Archive for Nightwish

Advent Calendar Day 18: O Tannenbaum

Posted in Music, Religion with tags , , , , on December 19, 2012 by bradellison

The popular legend, which I believed until I sat down to do my traditional pre-post Wikipedia sweep 10 minutes ago, has it that Martin Luther wrote this song, a legend presumably established by poorly educated Protestants who knew that the song was German, Luther was German, and what more do you freaking want, anyway?

So the shiny penny of truth has derailed the express freight of my original intentions, which would have allowed me to post the song that the hard-drinking poop-flinging* founder of the Protestant Reformation actually wrote, the awesome anthem “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”  Which hymn, it should be noted, has much more interesting lyrics than this Christmas tree business.

Of course, the other part of the legend is that Luther invented the Christmas tree, to commemorate Christ’s birth in a manner entirely free of papist idolatry.  Once again, history says nope.  This is in fact just one more pagan ritual, like the mistletoe, the holly berries, the Yule log, and so forth.  Dig up the foundations of the cathedral, and you find the remains of the temple that preceded it.  If you can’t handle it, you can always go sit in the fun-hating no-Christmas-having corner with Cotton Mather.

The Fir tree is evergreen.  Like Christ (and Balder, Mithras, Osiris, the Green Man and company), it does not die, reborn anew each year.

It endures.

It keeps the faith.

It may be slightly perverse, actually, to cut down a symbol of eternal life and display its corpse to commemorate this holy festival, but all that means is that there’s a little Good Friday waiting for us if we look at Christmas close enough, and I say that’s all to the good.  In the midst of life, we are in death.

Of whom can we seek succour but thee, o Lord?

Jesus Christ, evergreen, ever faithful.  Chop him down, and he comes back up.

It’s a Christmas Miracle.

*In fairness, to the best of my knowledge he only threw poop at the Devil, who certainly had it coming.

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The hunger for metal is upon me

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2009 by bradellison

And I should warn you, I enjoy metal entirely unironically.

Lordi won Eurovision 2006 with this:

I love the wings/hat combo.  But really, I prefer the official music video, and not just because of the extremely pretty girl.  Deadite cheerleaders are just indisputably cool.

Also cool and Finnish is Nightwish, symphonic metal formerly fronted by the classically trained opera soprano vocals of Tarja Turunen:

and currently adequately fronted by Anette Olzon:

Alestorm may have invented the subgenre of pirate metal.

But for Viking metal, the go-to guys are Turisas from, you guessed it, Finland, the most metal country on Earth.

Since we’ve got the first two thirds of a nautical trifecta going on here, this looks like a good place to insert Mastodon, who made a thoroughly badass album based on Moby Dick.  “THIS IVORY LEG IS WHAT PROPELS ME!  HARPOONS THRUST IN THE SKY!”

The Sword are local boys, though they’re off touring at present.

And being the enormous Bob Howard fan that I am, you know I’m gonna dig a song called “How Heavy This Axe.”

Also local are the Lions, who I saw live once in an epically crappy little dive in Denton, where they totally kicked ass in front of a tiny audience.

And while we’re at it, here’s the forefathers.

I’m pretty sure Prof. T. would not have been a fan of Zeppelin’s music (or Jimmy Page’s fascination with magic in general and Aleister Crowley in particular) but they were sure big fans of his, as evidenced by the fact that the went ahead and recorded a song about the Battle of the Pellenor Fields (and another one called “Misty Mountain Hop,” and another one where they talk about Gollum stealing their girl…).

And finally, because I skipped Robert E. Howard Monday, and because I’m also a big Lovecraft fan, we’ll close with Bal-Sagoth: