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.

Mittwoch, 29. Dezember 2010

Deathspell Omega - Si monumentum requires, circumspice

Deathspell Omega - Si monumentum requires, circumspice (2004)

Little more work to do. I don't know why I didn't write about the older DSO album before - it's full of latin phrases. So here we go:

The album's title means: If you are looking for a/the monument, look around you. I think it would have been better to use "requiris" instead of "requires". While "requiris" is present tense, "requires" is future tense and in a conditional sentence ("if...") there is no need for a future form.
So, the correct translation is: If you gonna need a/the monument, look around you.

~ First Prayer ~
Omnis humana cogitatio in fundamentis putrefactionis conditur, quam ecclesia Domini nostri ei praeposuit. - Every human consideration/ thought/ plan is based upon the fundaments of putrefaction, which the church of our Lord gave him. - Well written, without any mistake.

~ Sola fide II ~
In this song, he sings the phrase Sola Fide. Sola Deo Infernali Gloria several times. It means: Just in faith. Just (in) the glory for the infernal God. While the form "fide" is just ablative case, a case used to answer the questions when?, how?, because of what?, where? by what?, the form "sola gloria" can be nominative (who?) as well as ablative case.

~ Second prayer ~
Ita est putrefactio Dei similes, sive materialis substantia spiritus Domini in orbe terrarum. - This is how the putrefaction of God is [similar], or the material substance of the Lord's holy ghost on earth.
I'm wondering at the form "similes", which is nominative/accusative plural masculine. There is no other word in this phrase to which "similes" can correspond. Maybe the band wanted to say: Ita est putrefactio Dei similis, ... which means This is how the similiar putrefaction of God is, ... or This is how the putrefaction of the similar God is, ...

~ Hétoimasia ~
This ancient greek word ("preparation") refers to the empty throne of Christ which is prepared for his second coming. The wiki-article obout hetoimasia tells you more about this symbol.

~ Odium nostrum ~
This album title is plurivalent. "odium" means "hatred". "Nostrum" can be an adjective refering to "odium", so the correct translation is our hatred. It can also be a genitive plural form, and if so, the genitive refers to the one who feels the hatred ("our hatred" again) as well as to the one who is hated ("the hate against us").

Every latin student hates this phenomenon... Or does every phenomenon hate latin students? I'm not sure, but I think I know quite well whom the mysterious guys from DSO hate.

Annotation: The album's title might be inspired by the inscription of Christopher Wren, who was the architect of St' Pauls Cathedral in London. He was buried there as well and the latin inscpription (link to a picture which I found in Dave Etzold's blog) says: Underneath lies buried the architect of this church and this city, Christopher Wren, who lived almost 90 years, not for himself, but for public wellfare. Reader, if you search a/his monument, look around.

Donnerstag, 11. November 2010

Deathspell Omega - Paracletus

Deathspell Omega - Paracletus (2010)

Deathspell Omega calls again and for sure it's gonna be a bouquet of sophisticated, philosophic and religious thoughts - written down in english, french, latin and ancient greek. So here is my little help:

~ Paracletus ~
The album's title comes from the ancient greek word "paráklêtos" (literally: "he who was called" or "he who was send for") and means "advocate, helper". The latin form "paracletus" was often used in the Bible and in other religions.

~ Epiklesis I + II ~
the ancient greek word "epíklêsis" means "sobriquet" or , in greek texts of christian times, "invocation". In Epiklesis I and II, there is one latin line: Vestigia nulla retrorsum - no footprints backwards.

~ Wings of Predation ~
De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine is the opening line of Psalm 130 an means: Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.

~ Abscission ~
Implemini Spiritu Sancto - we are filled with the holy Ghost.

~ Dearth ~
Eritis sicut dii - you'll be like (the) Gods.

~ Phosphene ~
Ignis ardens - burning fire

~ Have you beheld the Fevers? ~
Nihil videt et omnia videt - he sees nothing and sees everything.

~ Apokatastasis Pantôn ~
The song's title again is ancient greek: "apokatástasis" means "reconstruction, rebuilding", but in the New Testament the phrase "apokatástasis pantôn" means "recreation of the universe" (literally: recreation of everything).

Finally, I doff my head to Deathspell Omega for using some fine phrases without making any mistake. Tomorrow, I'm surely going to doff my head again - after I'll have listened to their new record.

Montag, 11. Oktober 2010

Watain - Lawless Darkness

Watain - Lawless Darkness (2010)

The opening line of the first song is De profundis mors advocat. This correct line means Out of the depths death calls over.

Mmmh, no more words, just a few Watain impressions ...

Watain - Casus Luciferi

Watain - Casus Luciferi (2003)

After posting my comments about Otargos I recognized that an attentive guy from the Netherlands wrote me asking about some Watain lyrics. I mention this little fact at the beginning because I've just seen both bands in combination on tour a few days ago. The show was very impressing, as you can see above.

But let's go back to the Lucifer's Case, which is the translation of the album's title. There are two latin phrases on this album:

Song: I am the Earth

Hic est draco caudam suam devorans - Here is the dragon that devours his own tail.
This is the subscription of a medieval emblema which shows the dragon Ouroboros. (Click on the picture to see the information's source which offers many more informations).

Ouroboros (ancient greek for "the self-devourer") is a ancient Egyptian alchemic symbol. For the Greek philosopher Platon the Ouroboros was the perfect being, a circulation with no needs from outside. This symbol is not only limited to the Egyptian mythology - the Norse Midgard Serpent as well bites it's own tail to surround the Earth.

Song: From the Pulpits of Abdomination

This song as well contains a line in... well, not in Latin, but in ancient Greek. It is Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter - which means: Jesus Christ God's Son Saviour.

The first letters of each word form the acronym I.CH.TH.Y.S. This greek word means fish, and that's why the fish was an identification symbol among christians in early christian times and still is until today.

Sonntag, 10. Oktober 2010

Otargos - No God, No Satan

Otargos - No God, No Satan (2010)

Just a short note: Otargos is a French Black Metal band which has released their fourth CD this year. On the record there is a song called Cuiusvis hominis est errare. It means: It's characteristic of any human to err.

On this song, the last line is Homines quod volunt credunt - Humans believe what they want to.

That's all for the moment...

Mittwoch, 8. September 2010

Keep of Kalessin - Reclaim

Keep of Kalessin - Reclaim (2003)

Keep of Kalessin are in the big time at the moment, as it seems to me. "Armada" was thrilling and majestic, "Kolossus" epic and monumental, and "Reptilian" in general is a worthy successor.
But between "Armada" (2006) and it's predecessor "Agnen. A Journey through the Dark" (1999) there is a gap of seven years. The small EP "Reclaim" fills this gap with some fine songs, harsh but progressive black metal, and with the great Attila doing the vocals.

I wouldn't mention this EP, if there weren't some fragments of latin in the lyrics.

From the track "IX"

in limbo - in the limbo
in vitro - within the glass (means: life not in a living organism but in a controlled environment)

gigni de nihilo nililum, in nihilum nil posse reverti - Nothing can be born of nothing, nothing can be resolved into nothing (This is a phrase written by Persius, a Roman author (1st century a.d.) of dark, hard to understand satires).

From the track "Reclaim"

faber est quisque fortunae suae - Man forges his own destiny (Appius Claudius Caecus, about 300 b.c.)

lex Talionis - Talion's law (= An eye for an eye)

Vae victis - Woe to the vanquished (said by Gaul's leader Brennus who forced the Romans to bring gold and silver after he had captured the city of Rome in 387 b.c.)

fiat iustitia et pereat mundus - Let there be justice, though the world perish (motto of Ferdinand I., Holy Roman Emperor (1503-1564)

mortui non mordent - dead men don't bite

sic itur ad astra - that's how you reach the stars

exegi monumentum aere perennius - I've raised a monument more permanent than bronce (originally from Roman's famous poet Horace, Ode III, 30, praising his own poetry and claiming that his fame will last forever... where he's actually right because after more than 2000 years he's still (beside Vergil) the most famous and valued Roman writer).

So let us hope that Keep of Kalessin as well exegit musicam aere perennius.

Sonntag, 8. August 2010

Estatic Fear - A Sombre Dance

Estatic Fear - A Sombre Dance (1999)

From Argentina, I got a reference to an Austrian Symphonic Doom Black Metal called "Estatic Fear". They released two albums in the 1990ies. They are not only interesting regarding their music (listen to Estatic Fear), but also regarding their lyrics which contain english, german and latin words.

In general, I have to say that I sometimes had to guess what the lines mean. The grammar contains some mistakes and even words which look like latin but which aren't.

Chapter II:
Sengi amoris - ??? of the love
In pacis quentis - In ??? of the peace (maybe they meant quies - quietness)
Tvemor inogeng - tremor = tremble; inogeng = ??? (non-existent)
Osculum pudens - a decent kiss

Chapter IV:
Numquam submergiove aut diffugo
Ira inflammata mea vita ad salutem nominarit
et solitudo meum robur

This part doesn't make sense, so I'll translate every single part, using the correct spelling:
numquam - never
submergo - I sink
-ve - and
aut - or
diffugio - I disperse
ira inflammata - inflamed anger (nominative)
mea vita - my life (nominative)
ad salutem - for the health
nominarit - he/she/it entitled
et - and
solitudo - loneliness (nominative)
meum robur - my strength (nominative/accusative)

Chapter IX:
Cura a die renovato cedit
Dolor et laetitia coniungtus est

Again with some errors, but in general easy to understand:

The cure gives way to the renewed day,
Pain and joy are united.

Sonntag, 20. Juni 2010

Ofermod - Rape the World

Ofermod - Rape the World - Mysterion tes Anomalias (2005)

The lyrics of Rape the World contain several languages; Finnish and Hebrew, I guess, and Latin. The album’s title Mysterion tes anomalias is Ancient Greek and means The mystery of lawlessness as well as The mystery of sin.

The latin lines are:

Introibo in sephirah tuam
adorabo ad templum sanctum tuum
in timore tuo...

Propter inimicos meos
dirige in conspectu tuo viam meam

They are almost perfect, and it’s (grammatically) easy to understand what they mean:

I’ll enter your Sephira,
I’ll adore/ invoke your holy temple
in your fear…

Because of my enemies
focus my way on your horizon/ field of vision.

The Sephirah (singular: Sephiroth) meaning "enumerations", are the 10 attributes/emanations in Kabbalah, through which God (who is referred to as Ein Sof - The Infinite) reveals him/herself and continuously creates both the physical realm and the chain of higher metaphysical realms.

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sephirot

Dienstag, 1. Juni 2010

Sabaton - Wehrmacht

Sabaton - Wehrmacht - The Coat of Arms (2010)

The Swedish are marching again... using German tanks and Latin words, at least in the song "Wehrmacht", where they sing:

ad victoriam!
ex machina
non sibi sed patriae

This mean

to victory!
out of the machine
not for self but for the fatherland

I found out in the internet that this latin phrase is engraved in the doors of the United States Naval Academy chapels. It's also the motto of USS Halyburton.

Good luck with conquering Europe in 2010. See you there!

Samstag, 8. Mai 2010

Belphegor - Festum asinorum Chapter 2

Belphegor - Goatreich Fleshcult (2005)

This quoted song contains some interesting latin lines which go like this:

Festum Festorum
Festum Asinorum

Aurum de Arabia
Thus et Myrrham
Tulit in ecclesia
Virtus Asinaria
Orientis partibus
Adventavit Asinus
Pulcher et fortissimus
Virtus Asinaria

These lines are also the lyrics of "Chants for the devil" from the 2006 album "Pestapokalypse VI". These lines are interesting, because they imitate medieval latin lyrics - maybe you've heard from "Carmina Burana". The latin grammar has some little mistakes, but in general it's well done.

The translation is:
the feast of the feasts
the feast of the donkeys

gold from Arabia
frankincense and myrrh
brought into the church
the virtue of the donkey.

Form the regions of the orient
came the donkey
beautiful and strong,
Virtue of the Donkey.

I like the line "feast of the feasts". Even more I like the term of this grammatical phenomenon.
It's called a "paronomastic genitive of intensity". "Paronomastic" comes from the greek "par - same" and "onoma - name". So you take the genitive form from the same word to use it to intensify. The best-known example therefor is "the book of the books" as a synonym for the bible.
Grammatical aspects like this one turns me on... huuh!

Belphegor - Lucifer Incestus

Belphegor - Lucifer Incestus (2003)

The album "lucifer incestus" (maculated/ outrageous lucifer) contains several latin refrains.
In the title track they sing converte linguam tuam in natibus meis, which means turn your tongue in my butt.

Other refrains can be found:
  • Diaboli Virtus in lumbar est - Devil's virtue is in the loin (better would be: diaboli viruts in lumbo est.)
  • Te invoco O Sathana - I invoke you, Satan
  • De gloria missae sanguinis - About the glory of the blood's mass
  • Inflamate Christianos! - Burn the Christians!
... to be continued

Arcturus - Aspera Hiems Symfonia

Arcturus - Aspera Hiems symfonia (1996)

Listening to the old Arcturus record which I like alot, I've just recognized that it has a latin title. Not to see the wood for the trees! It means: harsh winter symphony.

That's for the moment,

Sonntag, 7. Februar 2010

Fides Inversa - Hanc aciem sola retundit virtus

Fides Inversa - Hanc aciem sola retundit virtus (2010)

Roman Black Metal using Latin! Sounds promising. The name of the bands means Inverse Faith, The title of the album something like: Just virtue lowers this acuteness.
Also the name of the songs are latin: 01 - decollatio - decollation/ decapitation; 02 - suicidium - suicide; 03 - homicidium - homicide; 04 - algolagnia divine - mmh, I'm not sure, but álgos means pain/ sorrow/ suffering in ancient greek and lagneía lust/ excess. Makes sense.
Unfortunately I don't have the lyrics, because the bands says (on their myspace profile) that there is a certain concept and idea behind the songs.

So there remains some play in the album's title: acies (accusative: aciem) means the sharpness of a sword, the acuteness of actions/ words or thoughts. Also virtus is an important word: during Roman times it stood for the features which a Roman needed to be a man: bravery as a soldier, efficiency and competence as a politician. In christian times virtue was of course something totally different, more the subjection to catholic rules and commandmends.

Samstag, 2. Januar 2010

Anaal Nathrakh - So Be It

Anaal Nathrakh - So Be It - In the Constellation of the Black Widow (2009)

Today I had a annoying trip over snowy highways, but... therefore a lot of time to listen carefully to the Anaal Nathrakh album, trying to understand some lyrics. Quite hard because of V.I.T.R.I.O.L's guttural art. Fortunately, I found some lines at http://metal-archives.com/ , because the band doesn't publish their lyrics.
I was very happy to find some lines and to see that my thoughts weren't wrong: I've got a notion that he sings latin in one song. They are from the bible, Isaiah24. Here we go:

Ecce Dominus dissipabit terram:
Et nudabit eam, et affliget faciem ejus,
Et disperget habitatores ejus.

Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty,
and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down,
and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.


Dissipatione dissipabitur terra, et direptione prædabitur;
Dominus enim locutus est verbum hoc.

The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled:
for the LORD hath spoken this word.


Propter hoc maledictio vorabit terram,
Et peccabunt habitatores ejus;
Ideoque insanient cultores ejus,
Et relinquentur homines pauci.

Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth,
and they that dwell therein are desolate:
therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned,
and few men left.

By the way: Some weeks ago I've already explained the meaning of "V.I.T.R.I.O.L", the name of Anaal Nathrakh's singer. But the guitarist also has a interesting latin name: Irrumator.

The ending -tor always refers to a man doing/ using something. The "gladiator" uses a sword (gladius), the "imperator" rules (imperare - to rule). The "irrumator" does "irrumare". This latin verb is a very strong obscene word, used by the famous poet Catullus in his 10th poem. "irrumare" means "to punish someone by forcing him giving a blowjob".

Abusing a man by oral or anal sexual acts was a hard way to punish adulterers.