Ilium – “Romulus and Remus”

The Australian power metal band Ilium, as you can tell from the name, are no strangers to classical mythology. Their 2007 album “Vespertilion” (a pun on the band’s name and a Latinate word for ‘relating to bats’) concludes with an 8-minute epic that relates the myth of the legendary founder twins raised by the she-wolf. The song fits theĀ themes of the album’s name and artwork, an exploration of the blurred boundaries between human and beast in mythical lore. While classical heroes are typically known for transcending the boundary between humans and gods, the Romans see in Romulus a continuum whereby both Mars and the She-Wolf combine.

Indeed, not only the motif of lycanthropy, but the overall theme of lupine identity is pervasive in metal, and thus Roman themes appeal to bands either tapping into ancient heritage or otherwise appropriating the symbolism. This, as you can imagine, can go hand-in-hand with right-wing politics that certain bands may claim to embrace (or flat-out deny, claiming the label of ‘apolitical’). Ilium’s fellow countrymen Destroyer 666 have certainly flirted with the controversial associations of wolf imagery, and similarly the band Diocletian in nearby New Zealand. But I digress. Ilium is good, clean power metal. Enjoy!

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