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.

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).