Opera in Extreme Metal : Integration of Symphonic and Opera Elements as a Support for Occult Discourse

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VRZAL Miroslav

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Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Citace
Popis The contribution focuses on integration of opera elements as a way of innovation in extreme metal music. Since its beginnings, heavy metal has been influenced by classical music, and this influence also manifested itself with the advent of extreme metal. Since 1990s, a number of extreme metal bands have been attempting to find ways to transgress the traditional metal musical expression including drums, bass guitar, and electric guitar. Some of these bands have gradually incorporated various symphonic elements, and attempt to add a degree of epic to their aggressive musical expression. For this purpose, they also use the contrasts of extreme metal vocals (growling or screaming) with opera singing. As I am going to show in my contribution, the described musical expression also serves to support horror atmosphere, occult discourse and various apocalyptic visions which can be encountered in extreme metal. Opera elements have therefore become a part of transgressive expression of the artistic form which is largely based on controversy. Similarly to La Tosca at its time, extreme metal polarizes its supporters and opponents who cannot grasp or identify with the musical expression. The trend of integrating both symphonic and opera elements in extreme metal bands continues even these days. Some musicians have even been able to address and attract the audience outside the extreme metal, making the music more comprehensible for ordinary audience on one hand, and becoming more conformist on the other hand. The integration of opera elements also shows that metal music cannot be perceived and understood as a cluster of ‘roar and noise’ as it is often perceived by an ‘inexperienced’ audience at first listening. In some cases, it is the matter of rather sophisticated arrangements possibly comparable to classical music. The contribution thus demonstrates the synthesis of extreme metal with opera elements on examples of bands such as Therion, Cradle of Filth, and Flesh God Apocalypse.
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