Black metal is nasty stuff. Most of it revolves around Satanic imagery, shreiking vocals and guitars, incredibly fast “blast beat” drums, and spooky low fi production. Most bands hail from Scandinavia, and in the mid 90’s the nastiness reached a particularly nasty level as bands competed with each other to see who was the most evil by burning churches and murdering each other. And yet, I really appreciate the dark moodiness and musicality.
You can imagine my surprise when I found an honest-to-goodness Norwegian black metal band that is perfect for kids and adults. Now, whenever we get in the car, my two year old requests their music and proceeds to laugh and sing along! How did this happen? A confluence of two amazing things.
As I’ve already reported, my girls love the Rainbow Magic books. While the heros are Kirsty, Rachel, and the fairies, the villains are Jack Frost and the goblins. Their home is an icy castle north of Fairy Land and they are frankly hilarious. The goblins call each other names, trip over each other, and are some of the least scary “monsters” you’ll ever meet. I remember in one book Rachel and Kirsty got their way by tickling the goblins.
The band Immortal has been recording black metal since before their first full-length release: Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism in 1992. Their music is classic black metal, but many of their songs simply describe frigid mountains and the grumpy king who reigns over them. B’s favorite song is “Mountains of Might.” It starts with organ which B says is “carousel music” and contains vocals which she calls “a goblin talking:”
The storm is getting colder In a place of the frozen sun Alone on the mountainside Breathing the clearest winds The winds are everblowing Blowing off the glaciers Snow descend of the valley Into the high impassable drifts So rightly I am watching These mountains that I know Forever standing here These mountains northern face Mountains of might Mountains of might Mountains of might Icicled peeks as far as the eye can see I will reign this place alone Cold winds blew into the valley wall Snow was deeper there The storm is getting colder In a place of the frozen sun Alone on the mountainside Breathing the clearest winds Mountains of might Mountains of might Mountains of might
The acoustic break in the middle is when “the goblins are dancing.” The whole album (Blizzard Beasts) is recorded with the vocals mixed extra loud so they don’t get lost. My favorite part is how Abbath (the lead singer) pronounces glaciers as “glaysseers”. The lyrics of “Antarctica” (from Sons of Northern Darkness) are similarly child-friendly and the music is similarly goblin-friendly.
The only downside to Immortal for kids is common to all heavy metal: the terribly inappropriate music videos. Immortal follows black metal tradition and performs in corpse paint while making lots of scary faces. They also seem to love weird spiked bondage gear. They look ridiculous and I try to avoid their videos too. It doesn’t have to be this way. Consider the video below to be my small contribution to making the world a better place:
If you are excited to try and get your kids into other metal subgenres, make sure and check out my earlier post on this subject.