Heavy metal and the deafening threat of the apolitical


  • Niall Scott University of Central Lancashire Author




heavy metal, Herbert Marcuse, metal culture, political action


This article focuses on the relationship of heavy metal to the political. The political is often rejected in heavy metal scenes in favour of a desired apolitical autonomy. At the same time, as the author argues, there are also more political strains in metal, as in Napalm Death’s anti-fascist stance for example. Drawing on the work of Marcuse, the author affirms the potency and subversion inherent in metal’s apolitical stance. Metal provides a ‘liberated environment’ in which the rejection of politics creates a space for community and art.

Author Biography

  • Niall Scott, University of Central Lancashire

    Niall Scott is Senior Lecturer in Ethics at the University of Central Lancashire, School of Education and Social Science. Together with Rob Fisher and ID.net, he put together the first global conference on heavy metal. In addition to having spoken internationally on heavy metal, philosophy and politics he has written and published on heavy metal, political philosophy and bioethics.


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How to Cite

Scott, N. (2012). Heavy metal and the deafening threat of the apolitical. Popular Music History, 6(1-2), 224-239. https://doi.org/10.1558/pomh.v6i1.224