Mythology … the collection of tales, fables, beliefs, stories or otherwise unconfirmed historical ideas that bridge the common ground between fiction and fact in order to (uniquely) define a particular group or sets of groups in such a way that either arises naturally or is deliberately contrived in order to preserve a social norm, prove a sociological idea or otherwise define an unknown in such a way that it becomes inscribed. Myths span every culture, socio-economic tier, religion, creed, etc and are defined differently based upon each. One man’s legend is another man’s fact. A good friend of mine referred a student they knew to me regarding mythology in music, something I’m only nominally knowledgeable about.
My first advice was to find two forms of music that would best ascribe to mythological structure, the first being any region’s “religious” or “philosophical” music and then define it’s core antithesis which will sterotypically grasp for the opposite. Folk music, by definition for many regions will draw strongly upon the likes of both, but for me personally, I see it manifest itself in something even closer to my heart, metal… the student of my suggestions seemed to glean some solid insights from the ideas and came up with this blog post that got me thinking about how to even moreso take the concept to heart.
“the Battle of Evermore” from IV – Led Zeppelin – the Englishmen referenced Celtic, Welsh, Anglo-Saxon, Roman, Scandinavian and Tolkien’s LOTR throughout their rich mythological history, they were perhaps the founders of Dungeons and Dragons metal
“My Kantele (acoustic reprise) from Elegy – Amorphis – These Finnish master’s captured the Kalevala and then the Kanteletar among others in their music in order to bridge the gap in Scandavian culture to that of their mainland rivals beautifully
“Moonchild” from Seventh Son… – Iron Maiden – they spanned Christian, Egyptian, Native American to their own English lives but what really struck the chord was the fantological epic 7th Son that opens with the script to the epic album
“Damien” from Horror Show – Iced Earth – on an album that explored the true extravagance of myths and stories, Iced Earth honed in on a classic Christian focused myth that exudes the dynamics of turning a modern culture on its head
“the Wizard” – Black Sabbath – sure, they were more sci-fi than mythology but when faries weren’t wearing boots, concepts that dealt with lost Celtic and Anglican roots took hold to draw imagry from
“2112” Rush – OK so writying your own sci-fi mythology into a half a concept album that draws upon what is becoming modern history isn’t quite like the rest but the storied detail that makes the ablum is impossible to deny
“At the Gallows End” – Candlemass – English lore plods along throughout their entire catalog but it’s when they don’t over-emphasize it that it really comes across sincere
“Phobos” from Phobos by VoiVod – immediately after Rush started rewriting how Zep and Sabbath and Rush treated folklore there was VoiVod and by the time they hit their rhythmic stride they were inventing their own sci-fi version that would make Orwell and Huxley frightened
“Rhatamahata” from Roots – Sepultura – the South American and Iberian worlds collide throughout Sep’s work but it’s on songs like Rhat that they hone in on their native lands’ more brutal inscriptions to their own namesake
“Kafr!” from Those Whom the Gods – Nile – What Gwar are to made up folklore, Amorphis are to Finnish and Enslaved are to the Norse, Nile probably is to North Africian as they live more than up to their own monkier in references
“Større enn tid – Tyngre enn natt” from Mardaum – Enslaved – lots of bands claim to be Viking but there are few who can truly attempt to encapsulate Norwegian idealism in quite this way, as it is the not bread of shear of it’s Anglican-christian distain or of pure Norse conceptual-ism
“A Fine Day to Die” from Bathory – Bathory – the true begining of Norwegian viking metal in the puratanical form of the idea… and all that which Manowar would later try to graple with from the new world far from the Norse reaches
“Sorrow Throughout the Nine Worlds” from same title – Amon Amarth – while they never realized that Vikings weren’t Swedish their Swedish fold roots played well into their overal attempts at a sonic palette and helped refine a genre
“Juton (Moonshield)” from Jester Race – In Flames – they would lose the ritualistic need to default to their roots in later albums as they became more alternative, but for a brief moment they interplayed well such as the folk quotes throughout the early releases