Posted in metal | music on June 1, 2014

by Wyatt Marshall

Danzig at Riot Fest in 2013 (more by Kristie Shanley)

A recent study by The Atlantic's CityLab has found that countries with a high number of heavy metal bands per capita tend to be wealthy, well-educated and happy. That may or may not surprise you -- while on the one hand there's a general assumption that metal bands and fans are depressed or pissed off, perhaps there is a certain level of societal advancement that needs to take place before a country's citizenry can devote hours and hours to playing heavy music en masse. (It also means there are wealthy people to rage against.) I wouldn't assume your average one-man black metal band is a millionaire PhD candidate satisfied with life, but maybe life in the Norwegian forest isn't so bad after all.

A bit from the story:

When I wrote about this map back in 2012, commenters had all sorts of explanations for why heavy metal spread so far north so intensely. Metal's emotional darkness, some said, reflected northern Europe's long, cold winter nights. The fury of the music and the violence of some of its lyrics resonated with Scandinavia's pagan past, what with all those Viking raiders and Berserkers. One commenter suggested that the music correlated worldwide with high levels of alcoholism.

Indeed, a decade-old article by Mark Ames, "Black Metal Nation: What do Norwegian Dirtheads and Richard Perle Have in Common?" suggests that metal might be the adolescent id that is simmering beneath Northern Europe's outwardly complacent façade. "Norway," he wrote, "is not only a completely humorless society ... but ... a deeply oppressive society, in a recognizably bland, caring, pious, Social Democratic way." Metalheads experience their boredom, he speculated, as "real suffering." According to this logic, metal may instead be the product of affluent societies, a countercultural backlash for the privileged...

At the country-level, the number of heavy metal bands per capita is positively associated with economic output per capita (.71); level of creativity (.71) and entrepreneurship (.66); share of adults that hold college degrees (.68); as well as overall levels of human development (.79), well-being, and satisfaction with life (.60).

The bottom line? Though metal may be the music of choice for some alienated working-class males, it enjoys its greatest popularity in the most advanced, most tolerant, and knowledge-based places in the world.

It's an interesting read, one that I'm sure a lot of people will have opinions about, and you can check it out over at The Atlantic.

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Comments (37)

now the hardcore scene on the other hand......

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 11:32 AM

Saint Vitus is a rather satisfying place filled with creativity and wealth.

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 12:11 PM

What does the piece say about the ubiquity of tube steaks, though?

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 12:30 PM

What metal or hardcore bands are made up of poor guys really?

Let's look at Obituary who are far from the mainstream's eye and barely were in it in their commercial heyday outside of when they were on the first Headbanger's Ball. They can still play and pack 500 capacity rooms. 'Say they play a 20-show US tour with only one day off between the tenth and eleventh shows for a 21-day run where they average just 300 paid people a night for 6000 paid people for the tour at an average $20 per person for $120G gross on the tour. Even if the band makes as little as half that, that $60G - 6G booking agent's 10% = $54G is serious cash for only three weeks of work. If they make even just $12G in merchandise sales ($600 a show) along with half the door after the booking agent's take, that's $66G for only three weeks of work. Even if they had two roadies and paid each guy a grand a week/$3G total each for $6G total to them for the tour, that's still $60G to the band. They have to put up hotel, transportation, and food costs plus other expenses, of course, but I do believe at least the former two costs are tax-deductible as a travel expense.

I know they have to pay taxes but you know they under report what they make and write off every expense they could write off from guitar strings to Lysol to kill tour bus farts.

Historically, American metal was never played by poor kids. Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax, the so-called "Big Four" of thrash metal, were not poor. Biohazard wasn't poor either. Even Suicidal Tendencies wasn't poor because how did Mike Muir and his brother have their own spacious house in Venice, CA way before they were 30 years old (which I bet they sold for a pretty penny as Venice is primo real estate)?

I don't wanna hear Anthrax bitch about how it's hard when they're selling out Irving Plaza at $25 a pop for $25G gross. They're making VERRRRY nice money for what they do.

Posted by D | June 1, 2014 1:49 PM

I guess I'd better start listening to heavy metal so I won't be behind the curve.
DING DING!!!

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 1:51 PM

Cool study, bro

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 2:08 PM

The gods did make heavy metal.

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 2:16 PM

Poor people read this blog.

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 2:25 PM

"Study says planets where heavy metal is popular are doomed"

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 2:26 PM

Is it true that Norweigan Death Metal bands add black food coloring to their hummus to make it more evil looking?

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 3:03 PM

"Study says planets where doom metal is popular are heavy"

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 3:06 PM

Primarily, white people like metal.

Socio-economically, white people are better off than everyone else.

So basically, this study is pretty fucking stupid and obvious.

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 3:18 PM

One more day to complete my service
One more high to decay my nervous
Wondering how I'm gonna find a way
It's over

One more day to complete my service
One more time here to fade my servant
Wondering how I'm gonna find a way
Over

She seen through me and mine
And I know a later time
We could make it with you
We're the same

Old age (x4)

One more day to complain, my servant
One more doubt here to find a servant
Wondering how I'm gonna find
It's over

Wondering how I'm here date my cover
One more doubt here to save my never
Wondering how I'm gonna find a way
It's over

She seemed true, me and mine
And I know a later time
We and we're you to you
Leave the soul

Old age (x4)

Just you need and read you free
Hmmm
And knew
You read
You flew
Ooo
Hmmm

One more day to complete my circuit
One more high here to find my nervous
Someday I'm gonna find a way
It's over

One more doubt here to claim my supper
I can have anything you wanted
Wondering how I'm gonna find a way
It's over

He seemed to read minds
And I know we're out of time
Breathe away here with you
Dream the same on the dew
Breathe the same on her
Breathe to moan on a man
Breathe and shame on you
He's late

Posted by old | June 1, 2014 4:24 PM

Can someone photoshop a dick in place of the mic in that Danzig photo LOL.

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 4:47 PM

4:24 - Yo, righteous! (Devil horns, grimace, tongue out)

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 5:09 PM

┼ B U C K E Y E S H R I M P E R ┼

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 5:51 PM

"Can someone photoshop a dick in place of the mic in that Danzig photo LOL."

Because you're a homo LOL

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 7:05 PM

No need, that picture's hilarious enough already.

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 10:23 PM

Nah I'm not a homo, you are because you have the thought in mind that I am one - it gets you off, homo.

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 10:26 PM

I know you are,but what am I? Lol.

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 10:31 PM

Study also shows that heavy metal fans have poor taste in music.

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 10:40 PM

I studied heavy metal once.


Now I live in my Moms basement and deliver pizzas part time.

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 10:45 PM

i so badly want a flamed scarf

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 10:49 PM

2:16 yes!!!

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 11:00 PM

Sigh. Of course almost any leisure activity will be associated with wealth, especially one that requires not cheap instruments.

This is not a study and it's not clear if heavy metal is more popular than other music in rich countries or if rich countries have a lot of bands. My guess is the later.

It would be more informative to examine the proportion of time spent listening to various genres within each country and correlate that with wealth. Boom. High school sciene.

Because you know, i know smoking makes people drunk because every time I smoke I'm drunk.

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 11:25 PM

S T I L L W A I T I N G

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 11:33 PM

Studies show that if you are a man and feel that you should be seen as a woman, despite having a penis and a y chromosome, that you should be able to, that it's actually a right.

Studies say a lot of dumb, contradictory things that are easily explainable by your garden variety 3rd grader with average age-appropriate intelligence.

Posted by Anonymous | June 1, 2014 11:44 PM

Art is always a reaction to the popular culture, almost always in a contrary fashion. That metal is big in more successful or peaceful countries just shows that the kids are rejecting success and peace, not endorsing or being driven by it. The manner in which the correlation is presented is misleading, as a false cause & effect.

Posted by Anonymous | June 2, 2014 8:44 AM

"Study says some music sucks"

Posted by Anonymous | June 2, 2014 9:39 AM

Old Age is a wonderful song.

Posted by Anonymous | June 2, 2014 10:23 AM

And all the countries/provinces/states/territories where indie is popular have a higher wrist-slashing occurence.

Neither of which is really news.

Posted by Anonymous | June 2, 2014 10:31 AM

^ bitter sausage

Posted by Anonymous | June 2, 2014 10:45 AM

DG: So you think there is no cohesive social group that can be referred to as "The Punk Community"?

Jello Biafra: There are threads of it, but punk has gotten so popular that the name gets attached to all sorts of things — everything from Jawbreaker to Brutal Truth. There are all kinds of communities there, all net-working with each other. None of them are as tight culturally as the death metal community where you have people in Norway swapping tapes with people in Malaysia, and all the bands sound more than a little bit alike. And isn't it ironic that death metal is the first form of rock music that has caught on with poor people over the world. When I was in Brazil, I was told that all rock music and punk was scorned by the people of the slums. It didn't speak to them. They thought of it as a bourgeois [art] form they didn't want to have anything to do with. They would rather listen to samba or death metal. Death metal is popular from Moldavia to Cuba.

DG: Why?

JB: Partly because in the grindcore form it's easy to play and have a lot of attitude and fun with it. Also the violent and anti-Christian imagery has a world wide appeal.

Posted by Anonymous | June 2, 2014 12:10 PM

"And all the countries/provinces/states/territories where indie is popular have a higher wrist-slashing occurence."

^ Holy fuck, do you not speak English, faggot?

Posted by Anonymous | June 2, 2014 10:07 PM

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