30.05.2023 Anti-Islamic Semiotics in Turkish Black Metal

Black metal, one of the most extreme subgenres of metal music, is famous for its brutal, multimodal expression in lyrics, imagery and music. The genre’s metanarrative is centred around a disdainful and provocative stance towards religion, one infused with an anti-establishment and antiauthoritarian rhetoric. Blasphemy commonly lies at the heart of this metanarrative.

This talk investigates how Turkey’s black metal scene incorporates (anti-)Islamic semiotics in a multimodal fashion through lyrics, artwork and audio. It is based on extensive fieldwork, conducted between 2014–21, and interviews with twenty-four people affiliated with the Turkish black metal scene. It poses two key questions: first, why are these developments occurring now? And second, which meanings are ascribed to them by fans and musicians of the genre in Turkey? In response to these questions, it is argued here that the growing references to Islam in Turkish black metal are closely related to a dialectical relationship with international, as well as national, expectations of subcultural concepts such as authenticity and identity. Furthermore, these newly emerged expressions must be recognised as a subcultural response and counter-hegemonic resistance against the AKP’s growing dominance and the concomitant rise of pious conservatism.

This talk is part of the course Atheism and nonreligion in the Muslim World organized by Pierre Hecker.

Zeit: 06. Juni 2023, 16:15 Uhr - 17:45 Uhr
Ort: Raum 00A02, CNMS, Marburg