I've said before that I'm a big fan of power/progressive/symphonic metal (hereon in called fantasy metal) because of the fantasy imagery in the lyrics and in the music itself. There's an almost literary quality to the genre as it deals with sweeping story arcs and imagined lands. Fantasy metal draws its inspiration from novels and folklore, so it's no surprise that there are concept albums that are based entirely around books. Here are my favourites.
[based on Faust by Goethe]
Kamelot is my favourite fantasy metal band, and this two-part epic is the reason why. The MC, Ariel sells his soul to the demon Mephisto in order for untold knowledge and power.
My favourite song from these albums is Descent of the Archangel, where Ariel sells his soul to Mephisto.
My favourite track from this album is called Fireroses Dance. I'm not greatly familiar with the novel, so I'm not sure which part of the story it covers.
[based on The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien]
Blind Guardian are likely to be the archetypal fantasy metal band. They are heavily influenced by Lord of the Rings, and Nightfall in Middle-Earth is no exception. The album chronicles the events of The Silmarillion, the prequel to The Hobbit.
The whole album is teeming with Tolkien-y goodness, but if I have to pick a track it would be Nightfall.
[based on the Spawn graphic novels by Todd MacFarlane]
Iced Earth are another band that are heavily influenced by fantasy and sci-fi in their work (check out their 17-minute epic of Dante's Inferno and their horror-themed concept album Horror Show). The Dark Saga follows a man who sells his soul to the Devil for the woman he loves, only to find that she has betrayed him.
The best track on this album for me is A Question of Heaven, where the protagonist realises that he cannot escape the bargain he has made.
So those are my top picks for metal albums that are based on books.
Do you like music that is based on literature? Are you a fan of concept albums like these?