Heavy metal and academics go together like guitars and amplifiers — just ask Bryan Bardine, associate professor of English, who has been researching metal music and culture since 2009. On Oct. 20-22, Bardine will be hosting the metal studies conference Metal in Strange Places. He recommends we turn up these seven songs to hear what the rage is all about.
“Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne
It’s a good place to start listening to metal music. “You hear it at sporting events,” says Bardine of the 1980 metal song that broke into pop culture.
“Celebrate” by Doro
Doro is known as the first woman to have her own metal band, Bardine says. “We celebrate our love for rock and metal,” she sings.
“War Pigs” by Black Sabbath
As the first metal band, Black Sabbath set the stage for other bands, Bardine says. Written as a response to the Vietnam War, “War Pigs” stood out among popular “flower power” music.
“Master of Puppets” by Metallica
It discusses themes common throughout the genre. “A good bit of [metal] deals with politics and freedom,” Bardine says, “being able to control your own life and not be oppressed.”
“Sapari” by Orphaned Land
This Israeli band is dedicated to bringing people together. “Their whole perspective is there’s enough negative and bad things in the world, we want there to be a more positive image,” says Bardine. “Sapari” is about a conversation between a poet and a spirit.
“Angel of Death” by Slayer
This is probably the most controversial song in metal, Bardine says. It talks about the Holocaust, Dr. Josef Mengele and the atrocities he committed.
“Roots Bloody Roots” by Sepultura
Members of this Brazilian band love extreme music, which they’ve infused with instruments from their culture including drums, Bardine says. This song expresses anger at Brazil’s military and government.