A region’s landscape informs its artwork, whether by the way we seek inspiration from the natural world or by the mix of belief structures, economics, and historical happenstance that creates a given culture. American regional differences are much younger than those of European countries, but you can just look at the music of each region for proof that they’re there. We equate a polished twang with Nashville, a certain type of low-end rap with Houston, and the sound of an alligator whistling with Florida.
But the correlation between Scandinavian countries and metal remains striking. One can barely say “death metal” without adding “Norwegian” in front of it. The data backs it up, too. The writer and linguist Jakub Marian made a map detailing the number of metal bands per capita throughout Europe, and, lo and behold, three of the top four most metal countries were Norway, Sweden, and the crown prince of evil, Finland. (Iceland came in third.)
While Finland does reign supreme here, let us note that these are not all good metal bands. Noisey recently posted some footage of Finnish black metal band Azazel playing a mid-afternoon set after a few too many beers, and, well, it bodes poorly for their countrymen:
The vast majority of the other most metal countries were in central Europe—Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands—with the exception of Greece, which is metal as fuck, apparently. Marian obtained the numbers by dividing the total number of bands on the Encyclopaedia Metallum with each country’s population. By point of comparison, America comes in with a scant score of 72, meaning we are barely more metal than France. Won’t someone make America shred again?