What's all this fuss about?

Latin lyrics in Heavy Metal music are a common phenomenon. The darker the music, the more evil the band wanna be. What's better than using an old, mysterious, hardly understandable, cryptic, medieval and therefore almost satanic language? Unfortunately bands seldom know how to use this language properly. So, instead of evoking the demons of the realm of evil, they just evoke a hop-frog. Clatu verata nicto! - The most of you know what happened after this wrongly spoken spell.

Normally, two questions are the result of the fact that you've just read a latin phrase:
- What does it mean? (almost everybody)
- Is it correct? (just a few latin aficionados)

This page doesn't want to make fun of mistakes in latin lyrics. I wanna answer the first question to everybody who is interested. The second question is just for myself or for the two or three weird guys out there or for bands which are thinking about using a latin phrase as well. You can contact me if you want.

Samstag, 12. Dezember 2009

Swallow the Sun - New Moon

Swallow the Sun - New Moon (2009)

Swallow the Sun, Finnish gods of Doom and hopeless melancholy, have just released their fourth album "New Moon" - excellent black ans slow lava - on CD as well as live.
The CD's inlay has a blazon on it's back side, which contains a latin saying:
Unusquisque amoris damnatus ipse ut famulus miseriae genuflectet

Finest classical latin, grammatically perfect and well balanced written.
(The genitive form amoris belongs to damnatus. Words with juridical meanings use the genitive to express the reason of charge. It's also possible that the genitive expresses the punishment (which would be condemned to love), but this is just the case with capitis and adjective forms. That's why I've translated it as written above.)

Everyone condemned because of love himself will kneel like a servant of misery.

Finally, perfect music, perfect latin, what more do you want?

Dienstag, 24. November 2009

HIM - In Venere Veritas

HIM - In Venere Veritas - Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice (2010)

In February, HIM gonna release a new album, on which the opening title has a latin name. The most of you I guess, even if you have no clue about latin, have heard the phrase "In Vino Veritas" before: In wine, there is truth.

Now, there is truth in another place, in Venere. This is the correct ablative form (because of in, asking "Where?") of the name Venus, which is the goddess of love and sexuality in ancient mythology. In ancient texts, her name was also used to refer to the practice of love making, so venus can be translated as sex.

In Venere Veritas = In Sex, there is Truth....

... still keep on searching.

Freitag, 23. Oktober 2009

Ensiferum - band name

I think the most fans of Ensiferum know that the name means "sword bearer".

But I like the name very much, I like the logo and I like the band, so I want to explain the structure of the word to honour them in a way I can.

The latin word "ensis" means "sword", but it's a very poetic and sophisticated word, mostly used in epics. E.g. it's often found in Vergil's "Aeneis", the most popular latin epic telling the story of Aeneas, the founding father of Roman civilisation.

But back to Ensiferum. All of you know the "normal" latin word for "sword": it's gladius, and he who needed it was called the "gladiator".

The ending -fer always means "bringer of...", "bearer of...". Actually, the male form would be "ensifer" (with the stress on the first "e"), and "ensiferum" (with the stress on the "i") is the neutral form, but for reasons of symmetry the band used that one.

The best known "bringer" is the "bringer of light", better known as "lucifer", but that's another story...

Donnerstag, 22. Oktober 2009

Gorgoroth - Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt

Gorgoroth are back! Haven't heard the album yet, but I'm not a critic of music... The new album has a Latin title again, and it's not the first one in their history. In 2000, "Satan begins" (Incipit Satan), and in 2006, everything was "for the higher glory of Satan" (Ad maiorem Sathanas Gloriam).

So, third time is a charm? Well,... not with Gorgoroth. Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem trahunt is horrible latin and I actually can just guess what it should mean: As many as possible they tear at Satanity. Instead of "Quantos possunt" "Quam maximos" would have been better... (By the way: satanitas - satanity is a nice creation of a new word, agreeable to latin grammar.)

So, let's hope that the music sounds better than the title.

edit: well, please check this Gorgoroth-entry.

Freitag, 9. Oktober 2009

Ex Deo - Cruor Nostri Abbas

Ex Deo - Cruor Nostri Abbas - Romulus (2009)

Finally, not a Black Metal band using latin lyrics! I found "Ex Deo" (latin as well... "from the/ a god"), a Canadian .... let's think... maybe "Epic Power Death Band" with focus on the Roman Empire. Actually it's a side project of Kataklysm members.

In the quoted song you'll find the following lines:

EGO spiritus meus contemno
EGO dominor
EGO addo lemma ut suum filiolus
EGO ostendo haud misericordia
EGO ostendo haud diligo
Capio absentis suum posterus
EGO dico ordo
Telum crudus divum

I feel very sorry, but I have to say that this looks like latin, but it's horrible and not understandable. Maybe my english translation doesn't sound that bad (just "bad"), but the problem is, that the latin language has a lot of declinable forms while the english hasn't. This means that I have to use special endings to show that the word is "subject", "direct object" or "indirect object" and every adjective or pronoun must fit to the word it refers to in case, number an gender. Nothing of this happened in the lines above:

The try of a translation:

I the spirit mine I contemn
I dominate
I add title as like as his the little son
I show not the mercy
I show not I like
I catch from the absent one his the successor
I say the system
projectile still bloody divine

well... don't know what to say... The music definitely is better,
but form an opinion about them by yourself:
Song: Ex Deo - Cruor Nostri Abbas

Samstag, 3. Oktober 2009

Behemoth - He who breeds Pestilence

Behemoth - He who breeds Pestilence - Evangelion (2009)

You can find the following latin lines in the lyrics of that song:

et credo in serpentem
misterium mysteriorum
in nomen eius Baphomet

o leo et o serpens
qui perditor perdes
sis valens nobiscum

I searched the internet but couldn't find any sources where the band took the lines from. (Very often evil satanic bands must search the holy bible to find some nice latin lines...) So I guess Behemoth created the text by themselves and they did it very well!

The meaning:

and I believe in the serpent
the mystery of all mysteries
and in his name Baphomet.

Oh lion and oh serpent!
as a devastator you'll destroy.
be strong/ powerful with us.

"Baphomet" is (as I think) three-faced idol used by the medieval Knights Templar. Nowadays it's hard to say which of the stories and legends are true and which of them are/were mere propaganda by the catholic church, because a lot of evidences the got in trials where forced by torture.
In the middle of the 19th century the artist and writer Eliphas Levi painted a sitting Baphomet with goat horns, female breasts and a serpent in his womb. This famous picture has already been used for artwork by bands like Dimmu Borgir (In Sorte Diaboli Cover) and Arcturus (Masquerade Infernale - inner picture).

Samstag, 27. Juni 2009

Anaal Nathrakh - V.I.T.R.I.O.L

Finally, the Anaal Nathrakh's new record is out in stores. Can't wait to hear it completely. Reading an interview with AN-Singer V.I.T.R.I.O.L. (zum Interview (deutsch)), he told about the meaning of his name. First, Vitriol is an old name for sulfuric acid, and second, it's an acronym for Visita interiora terrae rectificando invenies occultum lapidem - Visit the Interior Parts of the Earth; by Rectification Thou Shalt Find the Hidden Stone. The hidden stone means philosopher's stone.
This motto was used in the Order of the Rose Cross. (more information about the founder at wiki).
There is also a famous picture with some explanations.

(Of course, I'm not responsible for the contents you'll find by visiting the linked pages).

Donnerstag, 25. Juni 2009

Dark Funeral - Attera Totus Sanctus

Dark Funeral - Attera Totus Sanctus (2005)

The Swedish guys from Dark Funeral seem to be fans of latin phrases, but not fans of a correct grammar.

The song Attera Totus Sanctus, which gave name for the whole album, should mean Destroy all Holy!
Attera means to wear out, to wipe out. The form attera doesn't exist. The 1.Person would be attero, the imperative attere.
Totus means all, everything, sanctus holy. Both words are in the nominative, while the correct case would be accusative (Sg: totum sanctum, or better Nt.Pl. tota sancta).

Another song on this album is Atrum Regina - Dark Queen. Because Regina is a feminine word, it should be Atra Regina.

Mayhem - My Death & Ordo ab Chao

Mayhem - My Death - Chimera (2004)

At the end of the quoted song you hear the line odium humani generis. Three simple, correct words, a delight for every latin teacher, a phenomenon which drives students crazy, because you can translate this line in two different ways.

odium (subject) - hatred
humani generis (genitive object) - of humankind

1.) The genitive marks the one who feels hatred: the hatred of humankind
2.) The genitive marks the one who is hated by someone else: the hatred towards humankind.

I guess, the second interpretation is what Mayhem wants to express.

By the way, I was also asked to tell something about the album title Ordo ad Chao.
You find informations about it in the internet, but I will explain it for the sake of comleteness.

Ordo ad Chao
means order (leads) into chaos. The is the inversion of the quote Ordo ab Chao - Order from Chaos, which is used as a motto by the Freemasons.