Ancestral morbid fascinations: Reformulating local culture through metal music in Puerto Rico Article

Rivera-Segarra, E, Varas-Díaz, N, Mendoza, S et al. (2018). Ancestral morbid fascinations: Reformulating local culture through metal music in Puerto Rico . 4(1), 175-186. 10.1386/mms.4.1.175_1

cited authors

  • Rivera-Segarra, E; Varas-Díaz, N; Mendoza, S; Díaz, X


  • There has been an increased interest in and attention to the integration of local culture into the metal music, including metal being produced in Puerto Rico. During the 1990s, the metal genre, a musical style still perceived as a foreign (read: US) entity, incorporated Puerto Rican culture to its musical output in a celebratory manner. This tendency has changed, however, and today the scene is experiencing a thematic consolidation through lyrics and imagery that moves away from the celebratory strategies, opting instead for a more critical perspective regarding local culture. This article documents how the metal community in Puerto Rico has brought together metal music and local culture in a critical manner by emphasizing the reformulation of local elements. We undertook a case study that includes tools such as interviews and the analysis of visual documents. While cultural productions have usually been received by local audiences in an irreflexive and celebratory manner, more recently, the genre has produced music and art that use cultural elements to question this traditional manner of reception, highlighting through a critical gaze the way in which cultural productions have also alluded to morbid and grim fascinations. This examination will focus on the vejigante, a figure greatly depicted throughout cultural celebrations and in the arts in Puerto Rico. We discuss the way in which metal music employs its cultural production as a reflection of the dark side of Puerto Rican society, a topic which the majority of the population would rather leave untouched.

publication date

  • March 1, 2018

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 175

end page

  • 186


  • 4


  • 1