While economists pore over industrial averages, confidence in foreign markets, and unemployment rates, a new report released by City Lab says that an as-yet untapped indicator of national wealth could be the most unique and certainly the awesomest yet: the number of heavy metal bands.
Though it’s common knowledge that metal was birthed by groups like Black Sabbath who came from working-class backgrounds in “economically ravaged, de-industrialized” areas like Birmingham, recent figures show metal holds the most sway in economically spotless Scandinavia.
Indeed, looking at the map below, which shows the number of heavy metal bands per 100,000 residents in every country, it’s clear that the lands of the midnight sun, known for their “relative wealth, robust social safety nets, and incredibly high quality of life” are rife with metalheads.
City Lab quote a decade-old article by Mark Ames, who wrote, “Norway is not only a completely humorless society … but … a deeply oppressive society, in a recognizably bland, caring, pious, Social Democratic way.” Thus, he argued, metalheads experience boredom, as “real suffering,” making metal the product of affluent societies, “a countercultural backlash for the privileged.”
Furthermore, efforts by Scandinavian governments to make music training in schools a compulsory part of students’ education has created a generation of citizens who possess the advanced musical chops necessary to meet metal’s “technical demands.” The natural conclusion then is that “the number of heavy metal bands in a given country is associated with its wealth and affluence.”
In an interesting irony, though metal is stereotypically most popular amongst working-class males, it enjoys its greatest popularity in “the most advanced, most tolerant, and knowledge-based places in the world,” with the music ultimately a product of “the loamy soil of post-industrial prosperity.”
Number Of Heavy Metal Bands Per 100,000 Residents
Gallery: Soundwave 2014 – RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane 22/02/2014
Number Of Metal Bands Is An Indicator Of National Wealth - Music Feeds
Photos by Rebecca Reid