Friday, December 23, 2011

Worldwide Metal Per Capita

According to the US government there are 195 countries in the world. According to Encyclopaedia Metallum there are 135. What are the other 60 doing, if not producing metal bands? Probably still trying to figure out how to make fire, honestly.

Ask any everyday Hessian which region of the world produces the most metal and you're bound to hear Scandinavia. Well, data doesn't lie and I'm here to dig through the depths of it for your amusement and mine. I'm going to answer those burning questions like "What country produces the most metal per capita?", "Are those African cowboy metal dudes totally alone?", and "What is the best Jamaican black metal band?"

Let's start by looking at this from 10,000 feet up. Here are the top 10 countries in terms of cold, hard numbers:

Country # of Metal Bands
US 17,006
Germany 8,083
Italy 4,690
Brazil 3,815
France 3,719
Sweden 3,368
UK 3,193
Finland 2,774
Poland 2,495
Canada 2,480

From this perspective it's pretty embarrassing for all you non-stateside Hessians out there. Is it because our GDP per capita is so great that we can afford more amps than everyone else? Absolutely not - Qatar's GDP per capita is more than twice ours and they boast only 1 metal band. Something cultural is clearly going on that I cannot quantify using data merely from Wikipedia and Encyclopaedia Metallum.

OK, so the US clearly dominates in terms of sheer number. We're kind of like the Microsoft of the metal world. Bloated and unsexy, yet present in most households. So let's look a little closer. Here's the top 10 in terms of metal parts per million* (MPPM):

Country MPPM
Finland 514
Svalbard 417
Sweden 357
Liechtenstein 277
Norway 253
Iceland 216
Monaco 166
Faroe Islands 162
Gibraltar 135
Greece 124

(*MPPM is calculated using a series of super-proprietary methods you couldn't possibly understand, you'll just have to trust me. Actually it's just the country's population - thanks Wikipedia! I donated and you should too - divided by the number of bands listed on Encyclopaedia Metallum, times a million.)

Notice we don't even make the list? The US is actually #34 with 54 MPPM. Ouch. Canada, Croatia, and even fucking San Marino beat us out. Now we've got the little weiners and Scandinavia is laughing at them. Finland takes the cake with 514 metal bands per million inhabitants. Pretty fucking respectable.

I don't think that's much of a surprise, but... what the fuck is Svalbard doing at #2?

That's what's nice about this MPPM metric. The little guys have a chance to shine too. Svalbard is home to a whopping 2,394 permanent residents, and if you guessed it was in Scandinavia, you guessed right. There is 1 metal band in Svalbard, and their first drummer died of fucking hypothermia. Way to fucking represent, Goatskrieg.

Actually if any of you have ever considered collecting nickels or were able to stand listening to Alex Jones more than once, you probably already know about Svalbard. It is home to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, famous for protecting 1.5 million seed species in the event of mismanagement of lesser seed vaults, equipment failures of seed vaults not trenched in permafrost, or a zombie takeover.

And Svalbard's official website boasts thusly about its nightlife:
"Restaurants and cafés offer meals based on local ingredients such as seal, whale, reindeer, grouse and arctic char. On rare occasions you may also find polar bear meat on the menu."

As such, despite being mostly veg, I'm having a fucking love affair with this permafrozen, seal-slaughtering, seed-storing expanse of land that's the Norwegian equivalent of Guam.

Anyway let's get back to it.

Scandinavia scores all the top spots, and man, that just feels right. They've pioneered extreme metal, created the most laughable music videos, made extreme metal mainstream, and continue to shell out excellent jamz. So, I congratulate you Scandinavia, you fucking deserve it.

Fuck, even Iceland touts a respectable 216 MPPM. Anybody have a favorite Icelandic metal band they'd like to share with the group?

Alright so the congratulatory awards have gone out - now who gets the raspberry awards? Let's take a look at the data.

Here are the countries tied for last place in terms of metal production (aside from those 60 who make absolutely nil). These bands have only one metal band to speak of:

Country Only Metal Band
Svalbard Goatskrieg
Greenland Arctic Spirits
Barbados Conrad
Belize Bestial Lust
Suriname Cross My Blessed Hands
Qatar Asgard Legionnaires
Jamaica Orisha Shakpana
Oman Arabia
Laos The Exile
Mozambique Darkest Place
Kenya Absence of Light
Congo Infertile Surrogacy

This is encouraging for any bros who think they're alone in the world: no one is more alone than the bros in the bands listed above.

However the vocalist in Conrad gets around - not only is he in the first metal band in Barbados, he is also in the first metal band in Jamaica. Hats off to you, Lord Ifrit. You inspire us all.

Those listed above aren't necessarily the least-productive countries in terms of MDP (metal domestic product, obviously). We already saw that Svalbard is actually one of the top performers. So let's get down to it. Let's see who really deserves the raspberry awards.

Country MPPM
Congo 0.01
Kenya 0.02
Myanmar 0.03
Mozambique 0.04
Uganda 0.06
India 0.09
China 0.12
Laos 0.15
Bangladesh 0.15
Egypt 0.16

Now we can clearly see that the most populous countries on our little blue rock are also among the least productive metal-wise. Shame on you, India. Shame on you, China. Though I for one am relieved that something I love is not made in China.

If I were a real statistician I would have a team of interns chasing down all this data for me, and then I would talk about biases like access to technology, and then I would run statistical models that would pinpoint the best predictors of MPPM. But I'm just a blogger and Shelby hasn't approved my request for interns yet, so I have all this pizza to myself and an almost empty glass of scotch, and the only real predictor of metal I can identify is proximity to the North Pole. And everybody knew that already anyway, so really this has just been an exercise in wasting everybody's time.

So go crank some fuckin' metal already. Try these dudes: hailing from Finland, the statistically-indisputable heartland of metal, here's the only melodic death metal band that really tickles me, Synestesia. Only Scandinavia can produce a voice so gloriously resounding and brutal as Eero Kuusisto's. MERRY CHRISTMAS, ASSHOLES!


JGD said...

Shelby, I'm stoked on these new weird metal nerds that you hired.

Shelby Cobras said...

I am as well. Bunch of fuckin' freaks.

Nothing Left Inside said...

I visited Iceland not long ago and witnessed a surf rock band doing Master Of Puppets. That was pretty sweet.

savethecirclepit said...

Nice post! You can waste a lot of time looking at all those numbers over at M.E. I will be applying the MPPM to all facets of my life from now on. Better living through metal.

Steven said...

I seriously want to hear those bands from Kenya, Congo, and Mozambique. Also, more cute, cuddly polar bears with blood smeared on their faces, please.

Nekromantis said...

Iceland has the "cult" black metal band Flames of Hell. Here's their only release reviewed at corroseum:

Nekromantis said...

And since these girls are so unknown outside Finland, I have to give you:

FINNISH semi-techno-power/thrash METAL ATTACK!

vampire with nautical themes said...

I heard Svalbard has a 24-7-SPYZ cover band. They also do Living Color, Infectious Grooves, and early chili pepz. In fact they are one of the few remaining countries with a thriving funk punk scene.

Shelby Cobras said...

^^^Postworthy comment if verifiable

these a beast said...

shit i watched between two ferns with zach galifianakis instead of replying to anyone.

JGD/shelby they are a bunch of a holes.

NLI next time you go to iceland take me with you

circlepit i have a dream that i will find out how to contact the webmasters over there so i can access their data.

steven i do too and as such i'm going to pursue them accordingly and hopefully post links for you fine folks in the coming weeks/months/decades

nekro thanks


vampire with nautical themes said...

that was a joke, sorry