Sunday April 20th 2008: Pagan Fest Special part 2…. with 3 weeks to go until PAGAN FEST HOLLYWOOD we continued on our 4 part series featuring only the bands playing at Pagan Fest Hollywood on May 8th at the House of Blues. ELUVEITIE was up first with (“Tarvos”). There was a few background people in the studio with Damon and I today and as soon as this song played they immediately began asking questions about the artist and the music. They found the flutes and woodwinds incredibly intriguing, the soft melodies floating over the top of heavy guitars always catches people off guard. It’s great to see non metallers take an interest in music they don’t necessarily understand. (“Ahti”) by ENSIFERUM was next. As I mentioned on the show I come from a 80′s thrash metal background, I grew up on bands like METALLICA, MEGADETH, SLAYER.. etc.. for years I thought that only guitars, bass and drums had a place in metal. Towards the late 90′s when I discovered extreme I have come to crave the added dimensions that come with the inclusion of keyboards and folk instruments in epic metal. This has evolved to the point where, in the case of “Ahti”, my favorite part about the song is the keyboard contribution to the song. Meiju Enho was the keyboardist when the tracks were laid and it’s masterful work. Unfortunately, Meiju has since parted ways with ENSIFERUM which sucks because it would have been awesome to see her rock at Pagan Fest. The 3rd song of the show was SUIDAKRA (“The IXth Legion”) and it was the subject of a segment we call “History Connection.” In this segment we like to feature a song and explain how the lyrics relate to a particular event or time in history. I sent a letter to Arkadius of SUIDAKRA and asked him to assist us with this because many of SUIDAKRA’s songs are written about historical events. He got back to me write away with a perfect bit of information about “The IXth Legion.” he writes:
so here is the sorty behin the IXth Legion:
At the beginning of time, there was a Pict king named Cruithne, son of Cing, and Cruithne reigned for 100 years. He had seven sons called Fib, Fidach, Foclaid, Fortrenn, Caitt, Ce and Circenn. These names of Cruithne’s seven sons were also given to the seven provinces of Pictland. The origins of the Picts are clouded with many fables, legends and fabrications, and there are as many theories as to who the Picts were. The Romans called the pre-Celtic people of Scotland Pictii (Painted) or Caledonii, because Claudius’ words prove that (as described by many historians) the ancient Picts actually tattooed their bodies with designs. To the non-Roman Celtic world they were known as “Cruithni” and for many centuries they represented the unbridled fury of a people who refused to be brought under the rule of Rome, or any foreign invader.
Julius Caesar invaded England in BC 55, but it took about one hundred and thirty-five years before the Romans were ready to assault Scotland in 80 AD – the same summer that the Coliseum was opened and one year after the disaster at Pompeii. The Romans called Scotland ‘Caledonia’ because the dominant tribe of Picts they encountered was the Caledonii. The name is a Romanisation of the actual tribal name and it is difficult to know its meaning to the Romans.
Roman accounts of the Pictish Wars as well as later accounts tell us that the Pictish lands were mainly north of the Forth-Clyde line, to the north of the Antonine Wall.
When the battle started, Caledonians were initially very successful, but because of an outflanking manoeuvre by Roman cavalry, the Caledonians were eventually defeated. Historians believe that the Caledonian leader Calgacus survived this battle. They realised that the Roman army had a great advantage in a pitched battle in open country and the only way the tribes had any hope of beating the Romans was to conduct a united prolonged war. The Caledonians changed their tactics and conducted a guerrilla war and decided to remain as mobile as possible. They attacked their fortresses, military camps, and their Walls. It was a bold strategy: confront the lion in his lair!
Within thirty years of their establishment, the Picts had destroyed and burned the Roman forts, and according to Victorian legend, Rome’s most famous legion, the Ninth, was sent north from Inchtuthil to relieve Pictish pressure. Legend has it that legion was massacred and forever lost in an unknown battle against the painted men of the north…
Horns up to Arkadius for providing this gem of information about this great song and epic story. We closed the show with TURISAS (“Fields of Gold”). Some of my non-metalhead friends have been tuning into the show lately and they’ve been telling me how much they love TURISAS and TYR. Hearing things like this is awesome because a main reason I wanted to start Hollywood Metal is to educate people about the music and why it deserves praise even if you’re not into the music. Horns up to my good friend John Davidson in Charlotte N.C. for the kind words this week about TURISAS and TYR.