In Iron Maiden’s song,“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” the band emulates the poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The band sings the song verse by verse, matching the poem’s structure and style. The instruments in the song play a large role in conveying a very solemn, yet romantic tone. The guitar solo in the middle song, gives a break for the listener to absorb the words that they had just heard. The way in which the guitar rift sounds like it would be placed in a modern gothic tale. This gothic romantic state embodies the soul of the play and the darkness that it contains.
The band tells the story in a folklore way, for instance
Iron Maiden: “The mariner kills the bird of good omen
His shipmates cry against what he’s done
But when the fog clears, they justify him
And make themselves a part of the crime.”
Coleridge: “And I had done a hellish thing,
And it would work ’em woe:
For all averred, I had killed the bird
That made the breeze to blow.” (Part II)
This lyric and verse in the poem is repeated throughout the poem and the song. It is a reminder of the gothic theme that is shown in the poem and song. This romantic, gothic theme is critical to the understanding of the romantic period demonstrated through the context of the poem. The killing of the bird is a symbolism of committing a crime of passion. A crime that can be justified by people and is deemed as acceptable. This crime of passion seemed to be significant to the poem due to its repetition throughout the poem. The song brings the poem to life, in a way that is even more telling of what the author intended the romantic poem to be. The guitar solo is reminiscent of metal’s origin, in Beethoven’s classical pieces, which encompass the romantic element within the gothic style.