Sound, Symbol, Sociality

The Aesthetic Experience of Extreme Metal Music

  • Matthew P. Unger

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Matthew P. Unger
    Pages 1-16
  3. Matthew P. Unger
    Pages 17-37
  4. Matthew P. Unger
    Pages 39-52
  5. Matthew P. Unger
    Pages 111-118
  6. Matthew P. Unger
    Pages E1-E5
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 119-137

About this book


Based on ethnographic research within the extreme metal community, Unger offers a thought-provoking look at how symbols of authenticity and defilement fashion social experience in surprising ways. Exploring the many themes and ciphers that comprise this musical community, this book interprets aesthetic resonances as a way to understand contemporary identity, politics, and social relations. In the end, this book develops a unique argument: the internal composition of the community’s music and sound moulds symbols that shape, reflect, and constrain social patterns of identity, difference, and transgression. This book contributes to the sociology of sound and music, the study of religion in popular culture, and the role of aesthetics in everyday life. It will be of interest to upper level students, post-graduate students and scholars of religion, popular culture, and philosophy.

Matthew P. Unger is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal. He is co-editor (with George Pavlich) of Accusation: Creating Criminals and Entryways and Criminalization. His work encompasses social theoretical and archival approaches to socio-legal ethics, religion, and sound.


Sociology of sound Sociology of Music Sociology of religion Sound Noise Hermeneutics Extreme metal Paul Ricoeur Aesthetics Grotesque Julia Kristeva Christian metal Black metal Death metal Metal Studies Participant observation Ethnography Defilement authenticity

Authors and affiliations

  • Matthew P. Unger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

Bibliographic information