When Love and Critique Collide. Methodology, Ontology, Fandom and Standpoint in Metal Music

This article is a slightly updated version of the article of the same name published in Metal Music Studies 7 (2), 197-210 (2021), with permission from the editor.


  • Rosemary L. Hill


Metal studies is now into its teenage years. It has been shaped by different fields of academic study, different ideas of how research should be done, varying ideas about the kinds of questions we should be asking and even, and importantly, varying ideas of what metal is and what counts as metal. In this article, I open up discussion about methodology and ontology in metal studies. This is a vital discussion because it goes to the heart of what we can say about metal. My aim is to prick the consciences of metal scholars in order to inspire closer examination of our standpoints as researchers. I argue that as metal scholars we are often researching the music that we love, and this can mean that we take a defensive position. Because of this, we need to be especially attentive to how our fan positions may blind us to discussing difficult aspects of our culture such as vicious misogyny and banal nationalism.