Antarctic Heavy Metal: Metallica on King George Island

The phrase “Antarctic Heavy Metal” might raise the spectre of mining in the southern continent – think copper, chromium and cobalt. Don’t panic just yet, though: mineral resource activity is currently prohibited in the Antarctic, thanks to the 1991 Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (“Madrid Protocol”). In any case, the heavy metal in question throughout this article is not metal removed from the south, but metal imported, in the form of the famed band Metallica.

In 2013 Metallica became the first band to perform on all seven continents in the space of one year. The Antarctic concert (entitled “Freeze ‘Em All”) took place on December 8 at Carlini Station (Argentinian) on King George Island, located just off the Antarctic Peninsula:

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Who was there to listen, you might ask? The lucky winners of a competition run by Coke Zero were flown down from South America to Kind George Island for the event, and local scientists from the surrounding bases also attended: nationals from China, Russia, South Korea, Germany, Poland, Chile, and Brazil were all in the audience. King George Island is one of the busiest parts of Antarctica, hosting over 10 national Antarctic Programmes, and boasting its own runway. It’s also a popular destination for tourist cruises.


Of course, the island is part of the Antarctic Treaty zone, so there are many environmental standards to bear in mind when undertaking any activity there: and a live concert is no exception. In order to minimise disturbance to the surrounding wildlife, revellers wore earphones “silent disco” style. That didn’t lessen the excitement for those on stage or in the audience, though! To view a full recording of the Antarctic concert, see below.

The concert gained plenty of media attention for the fact that it was a “first” – Antarctica is one of the only places on earth where it is relatively easy to claim a first even today. In case you were wondering, the show consisted of the following tracks:

1. “Creeping Death”
2. “For Whom the Bell Tolls”
3. “Sad But True”
4. “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”
5. “Master of Puppets”
6. “One”
7. “Blackened”
8. “Nothing Else Matters”
9. “Enter Sandman”
10. “Seek & Destroy”

So, there you have it. Heavy Metal in Antarctica, and not a single lasting environmental impact to show for it all. Now THERE’S something “cool” to write home about…

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Our Correspondent
Cult Antarctica correspondent
Hanne -

Antarctica is a place for peace and science that has a habit of stealing peoples’ hearts and imaginations, and I am a case in point. I research representations of Antarctica in cultural production, and work as a polar guide and lecturer during ...

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About Antarctica
About this place

Although it is technically a continent as opposed to a country, Antarctica is represented on Cult because it reveals a unique and fascinating side of human civilisation and our existence on planet Earth.

Antarctica has no permanent population and no government. The Antarctic Treaty, signed by 50 nations, reserves Antarctica for scientific research and bans military activity. The continent is normally inhabited by around 5,000 scientists and suport staff, who live there temporarily. There is no capital city, but the largest settlement is based at McMurdo Station - about 1,000 people.

Normal ideas of time don't apply on Antarctica: it is where all of the world's timezones converge, so people there can choose whichever timezone is most convenient. In winter it is constantly dark, and in summer it is constantly light. In many ways it's a frontier of our shared civilisation on Earth, but like much of the world, it's often easy to forget it's there.