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History Rocks..!!!!!

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    Posted: 11-Dec-2006 at 12:42

History rocks?..few on this forum would disagree, and indeed, historys ability to provide a source of creativity can be clearly seen in the heavy metal music brigade.!!!

.As a keen advocate of heavy rock since I was in my early teens, I have often noticed the tendency for history themes and topics to play a prominent role in some bands make-up.as a bit of personal entertainment and a leisurely stroll down memory lane, I thought I would take a peek at those bands for whom history rocked and certainly rolled..!!! I am deliberately trying to avoid the protest songs if I can, many of which are connected with opposition towards conflicts and political policies, I want to try and stick to historical events and (often tenuous!) links if I can..not to be taken seriously, and plenty of stuff to be added

.starting with my favourite band Black Sabbath, but a tricky one to pin down as far as historical links go. Perhaps the most obvious is the name, and the very first song on the first Black Sabbath album, a reference to the supposed gathering of witches in order to play out a diabolical ceremony in order to worship the dark onea prevalent theme in rock music, but nevertheless, more of a theological philosophy than historical fact..

..and so onto Iron Maiden, and although many of the bands songs allude to film titles and stories, Maiden are perhaps the MOST historically themed of rock bands, even the band name is a piece of medieval torture equipment!! How metal is that!!! So, where to start? The first album was somewhat lacking in history but Killers was a sign of things to come with songs such as The Ides of March and Genghis Khan. Later albums would deal with the experiences of the Native Americans on Run to the Hills, and the Crimean War with The Trooper. My all time Maiden favourite would be the album Powerslave, released in 1984, the cover is a depiction of ancient Egypt and the title track sticks with the same subject matter. The best song for me, however, is Aces High where Bruce Dickinson muses over the plight of wartime fighter pilots. The experience of World War I is tackled on Paschendale, but for ancient history lovers, the album Somewhere in Time contains Alexander the Great, a character destined to be honoured by the metal folk!! I am sure there are many others but for now I will move onto a collection of other tracks

..I think Led Zeppelin could be included given Robert Plants fascination with Viking and Norse mythology and legend, and many Zeppelin tunes often contained a flavour of Roberts passion Hammer of the Gods anyone??also, the cover on the first album showed a flaming Zeppelin airship crashing to the ground, the third album saw the band pictured as (I think) World War I era German aircrew..

.Judas Priest, not a band to focus on history that much but they do allude to the infamous Jack in the song The Ripper, a theme also covered by Thin Lizzy in their infamous track, Killer on the LooseLizzy in fact have a pretty decent repertoire of history songs, The Cowboy Song, Soldier of Fortune, The Holy War, Massacre and Genocide, The Killing of the BuffaloPhil Lynott seemed to have strong affinity with the plight of the native American Indians and as such, wrote consistently about the subject. More obviously, Anthrax had a little bit of a hit in the UK with a track called Indians, the lead singer Joey Belladonna even wearing a large traditional feathered headdress for live appearances

..with Lemmys personal interest in the Third Reich and a huge collection of Nazi memorabilia, you would expect Motrhead to comes up trumps on the history front, and Mr Kilminster does not fail to deliver.. Bomber is an absolute classic and anyone who has seen Motrhead live on stage will remember the replica metal skeleton of a bomber plane hanging scarily over the bands heads!!! Most obviously, is the album 1916 and the corresponding title track.anyone who has heard Lemmy speak will know that the man commands a profound interest in historical matters and can refer to the past eloquently and with deep insight.Jethro Tulls lively little ditty Living in the Past is most appropriate!!!..

..Magnum wrote a poignant and sombre song called Les Morts Dansant and looked at the experiences of soldiers in the trenches of WWIgreat track and saw this one live many moons ago!!! Magnum also asked How Far Jerusalem? and had a song called Soldier of the Line

.more controversially, Slayer (one of my favourite bands) have included in their back catalogue Angel of Death concerning the Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele, and Behind the Crooked Cross, not to mention Chemical Warfare and Ghost of War

..and lastly, of course there is the classic metal band Saxon, what more could we expect with songs like Battle Cry, Militia Guard, To Live by the Sword, English Man OWar, Machine Gun, Witchfinder General, about the infamous Matthew Hopkins, The Eagle has Landed dealing with the NASA space programme, Dallas 1pm and the JFK assassination, and the album Lionheart. However, my personal favourite is the album Crusader and the daunting metal feast that is the title track!!!...
COME CRUSADER, LET BATTLE COMMENCE!!!!!!!..aaarrrrgggghhhh!!!!

..I could go on and on and on and on.but I will stop now and hand it over to those who maybe interested.!!!

Please add feel free to pick up my mistakes, due I am afraid to a memory that is not quite as good as it was!!! And by all means, do add songs you feel should be included in the thread, but it must be rock and metal!!!

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  Quote gremlinlord Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Dec-2006 at 20:04
Good idea for a thread, Act of Oblivion! I agree with your examples, and now I'll add some of my own...a lot of my favorite rock and metal bands are from Europe, and they often have historical or mythological references in their songs. Hammerfall has an ongoing theme with the Templars; they have a song called Templars of Steel; they mention the Templars in a number of other songs, like Hearts on Fire, A Legend Reborn, etc.
 
Stratovarius mentions the Mayans in their song It's A Mystery, another one called Witch Hunt, and they have a song Babylon, which is about, well, ancient Babylon. Nightwish sings about Tutankhamen, Freedom Call about one of the Ramses, Nocturnal Rites about "Egyptica", and Kamelot about Alexandria. Guess there's a bit of a North African theme going on...that's all for now, I'll keep an eye out for more!
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  Quote NikeBG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Dec-2006 at 07:31
Originally posted by gremlinlord

Nightwish sings about Tutankhamen...

Also "Pharaoh sails to Orion" etc, it seems they have something like a general Egyptian theme. Wink
Another one, which I would add, is Virgin Steele, especially with their album "House of Atreus", whose entire topic is the Trojan War and ancient Greek mythology.
If I might, I'd also add Blind Guardian with songs like "Precious Jerusalem", "Another Holy War", "Valhalla"...


Edited by NikeBG - 13-Dec-2006 at 07:33
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Dec-2006 at 08:14

..Hello gremlinlord...

Originally posted by gremlinlord

Hammerfall has an ongoing theme with the Templars; they have a song called Templars of Steel; they mention the Templars in a number of other songs, like Hearts on Fire, A Legend Reborn, etc


..good call!!! i have a Hammerfall cd in my house somewhere but i can't find it!!! but i remember it being a good album, i do go for the heavier material in rock, heavier the better actually...however, i am a big fan of that 'Gothic-Hard Rock' like Nightwish, Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil etc..must be the female lead vocalist thing!!!!...

..continuing the theme, would anybody accept The Scorpions and 'Wind of Change'...??...The rock song that floated over the debris of the Berlin Wall during the demise of the Soviet Union?...history song??

...i will try and look into some of your suggestions NikeBG, sounds like something i would be interested in...thanks for the tips!!!
    
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  Quote gremlinlord Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Dec-2006 at 09:15
Right, NikeBG, forgot about that Nightwish song...I was thinking of Blind Guardian, but all I could think of was Lord of the Rings.
 
Act of Oblivion: I like pretty much the same thing, the gothic theme, female lead singers, and the heavier rock...my favorite band is Sonata Arctica, who have a song about a soldier returning from a war, but I'm not sure what war it is, if it is indeed one that really happened.
 
Also, Tobias Sammet's Avantasia criticises the Roman Catholic Church and members of it, like Clement VIII; this also comes out in Sammet's songs for Edguy as well. Also mentioning Stratovarius again, they have another song called Kiss of Judas too.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Dec-2006 at 09:41

..most of these bands i have not heard of!!! guess i am from the old 'Classic Rock' school....Zeppelin, Sabbath, Purple, Hendrix etc, although there are some newer/newish bands i like, for example Rammstein, but perhaps i am just showing my age a bit!!!!
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  Quote Frederick Roger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Dec-2006 at 09:56
Camel has a series of history-based concept albums, mostly on early and mid-20th century...
Early King Crimson often dwelled in obscure lyrics about living in the Middle Ages. Their debut is quite a good rendition of 12th and 13th century Sicily, with their eccentric court and problems with the Papacy, with a special interest in the figure of Frederick II.
Symphony X have a concept album based on Homer's Odissey. 
 
Just to name a few...
 
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Dec-2006 at 13:03
Originally posted by Frederick Roger

Camel has a series of history-based concept albums, mostly on early and mid-20th century...
Early King Crimson often dwelled in obscure lyrics about living in the Middle Ages. Their debut is quite a good rendition of 12th and 13th century Sicily, with their eccentric court and problems with the Papacy, with a special interest in the figure of Frederick II.

Symphony X have a concept album based on Homer's Odissey.


Just to name a few...



..What a great collection of examples, especially King Crimson, for got about them!!!..and how more historical can you get with these themes and topics, great stuff...
    
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  Quote NikeBG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Dec-2006 at 04:21
Originally posted by gremlinlord

...my favorite band is Sonata Arctica, who have a song about a soldier returning from a war, but I'm not sure what war it is, if it is indeed one that really happened.

"Replica" - my absolute favourite song of Sonata Arctica! It seems we share the same taste of music, gremlinlord, since my Top 5 are:
1. Nightwish
2. Sonata Arctica
3. Blind Guardian
4. Rammstein
5. BTR
(three power metals, one alternative industrial and one Bulgarian classic rock). Big smile
Blind Guardian is indeed centred mostly around Tolkien's works and its no wonder why it's the favourite band of all Tolkien fans (including me).

ActOfOblivion, I highly suggest you do find Virgin Steele's "House of Atreus" - I'm not sure how to classify them, but I'd say they're more like the old and classic heavy metal style and they're not a new band either.

Btw, can we count Corvus Corax as a rock group? Because they do have a main theme aimed at history, with tracks like "Saltarello" (medieval dance) or f.e. "Bacchus" and others...
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  Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Dec-2006 at 06:04
The Spanish metal band Dark Moor has done a lot of historically inspired songs, mostly concerning medieval and ancient history. Click here for discography.

The Italian metal band White Skull is even more historically focused, and nearly all their albums have some unifying historical theme. So far they've done albums on the middle ages, on Roman history, and one based on Vikings, Norse mythology and the Nibelunglied. Click here for discography
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Dec-2006 at 06:21
Originally posted by NikeBG


ActOfOblivion, I highly suggest you do find Virgin Steele's "House of Atreus" - I'm not sure how to classify them, but I'd say they're more like the old and classic heavy metal style and they're not a new band either.Btw, can we count Corvus Corax as a rock group? Because they do have a main theme aimed at history, with tracks like "Saltarello" (medieval dance) or f.e. "Bacchus" and others...


..thanks NikeBG, i will try aand make an effort to track them down, maybe i can drop a few hints to family with regards to Xmas prezzies!!!...the old 'classic' metal sound is what i like..lots of bands today seem to have the heaviness in the guitars, but the 'woooorrrggghhh''ggrrrrr' vocal style is not really my cup of tea, some of it is ok, Machine Head and Trivium for example, but i do like the newer bands like Hammerfall and Dragonforce who retain that old sound and dynamic..

..as for the other bands you mentioned, why not include them...to hell with it...lets expand the thread!!!!

..thanks for your choices Reginmund, this is where i get to learn about music from other countries, all recommendations are most welcome...i have noted that there are quite a few decent rock and metal bands coming from Italy, i must get round to exploring the metal scene with more effort.... what with jobs, life and family, my musical exploits have tended to take a seat at the back, although i do still enjoy playing around with my guitar..purely as an amateur mind you!!!..lots of noise and its heavy riffs i like playing, its fun and its louder than my sons wailing and screaming!!!...     
    
    

Edited by Act of Oblivion - 14-Dec-2006 at 06:28
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  Quote NikeBG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Dec-2006 at 08:08
Another one, which came to my mind - a nice Spanish band called Saurom with their album "Juglar Metal". I don't really know Spanish, but with track names like "Marcha Inca" I'm pretty sure they're at least somewhat history-related too.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Dec-2006 at 10:01


Originally posted by NikeBG

Another one, which came to my mind - a nice Spanish band called Saurom with their album "Juglar Metal".


....thanks for the selection of links NikeBG...

..although i will have to get my girlfriend to translate the site for Saurom!!!...as she knows some Spanish...my language abilities are appalling, although that does not spoil my immense enjoyment of Rammstein's music!!!..

.i do wonder why the metal fraternity find so much interest in history and the creation of their music, and as we have seen from members posts, from people all over the globe..?....maybe it is just like-minded indivuduals? ....

....generally speaking, most of the people i know who enjoy listening to and making rock music seem to share a liking for historical episodes, military stories, fanstasy and mythological associations....(although this does not always apply in reverse) ..despite the often unconventional image of such bands and people, i do find that many sentiments they express contain a deep and profound level of thought that belies the nature of the music...Rush are an excellant example of this....sure, i know there are many genres of rock and metal music that do not (Van Halen, Poison,!!?) but on the whole, a lot of metal bands do approach their themes and topics with an admirable sense of foresight and insight....and all good to them...

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  Quote gremlinlord Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Dec-2006 at 01:30
Originally posted by NikeBG

Originally posted by gremlinlord

...my favorite band is Sonata Arctica, who have a song about a soldier returning from a war, but I'm not sure what war it is, if it is indeed one that really happened.

"Replica" - my absolute favourite song of Sonata Arctica! It seems we share the same taste of music, gremlinlord, since my Top 5 are:
1. Nightwish
2. Sonata Arctica
3. Blind Guardian
4. Rammstein
5. BTR
(three power metals, one alternative industrial and one Bulgarian classic rock). Big smile
Blind Guardian is indeed centred mostly around Tolkien's works and its no wonder why it's the favourite band of all Tolkien fans (including me).
 
Yes, "Replica"...very good song! I admit, I haven't got a favorite Sonata Arctica song; but I consider myself lucky to have actually found a band who has yet to release a song I don't like. We definately share the same taste in music...my top, well, 6 are:
1. Sonata Arctica
2. Nightwish
3. Hammerfall
4. Stratovarius
5. Blind Guardian
6. Rammstein
And a definate Tolkien fan here too!
 
I've found some more songs as well that are somewhat historical (or not); Freak Kitchen has a song called Mussolini Mind, although it's not really about Mussolini...Iced Earth has an instrumental by the name of 1776...Kamelot has the Fall of Icarus, and Nocturnal Rites mentions Egypt (again!) in Temple of the Dead.
 
Originally posted by Act of Oblivion

.i do wonder why the metal fraternity find so much interest in history and the creation of their music, and as we have seen from members posts, from people all over the globe..?....maybe it is just like-minded indivuduals? ....

....generally speaking, most of the people i know who enjoy listening to and making rock music seem to share a liking for historical episodes, military stories, fanstasy and mythological associations....(although this does not always apply in reverse) ..despite the often unconventional image of such bands and people, i do find that many sentiments they express contain a deep and profound level of thought that belies the nature of the music...Rush are an excellant example of this....sure, i know there are many genres of rock and metal music that do not (Van Halen, Poison,!!?) but on the whole, a lot of metal bands do approach their themes and topics with an admirable sense of foresight and insight....and all good to them...
 
Good food for thought, Act of Oblivion...that is an interesting observation. I for one don't really know that many people who listen to the same kind of music as I do, but now that I see the connection through the forum, etc., it's quite intriguing...I wonder...certainly gothic/fantasy themes are also prevelant as well, but those tend to spring out of history.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Dec-2006 at 12:26

..hello again gremlinlord...

Kamelot has the Fall of Icarus


..i recall Iron Maiden having a song called 'Flight of Icarus' also telling the story of the ambitious but doomed winged man...

..i mentioned Slayer's 'Angel of Death' earlier in the thread and later realised that i did not own the album,so i fought my way through the mass of Xmas shoppers today and grabbed myself a copy of 'Reign in Blood'...great album, ferocious and full-on metal heavy!!!....

..yes, the fantasy connection does appear to be common, i am also a big fan of Tolkien, and 'The Hobbit' remains one of my favourite books having first read it when i was at school...my introduction to all things fantastical came when i got involved in 'Dungeons and Dragons' role playing games...i was taken with the imagery and the subject matter, not long after a friend lent me a cassette of Black Sabbath's 'Sabotage' album and it just blew me away, the music seemed to fit my fantasy interests perfectly...the sounds conjured up all kinds of pictures and ideas in my head, and from that moment, i was addicted to this kind of music...still am!!!!...i did not really get into the 'goth' kind of fashion, but i certainly was a victim of the 'denim, leather, and studs' look, complete with a self-painted Black Sabbath picture on the back of my cut-off denim jacket....sigh...those were the days!!!
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  Quote gremlinlord Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Dec-2006 at 15:35
Originally posted by Act of Oblivion


..hello again gremlinlord...

Kamelot has the Fall of Icarus


..i recall Iron Maiden having a song called 'Flight of Icarus' also telling the story of the ambitious but doomed winged man...

..i mentioned Slayer's 'Angel of Death' earlier in the thread and later realised that i did not own the album,so i fought my way through the mass of Xmas shoppers today and grabbed myself a copy of 'Reign in Blood'...great album, ferocious and full-on metal heavy!!!....

..yes, the fantasy connection does appear to be common, i am also a big fan of Tolkien, and 'The Hobbit' remains one of my favourite books having first read it when i was at school...my introduction to all things fantastical came when i got involved in 'Dungeons and Dragons' role playing games...i was taken with the imagery and the subject matter, not long after a friend lent me a cassette of Black Sabbath's 'Sabotage' album and it just blew me away, the music seemed to fit my fantasy interests perfectly...the sounds conjured up all kinds of pictures and ideas in my head, and from that moment, i was addicted to this kind of music...still am!!!!...i did not really get into the 'goth' kind of fashion, but i certainly was a victim of the 'denim, leather, and studs' look, complete with a self-painted Black Sabbath picture on the back of my cut-off denim jacket....sigh...those were the days!!!
 
Hello, Act of Oblivion...
 
Hmm, I haven't got "Angel of Death" either...I guess I've got to pick it up sometime too!
 
I got completely obsessed with all things medieval a number of years ago, and with that came a love of fantasy...I actually found all of the bands I like through a random search on the internet, when I decided I wanted to find a new band that no one at my school had heard of, and found Sonata Arctica...from there I found Stratovarius, Nightwish, Hammerfall, etc., which has fit my fantasy interests as well! Music is truly a great thing...
 
That's right, Flight of Icarus...guess Icarus was a popular guy! And Therion has a song by the name of Quetzalcoatl...
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  Quote King John Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Dec-2006 at 19:25
Iced Earth has a whole album devoted to historical subjects from Attila the Hun to the Battle of Gettysburg. This album is called The Glorious Burden.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Dec-2006 at 20:25
Originally posted by King John

Iced Earth has a whole album devoted to historical subjects from Attila the Hun to the Battle of Gettysburg. This album is called The Glorious Burden.


..thanks King John for your choice....

...most of the selections made by people on this thread are new to me, and has helped to expand my knowledge of such music....at some point i will try to track some of these suggestions down!!..

..thanks again to all...
    
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jan-2007 at 09:29
Hello!
NikeBG told me about these Forums in MSN and thought I would be a good addition - and here I shall make my first contribution [which I already made in our MSN conversation, and he thought I should post this here, so I do :D]

Grave Digger has quite some nice Albums which all cover historical themes:

Tunes of War: a concept album about the history of Scotland, and mainly its struggle for independence with England

Knights of the Cross: A concept album about the Crusades

Excalibur: A concept album about the Arthurian legends

The Last Supper: A concept album about the last days of Jesus
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jan-2007 at 09:54

hey hey franK! vilkommen.

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