Poetry in English & Metal Music: Adaptation & Appropriation Across Media

Poetry in English & Metal Music: Adaptation & Appropriation Across Media PDF

Many metal songs incorporate poetry into their lyrics using a broad array of techniques, both textual and musical. This book develops a novel adaptation, appropriation, and quotation taxonomy that both expands our knowledge of how poetry is used in metal music and is useful for scholars across adaptation studies broadly.

The text follows both a quantitative and a qualitative approach. It identifies 384 metal songs by 224 bands with intertextual ties to 146 poems written by fifty-one different poets, with a special focus on Edgar Allan Poe, John Milton’s Paradise Lost and the work of WWI’s War Poets.

This analysis of transformational mechanisms allows poetry to find an afterlife in the form of metal songs and sheds light on both the adaptation and appropriation process and on the semantic shifts occasioned by the recontextualisation of the poems into the metal music culture. Some musicians reuse – and sometimes amplify – old verses related to politics and religion in our present times; others engage in criticism or simple contradiction.

In some cases, the bands turn the abstract feelings evoked by the poems into concrete personal experiences. The most adventurous recraft the original verses by changing the point of view of either the poetic voice or the addressed actors, altering the vocaliser of the narrative or the gender of the protagonists. These mechanisms help metal musicians make the poems their own and adjust them to their artistic needs so that the resulting product is consistent with the expectations of the metal music culture.

Download link