Metal and Religion
The Case of Christian Metal and Nordic Youth Culture
by Henna Jousmäki
Can you be both a metalhead and a practicing Christian?
Can you be both Christian and Nordic?
These are some of the questions I encountered when researching for my contribution to this volume on Nordic Popular Music.
My chapter begins by looking into the phenomenon of Christian black metal, also known as Unblack Metal. This curious metal genre, popular so far particularly among Christian metal fans in the US and the Nordic countries, is finding new adherents as well as detractors in YouTube, currently with some 200,000 uploaded videos.
I investigate Christian black metal as an example of how the borders of ‘Christian music’ as well as ‘metal music’ are being redefined. In the process, also notions of Nordic religiosity become re-negotiated. In practice, I study the circulation of and discussion on this type of music, alongside with a ‘lighter’ form of Christian metal, especially in relation to ‘the Nordic’. Such analysis provides a useful perspective on how contemporary youths experience the relationship between music, place and religion.