Savatage’s “Hall of the Mountain King”, off of their album by the same name, is an awesome song, and given the song’s name, you might expect it to be based upon a contemporary fantasy tale featuring cavern-dwelling dwarves or some such. You would be wrong, however.
The song was actually inspired by a piece of orchestral music composed by Edvard Grieg, a Norwegian composer, for part of Henrik Ibsen’s 1876 play Peer Gynt, which is apparently loosely based on a Norwegian fairy tale by the name of Per Gynt. In Grieg’s musical piece, main character Peer Gynt enters the royal hall of the old Mountain King, who is surrounded by trolls, gnomes, and goblins, as well as his own family members, and the crowd erupts in anger, accusing him of bewitching the Mountain King’s daughter.
So, not a contemporary fantasy story, but close enough.
Anyway, basing a metal song on an old Norwegian play kind of makes sense for a Norwegian metal band – apparently Peer Gynt is Norway’s most famous play.
However, Savatage is an American heavy metal band, which makes the whole situation even weirder. Nonetheless, they wrote the song, and even featured the creepy old mountain king on the cover of their album.
He looks pretty good for…however old he is, I guess. He must work out.
But enough with my yammering. On to the song. As an extra bonus, I’m including running commentary of their bizarre music video. Trust me, you’ll need it.
0:15: Creepy goblin in a forest. OK.
0:50: Lead singer John Oliva sporting a nice ascot, one of the most metal of all neck accessories.
1:08: Now he decides to scare the crap out of that poor goblin. Doesn’t seem very nice.
1:47: Now he’s attacking the thing with a battle-axe? What?
2:38: Smoke, steam, or the earthly remains of spirits trapped within the lead singer?
2:46-3:01: Shit gets crazy. Lead guitarist gets seriously concerned, John Oliva totally loses his sanity, and the goblin starts doing the see no evil, etc. moves.
3:18: John Oliva is now attacking his own guitarist. This can’t end well.
3:35: Awesome guitar solo metal face!
3:51: Is it just me, or did they hire Miracle Max from The Princess Bride to step in for the Mountain King?
All kidding aside though, it’s a great song. A true metal classic.
Image credit: By glenn . (CC BY 2.0), via Flickr.