Norse Mythology in Modern Culture
Amon Amarth is one of the most blatantly Norse Mythological metal bands in existence. In fact, they are probably the only band in the world that is this closely tied to Norse Mythology. Everything from their album names, to their song titles, to the lyrics embedded in the gut wrenching brutality of their fast-paced melodic guitar riffs, screams Odin, Thor, Loki and all the other gods and characters spoken of in the sagas and stories passed from generation to generation through both written and vocal methods. In true saga style, with the oral tradition of the most ancient establishments and peoples in the Nordic region, they sing the stories of the Eddas and send praise to the gods long after the time of their magnificence. The introductory album from Amon Amarth, entitled Sorrow Throughout the Nine Worlds, has many different references to the gods Odin, Loki and Baldr throughout the album. One of the more obvious references is from the song “Sorrow Throughout the Nine Worlds”, which refers to the universal weeping from the story Baldr’s Dreams in the Poetic Edda by Snorri Sturluson. In Baldr’s Dreams, Baldr, the second of Odin’s sons, dreams of dying and the Aesir are so disturbed by this that they send Odin down to Hel to figure out the meaning of the dreams. Subsequently, he is in fact murdered by the hand of his blind brother Hod, facilitated by Loki and the spear he fashioned out of mistletoe. Following the death, Hermod goes on a quest to return Baldr to the realm of the living. He meets with Hel, daughter of Loki and ruler of Niflheim, and, after much pleading, she makes a deal with him stating that only if “all things, living and dead, will weep for him”(Lindow), shall he be able to return to the land of the Aesir. The first song on the album shares the album title and lays out Baldr’s Dreams in a modern poetic way that is also exceedingly heavy metal. The lyrics play out the dream and
Cited: Dark Lyrics.“Amon Amarth Lyrics”. Metal Lyrics. http://www.darklyrics.com/a/amonamarth.html Larrington, Carolyne. The Poetic Edda. New York, New York: Oxford University Press 2008. Lindow, John. Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs. New York, New York: Oxford University Press 2001. Sturluson, Snorri. Edda. North Clarendon, VT: Tuttle Publishing 1995.