Song of the Day: Hammerheart (by Bathory)


Resident site writer and music-editor necromoonyeti knows more about the history of the Swedish metal band Bathory who helped pioneer not just black metal but an even more awesome subgenre we now know as Viking metal. I’m still educating myself in the sounds of Bathory, but one particular song from their epic discography which has caught my attention would be the 7th song from their 6th album, Twilight of the Gods. This song makes the latest “Song of the Day” and it’s simply called “Hammerheart”.

“Hammerheart” was the only song from Bathory’s sixth album which wasn’t written by it’s founder Quorthon but adapted from English composer Gustav Holst’s orchestral suite The Planets. To be more concise this Bathory adaptation uses an excerpt from The Planets’ fourth movement called “Jupiter”. The Holst song must’ve made quite an impression on Quorthon for it remains one of the more memorable Bathory songs once he switched the band from it’s 80’s black metal days to the slower, heavier style which would become Viking metal.

This song, every time I listen to it, makes me think of the cold, icy fjords being plied by dragonships full of Viking raiders as they move in and out of the rivers and tributaries of mainland Europe to bring their unique brand of culture to mainland Europe. It also makes me think of Viking funerals with this song being played as an accompaniment. I may not have Norse blood in my veins but this song lets me imagine that I do.

Hammerheart

Now that the wind called my name
And my star had faded now 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 o, so
far away up in the sky
Then for sure you will know that I have
reached the joyous hall up high

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

And now you all 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 yee on whom
Upon the northstar always shines

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

Song of the Day: Am I Evil? (by Diamond Head)


Since I have been in a metal state of mind since finding out that The Big 4 of thrash metal would be appearing together on-stage this coming April 23 at Indio, CA I just had to pick a metal song for the latest “Song of the Day”. The song picked was an easy choice. It was Diamond Head’s classic metal track, “Am I Evil?”, from their 1980 debut album Lightning to the Nations.

Taking inspiration from the openings of both Black Sabbath’s “Symphony of the Universe” and Gustav Holst’s “Mars, the bringer of war”, the beginning of Diamond Head’s “Am I Evil?” has become one of the most recognizable and beloved of all metal songs. Right from the start the song just oozes an aura of heavy evil and the lyrics of a young boy who witnesses his mother’s witch-burning and his quest to avenge that death just adds to the doom and gloom of the song.

Diamond Head was part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWBHM for short) bands which bridged the Atlantic from the mid-to-late 70’s all the way into the early part of the 80’s. While they were not as successful as other groups who came out of the NWBHM scene like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Def Leppard they were a huge influence on another growing subgenre of metal that was about to give birth in the U.S.

I speak of the rise of thrash metal and how it’s four horsemen (Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth) would look to Diamond Head as one of the NWBHM bands which influenced their sound with all four looking at Diamond Head’s “Am I Evil?” as one of those songs which taught them what heavy metal really meant.

It’s no surprise that during the concert tour season of 2010 these four giants of thrash metal would tour together and do seven shows with the show in Sofia, Bulgaria ending with three of the four bands sharing the stage to cover this Diamond Head classic.

Whether played by Diamond Head, Metallica or the Big 4 just listening to “Am I Evil?” definitely makes one feel like their soul just got darker and their heart colder. Just the way heavy metal should affect anyone and be glad that it does.

Am I Evil?

My mother was a witch, she was burned alive
Thankless little bitch, for the tears I cried
Take her down now, don’t wanna see her face
Blistered and burnt, can’t hide my disgrace

27 every one was nice, gotta see them,
Make them pay the price
See their bodies out on the ice, take my time

Am I evil, yes I am
Am I evil, I am man

As I watched my Mother die, I lost my head
Revenge now I sought, to break with my bread
Takin’ no chances, you come with me
I’ll split you to the bone
Help set you free.

27 every one was nice, gotta see them,
Make them pay the price
See their bodies out on the ice, take my time

Am I evil, yes I am
Am I evil, I am man

On with the action now, I’ll strip your pride
I’ll spread your blood around, I’ll see you ride
Your face is scarred with steel, wounds deep and neat
Like a double dozen before you, smell so sweet.

27 every one was nice, gotta see them,
Make them pay the price
See their bodies out on the ice, take my time

Am I evil, yes I am
Am I evil, I am man

I’ll make my residence, I’ll watch your fire
You can come with me, sweet desire
My face is long forgotten, my face not my own
Sweet and timely whore, take me home