The Metal King: Alexander the Great in heavy metal music

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Why are heavy metal bands so interested in the figure of Alexander the Great? The present article develops the argument that there are two overshadowing reasons: (1) the bands reconstruct the figure as a symbol of masculine power and communal unity; and (2) Alexander becomes part of a larger tradition already at an early stage of heavy metal’s history that many bands were interested in maintaining and revisiting. Several heavy metal tracks about him are explored and examined to substantiate this hypothesis. It is shown how these tracks associate him with a number of interrelated, recurring themes, such as conquest, community, imperialism, legacy, masculinity, nationalism, power and unity. These in turn help to project him as a figurehead of warrior virtues and also as a heroic bringer of culture. This is particularly true for Greek heavy metal bands, and their contribution is analysed at length. It is demonstrated how Greek metal songs also offer an intriguing insight into Greece’s political conflicts. Finally, it is suggested that, in his role as a powerful culture-hero and king, Alexander is capable of becoming an allegory for heavy metal itself.

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... Sin embargo, algunos estudiosos se han dedicado ocasionalmente al tema, por ejemplo los reunidos por Roman Bartosch para su tomo sobre la intertextualidad en las letras del Heavy Metal (Bartosch, 2011) o los reclutados por Gerd Bayer y Niall Scott para, respectivamente, la segunda parte de Heavy Metal Music in Britain (Bayer, 2009) y la cuarta parte de Reflections in the Metal Void (Scott, 2012). En cuanto al contenido, aunque inexplicablemente no hayamos encontrado trabajos monográficos dedicados a la influencia de la literatura fantástica y de terror en general, sí lo hemos hecho sobre la ficción gótica (Bardine, 2009(Bardine, , 2015 y el universo de Howard Phillips Lovecraft (Clendinning y McAuley, 2012;Sederholm, 2016) en concreto, si bien el asunto con mayor representación es, sin lugar a dudas, el de la influencia clásica (Campbell, 2009;Lusty, 2013;Umurhan, 2013;Djurslev, 2014;Fletcher, en prensa; a los que habría que sumar el volumen de próxima aparición Heavy Metal Classics: The Reception of the Classical World in Heavy Metal, editado por Umurhan y Fletcher a raíz del éxito del panel «The Enduring Reception of Greek and Roman Antiquity by Heavy Metal Bands» en el encuentro de 2014 de la Classical Association of the Middle West and South), solo igualado por los trabajos dedicados a la presencia de las mitologías nórdicas (Heesch, 2011;Helden, 2012;Walsh, 2013;Neilson, 2015;Niebling, 2015;Piotrowska, 2015). Por su parte, en lo que respecta a la literatura española, esta parece estar representada por un único estudio de Alfonso Boix (2015) sobre la figura del Cid, al que cabría aún añadir dos artículos más bien divulgativos del historiador Pablo Folgueira (2010Folgueira ( , 2016, en los cuales se abordan temas históricos igualmente tratados por la literatura. ...
... The display of power in metal lyrics resonates with the three focal concerns of lower class culture identified by Miller (1958), including "toughness", "smartness" and "autonomy". This finding is also in line with Djurslev's (2014) sample analysis of Alexander the Great themed songs, which found that the lyrics often thematised and highly praised "conquest" and "power". By chanting the capability of conquest, metal lyrics strategically position the metal community as a mighty bloc for the greater good. ...
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Heavy metal as a music culture has immense social influence across the world. In recent years scholars have started to scrutinise metal music from a sociocultural perspective; yet many studies lack quantifiable supporting evidence. For a thorough understanding of band members’ self-constructed identity, this paper analyses a corpus of lyrics from 1,152 heavy metal songs. It identifies 11 lexical words which have a significantly higher frequency in metal lyrics than in popular lyrics, and a total of 1,386 concordances of the 11 words are analysed using the attitude system (Martin and White, 2005). Analysis shows that heavy metal lyrics are characterized by insecurity, loneliness, sadness and desire in terms of affect, by fearlessness, freedom, and condemnation of social injustice in terms of judgement, and by the representation of unpleasant or even disgusting objects, and the valuation of death as solutions in terms of appreciation. We further argue that these attitudes are reactions to various types of social oppression, such as marginalisation by mainstream ideologies and religions, and are discursive strategies to resist and counter the oppression. At the same time, the attitudes build a distinctive heavy metal identity to reinforce in-group solidarity and to promote the music culture through catharsis.
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La presencia de Alejandro Magno en el cómic ha sido prácticamente ignorada por los estudios sobre la recepción centrados tanto en la Antigüedad clásica en general como en la figura de este personaje en particular, y muy escasamente examinada por los que abordan el tratamiento de la Antigüedad en dicho género. Sin embargo, la existencia de más de doscientos títulos publicados a lo largo de casi un siglo que incorporan representaciones gráficas de Alejandro constituye un corpus con entidad más que suficiente como para ser reconocido en tanto que objeto de estudio por la investigación académica a la vista tanto de sus posibilidades educativas en el ámbito de la didáctica de la Historia como de la importancia del personaje como icono de referencia en el marco de la cultura popular contemporánea.
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