Turkish Metal: Music, Meaning, and Morality in a Muslim Society, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Turkish Metal

Music, Meaning, and Morality in a Muslim Society, 1st Edition

By Pierre Hecker


240 pages

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Turkish Metal journeys deep into the heart of the Turkish heavy metal scene, uncovering the emergence, evolution, and especially the social implications of this controversial musical genre in a Muslim society. The book applies an ethnographic approach in order to study social and cultural change in a Muslim society that is stricken with conflict over the, by turns, religious or secular nature of the state. Turkish Metal explores how Turkish metalheads, against all odds, manage to successfully claim public spaces of their own, thereby transforming the public face of the city. The book raises the question of how and why the young dare to rebel against the prevalent social and moral restrictions in Turkish society; and it examines whether they succeed in asserting their individual freedom in a society that is still well-known for sanctioning any kind of behaviour deviating from the norm. Above all, the book investigates the Turkish metal scene's potential for contesting Islamic concepts of morality, its relevance within the field of female emancipation, and its capacity to foster social relations that cut across national, religious and ethnic boundaries.


"… what’s so important and useful about both Turkish metal and Turkish Metal [is that] it takes a subject that might normally appeal only to a very specific subset of scholars and uses it to point out just how deep and long-lasting globalization has been in the Middle East… Turkish Metal is an innovative and important addition not merely to the field of modern Turkish studies, but to the sociology of religion, cultural studies, ethnomusicology and related disciplines."

- Volume!

"Turkish Metal is a pioneering work…Pierre Hecker has produced a work that will not merely help define the state of the art in the still young discipline of metal studies, but be of interest and use-both as a course book and a source for (comparative) research-for scholars in a number of disciplines related both to modern Turkish studies, and ethnomusicology and cultural studies as well."

- Mark LeVine, author of Heavy Metal Islam, for Popular Music Studies

"Turkish Metal… is erudite and exhaustively researched, but retains a beating heart as Hecker dissects his subject…This gives the book broad appeal for fans of both metal and the social sciences, and illuminates a scene never before covered in such depth."

- Craig Hayes for Pop Matters

"I ended up enjoying this book, not just emotionally, but intellectually. It is a well-written study that sheds light on a little-explored aspect of contemporary culture…Turkish metalheads form a folk group and the study of this group shows us a great deal about subcultures in a Muslim society."

- Natalie Kononenko for Journal of Folklore Research

"Turkish Metal is a solid, precious book, of absolute interest even beyond the field of metal studies. It offers a passionate narrative of struggling individuals, and succeeds in conveying their emotions. The book also provides the reader with an actual interest in discovering Turkish metal bands and the vibrant atmosphere of underground Turkey."

- Stefano Barone, Griffith University, Australia

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Closing in…; Turkish metal; Children of Satan; Media manipulations; Towards the extreme; Metal and gender; Metal matters; Appendix; Discography; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Pierre Hecker is a lecturer at the Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Marburg, Germany. He holds a doctorate in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies and is the author of numerous articles on heavy metal in the Middle East.

About the Series

Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series

Popular musicology embraces the field of musicological study that engages with popular forms of music, especially music associated with commerce, entertainment and leisure activities. The Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series aims to present the best research in this field. Authors are concerned with criticism and analysis of the music itself, as well as locating musical practices, values and meanings in cultural context. The focus of the series is on popular music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a remit to encompass the entirety of the world’s popular music.

Critical and analytical tools employed in the study of popular music are being continually developed and refined in the twenty-first century. Perspectives on the transcultural and intercultural uses of popular music have enriched understanding of social context, reception and subject position. Popular genres as distinct as reggae, township, bhangra, and flamenco are features of a shrinking, transnational world. The series recognizes and addresses the emergence of mixed genres and new global fusions, and utilizes a wide range of theoretical models drawn from anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, media studies, semiotics, postcolonial studies, feminism, gender studies and queer studies.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General
MUSIC / Ethnomusicology