A sense of displacement
Longing for past heritage in Olde Throne’s black metal
Keywords:Black metal, Aotearoa, Displacement, Heritage, Emotions
Olde Throne is a solo black metal project created by Harrison McKenzie, a young musician from Christchurch. The main theme of his music production is Scottish and Irish history and mythology, more generally themes related to Celtic culture. After spending time in 2019 in Scotland, Harrison McKenzie became increasingly interested in the history and mythology of this land far from his native home. He felt a strong emotional connection to the past of Scottish people, in fact his surname is influenced by this ancestry. His passion for Norwegian black metal, developed in his teenage years, was linked to the search for his past, giving rise to Olde Throne’s musical proposal. This ‘Riffs’ article, developed from a textual and musical analysis and corroborated by an interview with the musician of Olde Throne, attempts to highlight how nostalgia for a past, more imagined than lived, conceals a sense of displacement that finds its way out through the aggressive and extremely emotive sounds of black metal, a musical category little practised in Christchurch. Europe, as the cradle of Scottish and Irish cultures and as an ideal place to play and experience black metal, takes shape imaginatively in the sonic and lyrical coordinates of Olde Throne’s music.
Adey, Peter, Janet C. Bowstead, Katherine Brickell, Vandana Desai, Mike Dolton, Alasdair Pinkerton and Ayesha Siddiqi. 2020. The Handbook of Displacement. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-47178-1
Amselle, Jean-Loup. 2001. Branchements. Anthropologie de l’universalité des cultures. Paris: Flammarion.
Appadurai, Arjun. 1996. Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.
Berger, Harris M., and Ruth M. Stone. 2019. Theory for Ethnomusicology: Histories, Conversations, Insights. New York and Oxon: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315408583
Cooley, Timothy J., Katherine Meizel and Nazir Syed. 2008. ‘Virtual Fieldwork: Three Case Studies’. In Shadows in the Field: New Perspectives for Fieldwork in Ethnomusicology, ed. Gregory Barz and Timothy J. Cooley, 90–107. New York: Oxford University Press.
Cresswell, Tim. 2004. Place: A Short Introduction. Malden: Blackwell.
Feld, Steven, and Keith Basso. 1996. Senses of Place. Santa Fe, New Mexico: School of American Research Press.
Gonzales, Giulia. 2017. ‘Displacement and Belonging: Musical Consumption and Production among Malian Kel Tamasheq Refugees in Burkina Faso’. St Antony’s International Review 12/2: 89–113.
Hagen, Ross. 2011. ‘Musical Style, Ideology, and Mythology in Norwegian Black Metal’. In Metal Rules the Globe: Heavy Metal Music around the World, ed. Jeremy Wallach, Harris M. Berger and Paul D. Green, 180–99. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv1220q3v.10
Hagen, Ross. 2020. Darkthrone’s A Blaze in the Northern Sky. London: Bloomsbury Academic. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5040/9781501354366
Hainaut, Bérenger. 2017. Le Style Black Metal. Château-Gontier sur Mayenne: Editions Aedam Musicae.
Heesch, Florian, and Reinhard Kopanski. 2018. ‘Klang—Text—Bild: Intermediale Aspekte der Black Metal-Forschung’. In Analyzing Black Metal: Transdisziplinäre Annäherungen an ein düsteres Phänomen der Musikkultur, ed. Sarah Chaker, Jakob Shermann and Nikolaus Urbanek, 21–48. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9783839436875-002
Kahn-Harris, Keith. 2007. Extreme Metal: Music and Culture on the Edge. Oxford and New York: Berg.
Lashua, Brett, Karl Spracklen and Stephen Wagg, eds. 2014. Sounds and the City: Popular Music, Place, and Globalization. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137283115
Lucas, Caroline, Mark Deeks and Karl Spracklen. 2011. ‘Grim Up North: Northern England, Northern Europe and Black Metal’. Journal for Cultural Research 15/3: 279–95. https://doi.org/10.1080/14797585.2011.594585 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14797585.2011.594585
McKenzie, Harrison. 2022. Re:Olde Throne. Email received by Giordano Calvi, 8 March 2022.
Mulvany, Aaron Patrick. 2000. ‘“Reawakening Pride Once Lost”: Indigeneity and European Folk Metal’. MA thesis, Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University.
Nettl, Bruno. 2015. The Study of Ethnomusicology: Thirty-Three Discussions. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Ní Shíocháin, Tríona. 2021. ‘The Politics of Sound: Modernity and Post-Colonial Identity in Irish-Language Popular Song’. In Made in Ireland: Studies in Popular Music, ed. Áine Mangaoang, John O’Flynn and Lonán Ó Briain, 109–119. New York and Abingdon: Routledge.
Patterson, Brad. 2003. ‘Celtic Roots amidst the Fern: Irish-Scottish Studies in New Zealand’. Paper presented at AHRB Diaspora Seminar, University of Aberdeen. DOI: https://doi.org/10.26686/jnzs.v0i2/3.93
Patterson, Dayal. 2013. Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult. Port Townsend: Feral House. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.A2249796
Phillips, Jock, and Terry Hearn. 2008. Settlers: New Zealand Immigrants from England, Ireland and Scotland 1800–1945. Auckland: Auckland University Press.
Podjed, Dan. 2021. ‘Renewal of Ethnography in the Time of the COVID-19 Crisis’. Sociologija i prostor 59/219: 267–84.
Rice, Timothy. 1994. May It Fill Your Soul: Experiencing Bulgarian Music. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.
Rice, Timothy. 2003. ‘Time, Place, and Metaphor in Musical Experience and Ethnography’. Ethnomusicology 47/2: 151–79. https://doi.org/10.2307/3113916 DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/3113916
Rice, Timothy. 2014. Ethnomusicology: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/actrade/9780199794379.001.0001
Rice, Timothy. 2017. Modelling Ethnomusicology. New York: Oxford University Press.
Roberts, John L. 2000. Clan, King and Covenant: History of the Highland Clans from the Civil War to the Glencoe Massacre. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Spracklen, Karl. 2017. ‘Bravehearts and Bonny Mountainsides: Nation and History in Scottish Folk/Black Metal’. Rock Music Studies 4/2: 102–116. https://doi.org/10.1080/19401159.2016.1253297 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/19401159.2016.1253297
Spracklen, Karl. 2020. Metal Music and the Re-Imagining of Masculinity, Place, Race and Nation. Bingley: Emerald Publishing. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/9781838674434
Spracklen, Karl, Caroline Lucas and Mark Deeks. 2014. ‘The Construction of Heavy Metal Identity through Heritage Narratives: A Case Study of Extreme Metal Bands in the North of England’. Popular Music and Society 37/1: 48–64. https://doi.org/10.1080/03007766.2012.724605 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03007766.2012.724605
Stokes, Martin. 1994. Ethnicity, Identity and Music: The Musical Construction of Place. Oxford: Berg.
Wallach, Jeremy, Harris M. Berger and Paul D. Greene, eds. 2011. Metal Rules the Globe: Heavy Metal Music Around the World. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv1220q3v
Whiteley, Sheila, Andy Bennett and Stan Hawkins, eds. 2004. Music, Space and Place: Popular Music and Cultural Identity. London: Routledge.
Olde Throne. An Torr. Christchurch: Independent, 2021.
Olde Throne. An Gorta Mór. Lautiosaari (Finland): Narturmacht Productions, 2022.
How to Cite
© Equinox Publishing Ltd.
For information regarding our Open Access policy, click here.