This chapter explores how medieval signifiers function in black metal's musical style, lyrics, and album imagery, specifically albums using woodcut engravings. It analyzes 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.
|Title of host publication
|Medievalism and Metal Music Studies
|Subtitle of host publication
|Throwing Down the Gauntlet
|Ruth Barratt-Peacock, Ross Hagen
|Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.
|Number of pages
|Published - 6 Sep 2019
|Emerald Studies in Metal Music and Culture