• The Middle Ages as Identity Marker in Heavy Metal: The Spanish Case

    Amaranta Saguar García (see profile)
    Heavy metal (Music)--Instruction and study, Group identity, Nationalism, Medievalism, Spaniards--Social life and customs
    Item Type:
    Meeting Title:
    The Middle Ages in the Modern World
    Meeting Org.:
    John Cabot University & École française de Rome
    Meeting Loc.:
    Meeting Date:
    21st-24th November 2018
    power metal, Pagan metal, Francoism, Spanish Heavy Metal, Spanish Middle Ages, Metal Music Studies, Cultural identity, Spanish culture
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    Medievalism is not alien to heavy metal music. It is actually a prominent feature of two of its most successful subgenres, power metal and pagan metal, and it recurs in the aesthetics and the lyrics of most classical heavy metal bands. Warriors, knights, sorcerers, minstrels, and the whole cast of contemporary popular medievalising literature and cinema alternate with Germanic mythology, traditional ballads, epic poetry, Crusaders, Vikings, and many other supposedly more historical topics. The reasons behind this fascination of heavy metal for the Middle Ages are not understudied, celebratory masculinity and a longing for a simpler, nobler, and more fulfilling lifestyle being the most cited causes. However, these two motives do not explain the apparent urge to naturalise the Middle Ages that can be felt nowadays. Bands move away from the generic medievalism of the old days and colour it with their own regional medieval cultural heritage. This paper explores the naturalisation process of heavy metal medievalism and its consequences through the case study of Spanish bands. First, it will determine which aspects of the Hispanic medieval cultural heritage are vindicated and why. Second, it will analyse how they are received within Spanish society and outside. Last, it will read the conclusions of both previous sections against the background of the current problematic of the appropriation of the Middle Ages by nationalistic and racist far-right groups, that is, the creation of a “Western male white identity”.
    Paper read at the panel "Heavy Metal Medievalisms: A Matter of Identity?", organised by Ruth Barratt-Peacock.
    Last Updated:
    5 years ago
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