A round up of heavy metal tunes inspired by
The Wheel of Time
Like many of you, Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time is one of my favorite book series. I spend significant portions of my day thinking about it, the upcoming TV show, and how it has impacted the modern fantasy landscape. A quick visit to #TwitterOfTime and it becomes apparent that I am not alone in this. Another tendency you will notice is how much other fans wish to intersect WoT with various other fandoms. From sitcom castings and parallels to song parodies, the WoT fandom is filled to the brim with a unique crossover of fandoms. It's no surprise then to find a fair amount of traversal between WoT and heavy metal.
This excites me.
I am a metalhead and have been since I was 13 years old. I started with a healthy dose of Metallica and found my way to more sub-genres through friends. I was introduced to the more extreme forms first; genres like thrash, groove, death, and black metal before finding my favorites: melodeath, power and progressive metal.
The earliest crossover between The Wheel of Time and metal that most fans are aware of is Blind Guardian's 2010 release At the Edge of Time. It featured 2 songs inspired by the series, Ride into Obsession and Wheel of Time. However in my search for other metal works inspired by WoT I found some earlier examples, and then I just found more and more metal. Most of what I found falls within the power metal genre, but there are others represented as well.
Join me as I run through and review each of the tracks. I'll mostly judge the songs on their relation to The Wheel of Time through their lyrics, but I will give a "song" rating as well for how much I enjoyed the composition and production.
NOTE: All ratings are on a scale of 0 - 10. Fair warning, as a metalhead and cheese ball, these ratings will trend higher than you expect. Apologies in advance, I've tried to be as critical as I can but, at the very least, I like most of these songs.
This Voice Inside - Dreamtone and Iris Mavraki's Neverland - Turkey/Greece - 2010
Song: 8/10 The vocal mix is this song's weakest point. At times the instruments completely take over and make them very difficult to discern. The guitars are a little muddy for this genre, but not uncommon for the late 2000s and early 2010s. All that said, the composition is fantastic and for a progressive/power metal fan this track is standout. Lyrics: 6/10 The song is about Rand but that's not 100% clear until the end. The lyrics are generic and could about any number of fantasy farm boy heroes. The end of the song fades out on the line "The Wheel Weaves as the Wheel Wills" which is the strongest signal this is about The Wheel of Time.
The band dedicated this song to the memory of Robert Jordan though, and they get all the love for that.
Farseer - Luck of the Joker - Scotland - 2016
Song: 7/10 A power metal song about Mat! I think Farseer did a fair job of capturing Mat, imagine this as the character theme for him in a fighting game or side scrolling brawler. I dig it. Lyrics: 8/10 This song is easily about The Wheel of Time with plenty of references to Mat and some of his most famous moments. They also have an intro song on this album that is a rendition of "Jak 'o' the Shadows" so if you want more be sure to check it out.
FRETERNIA - Reborn - Sweden - 2019
Song: 6/10 A power metal song from veteran act. The mix is 100% professional and very high quality Euro-metal. I have no complaints and the riffage is fairly standard. The harmonized guitars get to shine and the vocals are crisp. Lyrics: 7/10 There is no question that this song is about The Wheel of Time, specifically Rand. A nice touch is that the song mixes the events of Books 1 to 4 in a seamless manner. This saves listeners from late series spoilers.
Black Majesty - Dragon Reborn - Australia - 2005
Song: 6/10 A power metal track from this band's sophomore effort. The production is very 2000s and this style was extremely common of the power metal acts of the decade, taking lead from Kamelot's "The Fourth Legacy" Lyrics: 5/10 While they are vaguely WoT related I feel that if you remove the few overt references, mostly just "The Dragon Reborn," the song becomes a generic power metal anthem. Overall this work just is not as memorable as others on this list.
Lyra - Betrayer of Hope - USA - 2018
Song: 7/10 Melodic Death Metal about Elan Morin Tendronai... Yes please! Production is typical of modern metal, especially in melodic death metal. I've got no complaints about the composition and their is a surprising amount of dynamic range for an aggressive track like this. Lyrics: 9/10 This song is written from Ishamael's perspective when he's still Elan Morin Tendronai. Lyra scores massive points from me as an Ishy stan. Further they go fairly deep with his references, bringing up the fact that his philosophical works did not do well in the AoL:
"Is this still too esoteric for popular appeal?"
Almost echoes how most folks must feel about all these The Wheel of Time metal songs about now.
Dread Crew of Oddwood - The Gleeman - USA - 2016
Song: 7/10 Finally a folk "metal" song about Thom. Part of the pirate sub-genre, ala Alestorm, the production is great and lends well raucous nature of the song! Despite all the instruments being acoustic, the mix makes this feel very reminiscent of the other power metal tracks in the review. Lyrics: 7/10 How can you not love a song about Thom?! They focused on his story telling in the song but do reference his skills with throwing knives. Overall a fantastic ode to our master bard!
DRAGONY - Flame Of Tar Valon - Austria - 2018
Song: 8/10 I'm impressed with this production. Symphonic metal production isn't easy and many times it does not turn out this good. I find some of the layered vocals difficult to understand at times but overall it's tight and doesn't stand in the way of the song. Lyrics: 8/10 Bonus points for being about someone other than our 3 ta'veren boys. That's right we get a song about Egwene. Fairly cheesy power metal structure and subject matter with WoT trappings but if anyone knows me, I'm a cheese ball.
When that "Stole of all colours" line hits you, it's damn good.
Noble Beast - The Dragon Reborn - USA - 2014
Song: 6/10 For a freshman album it's not a bad sound! The mix is a little loud, but with a turn of your volume knob that's easily fixed. Overall very clear and easy to understand what's going on. Lyrics: 6/10 Another song about Rand and his journey. The lyrics follow along with the basics of the arc but nothing new is added nor surpassed. A solid effort and it's easily identified as WoT.
Thou - The Wheel Weaves as the Wheel Wills - USA - 2015
0/10 for normies
10/10 for black/sludge metal enthusiasts This sounds like it was recorded in a shack in some pagan bayou. Classic black metal lo-fi with super sludgy guitars, a combination which I am not a fan of and you probably aren't either. Lyrics: 0/10 No relation to WoT aside from the title.
Katana - The Wisdom Of Emond's Field - Sweden - 2012
Song: 9/10 Katana! Made infamous in the fandom thanks to Recappa Sedai's wonderful music video segment! We have a great New Wave of British Heavy Metal sound going on here. Does it remind you of Iron Maiden? If not it should, because that's who this band channeled for this track!
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