Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Cover of I Worship Chaos by Children Of Bodom

The United States has 72 metal bands, either active or inactive, for every million citizens. Does that sound impressive? It puts America past England, arguably the ancestral birthplace of metal thanks to bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, with a density of only 69 bands per 1 million inhabitants. But both the U.S. and the U.K. are positively dwarfed by Scandinavia, a region of the world that has emerged as the true epicenter of metal in the new millennium. Finland alone has a density of 630 bands per million. Sweden is not far behind with 428. Iceland and Norway score 341 and 299, respectively. No other nation in Central, Eastern, or Western Europe can compete with those numbers. All of these staggering statistics come from Czech linguist and mathematician Jakub Marian, an author of numerous volumes on literature and language. Responding to a reader request, Marian compiled a map of Europe displaying the density of metal bands in each country.

Map by Jakub Marian at jakubmarian.com.

So what’s the deal with Scandinavia and metal anyway? It’s a question Reddit pondered last year. There were the typical joke answers, e.g., “Everyone is so white that black goes well with their skin tone.” A user called 68696c6c took a more scientific approach to the topic, however:

I remember seeing a study somewhere that showed a correlation between the overall happiness of a country and the type of music produces most. It basically said that the happier the country, the darker the music and vice versa. The idea is that sad people want happy music to help them escape while happy people have to invent their own dark stuff to compensate for their mind-numbing bliss. So, a lot of metal comes from happier Nordic countries while in America where there are a lot of unhappy people, we are known for sappy pop and dance music.

Whatever the cause, the numbers speak for themselves. Rock never died. It just moved to Finland.

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