System Shock – “Marathon”

Given the overblown and often problematic glamorization of Sparta (or rather, the myth of Sparta) and the last stand of the 300 at Thermopylae in 480 BCE, other pivotal events of the Persian Wars tend to be overshadowed. Such is certainly the case in metal music, where in contrast to dozens of songs on the […]

Well of Night – “Pyrrhonist”

Greek philosophy in the Hellenistic world developed in response to the new world order violently ushered in by Alexander and his squabbling Macedonian successors who carved his global empire into vast multinational kingdoms, where semi-divine monarchs commanded massive professional armies. The days of the polis city-state, where one’s identity and moral obligations were tied to […]

Gatekeeper – “Prophecy and Judgement”

The Canadian heavy metal band Gatekeeper‘s release of their first LP East of Sun via Cruz del Sur last year catapulted the band into the spotlight as the new wave of traditional heavy metal gains ever more steam. But as today’s festivities turn our minds back to Canada’s unification into a single Dominion in 1867, […]

Twilight of the Gods – “Sword of Damocles”

The Roman statesman, orator, and philosopher Cicero includes in his Tusculan Disputations an anecdote borrowed from earlier Greek historians about Dionysius II, tyrant of the Sicilian city of Syracuse (r. 367-344 BCE). Earlier in Greek history, the term tyrant simply denoted an autocratic ruler who took power unconstitutionally, but by the fourth century the political […]

Obsidian Sea – “The Trial of Herostratus”

Of the canonical Seven Wonders of the ancient world, three are clustered around the western coast of Asia Minor, a rich area of heavy Greek colonization and intermingling with the various native Anatolian cultures. One of these three wonders is a testament to this exchange, the massive, Ionic order temple at Ephesus of the Greek […]

Vultures Vengeance – “Into the Cave”

The Italian heavy metal band Vultures Vengeance recently dropped their debut LP The Knightlore. Be sure to check it out, but today we look back a year at a song from their 2018 EP Lyrids: Warning from the Reign of the Untold. While the gods and generals of myth and history dominate metal’s classical reception, […]

Gamma Ray – “The Cave Principle”

Plato is perhaps the most well known philosopher from ancient Greece, and among his many influential theories about the nature of morality, psychology, and physics, the Allegory of the Cave is the most iconic. This comes as no surprise, as a major factor in Plato’s profound influence was his skill as a writer in presenting […]

Lord Vicar – “The Spartan”

“Many have sung about the Gates of Fire.” Indeed, the story of King Leonidas and the 300 Spartans is one of the most iconic episodes in the history of ancient Greece, and it is especially popular among metal bands who take on classical themes. The Manilla Road album “Gates of Fire”, for instance, takes its […]

Wrathblade – “Submersion”

It is a strange thing that the Greek sea god Poseidon is somewhat underrepresented in classically inspired metal songs. Often he is incidental to narratives of the hero Odysseus, but not often is Zeus’ blue-maned, trident-wielding brother the main character. Poseidon is not only lord of the sea, but he is also the “earthshaker” with […]

Iron Man – “King of Kings”

Today we reflect on the contributions of black musicians and songwriters to the metal genre. Among them are Terrence Hobbes and Mike Smith of Suffocation, Cammie Gilbert of Oceans of Slumber, and before all of them, the bands Sound Barrier and Black Death. Also among these we remember the late, great Al Morris III, guitarist […]