Lyrical Analysis: Blind Guardian – Dead Sound of Misery

The same moment I first heard “Dead Sound of Misery” on the new album, I knew I loved the lyrics. The mythological/religious imagery used throughout Blind Guardian’s lyrics always attracted me, but this song caught my attention in particular.

Here’s the song:

Here follows the lyrics, and some added notes to each quoted passage below. This is not really a proper analysis, so I’m sorry to disappoint, but rather I’m trying to show some more or less obvious allusions in the song. I still don’t understand the full meaning of the song, although the feeling itself is very effectively given…

It’s dark
Let’s do it now
Bring in the sirens
Cut of their tongues
Do it now
Ignore their cries
Ignore their cries

Now close the door
And leave it
Nothing went wrong
The Archangel is falling [1]
Mourners split [2]
Take heart of grace

A ghostly candle light
Lit my room at night
Son of man [3]
We’re breeding wastelands
Wastelands

[Chorus 1:]
The blood of Sirens
On my hands
I can’t wash away
Still it pours
And stains our land
In bitterness
So cruel
Will ages go by
Dead sound of misery
Come share our sorrows
Be one with the Hydra [4]

It’s drown or burn
I’m exploring bedlam
The time is right to move
Furthermore
Bring out the dead
Turn your back
On the ones you have loved
[5]
Enjoy the heat of your whore
Babylon
[6]

Hear what the Spirit says [7]
There is no sense at all
Now come with me
Unfold the seals
[8]
No sense at all
No sense at all
There is not sense at all

[Chorus 2:]
So many times I have failed
Pure desperation
Still hear the cries
Of voices
Long gone by
They’ve gone abroad
And left this world behind
Leave me behind
Behind the walls I’m crying

[Chorus 1]

[Chorus 2]

[Chorus 1]

————————–
[1] The Fall of the Archangel Lucifer:

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12, KJV)

[2] “And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth.
(Revelation 12:3-4a, ESV)

[3] “Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, ‘Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished. For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.'” (Luke 18:31-33)

[4] (Also see [6]

The Lemean Hydra:

The Hydra

Both the Lemean Hydra (the one that Heracles combatted), and the Beast, share a number of similarities. Firstly, they are both described as having seven heads. Secondly, both Hydra references tell of the ability to regenerate any wounds, which parallels both Heracles battle when the Hydra regained its lobbed off head, and the Hydra (the Beast) in Revelation:

“One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed.” (Rev 13:3)

[5] “And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:11-12, ESV)

[6] The whore of Babylon riding the seven-headed beast:

The Whore of Babylon

“And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” (Revelation. 17:1-5, KJV)

[7] The arrival of the Holy Spirit:

The Holy Spirit

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:1-4, NIV)

More literally, however: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22)

[8] “Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”


Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

And they sang a new song:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”
(Rev 5:1-10)

  1. yns88
    September 28, 2006 at 20:51

    Great analysis! Most of this is stuff I’d never have noticed. However, in the lines “son of man / we’re breeding wastelands” there seems to me to be an allusion to T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” as well. Actually, I think that entire stanza could fit in as a reference to the poem.

  2. Sarah
    November 28, 2006 at 04:27

    Awesome stuff, This was my favorite song from the album.
    I would’ve never realzied all these allusions. Awesome work!

  3. Blind Wizard
    February 5, 2007 at 21:47

    Awesome mate keep on pushing metal 🙂

  4. Ceili
    March 30, 2007 at 16:56

    Very good,but have you something to account also for the sirens? I find that hint about cutting their tongues and their blood upon his hands one of the most haunting things in the song…I really love BG, not only for the music: it’s the way Hansi has to meddle miths and symbols together that makes it so special.
    Hi

  5. unknown
    May 30, 2008 at 01:18

    Sirens from Homer’s “Odyssey” most likely. They would most likely have cut their tongues off so as not to be enchanted by their song. This is the only connection I found that made sense.

  6. May 30, 2008 at 01:31

    Well, I know where Sirens are from, I was trying to connect them to the apocalyptic story. The album is about finding the truth in the myth after all 🙂

  7. Believer
    February 12, 2009 at 14:38

    so I was just wondering if anyone had any speculation as to how these all tie in? Is BG portraying that they are one with the hydra and telling others to share in their sorrows because of it? I’ve always noticed these reoccurring themes in their more darkly portrayed songs about what seems to be someone fighting with this inner darkness, is this them saying that that’s what they’re battling against, or merely a portrayal of Biblical endtimes? I own this album and there was an interview at the end where they stated that this song made it clear what their beliefs were or something like that. I just want some clarification on this because I’m a Christian myself and I am completely a believer and always will be, but I stumbled upon this band awhile back with their song Nightfall and listen to them fairly often but I always found it a bit difficult with some of their songs seeming so anti-God at times.

  8. February 12, 2009 at 20:32

    Thanks for commenting my “analysis”, Believer. I am indeed a Christian myself, currently in a Bible School here in Uppsala, Sweden. When I wrote this, I don’t think I fully understood what things the songs dealt with, and I might expand on this analysis soon. It’s not really a proper analysis after all, is it? It’s just pointing to things in the lyrics I’ve identified in other places 🙂

    Anyways, I think this song is a theological statement of sorts, giving a sorrowful view of humanity’s state in the End Times (i.e. our current age?). The line “Enjoy the heat of your whore, Babylon” shows their stance in a way…

    Also, Hansi has stated in interviews that he is a critical Lutheran, which could really mean a lot of things… But he does have a passion for religion-related subjects. The rest of the band are of varying beliefs, I believe Andre or Marcus are New Agey, which is worrying. Anyhow, the song “The Edge” is what worried me the most. According to interviews and my own interpretation of the song, it deals with the idea that Paul of Tarsus “invented” Christ’s divinity. The song’s existance on the album does, however, not mean that Hansi believes in what the song talks about – the whole thing is after all quite cryptical, and the concept of the album is defined in “Skalds and Shadows”: “Truth or Myth – They’re one in my rhymes”

    Blessings,
    Peter

  9. February 12, 2009 at 20:56

    PS. Other BG songs dealing with religion include

    The Martyr – About Jesus
    Banish From Sanctuary – About John the Baptist somehow
    Another Holy War – About Jesus
    The Script for my Requiem – Deals with a disillusioned Crusader
    Battlefield – Could be Crusades, or something else like it
    Precious Jerusalem – About Jesus and the people he came to save
    Age of False Innocence – About Gallileo Gallei and the Church
    Punishment Divine – About a dying Friedrich Nietzsche seeing things in his last days and reflecting over his atheism
    Hallelujah (On the Mr Sandman single) – A cover, about a preacher
    Sadly Sings Destiny – About about the events around the crucifixion, possibly from Judas’ perspective, but it could be one or several other people in the same song.

    Hansi has also written songs for Demons & Wizards as you may know:

    Heaven Denies – The eternal damnation of Lucifer and how he might feel
    Poor Man’s Crusade – About the Crusades again
    Path of Glory – Perhaps Hansi’s most positive song about his faith. Just read the lyrics.
    And finally the last three songs of the debut album all have religious motives, but at least the first two is related to a fictional god according to an interview I read (Azrael), and the last song is about a disillusioned Judas, this time quite clearly…

    I might write more about those songs later, but there you go, the most interesting songs lyrically, as far as Hansi KĂŒrsch goes.

    • Brendan
      November 10, 2014 at 00:29

      Battlefield is about an old German Folktale about a father and son meeting on opposite sides of the battlefield. It doesn’t really have anything to do with religion but more of battles and the over all feeling during a battle in general.

      • November 10, 2014 at 17:01

        Thanks. Reading my comment 5 years later, I can see I was probably out on a limb writing that 😛

  10. C.Blumreisinger
    October 25, 2011 at 22:12

    Ceili :
    Very good,but have you something to account also for the sirens? I find that hint about cutting their tongues and their blood upon his hands one of the most haunting things in the song
I really love BG, not only for the music: it’s the way Hansi has to meddle miths and symbols together that makes it so special.
    Hi

    Yes that’s exactly what I thought! I’ve been trying to find the meaning in the constant reference to sirens in more than one of their songs. I’m assuming it is just talking about the ancient Greek creatures which had the ability to sing a song so beautiful, men could not stay away upon hearing it.
    However, they may have deeper meaning, I don’t know.

    • Milan
      December 26, 2011 at 19:15

      As I understand it, Sirens are harbingers of doom or of something bad, which is about to come. And that is what we do now. We cut off the tongues of our Sirens because we do not want to think about bad things that are about to come neither solve them. Things which will inevitably be our undoing.

  11. Cynic
    September 1, 2012 at 07:36

    Nice work,
    thanks a lot

  12. Ron
    December 3, 2012 at 16:20

    A bit late here but, I think the reference to cutting out their tongues shows on which side they lay. To remove the tongues is to remove the temptation of evil and evil things. “Cut out their tongues, ignore their cries”

    In the end there is evil in the heart of all men, so this means the blood of sirens quite literally is the blood of evil men on their hands for the good of all man. Removing the temptation of evil by an act of evil, taking another life.

    “When good men do nothing, evil triumphs. Evil, sin and sinful men must be opposed. God commands those who are good, not just to avoid evil but actively oppose it.”

  13. Ron
    December 3, 2012 at 16:23

    Great parallels you drew here as well, I really enjoyed reading this a few times over the years and finally that came to me regarding the sirens, just my take on it anyway. Peace.

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