Bolt Thrower – “The IVth Crusade”

Many of us were taught that the Roman Empire fell in 476 CE, when Germanic barbarians dethroned the last Roman emperor, coincidentally named Romulus Augustulus (the names of Rome’s first king and first emperor). This anticlimactic event, hardly noticed by contemporaries, draws an all-too-convenient line between what we think of as classical antiquity and what […]

Gotland – “Adrianopoli”

The year 378 CE has traditionally been marked as the beginning of the end of Roman Empire, when on a scorching August day the legions of Rome were annihilated by a force of Goths, and with them the emperor Valens himself. What led these armies to clash in the first place? A disastrous immigration policy […]

Swallowed Whole – “Domitian”

When given the terms “megalomaniac” and “Roman emperor,” most people today can name Nero and Caligula, and perhaps Commodus thanks to “Gladiator.” But the Romans themselves in their later history often included one more in their canonical lists of exemplary tyrants. That was Titus Flavius Domitianus, known to us as Domitian. While not possessing the […]

Deos – “Mylae”

In the popular imagination, the epic showdown between the rival superpowers of the rising Roman Republic and the maritime empire of Carthage evokes images of elephants crossing the icebound Alps led by Hannibal, or of Cato the Elder demanding that “Carthage must be destroyed,” whose eventual fulfillment saw the ancient Phoenician city sacked and razed, […]

Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins – “Antichrist”

Day 6 of 6(66) Days of Nero. We wrap up our series on Nero with this final number from the 2018 album Pawn and Prophecy by Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins, another anthology of the tyrannical emperor’s infamies. The focus of this song is on Nero’s predilection for murder, be it of his own family members, […]

Immaculate – “Cross of Nero”

Day 5 of 6(66) Days of Nero. The Swedish speed/thrash metal band Immaculate open their 2010 album Atheist Crusade with this track, which combines much of the events of Nero’s reign we’ve seen previously treated by metal bands: matricide, depraved tyranny, arson, and anti-Christian persecution. The phrase “Cross of Nero” itself may refer either to […]

Messiah – “Nero”

Day 4 of 6(66) Days of Nero. Today we’re revisiting a post from this past winter, when the latest polar vortex seized the Midwestern US in a deadly, icy grip. A song about Nero’s Great Fire on an album titled “Extreme Cold Weather” surely embraces the spirit of FROST AND FIRE. (From the archives)As the […]

Autokrator – “Qualis Artifex Pereo”

Day 3 of 6(66) Songs on Nero. The French band Autokrator (the ancient Greek term for ’emperor’) play doomy, industrial death metal. Their 2015 self-titled debut album is in large part a prosopography of Rome’s most infamous emperors, such as Caligula, Commodus, Caracalla, and Diocletian. Nero is among this lurid gallery, his song’s title the […]

Hirax – “The World Will Burn”

Day 2 of 6(66) Days of Nero. The California thrash metal band Hirax close out their 2014 album Immortal Legacy by duly extending the immortality of the infamous emperor’s legacy. Once more, we see the Great Fire of 64 CE and the original anti-Christian persecution taken up as a lyrical theme (see yesterday’s post on […]

Bewitcher – “Rome Is on Fire”

Track 1 of our 6(66) Days of Nero. This song by the American blackened speed metal band Bewitcher is burning hot off the presses, part of their 2019 sophomore album Under the Witching Cross released earlier this year. In the year 64 CE, the Roman emperor Nero was celebrating the tenth year of his reign […]