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'Where does Black Metal lie in relation to this bending of the consciousness toward return?'

We received this email from the mysterious Oonagh in regards to the Winterfylleth interview that was published a couple of months ago. It's an interesting look at one of the frequent woes and more irritating sides of black metal. Things that distract from the music more than is acceptable. I'd like to take this opportunity to state that LURKER does not necessarily agree with the opinions that the band stated but, being British ourselves (and enthusiasts of history), to an extent we can understand where they're coming from. For my part, I don't think black metal has anything to do with nationalism, pride or cultural identity at all. Rather quite the opposite, and it is a way of looking at the world that I have zero interest in. But it is down to individuals to give their music whatever leaning they so wish, and if I enjoy how it sounds, I will listen to it. I won't go into a response much further than that. To listen to black metal is also to be aware of how fickle and naive the community can be, and picking out flaws in a music and ideology that is some times flawed by definition will often have an amusing outcome. But Winterfylleth's dedication to preserving Britain's historical identity is certainly admirable.

What do other lurkers think? Here is the email as it was sent to us:

"So, where does Black Metal lie in relation to this bending of the consciousness toward return? I ask as a novice.

After reading your highly articulate and interesting article something struck me as somewhat amusing upon the first seconds of listening to Winterfylleth for the first time. It has nothing to do with the music itself, which is epic, nor the intelligence of the article, the clear logic of which helped me understand something of Black Metal more profoundly than I think ever before. It was perhaps the true clarity of your voices which struck this funny bone upon the musics raucous outbreak. Such powerful sentiments of a return to a British identity, such reverence for a deserved mythology and such a disdain for the ‘tyrannical EU’, which destroys a ‘sense of unique national identity’ enslaving people under a global regime. These notions swimming round my mind contrasted with the musical onslaught which struck as a notably un-British experience. In the sense that if you hear a tabla drum or sitar you know it’s Indian, a fiddle and bodhoran drum you’d know you’re witnessing Irish roots, bagpipes etc. It could seem a funny choice to express a reverence for British heritage through a medium that is not recognizably British. In fact a medium that is more recognizably European, or Nordic. Considering the distaste for a unifying international banner destroying individual identity the choice to use a decidedly international genre might seem counter intuitive perhaps. No? I cannot stress enough that I do not pose this as an attack, merely as a musing spawned by a mysterious giggle.

The point itself serves to highlight one glaring statement by Winterfylleth that Britons have lost their identity. The obvious lack of an internationally recognised musical tradition to return to, that is not an imposed Christian hymn, is highlighted further by this observation. So, I suppose the question is how do we search out a gentle and loving nationalism from the global chaos of modern culture? Indeed how can we salvage a vestige of a human identity which encourages a reverence toward the heritage of the land? Toward a stark respect for history and where we come from?  Do we reject other forms of national identity in this act? Is punk, baked beans and multiculturalism not as much a fact of Brit identity as warlords and medieval bards?

Allow me one more indulgence to ask and what of a woman's outrage? The story of Bodecia (Boudica), as you mentioned, being emblematic of us all; daughters raped, men dead, honour and respect denied, right over body and land rejected, left with nothing but rage and violence, only power left that to take her own life. Submit, or rage and die? As it is said in legend her battle cry to her troops was to die in the quest for vengeance rather than submit to their oppressors, "This is my resolve, as a woman - follow me or submit to the Roman yoke." How should this identity be respected, revived and honoured?

How do we rekindle an identity so skewed, that of being British, woman, man, human? Crowing its pride? Screaming and lamenting its loss? Keeping the stories alive? Why not. I’m loving it (Mmmm-so to speak). But, among laptops, Nutella, Hollywood and the papal visit, the gulf between that which is celebrated and that which is lived remains. And how is it that transnational sounds of distortion bring us closer to that identity - is it another formula of distraction?

I have only recently been really getting into Black Metal, so excuse the rantings of a novice. Sometimes the observations of an outsider have a fresh and curious clarity dusted in amongst their ignorance, something interesting to an insider. And sometimes the observations of an outsider are just a bit misguided and far from the point. Who knows which these mental wanderings are. I write because I enjoy thinking aloud, I hope you don’t mind me taking up your time. Your article and music have spawned a torrent of musings and conversation, the fruits of which I offer you with thanks for the inspiration.

- Oonagh"

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