The mission of ISMMS is to encourage and facilitate trans / interdisciplinary and international academic research regarding processes and phenomena related to heavy metal music and culture and to support the recognition of such research as a significant contribution to academic communities. Sub-genres of heavy metal and related genres, e.g., hardcore punk, are included. ISMMS exists as a focal organization to establish metal music studies as a relevant and respected academic discipline and contribute to the growth of knowledge within the academic and music communities. These aims shall be accomplished through the development, organization and promotion of state of the art collaborations, publications, activities and events that demonstrate high standards and principles of academic excellence and the important purpose of this research around the world.

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The ISMMS Board

Bryan Bardine, Chair (until 2020)

Bryan Bardine is Associate Professor and Director of Teaching Assistant Training in the Dept. of English at the University of Dayton. He holds a Ph.D. in Education from Kent State University and received his M.A. and B.A. in English from the University of Dayton. Dr. Bardine's first book, Heavy Metal Music and Popular Culture, co-edited with three other scholars, was released in March 2016. His article, “Metal and Gothic Literature: Examining the Darker Side of Life (and Death),” appeared in the conference proceedings for the Modern Heavy Metal Conference, and his article “From Sabbath to Slayer: Using Metal in the Writing Classroom,” will appear in his co-edited book Cultural Connections on Metal: Unity in Disparity (2016). He was the Coordinator of the Metal and Cultural Impact Conference (2014) and the Metal in Strange Places Conference (2016). Dr. Bardine predominantly teaches courses in composition, pedagogy, American Literature and Gothic Literature. His Honors Writing Course: Heavy Metal Music: Its History and Culture examines the culture of Heavy Metal music through the lenses of Religion (Islam in particular), Sociology, and History.

Dr. Bardine's University of Dayton faculty page

Toni-Matti Karjalainen, Secretary ( - 2019)

Toni-Matti Karjalainen is Academy Research Fellow and Docent (Management of Music and Culture Export) in Aalto University School of Business. He holds degrees of Doctor of Arts (Art & Design) and M.Sc. (Econ.) and has also worked as Research Director of the International Design Business Management Program (IDBM) at the Aalto University. Toni-Matti also acts as lecturer, seminar and workshop facilitator, and supervisor in a number of universities and schools in different countries and has worked in collaboration with several Finnish and international companies and institutions. He has edited many books and published over one hundred articles in books, journals, international conferences and other forums; topics ranging from design management, visual communication, branding and product development to, most recently, popular music industry and heavy metal. The metal studies of Toni-Matti concern Finnish music exports, visual communication, cultural narratives, global fandom, and creative management. Toni-Matti is also the creator and host of the “Modern Heavy Metal: Markets, Practices and Cultures” Conference that has taken place annually in Helsinki since 2015 and is closely linked with Tuska Festival. Toni-Matti has been a devoted metal head and rock fan for 33 years.

For more information on Toni-Matti’s lectures, publications, and other activities, see:

Modern Heavy Metal Conference:


Lewis Kennedy, Treasurer & Membership Officer (until 2022)

Ross Hagen, Communications Officer (2018 - 2022)

Dr. Hagen is Assistant Professor in Music Studies at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah.  Dr. Hagen holds a Ph.D. and M.M. in Musicology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a B.A. in Music from Davidson College.  Dr. Hagen's research interests include music and ritual, medievalism, music fan cultures, underground music scenes, and 20th/21st century avant-garde music. In addition to his academic work, Dr. Hagen is active as a performer and composer specializing in electro-acoustic music, free improvisation, and black metal, with more than a dozen album releases on various American and European record labels.  He is a pretty good bassist (even though he plays with a pick), a decent guitarist, and a recovering oboist.

Dr. Hagen's UVU Faculty Page

Claudia Azevedo, Ordinary member (until 2018)

Marco Ferrarese, Ordinary member (until 2019)

Marco Ferrarese has been a 'professional' underground metal punk guitar slinger between 1994 and 2007, and a rabid fan well before he had hair on his arms and chest. Since discovering metal and punk in his teens, he hit the most famous and infamous stages across Europe and the United States - mostly touring with The Nerds, or as impresario and roadie. After The Nerds disbanded in 2007, Marco travelled the world extensively and lived in Italy, the United States, China, Australia and Malaysia. Since 2009 he's been based in Southeast Asia as a writer, musician and researcher. 

He has written about travel, culture and extreme music in Asia in many international publications, most notably: Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia, Time Out, CNN Travel, Korean Airways' Morning Calm, JetStar Asia, Singapore Airways' SilverKris, Roads and Kingdoms, Bangkok101, Southeast Asia Globe, Perceptive Travel, Penang Monthly and Rolf Pott's Vagabonding.  As a metalpunkthropologist he contributed academic articles on metal, ethnicity and identity in Malaysia to Metal Music Studies and International Journal of Community Music

Nelson Varas-Díaz, Ordinary member (until 2021)

Dr. Nelson Varas-Díaz is Professor in the Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies at Florida International University. He is interested in the social, political and individual level implications of stigmatization. His academic career addresses the role of social and structural factors in the stigmatization of individuals and communities. His research has focused on the social stigmatization of disease (i.e. HIV/AIDS, addiction), marginalized groups (i.e. transgender individuals) and cultural practices (i.e. metal music, religion). These interests are manifested through research, policy work, teaching, and community involvement. Other subjects of interest include: 1) qualitative research, 2) mixed methodology, 3) issues related to community participation, and 4) social justice through research. He is the producer of the film The Metal Islands: History, Culture and Politics in Caribbean Heavy Metal Music.

Dr. Varas-Díaz's FIU Faculty Page

Gabby Riches, Ordinary member (until 2021)

Gabby Riches is a PhD student at Leeds Beckett University, UK. Her research examines women's participation in moshpit practices within Leeds' extreme metal scene. She is on the editorial board for Metal Music Studies. Her doctoral research has been published in the International Journal of Community Music, IASPM@Journal and Journal for Cultural Research.