Hail to the Hammer: Music for October (part 1)

What an awesome month. Forget Christmas, Halloween is where it’s at. Zombie movie marathons, kids walking around dressed as ghouls and barbarians, all the candy in the world, how can you beat it? And considering Christmas has its own devoted genre of music, why shouldn’t this (far superior) autumnal advent?

I thought I’d post up ten of my favorite “songs of the season” for your enjoyment.

Månegarm – Ur själslig död
I don’t know, maybe it’s just their unusual name, but I find myself often forgetting that Månegarm exist. I really shouldn’t. They’ve put out some impressive music.

Finntroll – Trollhammaren
I never saw the English translation of these lyrics until I came across this particular video, and now I love the song even more. “Amongst the shadows rides a beast like a black tree, gripping hard a mighty hammer, looking for weak Christian blood. He is not human, not fragile and weak like you. You will be helpless. No eyes see your end.”

Troll Bends Fir/Troll Gnet El – Strawberry Berserk
No one has ever quite settled on a proper means to transliterate Тролль Гнёт Ель, but whatever we call them they certainly fit the occation. The title of this song makes no sense to me, so I’m just going to assume it’s about getting really drunk.

Korpiklaani – Kohmelo
Korpiklaani manage to release a new album every year, with six since 2003 and another planned for February. As can be seen from their most recent one, this has been no deterrent to their quality. I know I linked this once before, but I can’t resist putting it up again – by far my favorite song by them.

Myrkgrav – Endeoner
Myrkgrav, like so many bands of the genre a solo project, composed this anthem to close his only full length album, Trollskau, Skrømt og Kølabrenning.

Thyrfing – Mjölner
I don’t listen to Thyrfing all that much over all, but Mjölner has one of the most ass-kicking melodies in metal.

Ensiferum – Victory Song
In this ten minute epic the chorus says it all. “Swords in their hands, they killed each and every man who dared to invade their sacred land. Victory songs are rising in the night, telling all of their undying strength and might.”

Pagan Reign – Печаль Сварога (Novgorodian Folk Dance)
Pagan Reign hail from Russia. Though they broke up after their 2006 release, the feel of the band remains largely intact under the offshoot project Tverd (Твердь). Also, this track gets my vote for the greatest intro ever.

Falkenbach – Heathenpride
Falkenbach’s contributions to viking/pagan metal cannot be overstated. Heathenpride tells the tale of a band of missionaries who ravage the northern lands in the name of Christ. With a sacrifice to Odin and Tyr, a pagan king calls for revenge and slaughters the Christian invaders. A happy ending if ever I’ve heard one. As it relates to actual history, Saint Boniface felled the sacred Donar Oak, near Fritzlar, Germany, in 723. Thirty-one years later he was put to the sword by pagans in Friesland, northern Holland. The Christians were, at best, just as barbaric as the pagans they sought to convert, and far less justified in their actions. Boniface’s death can be seen as one of the few pagan triumphs as Christians raped and pillaged their land. Whether Heathenpride is telling this story or some similar one that I am unaware of, the point is still a strong one.

Bathory – Hammerheart
The late Quorthon, father of viking metal, had once intended Twilight of the Gods to be his final album, and this was its closing track. We’ll see him in Valhalla.

Now that the winds call my name
And my star has faded, hardly a glimpse up in the empty space
And the wise one-eyed great father in the sky stilled my flame

For the ones who stood me near
And you few who were me dear
I ask of thee to have no doubts and no fears

For when the great clouds fills the air
And the thunder roars from oh, so far away up in the sky
Then for sure you will know that I’ve reached the joyous hall up high

With my blood brothers at side
All sons of father with one eye
We were all born in the land of the blood on ice

And now all you who might hear my song
Brought to you by the northern wind, have no fear
Though the night may seem so everlasting and forever dark

There will come a golden dawn
At ends of nights for all ye upon whom
The north star always shines

The vast gates to hall up high
Shall stand open wide and welcome you with all its within
And Odin shall hail us bearers of a pounding hammerheart