Today KATIE DOHERTY begins her new column about esoteric and occult matters, Living with the Ancients, by pondering the Doom Metal music that has burst forth from these isles we live on
The United Kingdom is by far one of the most inspirational places to live.
If we venture out of the cities and discover the acres of greenery, the burial mounds, stone circles, woodlands and then eventually to the beautiful coastlines you can understand why it is a popular place to inspire musicians, writers, poets and the like.
But, take this place on a cold rainy day where the wind howls across the moors, the rain soaks up the graveyard dirt and the pub sign creaks in the wind you have yourself a recipe for the perfect heavy metal album. Not just any of course, I am talking about doom metal.
Doom metal was pretty much the creation of Black Sabbath. Their slow yet heavier riffs combined with dark lyrics brought a sense of impending doom, hence its connection with the name of the genre. So, from this do we assume it was a British movement?
We can’t begin at the beginning without Black Sabbath. A foursome from Birmingham whose epiphany to create a heavy metal band grew into a doom monster that not only influenced musicians in the UK but it spread worldwide with bands such as Candlemass and Saint Vitus.
From lyrics referencing “witches at black masses” to heavy silver crucifixes around their necks it was bound to rattle a few cages and inspire a few people too.
If we fast forward to the 1990’s we were given the gift of many great bands such as Cathedral and Electric Wizard but I am not here to tell you the history of doom of course, you can have the pleasure of doing that for yourself.
Doom tends to revolve around three key themes; death, religion and horror. Luckily enough our heritage is knee deep in witchcraft and Druidry which when you delve into these you will most certainly bring up all manner of interesting history on the very place we call home but it doesn’t just stop here of course. We as a nation gave birth to occultist Aleister Crowley and horror writer Dennis Wheatley who are both influential in the artwork and lyrics of doom bands.
Electric Wizard posters and merchandise are littered with hypnotic swirls, psychedelic lettering and ladies revealing their sinful flesh whilst draped in black cloaks.
Pictures are easily available of British witch Alex Sanders performing rituals in the lush greenery of England and you only have to have a look at the Witchcraft Museum in Boscastle to realise just how much history we have on these spectred isles. It is easy to see why our home-grown bands used their heritage as subject matter.
As British writers, artists and musicians we didn’t need to play a record backwards to summon the devil, we just take a walk in the woods …
Katie Doherty owns Of Blood and Oak, an independent press that publishes the occult, horror and peculiar. She also is the founder and editor of Black Sunday magazine. Check her website out here.