Posted by: Johan Normark | June 12, 2009

Hammers in action and in context

After giving a comprehensive guide to spelunking from a metal perspective in an earlier post, I here give a guide/model for interpreting some artefacts from a similar view. Hammers are important objects sometimes found in the archaeological record. They are indices of human activity. By coincidence they are frequently used in metal songs as well. As indices, hammers are semiotic signs (in the Peircean sense):

Sign of the hammer (Manowar)

The sign (index) of the hammer indicates that it was used in a continuous action sequence. First, the human agent Raise[d] the hammer (Icon).

After hitting the nail the agent Raise[d] the hammer and let the Hammerfall again.

Before one can make this complex analysis The hammer (Motorhead) itself must be described.

All hammers have a shaft and a Hammerhead (Overkill). That is basically all that is needed to know about the materiality of hammers.

If you find a hammer in the wrong context maybe U can’t touch this (MC Hammer).



  1. I can’t belive what just happened so I have to share it with you. I just added your RSS feed to my reader and I was scrolling through your posts.

    I loaded this post “Hammers in action and in context” and as I began reading it my iTunes player came to the next song:

    “Tor, with the Hammer” !!!

    This line repeated over and over is the chorus, the song is from the album “Knights of the New Thunder” by an old 80’s metal band “Tell No Tales” (TNT for short).

    I haven’t heard it for years!

    I am both surprised by the synchronicity and embarrassed to admit I own this album.

    I have gone and dug out the clip for you. Here it is:

  2. I have heard TNT before, but not this song. Thanks. Tor/Thor and his hammer is popular in Metal songs, particularly Manowar has dedicated several “hymns” to him…


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