The Metal King: Alexander the Great in heavy metal music | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2052-3998
  • E-ISSN: 2052-4005



Why are heavy metal bands so interested in the figure of Alexander the Great? The present article develops the argument that there are two overshadowing reasons: (1) the bands reconstruct the figure as a symbol of masculine power and communal unity; and (2) Alexander becomes part of a larger tradition already at an early stage of heavy metal’s history that many bands were interested in maintaining and revisiting. Several heavy metal tracks about him are explored and examined to substantiate this hypothesis. It is shown how these tracks associate him with a number of interrelated, recurring themes, such as conquest, community, imperialism, legacy, masculinity, nationalism, power and unity. These in turn help to project him as a figurehead of warrior virtues and also as a heroic bringer of culture. This is particularly true for Greek heavy metal bands, and their contribution is analysed at length. It is demonstrated how Greek metal songs also offer an intriguing insight into Greece’s political conflicts. Finally, it is suggested that, in his role as a powerful culture-hero and king, Alexander is capable of becoming an allegory for heavy metal itself.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...
  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): Alexander the Great; Classics; community; Iron Maiden; power; reception; tradition
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error