological conceptions of causal relations, what Paul Ricoeur calls “defilement.” Matthew has also pursued research in ethnic and religious conflict, the philosophy of social science, and Mennonite Studies.
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