Sunday, 15 June 2014

The All Father of Metal

On this Father's day I thought it fitting to write about Odin the All-Father of Viking mythology, and his influences on Heavy Metal.

Wotan, Woden, or Odin has had many names over the centuries. His old Norse name, Óðinn , means master of ecstasy, fury, and inspiration; what could be more Metal than that?
"He’s a relentless seeker after and giver of wisdom, but he has little regard for communal values such as justice, fairness, or respect for law and convention. He’s the divine patron of rulers, and also of outcasts. He’s a war-god, but also a poetry-god"

In Viking tales he is known as a great general and brutal warrior. Much like Heavy Metal bands such as MOTÖRHEADBathory and Manowar he reveled in the Chaos of war viewing it as not a tool to bring about change but rather a state of bliss. With the same disgust as the hoards of Metal fans despise the Metal posers, Odin preferred to ignore the everyday warrior or soldier and only bestow his praise and blessings on great heroes. 

 The All-Father's image and influence can be found not only in his spawn of Viking Metal but all throughout the many genres of heavy bands such as: the glam Metal band Odin; the Melodic Death Metal band Amon Amarth; and the heavy prog band Odin from the UK.

His viking influence can be felt in the birth of Heavy Metal as an art form. You can find it in the sonic assaults of Led Zepplin's Immigrant song, and Sweden's Metal Band, Heavy Load.

In his image Viking Metal was cast with all its pagan symbolism. The halls of Heavy Metal look not much different than those of Valhalla; filled with trophies of combat, and children of Odin. Even Odin's son Thor has been embraced by the studded arms of the headbangers, and given an honored place at the Metal table of triumph. 

For these and many more reasons today, Father's Day, is an excellent day to give praise and reverence to Odin the All-father of Heavy Metal. 


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