Sixth Entry: Metal variations on a Celtic theme

While I rarely consider the dream as a serious option for my future, part of me wants to be in a metal band. If everyone’s allowed his guilty pleasure, mine is certainly the more abrasive end of the musical spectrum – which isn’t to say that I spend the majority of my acoustic existence there. For example, I love the peace and often melancholic sweetness of Celtic music, among many other endless forms of instrumental and vocal expression. When these two genres combine, I am all the more pleased (if you’re interested, I’d recommend Eluveitie).

What’s the point of this explanation? One of my favorite Celtic-inspired songs has been rewritten by a number of groups throughout the years, most notably in my experience by Gaelic Storm. Their rendition of Black is the Colour is a sweet, somber interpretation of a tale already imbued with longing and love, and it’s a necessary precursor to this discussion since we’ll be looking at a rewrite of my own.

The metal head in me saw an opportunity to transform the melancholy and lost love into a dark and macabre tale, but nevertheless one that centers on achievement and reunion more so than lost hope. So if you like vampires and paradoxes, keep reading! My ideal rendition of this adaptation would be performed by the demonic lovechild of Amon Amarth and Mandragora Scream, combining elements of death metal and gothic metal into one bizarre teenage fantasy.

Far from a bastardization of the original, I like to think of this almost as a satire of metal culture (similar to the Dethklok phenomenon) but a song that could potentially be played seriously at many goth clubs with relative success — it certainly has its poetic qualities, after all. The catch would be being familiar enough with the original to know the references. If you didn’t at least listen to Gaelic Storm’s tune, do that now and keep it in mind while reading:

Black is the color of my true love’s soul
Her lips are pale in the cold below
A frozen smile, arms across her breast
I love the ground where below she rests

On the other side, do immortals weep?
Does she hear my cries in eternal sleep?
I hope one day that the day will end
So she and I may be again

I go to the tomb in the dark of night
To call her name in ancient rites
I feel her breath as it chills my spine
And I enter death a thousand times

There is, of course, the option to repeat the first stanza after each of the two following, as it is featured in the original version. Possibly another one that I could come back to expand, but as long as I’m committed to the equivalent of a poem a day, it’ll have to do for now.

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