Medial Turn and Digitalization as a Threat to Discursive and Artistic Expression in Black Metal and Extreme Music

By: Alicja Sułkowska  

Black metal accomplished its medial recognition through an individual conception of narrative and visual expression. Because of these strong associations with certain raw and analog media-environment, the popularization of the Internet imposes radical changes on narrative and rhetoric factors in music and whole subculture with its rules and visual concepts. The main emphasis of the study is the determination of manner, in which new policies of recording labels, music magazines, and Bandcamp-like networks alter the understanding of artistic freedom in genres attached to ideological and performative elements in the age of the Internet. Based on exemplary and theoretic research in the field of extreme metal, the study focuses on the stylistic and discursive progression of early fan-zines and music into the epoch of digitalization. Investigating the underground press from a narrative and visual perspective, the paper fulfills its aim of exposing the complex structures of genre’s hierarchy, sender-receiver-models, and their digital abbreviations. On account of the theories from media and culture studies merged with sociology and psychology of media, the study enables the assessment of stylistic and ideological impact Internet reality had on forming of today’s pop-culture. The article calls attention to the modern comprehending of mass media society and the manner in which its evolution may influence the level of tolerance towards the extreme behaviors or radical message in popular culture.

Digitalization, Speech Freedom, Underground Media, Mass Media, Metal Studies
Media Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Alicja Sułkowska

Student, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany

Born in Poland and being active there as music and culture journalist, Alicja Sułkowska now lives in Weimar, Germany as DAAD-scholar studying media & culture at Bauhaus Universitaet. She is the author of Manfred von Richthofen's biography ("Złamane skrzydła. Życie i sława Manfreda von Richthofena", 2016) and the series of both scientific and popular articles in fields of literature, metal studies, history, and anthropology. Her main interests focus on image creation in mass media and discursive re-work of literature and arts in modern culture. In 2019 she had been named one of the Emerging Scholars of 14th international Arts in Society Conference.