• ‘A Cruel Taste of Winter’: Gothic/doom metal as an act of Northernness

    M.Selim Yavuz (see profile)
    Music and Sound
    Heavy metal (Music)--Instruction and study, Musicology, Popular music
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    Gothic North Symposium
    Conf. Org.:
    Manchester Metropolitan University
    Conf. Loc.:
    Manchester, United Kingdom
    Conf. Date:
    22 October 2016
    doom metal, extreme metal, metal music studies, music and place, Yorkshire, Metal Music Studies, Popular Music Studies
    Permanent URL:
    After the extreme turn of 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’ because of their record label based is Dewsbury, West Yorkshire- 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, later on, 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 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 for tablet computers, and frequently appearing in Bram Stoker Film Festival in Whitby. My ethnographic research with both musicians and fans further suggest the involvement of the North in making and perception of gothic/doom. Karl Spracklen suggests that northernness is a form of sympathetic magic performed through the constraints of symbolic boundaries and the traditions of imagined communities. 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. I propose to discuss, in this paper, how this act is performed within these bands’ oeuvre and how it is perceived from the listener perspective using interviews with musicians and fans from around the world, and musicological analyses of significant songs from the repertoire of this trio.
    Last Updated:
    7 years ago


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