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Posts Tagged ‘St. Anger

“Heavy Metal is the most conservative of all loud music. Let’s face it, not even a gym teacher could get as many people to dress alike.”*…

Nimrod and His Companions Venerating Fire, by Rudolf von Ems, c. 1400. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Jeremy Swist on heavy metal’s fascination with Roman emperors…

Roman emperors have enjoyed a prolific reception in metal music around the world—Caligula and Nero most of all, with not only hundreds of individual songs but also entire concept albums dedicated to them, such as the Belgian band Paragon Impure’s 2005 album To Gaius! (For the Delivery of Agrippina) and the Russian band Neron Kaisar’s 2013 album Madness of the Tyrant. The year 2021 saw the release of two separate records about Nero: the UK band Acid Age’s Semper Pessimus and the Canadian band Ex Deo’s The Thirteen Years of Nero. The extent of certain emperors’ popularity can even be quantified, thanks to the online database Encyclopaedia Metallum. Entering each emperor’s name into the advanced search for their appearance in lyrics and song titles, and after eliminating duplicates and false positives (e.g., nero being Italian for “black”), led me to create the following bar graph, which went semi-viral on Twitter in April 2021:

Nero with 139 songs, followed by Caligula with 110, tops a sizable catalogue of 444 songs. Yet this data set consists only of mentions by name in songs with available lyrics in the Encyclopaedia Metallum and excludes untold numbers of tracks about emperors that do not name them, such as “Incitatus,” an old-school death metal ode to Caligula’s horse and would-be consul from 2019 by the Brazilian band Orthostat, or the American band Graves of Valor’s 2009 song “Locusta,” named after the woman Nero praises as the poisoner of not only his predecessor Claudius but also his stepbrother Britannicus and his mother Agrippina.

The numbers speak for themselves: emperors are metal. But why?…

Find out: “Enjoy My Flames,” from @MetalClassicist in @laphamsquart— an illuminating (and entertaining) look at (what is, in the end) a fascinating sub-genre of historical fiction, and what it tells us about our times.

Jello Biafra

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As we ponder head-banging, we might recall that on this date in 2003 Metallica’s St. Anger (the heavy metal band’s eighth studio album) was released– and went to #1 on the Billboard album chart (holding off a strong entry at #2 by Jewel, who’d moved on from her folkier roots to dance pop with 0304).

The St. Anger cover

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

June 12, 2022 at 1:00 am

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