Dracula, Transylvania and Elizabeth Bathory have all been prominent and influential figures in Metal music. To say why these figures are important in Metal, at first I have to give a brief history or a brief description about them.
- Dracula and Transylvania
Dracula, made famous by Bram Stoker in his novel Bam Stoker’s Dracula, is an “immortal” vampire, a noble Transylvanian man and a sorcerer. He lives in the Carpathian mountains beyond the great vast forest; that vast forest being Transylvania. Dracula is also the last living descendant of the Dracul (The Order of the Dragon). After returning from a victorious war with the turs, Dracula learns that his wife and the love of his life Elisabeta has died. Knowing later that she committed suicide because she got faulty news about her husband being dead. Dracula then became enraged and denounces God and promises to avenge his wife’s death with the power of darkness. Dracula’s evil attitude and darkness is all attributed to his nostalgic memories of his wife.
He resides in a castle with three brides who blame him for not loving them. After inviting the English law clerk Jonathan Harker, Dracula realizes, after seeing picture of Harker’s fiance, that Harker’s fiance is in fact the reincarnation of his long lost love: Elizabeth. Dracula shape shifts to a young handsome man and meets with Mina, Harker’s fiance, and they start developing a relationship and Mina becomes blindly in love with the Count. In the meantime and after some events, Harker escapes Dracula’s castle and flees to marry Mina.
Upon being informed of Mina’s marriage, the Count gets devastated and transforms into a werewolf and transforms Mina’s friend, Lucy, into a vampire. After Lucy’s death, the Count visits an asylum in which Mina is held in for protection and the Count confesses to her that he was the one she fell in love with. Despite the shock, Mina still confessed that she loves the Count and she begs him to share the curse of “immortality” with him because she loves him to a point where she would do anything to be with him. After transforming her into a vampire, Harker along with the famous Van Helsing (Dracula’s nemesis) and 8 other people raid into Mina’s quarters. They discover that Mina is not alone and that Dracula is with her. Due to Dracula being vulnerable in this situation, he flees and leaves Mina behind after claiming that she is his wife. Helsing then discovers that Mina and Dracula have developed some kind of mental connection.
After being put under hypnosis Helsing is able to find the whereabouts of Dracula. After that, Harker and Helsing kill Dracula and let Mina say her goodbyes. Contrary to popular belief: Dracula can go out at day, but he prefers to go out at night. Dracula can take any form of nocturnal creature he wants not just a bat. Dracula can shape-shift and turn himself into mist or fog to travel the night-sky.
So Dracula is about a Gothic romance, sexuality, bestial lust, sorrow, mythology and darkness. These elements are to some extent all found in metal lyrical themes. Moonspell is one of the bands that are influenced by Dracula and Vampires. In their song Vampiria, the lyrics revolve around a female vampire that is dead and the vocalist seems to be contemplating and missing his love “Vampiria, you are my destiny My only Love and true destiny Vampiria… , In a unique Transylvanian dream Conceiving the creed of all creeds“.In addition to that the vocalists tone of voice is extremely similar to that of Dracula.
Another band worth mentioning is Emperor. In their album “In the Nightside Eclipse” Emperor have a song called “Beyond the Great Vast Forest”. This is a dialogue between Dracula and Mina taken from the movie :
Dracula: The most beautiful place in all creation.
Mina: Yest, it must be. A land beyond a great, vast forest surrounded by majestic mountains.
The line that Mina spoke is also to some extent the same line that Emperor start the song with “Beyond the great vast forest, surrounded by majestic mountains, dark Rivers float like tears of sorrow.” Iron Maiden is a band that used Transylvania as a song title to one of their instrumental songs. Darkthrone is also another band that released an album titled “Transilvanian Hunger.” This album was also a dedication to Mayhem’s ex-vocalist Dead who used to wear a shirt with “I <3 Trsanylvania”. Theatres Des Vampires is a gothic/black metal band that is directly influenced by Vampires and Dracula. There are also many more bands but listing them will take forever.
- Elizabeth Bathory
Elizabeth Bathory or countess Bathory is a Hungarian countess of the royal Bathory family. She was engaged at the age of 12 for a political union. After her husbands death Elizabeth developed a blood-lust and starting gathering women, mostly virgins, and murdering them and it is rumored that she used to bathe in their blood to keep her youth. She was accompanied by 4 servants and is claimed that she murdered over 600 females. After her arrest, a trial was conduced and she was given a sentence and was put under house arrest. She wasn’t executed because her family at the time rule TRANSYLVANIA when it was part of the Hungarian empire. In addition to that, Bathory had a major influence on Bram Stoker concerning the legend of Dracula.
Bathory has been a major influence in the metal scene. Most notably in the band Bathory. Alot of references have been made in the band especially in the song “Woman of dark desires” Another band is Attila’s (Mayhem’s vocalist) black/thrash metal band Tormentor which has a song dedicated to Elizabeth Bathory. In their album “Black Metal”, the famous band Venom also had a song dedicated to Elizabeth Bathory “Countess Bathory”. Thrash Metal band Evile also had a song with references to Bathory “Bathe in Blood”.
So these are examples of the influence that Bathory, Dracula and Transylvania have had on Metal. I hope I have given you some insight about this issue. I also recommend that you watch the movie “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”.