Aesthetics of Metal: Cases From Finland and the Netherlands – MHMC 2017

Aesthetics of Metal: Cases From Finland and the Netherlands – Modern Heavy Metal Conference 2017, Helsinki

presented by  Nina Cornelia Schilp  (University of the Arts, Utrecht, The Netherlands, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland)

Keywords : Theatrical, visual, performance, image, concepts



The ingredients of my presentation are the visuals values, image and presentation of a band, both on and off-stage. The genres I am going to talk about most are Death metal and Black metal. They are both extreme genres of metal but are both very different in interpretation. The choices a band make about their visual aspects, what are they? And how do they make these decisions? Is there a theme or a message? Or are they just about shock value? Different visual aspect such as lights, stage props, interaction with the crowd are all part of this. Do they represent the atmosphere the band is trying to achieve? Or are they working against them? But the visual aspect is not just limited to the live performances a band makes, other visual aspects like the use of video clips, the style of promotion photos and album cover designs are important. And, more recently, how they present themselves on various social platforms. I will make references to my new research and explorations during my half year stay in Finland. This, combined with the research i already did in the Netherlands, for example my research in the Dutch Death metal scene, where I interviewed bands like Sinister and Asphyx. I will also bring the subject of the differences in styles which are characteristic of the Dutch scene and the Finnish scene.


Nina Cornelia Schilp started her study Theatre Design at the University of the Arts Utrecht in the Netherlands in 2014. After two years of research in the Dutch heavy metal scene, she moved to Helsinki in January 2017, as an exchange student, with the focus on the (black) metal scene in Finland.



Modern Heavy Metal Conference (MHMC) is an international academic event hosted by Academy Research Fellow Toni-Matti Karjalainen at Aalto University School in Business. The first and original edition of the conference in June 2015 was organised in collaboration with many academic and music industry partners. The event was also the second bi-annual conference of the International Society for Metal Music Studies (ISMMS). There were some 150 visitors visiting the event, both from the academia and the industry, and the event raised lots of interests in the academia, music field, and media.Two slightly smaller and shorter conferences followed in 2016 and 2017, arranged in close collaboration with Tuska Open Air Metal Festival, the biggest metal music event in Helsinki, and Music Finland. Again, they marked a successful meeting place for metal scholars and practitioners. In these years, MHMC also entered the Tuska festival grounds, as a number of panel discussions and interviews were arranged in the Solmusali venue.MHMC2018 is to be built on this foundation. More information coming up in December 2017.



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