Posted by: Johan Normark | May 13, 2009

World history through heavy metal songs

Some metal bands and their songs relate to historical figures, places and events. Let us begin in the Stone Age and move towards our own time. This is a historical chronology seen through heavy/trash metal.

In Paleoltihic times, people searched for fire according to the movie “Quest for Fire”. This inspired Iron Maiden to a song that states that dinosaurs and humans lived side by side. Not completely true, unless they talk about birds.


I have nothing on the Neolithic so I jump to one of the ancient wonders of the world, mentioned in an earlier post. Sweden’s own Yngwie Malmsteen and the “Pyramid of Cheops”. This is the Early Bronze Age.

Manowar’s version of the battle of Troy in the Late Bronze Age (let us say it is a historical event) comes in eight parts and it is loooong. This is one of the parts.

Dio’s involvement with Rainbow created the masterpiece “Gates of Babylon” (one of the ancient seven wonders of the world). Babylon’s history began in the Middle Bronze Age (with Hammurabi), but the gates of Babylon mentioned here I believe relates to king Nebukadnessar’s reign, and now we are definitely in the Iron Age.

Alexander the Great conquered Persia and made Babylon his new capital (where he also died). This over eight minutes long song gives a fairly accurate picture of this Macedonian youngster (a little better research by Steve Harris on this song). With Alexander the Hellenistic era began and one can say that this era lasted until the end of the Roman Empire.

The period after the “fall of the Roman Empire” is the so-called Dark Ages. This gives me reason to post a song by Yngwie Malmsteen again.

After the Dark Ages we run into the later Medieval period and after that we end up in the European colonization of the world. Running Wild has a song about the conquistadors. Maybe not completely accurate (and hey, another of their songs is inspired by Zecharia Sitchin’s nonsense about the Annunaki…).

Conquistadores confronted the indigenous people of Americas. Here is a critique of how they are being treated today. Anthrax and Indians.

So, that is how World History (from a eurocentric perspective) looks like if we let  metal song writers summarize eras, periods and events…



  1. And they often get accused of devil worshipping instead of being history buffs/story tellers…


  2. Great post -Metal & Archaeology a match made in … what… well I’ll be in heaven tonight

  3. Christian fundamentalists will interpret every good story as devil worshipping. If we play the songs backwards (difficult these days I guess when vinyls are rare), maybe we will hear how the world will end and we will all be consumed by fire. No, archaeology may take us below the surface of the world but metal takes us to heaven.

  4. You should add Frank Zappa’s Inca Roads.

  5. You have actually anticipated a future post of mine. Since my dissertation dealt with roads (causeways) I have planned a “roads in music” post. I definitely add Zappa there.


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