I'm making my triumphant return to the EMP Pop Conference this April, once again flying the flag for metal. (The text of my 2005 paper can be found here.) My topic this year is "Charred Neighborhoods: The Rise Of The Colombian Death Metal Underground." Basically, I'm going to be interviewing Colombian death metal and goregrind bands to see how - if at all - the violence and chaos of Colombian society impacts their music, which is some of the most brutal in the genre. (Check out the excellent compilation A Bombardment From The Southern Paradise; the other big recent Colombian comp, From Colombia With Hate Vol. 2, contains a broader range of sounds, including some pretty ambitious black metal acts.) I'm also going to talk about the relative futility of couching protest in a medium like death metal, which features indecipherable vocal grunting and an instrumental mix of downtuned, grinding guitars and pummeling, machine-gun drums that's pretty much guaranteed to send the uninitiated straight out of the room.
I had a lot of fun last time, and realized some tangible benefits, too - a good 1/3 of the Marooned roster was folks I met, or heard speak, at EMP '05. So I'm very much looking forward to getting back. If you're gonna be in town for the event, find me!