Professor Spracklen has a research interest in many music scenes and genres. He has published work on goths, neo-folk, folk music and world music, but his main musical focus is heavy metal: in particular, the extreme metal genre of black metal and its elitist ideologies. He is interested in extreme metal as a communicative leisure choice, in which resistance to the instrumentality of the modern world is revealed through debates over the meaning and purpose of metal.


Professor Spracklen has been a key organiser of metal music studies globally, working with academics from Europe, North America, South America and Australia. He has been instrumental in founding the International Society of Metal Music Studies, of which he is the Secretary. He has led the development of the journal of the Society, Metal Music Studies, which has been published by Intellect since 2015. Professor Spracklen is the Principal Editor of Metal Music Studies.