In the fourth section of “The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere,” the reader gets a description of the sounds that are coming from the ghastly landscape of the poem’s setting: “I heard the Lavrock sing;/ Sometimes all little birds that are/ How They seem’d to fill the sea and air/ With their sweet jargoning” (ll. 348-351). The aesthetics of the poem are “sweet,” and the sounds that you hear are the light “sing[ing] of “all [the] little birds” that “fill the sea and air.”
Clearly, these are far different aesthetics than you hear from a metal song where Adrian Smith and David Murray pluck away at the strings of their powerful electric guitars, sliding up and down the scale in a vibrant display of a heavy metal musical virtuoso. Dickinson’s vocals are shrill in tonality, high in pitch, and aggressive in their delivery. So, it seems that aesthetics of the song are somewhat of a shortcoming in the song’s representation.
However, about five minutes into the song, the powerful chug of electric guitars and the slamming percussion of McBrian stop for a moment, to quote the lines near 204, interpreted by the band as: “One after one by the star dogged moon/ too quick for groan or sigh/ each turned his face with a ghastly pang/ and cursed me with his eye.” In this section of the song, the tone of the track switches to a calm and peaceful expression, similar to the aesthetics of the actual poem, noted above. In this section of the song, Dickinson makes reference to the poetry with shocking clarity in a respectful homage. It shows that the band members are conscious of the poem itself, not merely appropriating the track for their acoustic endeavors.
Furthermore, the interpretation of the poem is inherently romantic, given that Coleridge was awed at the idea of a poem’s obscurity. This multiplicity of interpretation leaves the poem as a perfect example of a piece of fiction ripe for interpretation within a musical platform. I believe that Coleridge would have been honored to hear his narrative poetry interpreted in the heavy metal setting.