Black metal

Stone Vengeance sing the thrash metal blues


  • Kevin Fellezs Columbia University Author



heavy metal, aesthetics of race, African American musicians, Stone Vengence, heavy metal soul


For all of metal’s globalization, metal is frequently associated with white, working-class men. This article focuses attention on the African-American minority within US metal scenes, drawing on a case study of the all-black thrash metal band Stone Vengeance, who ‘while enjoying a primarily white male audience, formed their aesthetic in recognition, even celebration, of their blackness’. The band face a predicament in how far to resist or to play with stereotypical constructions as blackness—embodied in the description of the band as ‘lords of heavy metal soul’. Interviews with Stone Vengeance frontman Mike Coffey show how he both situates heavy metal within a tradition of black music and at the same time desires to locate himself simply as a heavy metal musician. This tension between individual empowerment and a commitment to the collective runs through the wider field of heavy metal.

Author Biography

  • Kevin Fellezs, Columbia University

    Kevin Fellezs holds a joint appointment in the Music department and the Institute for Research in African-American Studies (IRAAS) at Columbia University. His book, Birds of Fire: Jazz, Rock, Funk and the Creation of Fusion (Duke University Press, 2011), is a study of the musical genre mixtures young musicians enacted in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s that proved controversial at the time and remains a contentious issue within jazz criticism today.


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How to Cite

Fellezs, K. (2012). Black metal: Stone Vengeance sing the thrash metal blues. Popular Music History, 6(1-2), 180-197.