Extreme heavy metal music is transgressive, but can it be understood as resistant in Adorno’s sense of “serious music?” This article seeks to show how extreme heavy metal music approaches what Adorno valued in serious music and the interests of critical theory. I begin with the method of negative dialectics—a difficult and contradictory notion. The philosophy of negative dialectics is, I argue, crucial for the material studies informed by it. I consider next the idea of resistant music itself, distinguishing the negations of serious music from “positive” popular protest music. Finally, I provide an analysis of the negative dialectics of extreme heavy-metal music, considering the music and its culture in historical context. Overall, I offer a side-by-side “critical model,” in Adorno’s sense, of negative dialectics and heavy metal music and culture.
If somebody was to translate this from academic word-salad into readable English, this might actually be an interesting read. But given the inpenetrable nature of that extract, I think I’ll give it a miss and just listen to some music instead.