Screaming Praise; Heavy Metal Romanticizes a barren ice land

The Iron Maiden music video contains gross imagery that suggests an alien or monstrous theme to flow with the eerie, poetic tone of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”  Upon initial reading of the romantic poem, the tone suggests a harsh musical quality, like where the narrator states,
the ice was here, the ice was there,
the ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled
Like noises within a swound!

The Iron maiden success to channel the same “howling” effect of this vicious environment known as the land of ice.  Even the rhyme scheme, which though simple in rhetoric, proves to be ideal for a rhythm, which ironically functions for the heavy metal band.  Iron Maiden adopts the same values of Romantic poetry, based upon their kind of “religious response to nature” and “emotional and imaginative spontaneity.”  The Iron Maiden totally evokes a “religious response” when the audience hears the strain of the singer’s voice, like when he sings “the albatross begins with its vengeance.”  Birds appeal to religious imagery, and the fact that the “albatross” desires a vengeful flight correlates with the wrath of God in the Holy Spirit, who is commonly embodied in a bird.  The poem also seeks a religious reprieve when the narrator states the ice creates noises “within a swound.”  Since “swound” incurs the act of fainting, this too suggests a religious response in the romantic poem.  The “roars” and “howls” from the ice also reveal a passionate exclamation for religiosity, which correlates with the band’s rough musical tone. Not only that, much of the visulas in the video seem enigmatic, much like the ancient mariner in the poem who appears unexpectedly to the bride and other guests, and does other nonsensical actions as he tells the tale. Most romantic poetry leads to the nonsensical, so the images of a sort of alien egyptian statue, and other UFO pictures encourage the audience to distance themselves from logic and speculate what is happening in the song.  Much like Coolridge uses personification to discuss the ice land, wherein he claims it “growled,” “roared,” and “howled” this causes the audience to become disoriented and dissuades their expectations of the narrative, yet still pursue the journey of this disarming poem.  Similar to the poem’s length, Iron Maiden’s song has an almost interminable time span, lasting thirteen minutes.  This is meant to stimulate a “wonder” in the audience” which is another factor of romantic poetry.  While Coolridge instills “wonder” in the audience with the withdrawal from reality, especially when he anthropomorphizes nature, the band contains pauses that mislead their listeners to think there is an abrupt ending, yet actually suggests a continuation of the song.  These pauses function to heighten the audience’s curiosity, since it is unorthodox for most songs, especially that of heavy metal, to contain an abrupt pause.  With that in mind the Iron Maiden definitely takes elements from romantic poetry such as the nonsensical, religious, and wonder-evoking qualities that make their song a tribute to the original Ancient Mariner poem.-Jessica Mijares


3 thoughts on “Screaming Praise; Heavy Metal Romanticizes a barren ice land

  1. The original idea in this post is the more demonic tone that Iron Maiden adds to their version that relates to the “nonsensical” that the original poem creates. Interesting comment on the length of the song too that correlates with the length of the poem. You talk about some photos, maybe you want to add them to visualize more of what you mean?


  2. The original idea in this post is that it holds very horrific imagery that from what I get the impression, does not correalate with the poems theme. But isn’t this the obscurity that the poem offers, a different perspective for everyone? Which makes it a romantic work. You also present the idea of religion “Since “swound” incurs the act of fainting, this too suggests a religious response in the romantic poem.” I like this interpretation because it offers the spirituality that is presented with the albatross, but the poem does not say that it is religion, it simply implies it, which do you think, respects the different spirituality perspectives there are? I do think so.

    Enrique Ramos


  3. I enjoyed reading the thesis of your post:
    Iron Maiden adopts the same values of Romantic poetry, based upon their kind of “religious response to nature” and “emotional and imaginative spontaneity.”
    The intricacy of the original poem and the song work well together enough to constitute their similarity with Romanticism. There isn’t much to say about how to improve your analysis, seeing as how specific and attentive you were about the details. If I had to make a suggestion, it’d be to include some of the visuals you talked about. Overall, your post was very insightful. :^)
    -Daniel Corral


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