Thursday, 9 December 2010

UKBMW XIV: Barad-Dur

"Black Metal is an ethic"
                                                                       Nathan Watson, Barad-Dur

is a
solo artist, Neithan from the Northwest,  named after Sauron's tower in Lord of the Rings, and the lyrical themes of the band are centred around fantasy, as well as Norse mythology; as well as these inspirations, the influence of the music of Burzum can also be clearly felt, in the brittle wintery fuzz guitars and haunting melancholic ambience of the synths, and during this year's self-released album Regulus features two occasions of delicately epic folk music amongst the buzz. It's a combination of sound and literature he sees transcending the sonic sphere;“To me, Black Metal is an ethic as well as a musical form. Through Black Metal I can convey my innermost thoughts. By this I do not necessarily mean in words, but through the music itself. I believe that the music as a whole should be used to convey feeling, whether this be anger, pain, hatred or loss.”

The idea the Black Metal is more than a musical genre, but a lifestyle or way of thinking has been posited by other bands already this week, so does he see it as a positive move, that so many artists are forgoing any real connections to the original sounds of which his own music is so indebted to?
“I prefer to see a wide range of influences rather than everyone settling on one common style. We, in the UK, are in a good position to do this. A strong history of metal - here, I feel it is apt to make a reference to Venom. What would an interview on UKBM be without mentioning one of the most famous first wave bands? - and a wealth of influence from the early Scandinavian scenes are a recipe for some truly original music. Add to this elements of native folk and other non-metal musical styles and you are left with a very diverse set of influences.”

Throughout the interviews conducted for this week I've been turning up polar opposite answers to the notions that there are any kinds of quintessentially British or English Black Metal sounding strains of Black Metal at the moment, but Neithan isn't so convinced that there has been a significant wave of any one kind; “Within the underground bands, I haven’t noticed a shift for one main reason. The UKBM scene seems to be pretty diverse, with a lot of bands crossing over and taking influence from other musical genres from crust through to post rock. This is essential in order to avoid stagnation. In terms of the more well-known bands, I would say that there are a fair amount of UKBM bands playing melodic or symphonic Black Metal. Also, there seems to been a resurgence of bands identifying with their ancestral and cultural heritage. As I have found most of the UK bands I enjoy through trading, I’m afraid I cannot say too much more about other, more famous bands.”

Though there i
s a strong Norse element to his music, I asked him whether the closer environment of the British countryside is something which informs his music? “More recently, nature and the environment have influenced what I write. Obviously, living in England means that it is mainly the English countryside that I experience, but I would not want people to think that Barad-Dur’s music is limited to appreciation of just this country. My appreciation of nature spreads further afield. Heritage and the associated national pride is an interesting point. I would only write about England’s cultural heritage form a historical point of view, and even so this theme is of no great importance to me. I find more inspiration in other themes.”

In advancing some of the more ambient elements of Barad-Dur, Neithan set up a drone label called Frozen
Tendril - as an outlet for work he can't consider in Barad-Dur, and to release the work of other artists he sees potential in;“Although Black Metal is generally seen as a type of music produced by solitary groups or individuals, support from like-minded people is always appreciated. It is good to know that people support what you do and wish that you continue, as this isn’t something you would hear often from people outside of the ‘scene’ I have found people from other underground scenes to be very appreciative too, not only sharing a passion for extreme music but also for the DIY ethic.”

There are no you tube rips to post up to give you examples of his work, but you can jump over to MySpace where he has several tracks up on his player. If I was going to pick one to post here, it would be Summoned, for the reverential piano run that appears halfway through, and ghosts through the centre of the mix, building into a quickening flurry of classical accompaniment to the furrowed guitar work. Go listen HERE

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