ISSN: 20523998
First published in 2015
3 issues per volume
Volume 3 Issue 1
Cover Date: March 2017
Rime of a metal mariner
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Authors:  Justin J. Roberts 
DOI: 10.1386/mms.3.1.63_1

heavy metal,Iron Maiden,Samuel Taylor Coleridge,‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’,British Romantics,adaptation

Heavy metal has drawn inspiration from literature almost from the genre’s ­inception. Iron Maiden has fully embraced literary allusion and adaptation in its songwriting approach. This article examines one of the band’s most ambitious adaptations, ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ (1984) and the unique ways the band adapts Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem. Lyrically, songwriter Steve Harris conflates both Coleridge’s poem and subsequent glossing, joining the two elements to present the tale. Additionally, the members of Iron Maiden compose a lengthy song with numerous movements, the different musical themes working with the tale’s textual themes to deepen and complicate the adaptation, interpreting not just the words but also the underlying moods and philosophical and narrative themes of Coleridge’s texts in the song.
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