Drone Doom

A friend of mine wrote on drone metal for their PHD thesis. 

This thesis analyses mystical discourse in drone metal music. Drone metal is a radically slowed and extended form of extreme metal music featuring lengthy expanses of monotonously repeated riffs and heavily distorted and amplified dirge-like noise. References to mysticism and reports of mystical experience are prevalent in the musical culture. Mysticism, in my approach influenced by the work of Michel de Certeau, is understood as a tradition constituted by inextricable and ongoing reception and production of text and experience. Analysing information from participant observation, survey responses, ethnographic interviews, sonic and material culture, and online discourse, I discuss the discursive culture of drone metal in which musical experiences are understood in relation to mysticism. I examine the translocal and marginal formation of drone metal as a genre, tracing the experiential as well as sonic characteristics with which listeners draw similarities between music. I show how drone metal listening is reported in terms of imaginative temporal, spatial and bodily ‘elsewheres’, combining in the trope of pilgrimage. Elsewheres are evoked in both thematic content and in rhetoric, and I examine the constant shifts in linguistic performance of musical discourse, suggesting that listeners make space in which to explore religiosity and mysticism in musical experience through maintaining ambivalence about such concepts and their relation to drone metal. I examine the importance of amplification, distortion and materiality, a tendency which is evident in the centrality of amplifiers, physical music media, and bodily experience of vibration. I then investigate the language of violence in listener descriptions of ritual, observing the importance of violence in constructing powerful experience. Finally, I discuss each element of drone metal culture in terms of Certeau’s work, showing that for participants, drone metal is a tradition of mystical discourse constituted in experience, reception and production of extreme sound and language.

Contact for a .PFD copy at owen.coggins(at)open.ac.uk


Sunn O))) - Alice