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Anthems of Apocalypse
Popular Music and Apocalyptic Thought
Edited by Christopher Partridge
Popular music is no stranger to apocalyptic discourse. Whether focusing on biblical or secular apocalypses, musicians often want to tell us things about the end of the world we may not have wanted to know in ways we may not have thought about before. This volume seeks to introduce readers to some of these messengers and their anthems of apocalypse.
Roland Boer’s discussion of Nick Cave indicates that references to the portents and monsters of the apocalypse have been used to refer, not to an age to come, but to the authorities and demons of the present world. Likewise, Kennet Granholm’s chapter on the vegan straight edge band Earth Crisis shows that biblical apocalyptic provides a lens through which to examine environmental politics. This is also true of the work of Rage against the Machine’s Tom Morello, who, as Michael Gilmour discusses, provides a powerful socialist critique of capitalism, American imperialism, new left-activism and identity politics.
Along with these ‘secular’ uses of biblical apocalyptic are, of course, the more conspicuously Christian theological treatments: Mark Sweetnam discusses dispensationalism in Johnny Cash’s music; Marcus Moberg explores eschatological themes in Christian heavy metal; and Steve Knowles looks at the uses of apocalyptic imagery in the music of Extreme. Alongside these are the perennially popular esoteric interpretations of biblical apocalyptic thought. These are explored in Rupert Till’s analysis of heavy metal and Sérgio Fava’s discussion of apocalyptic folk.
This is the fourth volume in the series Apocalypse and Popular Culture; see also (1) Walliss and Quinby, Reel Revelations, (2) Gribben and Sweetnam, Left Behind and the Evangelical Imagination, (3) Howard, Network Apocalypse, (5) Clanton, The End Will Be Graphic, and (6) Aston and Walliss, Small Screen Revelations.
Christopher Partridge is Professor of Religious Studies, Lancaster University.
Christopher Partridge, Introduction: Popular Music and Apocalyptic Discourse
1. Roland Boer, Some Routine Atrocity, or, Letting the Curse of God Roar: Nick Cave and Apocalyptic
2. Mark S. Sweetnam, Evangelical Millennialism in the Lyrics of Johnny Cash
3. Kennet Granholm, Metal, the End of the World, and Radical Environmentalism: Ecological Apocalypse in the Lyrics of Earth Crisis
4. Michael J. Gilmour, Raging against the Machine: Tom Morello’s Nightwatchman Persona and the Sound of Apocalypse-Inspired Schadenfreude
5. Marcus Moberg, Portrayals of the End Times, the Apocalypse, and the Last Judgment in Christian Metal Music
6. Sérgio Fava, ‘When Rome Falls, Falls the World’: Current 93 and Apocalyptic Folk
7. Rupert Till, The Number of the Beast: The Adoption of Apocalyptic Imagery in Heavy Metal
8. Steven Knowles, Who Cares? Apocalyptic Thought in Extreme’s III Sides to Every Story