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Mine's a tale that can't be told, my freedom I hold dear

How years ago, in days of old, when magic filled the air

T'was in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair

But Gollum, and the Evil One, crept up and slipped away with her
Led Zeppelin, "Ramble On"

So you're a big fan of fantasy. You've read all of JRR Tolkien's works and you play Dungeons and Dragons on a regular basis. However, you also want to be a musician and find Filk and other such genres way too mellow for you. So, what does one do? Join the exciting field of fantasy-based Heavy Metal! Yes, metal is not just about Satan. Sometimes it's about Sauron.

Your band can put out a couple songs with lyrics all about ancient prophecies and epic quests, and everyone will be too busy rocking to your awesome guitar solos and killer drumbeats to care.

Power Metal is probably the most common genre for this type, but there are others, like Viking Metal, Gothic Metal, Folk Metal, Black Metal and Symphonic Metal (which is why you can be skilled in instruments other than the typical rock ones). However, not all power metal bands fall under this trope (especially many American power metal bands) as the subgenre is also known for its similarities to speed metal and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.

The whole thing was kicked off by guys like Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, and Rainbow, with the occasional support from Black Sabbath, so the whole genre is decidedly Older Than They Think.

Some Christian Rock falls into this, and is often quite good (probably since being so niche they need to sound good to get any attention).

Named after the fictional metal Mithril from JRR Tolkien's Middle-earth[1].

Note: This covers music based on science-fiction as well as fantasy. Compare Filk Song, which mix the Sci-Fi, Fantasy and general geekdom with folk-style ballads. Many are Concept Albums.

See also Elvish Presley.

Examples of Heavy Mithril include:


Miscellaneous (please help sort them into subgenres)

  • Rivendell.
  • There are many bands based on Harry Potter, called Wizard Rock.
    • And now there's Time Lord Rock, as well. In particular, Doctorin' the TARDIS, a mash-up by electronica band the KLF, which reached #1 in the UK in 1988.
      • Uriah Heep paid tribute to The Doctor back in 1972 with "Traveller in Time".
    • Chameleon Circuit loves this genre. In particular, 'Exterminate, Regenerate' and 'Blink.'
    • There is an album of "Lord of the Rings" metal/rock by a Polish band called Drużyna Trzeźwych Hobbitów (The Fellowship of Sober Hobbits).
  • Stemage a Metal band that bases allmost all their songs on Metroid or just straight up does covers of the series soundtrack very metal covers.
  • This trope has been noticed, and lovingly parodied, by Tripod. As Yon says, "We find them [Wolfmother] very encouraging. Because if you listen to the lyrics of that kind of music, you find that it's possible to be rock... yet, at the same time, be a massive Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast."
  • The Russian band Epidemia.wi
  • Quite a few bands write H.P. Lovecraft-themed songs, some occasionally (Nile, Metallica, Dark Moor) and some often (The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets).
    • There's even a death metal band from France CALLED Lovecraaft who write almost entirely H.P. Lovecraft songs.
    • Casey Rae-Hunter, alias The Contrarian, has even released an entire concept album revolving around H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos. For the most part, it's pretty heavy (maybe not specifically metal, as it markets itself as "haunt-rock").
  • Hedningarna - Drafur Och Gildur
  • The relatively obscure grunge band TAD had several songs based on fantasy themes.
  • Clutch throws in D&D references into their lyrics at times, and they've done a few fantasy-based songs. Red Horse Rainbow was one, and 24 Earth Years was such self-indulgent satire that it was released as an 'outtake'.
  • Maximum The Hormone takes this to an entirely new level with Dragonball Z inspired metal. Like this.
    • In a similar vein, you have "Zetsubou Billy" and "What's Up People" from Death Note, with lyrics that tie in well with the series' premise. Also in one video they incorporate the name Kira into the lyrics. [1]
  • British Post-hardcore/alt rock upstarts Fightstar seem to have a big obsession with Neon Genesis Evangelion. This is evidenced in songs like "Shinji Ikari", "NERV/SEELE", "Unfamiliar Ceilings" and in "Lost Like Tears In Rain." In fact it's frequently commented that the cover art for their debut album is very similar to the ruins found in the aforementioned series.
  • Slipknot apparently has songs relating to Werewolf: The Apocalypse.
  • While not metal, the unquestionably heavy (and awesome) hardcore punk band Misfits have songs almost exclusively based on horror films from the 1950's and 60's. Classics include; THEM!, Where Eagles dare, Crawling eye, This island earth and Astro Zombies.
  • High on Fire's lyrical content seems to be almost exclusively along these lines. One gets the feeling they just set their D&D campaigns to music.
  • One of the more famous examples, the stoner metal band Kyuss was originally called the Sons of Kyuss. Sons of Kyuss are an undead monster from the original AD&D Fiend Folio, with Kyuss being their horrific worm-god. (And yes, the band got the name from the monster, not the other way around.)
    • In 3.5 they went by the name Spawn of Kyuss (the monster). Which would be a more badass name for a band. Maybe a tribute band?
  • Electric Wizard makes frequent references to fantasy and horror literature. Their album "Let us Prey" has a quote from "The Outsider" on the back cover and a list of authors cited for "lyrical inspiration" in the booklet, which includes H. P. Lovecraft, R. E. Howard and C. A. Smith among many others.
  • Dreamtale. Would be worth including even if they had only "Lady Dragon", and there's more.
  • Infocalypse, the project of "experimental, electronic, minimal" music. Anigif logo that imitates loading on ZX Spectrum - check. Albums named "Raygun Gothic" and "Delusional Science Incorporated" - check. Tracks like "Candle Jack and Chopper" and "Jam the Death Star" (BTW, it sounds as if performed on two telegraph keys yet is fun) - check.
  • The Italian metal band Trick Or Treat has made covers of openings from cartoons with medieval or fantasy themes. Among them Robin Hood and David the Gnome.
  • Related to the main trope, many heavy metal bands have names taken from Tolkien, including ones that aren't thematically very fantasyish -- Cirith Ungol, Amon Amarth, Ephel Duath (who are most known for combining metal and free jazz) are a couple.
  • And now something different: Irish folk-rock band The Horslips were trail-blazers in marrying traditional Irish music to rock instruments and rhythms. Two of their LP's, The Tain and The Book Of Invasions set Irish mythology of the Mithril Age to music, largely updated Irish folk standards with new lyrics based on the myths, re-arrannged for rock band plus traditional instruments.
  • There are a couple of fanbands which do metal arrangements of Touhou Project music; one of the more well-known ones is Unlucky Morpheus.
  • Sound Horizon: Just about the only band to ever make a Symphonic-Prog Rock Opera about Grimm's Fairy Tales.
  • The Gathering by Delain is about Magic: The Gathering.
  • Irish folk-rock band, the Horslips, set the earliest Irish myths and legends to music on two LP's, Lebhair Gabhala Eireann (The Book of Invasions) and Tain Bho Cuilagne (The Tain). Blending traditional Irish music and modern rock instrumentation on both traditional and electric instruments, this band is credited with being the father of the Celtic Rock movement.


Rock

  • Caamora's first project was the rock/metal opera She, based on the old novel of the same name about two explorers who find an ancient city rules by an immortal, 2000-year old queen.
  • Taking things back further into The Twentieth Century, we have Molly Hatchet, who, honestly, fit into this trope only because of consistent use of Frank Frazetta's artwork on their covers. They were a southern rock band.
  • On a similar note, the artwork for the Bat Out Of Hell trilogy of albums by Meat Loaf was created by fantasy artists Richard Corben and Michael WhedonWhelan, lending the albums a similarly epic feel.
    • Jim Steinman, the composer/producer of Bat Out Of Hell, has made a name for himself with the genre he defined, and calls, "Wagnerian rock". His 1981 solo album Bad For Good and Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart are prime examples.
  • Aerosmith's "Kings & Queens".
  • Queen have occasionally dabbled in Heavy Mithril, especially early in their career. Their second album Queen II is the most sustained example, but Bohemian Rhapsody is probably the best known.
  • Kiss both invokes and averts the trope. Their stage personas are based on various mythological beings (Gene Simmons's, the "Demon Lizard," is from 17th-century Japanese kabuki theatre), but the songs themselves tend to be about "ordinary" rock subjects such as cars, girls, and partying. Occasionally they have done a song with a horror or fantasy theme ("Creatures of the Night," for instance), but that's the exception rather than the rule.
  • "Doom" by Manny Charlton Band is about the game Doom.


Progressive Rock / Progressive Metal

  • Early 70's Uriah Heep, most notably "The Magician's Birthday"
    • Not to mention "Demons and Wizards"
  • Rush The entire later half of the 70s was Heavy Mithril with Rush, with at least one fantasy-based song per album, culminating in Hemishpheres, which side A is a Sci-Fi/Fantasy concept album, culminating in a song about Trees arguing, and an instrumental trip through a Alice in Wonderland-esque nightmare. Their catalogue from this time period could be the soundtrack for any given Final Fantasy game.
    • On Fly By Night- "By-Tor & the Snow Dog" (a battle between good and evil in near Rock Opera form) "Rivendell" (Obviously about Elves)
    • On Caress of Steel - "the Necromancer" a moody song about triumph over, well, the Necromancer, and "The Fountain of Lamneth"
    • 2112- The title song (which takes up the entirety of Side A) is based, very loosely, on Ayn Rand's Anthem
    • On A Farewell to Kings, the title song (loosely, it's about vague evil kings. They could be talking actual historical Kings, or fictional ones), Cygnus X-1, about a trip through a black hole, serves as a prologue to a song that culminates in a part 2 on another album (the aforementioned Hemishpheres) which is a mt. Olympus-based fantasyland in the literal sense (and metaphorically about the id, ego and superego), and "Xanadu", a song about a quest for eternal life gone wrong, loosely based or inspired by the Coleridge poem Kublai Khan.
    • Moving Pictures- "Red barchetta" is set in a future where at least some kinds of cars (fast ones anyway) have been banned.
  • Let's not forget the amazing Bill Bailey and his In the Style Of parody of these kind of songs, The Leg of Time.

   It was Terryyyy, Terrryyyy.

  • Direwolf. Only one album (beyond the lands of human existence), but has this trope in spades. Few song titles :
  • Blue Oyster Cult got fantasy author Michael Moorcock to write a number of songs for them, including Black Blade, which is based on the eponymous character in The Elric Saga.
  • British space rock band Hawkwind also worked with Moorcock, including no less than three poems based on The Eternal Champion in the "The Warrior on the Edge of Time" album, and ultimately releasing The Chronicle of the Black Sword as a Rock Opera summary of the Elric saga.
    • Moorcock actually defected from the Hawkwind camp to the B.Ö.C. because the Americans were prepared to pay more for the songs. This caused strife and a lawsuit, as Hawkwind (or to be more precise, its litigious band leader Dave Brock) alleged the songs Black Blade and Veteran of the Psychic War had been initially promised to them. They lost, however, and B.Ö.C. got the songs. Hawkwind just got the bill, another thing disgruntled band members hold against Dave.
    • Hawkwind went away, pointedly dropped Moorcock as inspiring daemon, and wrote songs based on Philip José Farmer's sci-fi/fantasy instead.
  • Ayreon's entire shtick. More a music project than a cohesive band, all but one of the seven full albums dedicated to the songwriter's sci-fi/fantasy epic about the creation and doom of humanity, which pulls in robot uprising and King Arthur in the first album alone. It only got more ambitious from there.
    • And one album that deviates from the overarching concept is made up of stand-alone songs that are all based off books and films of science fiction.
    • And spin-off band Star One is even worse. Not only is the band named for Blakes Seven, but their song "Intergalactic Space Crusaders" is a Filk Song given the Up to Eleven treatment, complete with the two singers essentially playing the parts of Blake and Avon. Star One also cranked out songs about Dune, 2001ASpaceOdessey, Star Trek, Star Wars...you name it, they've probably got a song for it.
  • The Protomen, a heavy metal-industrial-country band from Nashville, whose song catalogue is based around a Rock Opera adaptation of Mega Man.
  • Dream Theater veer into this territory in some of their later albums. "In the Presence of Enemies, Pts I & II" is a good example.
  • Coheed and Cambria albums tell an elaborate, epic Science Fiction storyline, currently four albums, with a prequel to be released soon.
    • Also, lead singer/rhythm guitarist (who also does lead guitar when not singing) Claudio Snachez has a solo (don't let the drums fool you; everything but the guitar seems to be synthesized) side-project, the Prize Fighter Inferno, which acts, currently, as a prequel to CoCa's SF story.
  • Joe Satriani's "Surfing With The Alien" is an instrumental song inspired by the Silver Surfer.
  • Mastodon's album Crack the Skye is a Concept Album about a quadripalegic man who learns the secrets of astral projection, gets lost while exploring the cosmos, falls back in time to Czarist Russia, and has adventures involving Rasputin, the Czar, and Satan. And it is AWESOME.
    • And their album, Leviathan, is devoted to Moby Dick.
  • Semi-fictional example in The Rotters' Club, where two of the members of the protagonist's school band want to be punk and two of them want to be Tolkien-inspired Prog Mithril. The schism comes to a head in the middle of a song, as the drummer gets fed up of not doing anything and starts pounding away, and the singer joins in screaming the first words that come into his head.
  • Serenity has mostly lyrics about quests and stuff. Their song 'To Stone She Turned' is about Medusa. They are not related to the movie. And they are fucking awesome.
  • King Crimson's "Court of the Crimson King"
  • Several songs by early Genesis.
  • Crimson Glory's first two albums had a high fantasy element. But who would have guessed that with songs such as "Valhalla" and "Dragon Lady"?
  • Fear Factory. Most of their lyrics have a science fiction focus (especially of the Robot War kind).
  • Symphony X, especially "The Odyssey," which is Homer's epic of the same name, plus metal.
  • Savatage. They had a weird combination of fantasy and space opera early on, but "Sirens," "City Beneath the Surface," "Hall of the Mountain King," "Hounds," and "The Unholy" all qualify (and are from four different albums). Prior to "Streets," they thrived off Heavy Mithril, space fantasy, and rock anthems.
  • Star One, a side project of Arjen Anthony Lucassen, bases all of their songs on science fiction films or television series, include Doctor Who, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Children of Men and The Matrix.
  • Dutch metal band Arkngthand entitled their first album "Songs Of Fire And Ice", and their songs all relate to the books. "Game of Thrones", for instance, summarizes Ned Stark's story arc in the eponymous (first) book.
  • Jethro Tull could easily be the Trope Codifier. Many of their songs reference old Celtic customs and talk about medieval England. Minstral in the Gallery, Songs from the Wood, and Heavy Horses (the albums, though the songs themselves also count) do this the most.


Black Metal

  • Bal-Sagoth. Everything they do sounds like the works of Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, or H.P. Lovecraft put to heavy metal.
    • Or all three, at the same time. And their name is from an Howardian story. Let's not forget that they seem to add Michael Moorcock into the mix. Any of the Archaeologist songs and songs such as Thwarted by the Dark (Blade of the Vampyre Hunter) have a heavy Eternal Champion feel.
  • Almost all albums by the black metal group Summoning are based on the Tolkien universe.
    • Their song Mirdautas Vras has lyrics IN ORCISH THE BLACK SPEECH OF MORDOR (which orcs sometimes speak but is different from orcish). Which fits Michael Gregor's growling vocals perfectly.
  • All of the black metal bands that have named themselves after Lord of the Rings terms make a case for their nerdiness (examples include Burzum, Gorgoroth, Minas Morgul, Cirith Gorgor, Isengard etc.).
  • Almost all of Emperor's catalog has fantasy lyrical themes I am the Black Wizards Is a great example of this.
  • Martriden's most recent album, Encounter the Monolith, is a Concept Album based on the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • Soulgrind made a concept album called Whitsongs based on poetry of Finnish poet Eino Leino, whose poems were often based in Finnish mythology.
  • Muggle Death Camp, a side project of Jim Wicked as a release/way to further hone his musical skills, is Harry Potter-themed. The music itself is fairly vanilla as far as black/death metal goes, but the lyrics side with the Dark Lord, resulting in a song titled "To My Death Eaters", a planned Concept Album centered around the seven Horcruxes, and Mr. Wicked declaring it VOLDEMETAL.
  • Nokturnal Motrum's 2009 album "The Voice of Steel." The band was formerly a Nationalist Socialist Black Metal Band, but this album switched to Heavy Mithril, with the band lead distancing them from Nazi lyrics, and the album received universal praise.
  • A strange case with Dimmu Borgir (means "Dark Mountain" in Norwegian). They claim to be a "Viking band," but so many of their songs seem less concerned with their celebration of Norse mythology than with their declaring themselves accursed pawns of the Devil and screaming lyrics so anti-Christian that they border on hate speech. (Their song "Tormentor of Christian Souls" was so graphically violent that their record label refused to publish the lyrics.) Dimmu Borgir have gone on the record to state that they don't hate Christianity per se, just the more hierarchical aspects of it. They also have a farcical sense of humor and aren't above including sexy babes or Visual Puns in their album artwork.


Death Metal

  • Australian band Portal (no, not the game) does songs entirely on Lovecraft's works.
  • Swedish death metal pioneers Unleashed are noted for their use of viking/norse imagery in contrast to the more gore oriented themes of many of their contemporaries. They even write songs based upon Lord of the Rings on occasion
    • Amon Amarth are in a similar boat as well. Interestingly, they claim they've called themselves "Amon Amarth" just because it sounds fun, never even reading Lord of the Rings.
  • Debauchery base some of their songs on Warhammer 40000, with gems such as "Kill, Maim, Burn", "Blood for the Blood God" and "Blood God Rising".
    • They Have also based a song on The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien, The song is called The Fall Of Gondolin.
  • Bolt Thrower, which does this for Warhammer 40000
  • While Nile has songs based on Lovecraft, most of their songs instead take influence from Egyptian mythology, perhaps in an attempt to distinguish themselves from all the Viking metal bands.
    • Nile's been using Egyptian themes since 1993, which predates the Trope Codifier for Viking Metal (Enslaved's Vikingligr Veldi) by a year, though not the Trope Maker. Furthermore, Nile is far more recognizable than all but the most famous Viking Metal bands.
  • Entombed has a concept album about Wolverine. Also, an album relating the story of Lucifer's fall from grace.
  • While we're talking about Death Metal, here's a fictional example: Skwisgaar Skwigef of Dethklok has a side-project called "10 Points to Gryffindor", a Harry Potter tribute band.
  • Morbid Angel have several Lovecraft-inspired songs


Heavy Metal

  • Italian band Beholder (Melodic/Heavy Metal) - The Legend Begins!
  • Black Sabbath, as mentioned above, made the occasional foray into the genre, with The Wizard apparently having been inspired by Gandalf the Grey, and The Wall of Sleep being titled in reference to a Lovecraft story.
  • Ronnie James Dio first came to prominence in the early 70s with a band called Elf. Let's just leave it at that.
  • Iron Maiden's Piece of Mind ends with the song 'To Tame a Land', a retelling of Frank Herbert's Dune.
  • There's a band called Winterfell, taking its name from A Song of Ice and Fire.
  • Metallica, with their 9-minute instrumental The Call of Ktulu, which derives its title from the famed Lovecraft story.
    • Hetfield said he wanted to make the title more accessible, so he changed 'The Call of Cthulhu' to 'The Call of Ktulu'. He has since said that he regrets the decision.
    • "The Thing That Should Not Be" is also inspired by one of Lovercraft's Great Old Ones. (probably Cthulhu too)
      • Absolutely not, the thing that should not be is Nyogtha
      • Word of God has it based on "The Shadow Over Innsmouth."
    • "Of Wolf and Man" off the Black Album is about, you guessed it, werewolves.
    • Most recently, 'All Nightmare Long' on their 2008 album Death Magnetic, which is about the 'Hounds of Tindalos'.

  James Hetfield: It was an attempt to get back to the H.P. Lovecraft mythos with Thing that Should Not Be, Call of Ktulu.[sic] This was about the Hounds of Tindalos, which was another crazy mindfuck about these wolves that hunt through their nightmares and the only way you can get away from them is stay with angels. You can't even escape through sleep.

  • Led Zeppelin would have to be the Ur Example, having referred directly and indirectly to Tolkien's Legendarium in a number of songs, including Ramble On, Stairway To Heaven, The Battle of Evermore, Misty Mountain Hop and Kashmir.
  • Lordi might count. They sing metal, they dress up as monsters and at least some of their songs have a fantasy-ish theme.
  • The albums The House of Atreus part 1/part 2 by Virgin Steele are retelling the story of Agamemnon's lineage. "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell Part Two" is mostly about European myths (Prometheus, Norse Gods and Ragnarok), while "Visions of Eden" is a Gnostic interpretion about the creation story with Adam's first wife, Lilith.
  • The entire genre of "Viking metal", a European subgenre including bands like Amon Amarth, Turisas, Equilibrium, Ensiferium, and their ilk, whose songs are about Vikings and Viking mythology... and it is awesome.
    • Your Mileage May Vary since lots of Amon Amarth fans resent the shift from the death metal sound to more generic heavy metal which coincided with commercial success...and many see the proliferation of "viking metal" acts (some in totally unrelated places like Qatar!) as derivative and sloppy.
    • The similar style of Celtic metal, represented by such bands as Primordial, Cruachan and Waylander, takes a similar approach to Celtic mythology, although for the most part these bands lack the (relative) exposure of their Nordic cousins, with the possible exception of Eluveitie.
    • In a similarly nautical vein is Scottish band Alestorm, which define themselves as playing pirate metal, and includes in their catalogue a metal version of the Scottish national anthem.
  • Turisas, which was mentioned before, made a song called "Rex Regi Rebellis", which is based on Finnish epic historical novel called "Tales of a Field Surgeon". There is actually a quote read from the novel in the intro narration to the song.
  • The entire "black side" of Queen II (which includes "Seven Seas of Rhye", "The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke", "Ogre Battle", and "My Fairy King" from the first album.
    • Related, '39, which is 'space opera'
    • Also, the cover art for News of the World, by SF illustrator Frank Kelly Freas.
    • "The Prophet's Song" might count too.
      • The Prophet's Song is supposed to be about the Biblical story of Noah, or so Brian May says (he also claims that the song came to him in a dream).
    • Ahem. "Princes of the Universe". The band's magnum opus is also one of the purest examples of Heavy Mithril around.
  • "Stonehenge" in This Is Spinal Tap.
  • Judas Priest's "Lochness" is about, well, the Loch Ness monster.
    • Not to mention the entire Nostradamus album, which is about... well, guess.
  • Pagan Altar's "The Rising of the Dark Lord" is pretty much a tribute to Sauron-esque Evil Overlords.
  • Powerglove's repertoire is almost entirely made of videogame soundtrack covers, except for ...an instrumental cover of the first Power Rangers theme song. They also did an album dedicated to 80's/90's cartoons.
  • Menac E from Italia named its first album "Quake Metal".
  • Korpiklaani, from Finland. Many songs reference elements of Finnish paganism, such as the "God of Wind" and "Spirit of the Forest". Their song Wooden pints is about "little men from underground", probably dwarves.
  • Finntroll, similarly from Finland, utilise a unique version of this trope, combining the rabid anti-Christianity of their black metal predecessors with the nastier elements of the folkloric troll, often to darkly comic effect.
  • Battlelore, where pretty much 90% of their material is about Middle-Earth somehow.
  • Slough Feg's 2003 album Traveller takes the shape of a Rock Opera based on the tabletop game of the same name. More references to the game are dropped on some of their other songs, like "Traders and Gunboats" and "Psionic Illuminations". And it is awesome.
    • Not to mention that they take their name from Lord Weird Slough Feg, a villain of the 2000AD comic Sláine, which they also reference in a few songs, like... "Slough Feg".
  • The band Stovokor performs heavy metal in Klingon, and in costume.
  • The band SuidAkrA, with songs about the fate of the Ninth Legion in "Caledonia" and another centered around the legends of Cuchulain.
    • The one about Cuchulain is "Feats of War."
  • The Sword, a Doom Metal band whose music is largely inspired by the works of Robert E. Howard, Arthur C. Clarke, and others. Their second album contains a song named after, and based on, the Conan the Barbarian story "The Frost Giants Daughter", as well as "Fire Lances of the Ancient Hyperzephyrians", a song about a primitive tribe worshipping nuclear bombs After the End. Their most recent album, Warp Riders, is a medieval fantasy Concept Album set on a tidally locked planet.
  • The college band Klövenhoöf, a Neanderthal / Conan themed band, combined this trope with Heavy Metal Umlauts. They appeared on stage in bearskins, dueling with a dragon head mounted on a crane.
  • The post-grunge band Breaking Benjamin's song, Home, is based on The Wizard of Oz.
  • CAUTIVA, a metal project of José Travieso with songs like "The Great Old One" and "Fire, Walk With Me!".
  • The Peruan trash metal band named Gangrel. As in, Vampire: The Masquerade.
  • Quebecois epic-metal band Blackguard does this a lot, and for bonus points, they have a song that's specifically about a certain French-Canadian legend.
  • Manowar - D&D/Conan style fantasy metal band, drawing heavily on Norse mythology.
  • Brocas Helm received a sudden boost in popularity from Brutal Legend and fits this trope. Many songs are about knights in battle, and they even have a song called Helm's Deep.
  • Heavy metal band Manilla Road are well regarded for their "thoughtful" fantasy, mythological, and horror based lyrics.
  • Unlike with Mercyful Fate, whose lyrics were usually satanic or occultist based, King Diamond's lyrics primarily deal with horror or occult fantasy themes.
  • Agent Steel have a lot of albums with apocalyptic and sci-fi themes, including the use of sci-fi samples
  • Along with war themes, Jag Panzer also have their fantasy lyrics. They also released a concept album based on Macbeth.
  • Parodied by the Italian band Gli Atroci in their song I Guerrieri del Metallo (The Metal Warriors), which is about a group of inept warriors who were recently defeated in battle because they had diarrhea, so they seek revenge, but they are ambushed by the enemy behind a hill, so they run away to save their asses (that's how the song puts it) and return to their village, where they tell lies about the battle to their wives.
  • Def Leppard's first album, On Through The Night, a much heavier album than their hair metal days, has the song "Overture" which includes such fantasy staples as silver warriors, destroyed cities and prophetic priests, but could be possibly be referring to [[[After the End]]].
  • Dethfrog by Bad Dudes is a Heavy Metal song about Frog.
  • A few songs from Sacrilege have middle-earth themed titles. Good luck making out the lyrics.


Power Metal

  • Van Canto. Hero Metal a Capella.
  • Wildpath. Think a mix between Rhapsody of Fire and Nightwish.
  • DragonForce.
    • They're slowly moving away from this trope, though. There are one or two songs on their latest album that aren't about epic battles for glory and honour.
  • Blind Guardian, especially Nightfall in Middle-Earth (aka The Silmarillion AS A CONCEPT ALBUM).
    • Blind Guardian practically is this trope. Most of their catalogue is about either Tolkein ("Lord of the Rings," "Harvest of Sorrow") Moorcock ("Journey Through the Dark," "Quest for Tanelorn") or Stephen King, specifically The Dark Tower ("Somewhere Far Beyond," "Carry the Blessed Home").
    • Their latest Album "At The Edge of Time" is based on the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.
  • Had Epidemia never put out any song except "Fëanor," it would have been enough.
  • Elvenking
  • Iced Earth does a similar thing to Blind Guardian, but with a more demonic theme, especially their latest albums. They also made an entire album dedicated to Spawn (yes, the comic book character)
    • Consider also "The Glorious Burden: Gettysburg 1863," thirty minutes of metal about the Battle of Gettysburg. Not fantasy, but similarly epic. Also, the Something Wicked saga.
    • I bet you'll never guess what the song "Dante's Inferno" is about.
  • Iced Earth and Blind Guardian combined to make Demons and Wizards. Among other things, they have an entire album dedicated to Stephen King's The Dark Tower, however Hansi Kursch has stated that many of the songs have more than one meaning, and are more related allegorically, such as songs about Captain Ahab which reflects Roland's quest.
  • Power Quest
  • Many songs by Nightwish, including "Elvenpath", "Wishmaster" (which directly references Dragonlance), "The Escapist", "Return To The Sea", "Nightquest" (which is also a brief history of the band), "7 Days To The Wolves" (based on The Dark Tower), and "White Night Fantasy". Their earlier material has more overt Heavy Mithril than their more recent music.
  • Hammerfall. Notably, several of their song titles are lifted directly from A Song of Ice and Fire, such as "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" and "Take The Black."
  • Sonata Arctica. Usually about wolves, when they're not doing lyrically dark yet poppy-sounding "love" songs about very damaged people.
  • Edguy is a symphonic metal act that uses metaphorical lyrics that allude to metaphysical and social themes, often expressed using esoteric or hermetic expressions that tend to give their songs a kind of classical epic feel that is very much in line with power metal. "Vain Glory Opera" is perhaps their best known album, but they've done a lot of other songs.
  • Helloween
    • From Helloween came Gamma Ray, founded by Kai Hansen. Could probably be described as Space Metal.
      • ...mostly. Though there's also horses from other stables. Like rather Troperrific The Winged Horse. Sort of Return To Fantasy.
      • And from Gamma Ray came Even-More-Space Metal Iron Savior, founded as a sort of side project by Piet Sielck (who used to be in Helloween) with Kai Hansen. Continues in the "Space Metal" oeuvre, with the main focus of several of the albums being the story of a sentient spacecraft (the titular Iron Savior), which is somehow related to the lost city of Atlantis. What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome??
        • Only the first three album from Iron Savior are concepts linked to the titular Space Fortress (from the lyrics it sounds more of a Death Star than a spaceship), the fourth one contained some songs mentioning a new Iron Savior story but also unrelated material, by the fifth album Iron Savior the songs and meaning have got much more subtle and seem like just another power metal band with a penchant for futuristic lyrics. But it doesn't make them any less awesome!
  • Kamelot: Their albums Epica and The Black Halo are concept albums based on the story of Faust. Incidentally, despite their name, "Shadow of Uther" is their only song based on King Arthur.
    • So is the bonus track from Karma, "Once and Future King".
    • The song "Across The Highlands", also on Karma, seems heavily influenced by Highlander.
  • The concept is mentioned more than once in the "101 rules of power metal". Example:

 71. Whenever you short of ideas, pick up your Dungeons and Dragons books. You might as well be the first band to sing about owlbears.

 22. Why do you play? For the king, for the land, for the mountains, for the green valleys where dragons fly, for the glory, the power to win over the dark lord!

23. Not to mention the right to write an album based on a crappy 80's fantasy movie. Why isn't "Willow" a five disc series yet?

  • 3 Inches of Blood practically thrives on this trope to the point where if their lyrics were sung by anyone else, they would be mocked for being narmtacular while 3 Inches of Blood make people raise the horns and head bang.
    • Destroy Destroy Destroy adds towering, Lord Of The Rings-esque symphonic arrangements for extra hamminess, but with an album called Battle Sluts, they're clearly not as serious about it. (Stylistically, by the way, they're American power metal with harsh vocals.)
  • Alestorm do Pirate metal, and do it well.
  • Manticora from Denmark released an aptly-titled album named Hyperion in 2002 which is based on the first novel of Dan Simmon's Hyperion Cantos. Two other albums has a H.P. Lovecraft quote in the introduction, and "Roots Of Eternity" follows with a mention of The Great Old Ones in the next track. Add "Dragon's Mist" (Arthurian Legend), "Felice" and "The Nightfall War" (Saga of the Exiles) in between...
  • Wuthering hights
  • Epica, name derived from the Kamelot album of the same name, combines some Heavy Mithril with lots of social commentary. Their target of choice is usually organized religion, which one album calls the "Divine Conspiracy" to enslave humanity.
  • Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross, a concept album about the life of Charlemagne, with Christopher Lee (who is related through his mother's family, the Carandinis) singing as Charlemagne.
  • The band Silence has done a cover of Awe of She.
  • Also, the italian band Highlord has their own version of "Pegasus Fantasy", which appeared in their album Breath of Eternity. They also covered "Cha-La, Head Cha-La" in Instant Madness (seen here) and recently "Zankoku Na Tenshi No Teeze" in The Death Of The Artists (seen here) Too bad that those versions are limited to Japan.
  • The Swedish group Sabaton primarily does songs about famous historical wars, but the song "Shadows" on the album Fist for Fight is about the Nazgul from Lord of the Rings.
  • Yngwie Malmsteen, while considered a foreground character in neo-classical metal, has always had at least one Heavy Mithril-song on every album.
    • One of his album covers has him fighting off a dragon with his guitar. See for yourself- it's the page image for The Power of Rock.
  • Lost Horizon. They have a ridiculously awesome song called "Highlander (The One). Guess what it' about.
  • Man-Witch project. With such a name and album (so far there's only one) called Orkchops In Battle Sauce, Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot doesn't drop in, it lives there. No big platter of "orkchops", though -- clear Warhammer 40000 references are limited to the album name and a wink in "Wrastlevania 65000".
  • While not strictly fantasy, Adramelch's primary focus is medieval themes.
  • The US power metal band Omen have been described as "Conan metal"
  • Stormwitch album War of the Wizards is based on The Lord of the Rings, but (according to The Other Wiki) the copyright issues at the time forced the band to change the names of the characters (for example; Aragorn to Aaron).
  • "Shinigami" by Machinae Supremacy is about Death Note.


Rap Metal

  • Nerd Core acts sometimes throw in a rap-metal track or two on fantastic topics.
    • Lords of the Rhymes, Quickbeam and B-Dil, Hobbit rappers. Especially "Black Riders"
    • MC Hawking b/w Dark Matter covering Led Zeppelin.
    • The Rhyme of the Nibelung by Baddd Spellah featuring MC Frontalot, might be an edge case, but it's about someone going to see The Ring of the Nibelung, and mentions a lot about the plot
  • Captain Dan: Authentic Pirate Hiphop. With lazers, and ninja flipping Santa Claus.


Symphonic Metal

  • Within Temptation: Many of their songs fit to this trope, especially Hand of Sorrow which relates The Farseer Trilogy.
  • Rhapsody of Fire takes this trope Up to Eleven. Everything they have ever done involves some fantasy element. They are much nerdier than Dragonforce.
    • DragonForce uses fantasy imagery because it's cool. Rhapsody composed a five-album long fantasy story. It's a Real Men/Roleplayers comparison, really...
      • They're on their second multi-album story now, with the Atoner from the previous story as the protaganist.
      • And they got Christopher Lee to provide narration, even!
      • Ladies and gentlemen, we now have a complete ten-album chronicle of the wars of a distant land.
  • Skylark. Take Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming, turn it into symphonic metal opera, then push "Epic" slider up, but not so far that Boris Vallejo covers vanish, and you have this.
  • Lyriel - The lyrics to "Lind e-huil" are in Sindarin.


Anime and Manga


Film


Video Games

  • Brutal Legend is this trope brought to life, combining Hack and Slash, Real Time Strategy and The Power of Rock.
  • Final Fantasy X has this with Otherworld
  • Guilty Gear is a magical fantasy world in which characters named after Hair Metal and Thrash Metal bands from The Eighties destroy each other with attacks named after various songs.
  • Alan Wake features a Fake Band called the Old Gods of Asgard, who played up the Norse mythology angle.
  • Level 85 Elite Tauren Chieftain, which specifically performs songs relating to Warcraft and its MMO spinoff.
    • What makes it even more awesome is that the members of the band are staff members, and the lead singer is the Art Director, Samwise Didier. Who is also cover artist for quite a few Metal bands, including the below mentioned Hammerfall, and an avid fan.
    • They've recently come out with songs on Blizzard's other properties as well and are featured in Starcraft II, where a commercial refers to them as Level 800 Elite Tauren Chieftain.
    • They appear in WoW, too, as the Tauren Chieftans. They can bee seen performing in Shattrath, at the Darkmoon Faire, and in a few other places, and hanging out with their tech crew in Silvermoon when they're not rocking out.
    • For the Horde!
    • Another WoW example: One of their April Fools' Jokes was to introduce the Bard class, and depict him as a hair-metal guitarist whose abilities you invoked by playing notes on a Guitar Hero-esque highway.
  • A rarer sci-fi variation can be seen in the credits of Homeworld, where the song "The Ladder (Homeworld)" by Yes recaps the story of the Kushaani's epic voyage to their original homeworld, Hiigara. Notably, while it's done as a rock ballad, the lyrics are reminescent of a cryptic ancient chant straight out of a mythic retelling of their famous journey.


Literature


Web Comics


Western Animation

Notes

  1. and yes, we know incredible lightness is one of the salient features of Mithril
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