Electric Guitar and Somber Fear: Iron Maiden

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.

Peace

—Nathaniel Schwass

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Electric Guitar and Somber Fear: Iron Maiden

  1. The original idea in this post is how the similar lyrics and different pitch of instruments create a powerful romantic interpretation of the poem. Do you think the obscurity of the Iron Maiden version paid enough tribute to the poem? Do you think there can also be a literal or metaphorical clarity in this poem?

    Like

  2. The most original idea in this post is how the music performed by Iron Maiden is conscious of the poem itself and “not merely appropriating the track for their acoustic endeavors”. The post also raises the awareness of listening to the music and how the different instruments are able to create a romantic story. The post can be improved by maybe linking the interpretation to one of the many characteristics of Romanticism.

    – Christopher Luong

    Like

  3. I think it is interesting that you say that the dynamics of the poem and the Iron Maiden’s song are romantic even though it’s heavy metal. What part of the heavy metal makes it Romantic? Would it not be more about gothic theme?

    Like

  4. I think it is interesting that you say that the dynamics of the poem and the Iron Maiden’s song are romantic even though it’s heavy metal. What part of the heavy metal makes it Romantic? Would it not be more about gothic theme?
    Enrique Ramos

    Like

  5. The original idea in this post is the mentioning of “sweet” aesthetics within the poem. I honesty had not considered that but it is a great point. in order to develop the idea better you could have gone further to explain what that sweetness achieves. Overall great analysis!

    Like

  6. The original idea in this post refers to the song itself and its style creates a more romantic iteration of the original ballad. Your argument expands upon the guitar work, bass style, and percussion and which member of the band does what to create such a powerful set of images. Your analysis is spot on, and I think determining which scale is being used in the song would better your argument instead of just saying “the scale.”
    — Drew C. Guerrero

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think that one of the strengths of this blog post is discussing the intrumental aspect of the song, and how it ties in with the poem. No weaknesses

    Like

  8. I think that one of the strengths of this blog post is discussing the intrusmental aspect of the song, and how it ties in with the poem. No weaknesses
    -Benjamin Montes

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s