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National Identity in Northern and Eastern European Heavy Metal

Deeks, Mark David (2016) National Identity in Northern and Eastern European Heavy Metal. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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In the last thirty years the genre of heavy metal has seen an increasing number of bands utilise aspects of their national or regional identity to inspire their work. This identity portrayal has been manifested in many forms — visual, textual and musical, and often with combinations of more than one. In the context of the work of Benedict Anderson, Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, and drawing comparison with the Romantic Nationalism movement of the 18th and 19th centuries throughout, this thesis examines the field and seeks to establish that writing on the subject has thus far failed in a number of key areas. The terms Viking metal, battle metal and Pagan metal form the core of current genre classification. I demonstrate how these are both inaccurate and insufficient, as they not only ignore the considerable breadth of work being produced, but also focus too heavily on bands from the Nordic region. As a result, the equally significant role that both the U.K. and Eastern Europe have played in the genre’s development has not been acknowledged. Subsequently, there is a need for transnational identities that are being both presented and received to be recognised or challenged where appropriate. Finally, the majority of writers to date have centered their attention on either textual content or matters of a (sometimes sensationalist) cultural or ethnographic nature. I seek to establish that the deficiency in academic musical analysis on the work being produced does the musicians a disservice. Tracing source material throughout, the thesis utilises a case study on the English band Oakenshield that presents a collage of all of the themes contained, and encapsulates the type of transnational identity being portrayed. The conflict between intention and reception in genre classification as discussed by writers such as Jeffrey Kallberg and Heather Dubrow is therefore demonstrated.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: music, national identity, nationalism, national romanticism, heavy metal, genre, musicology, Viking, Anglo-Saxon, pagan, mythology
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Music (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.701729
Depositing User: Mr Mark David Deeks
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2017 10:37
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 09:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/16034

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