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Obsequiae: Reconciling ‘Authentic’ Medieval Musical Styles with Metal

Medievalism and Metal Music Studies: Throwing Down the Gauntlet

ISBN: 978-1-78756-396-4, eISBN: 978-1-78756-395-7

Publication date: 6 September 2019


This chapter explores the potential for musical medievalism within metal, exploring the ways in which metal musicians have sought to include ‘authentic’ medieval musical languages within their music. The medieval repertoire poses many challenges even for early music specialists, and the musical idioms of metal and medieval music rarely overlap, leading many medievalist metal bands to rely instead on normative metal styles with occasional references to specific identifiable melodies. The chapter focusses particularly on the American metal band Obsequiae, who have drawn inspiration particularly from the medieval polyphonic repertoire, which required creating much more oblique musical connections. Obsequiae’s albums feature acoustic guitar and harp arrangements of medieval polyphonic works, but their metal songs likewise adopt some general qualities of medieval polyphony. The obscure nature of the connections is likely beyond many listeners, but paradoxically the lack of obvious musical medievalism can also cultivate the appearance of a deeper connection.



Hagen, R. (2019), "Obsequiae: Reconciling ‘Authentic’ Medieval Musical Styles with Metal", Barratt-Peacock, R. and Hagen, R. (Ed.) Medievalism and Metal Music Studies: Throwing Down the Gauntlet (Emerald Studies in Metal Music and Culture), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 145-156.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Ross Hagen