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After the extreme turn of the late 1980s and early 1990s of metal music, three northern England-based bands – My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost from Bradford, and Anathema…
After the extreme turn of the late 1980s and early 1990s of metal music, three northern England-based bands – My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost from Bradford, and Anathema from Liverpool, commonly referred to as ‘the Peaceville Three’ – went on to pioneer the musical style which came to be known as death/doom. Mid-1990s have seen these bands’ stylistic shift into a more gothic rock-influenced sound. This Paradise Lost-led shift gave birth to the style gothic/doom. Around this deviation, these bands also started to employ a different sense, or rather a sense, of locality in their music: Paradise Lost started calling themselves a Yorkshire band, instead of specifically Bradford; Anathema shot a video for their 1995 song ‘The Silent Enigma’ in Saddleworth Moor (historically part of West Riding of Yorkshire) in Manchester; and later, My Dying Bride became more and more ingrained in the Goth culture of Whitby, including releasing an extended-play titled The Barghest o’ Whitby (2011), a Dracula-inspired trail guide, and frequently appearing in festivals in Whitby. This ethnographic research with both musicians and fans further suggests the involvement of the North in making and perception of gothic/doom. Applying Michel de Certau’s idea stating that ‘every story is a spacial practice’ within the context of northern England landscape, gothic/doom metal style emerges as an act of northernness. The author proposes to discuss how this act is performed within these bands’ oeuvre and how it is perceived from the listener perspective using interviews with people from around the world, and musicological analyses of significant songs from the repertoire of this trio.
This chapter explores how medieval signifiers function in black metal’s musical style, lyrics, and album imagery, specifically albums using woodcut engravings. It analyses…
This chapter explores how medieval signifiers function in black metal’s musical style, lyrics, and album imagery, specifically albums using woodcut engravings. It analyses how the word ‘medieval’ functions in discourses about those albums, including reviews, magazines, forum discussions, and YouTube comments. The analysis combines qualitative close readings with quantitative analyses of word frequencies, indicating which albums have provoked the term ‘medieval’ most. I then show which other terms are closely paired with it – descriptive adjectives, analogies and associative imagery, and various aesthetic judgments. I compare these findings with close music analyses to offer stylistic explanations for black metal’s enduring fascination with the medieval. Finally, the chapter explores how black metal’s associations with the medieval also intersect with notions of cultural purity and political controversies within medieval studies itself.