The Lyrics Corner: The Monolith Deathcult’s “Den Ensomme Nordens Dronning”


Metal lyrics usually suck. In this new feature, I’m going to highlight lyrics that suck less. Grab a stool and join me in the lyrics corner.

I don’t want to be like a certain former Masterlord and declare this a brand new series before doing nothing with it, so let’s just call this something I’d like to do from time to time. The lyrics corner will be used to highlight lyrics that transcend the typical juvenile satanism, gore, misanthropy, and tough-guy posturing penned by most metal lyricists. Instead, I’ll be examining bands that take a more poetic, humorous, historical, or just generally clever approach to word choice. This feature includes: a link to the song, the lyrics themselves, and my annotations annotations. I’m going to avoid lengthy personal interpretation in favor of highlighting allusions and providing relevant context. I hope you enjoy it.

In this first edition, let’s take a look at the lyrics for The Monolith Deathcult‘s song “Den Ensomme Nordens Dronning”. These lyrics stood out to me because they tell the tale of a historical event, namely the sinking of Russian submarine Kursk (K-141). Press play below and read along as Michiel Dekker and Robin Kok growl about this nautical nightmare.

Sleep, oh Majesty surrounded by massive darkness
Her skin torn apart by sub-zero claws
Buried deep in thy ice dungeon
Sleep, oh Majesty, Lonely Queen of the North1

‘Eternal Father, strong to save
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who biddest the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!’2

The huntress from the land of Magog3
manacles on her seabed
Mauled in the deep she waits
for the Czar of Mesech and Tubal4
The blood of the 1185 drips
from her glowering gaping mouth
She patiently bears suffering in the Barents6 abyss

‘Eternal Father, strong to save…

K-141 headed north for a Russian naval victory7
Armed with 24 “Granit”8
she prowls through the Barents Sea
118 hearts beat as one when Kursk submerges
from the mighty ocean depths
She is the bride of Gog, a post-Soviet Czarina9
The Czardom’s silver bow,
CzArtemis10 leads a fleet in bloom

Drunk with exuberance she arrogates the briny deep
Invulnerable became funereal
after insubordination and sabotage!11
A deathly blow from within, the assassin assassinated
Now 117 men must die for
Der Dolchstoss12 of one Judas Ephialtes13

In a solitude of the sea
Deep from human vanity,
And the Pride of Life that planned her,
stilly couches she.

Steel chambers, late the pyres
Of her salamandrine fires,
Cold currents thrid, and turn
to rhythmic tidal lyres.14

Till the Spinner of the Years
Said ‘Now!’ And each one hears,
And consummation comes,
and jars two hemispheres.15

Over the missiles meant
To smite the opponent
The sea-worm crawls
grotesque, slimed,
dumb, (and) indifferent.

And now the Queen and Antaeus16 lie dead
The twain forever converged on the seabed

‘Eternal Father, strong to save…

“Curse the sun, and all that’s holy
Turn back, I dwell around
Come to me, as a shadow
Engrave the sun, with the blackest moon (shadow)”17


  1. Den Ensomme Nordens Dronning translates from Danish to Lonely Nordic Queen.
  2. This is the Hymn of the United States Navy. The K-141 sunk in 2000, well after the end of the Cold War, so the use of the US Naval hymn seems less inappropriate in context. The vocalists probably included it merely for its tone and to convey a feeling of abandonment and hopelessness at the mercy of the rigors of the frozen sea.
  3. In Judeo-Christian eschatology, the nation Magog, ruled by Gog, appears as the apocalyptic enemy of Israel during the end times, as supposedly seen in the books of Ezekiel and Revelations. Subscribers to millenarian eschatology, especially during the Cold War era, often ascribed the identity of Gog to Russia’s leadership and Magog to the nation itself. Some use the Hebrew phrase rosh meshek found in Ezekiel as proof that Russia and Moscow are the fabled seat of power from which Gog will strike against his foes. Millenarian eschatology has waned over the years, but adherents often still identify Gog and Magog with Russia. Alternatively, some interpret Revelations to depict two distinct nations, named Gog and Magog, and some theorists identify Gog with Russia and Magog with China.
  4. Tubal, according to Hebrew literature, is the grandson of Noah and settler of the Iberian peninsula (modern-day Spain and Portugal). In Ezekiel 39:1, Gog is referred to as prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. There may be a secondary allusion at work here because the K-141’s only completed mission was an observation of the United States Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea during the Kosovo crisis.
  5. 118 sailors died when the K-141 sank.
  6. The Kursk sank in the Barents Sea north of Norway and Russia.
  7. The Kursk was to be part of the first large-scale Russian naval exercise in over a decade and would be using a full complement of armaments.
  8. The K-141 was armed with a number of dummy Granit-class warheads and torpedoes.
  9. Pre-Soviet designation for Empress of Russia.
  10. This is a clever portmanteau of Czar and Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt.
  11. The sinking of the K-141 was caused by an internal explosion. A concentrated form of hydrogen peroxide had been used as the propellant in the dummy torpedoes, but some of this compound seeped out of the casings of one torpedo and came in contact with a catalyst, causing an explosion roughly equal to 550 pounds of TNT. This explosion caused a fire that detonated several other torpedoes, creating such a large detonation that effects were felt in Alaska.
  12. Der Dolchstoss was a widely held belief in post-World War I Germany that Germany’s loss to the Allies was caused by betrayal and a lack of support from civilians at home. Here, the allusion is used to refer to an internal betrayal, namely the faulty handling and care for the torpedoes that caused the HTP compound to leak.
  13. Ephialtes of Trachis is the Greek who supposedly revealed the secret passage through the Hot Gates to invading Persian forces that enabled them to defeat the Spartan soldiers at the battle of Thermopylae. Again, the reference (including the use of Judas here) is to convey a sense of internal betrayal.
  14. A stringed instrument from Greek antiquity. The reference here is used both for its rhyme scheme and to convey the rhythmic, poetic nature of the ocean and its justice.
  15. President Putin and the Russian Navy were heavily criticized for how they handled the sinking of the submarine. The Russian Navy delayed its response and rebuffed offers of assistance from the American, British, and Norwegian Navies.
  16. Antaeus was the half-giant son of Poseidon in Greek mythology who would challenge passers-by to fatal wrestling matches. He was bested by Hercules during the demigod’s 12 trials. In Ray Bradbury’s novella Fahrenheit 451, the wrestling match between Hercules and Antaeus is used as a metaphor for man’s overindulgence and lust. By using it here, TMDC are referring to the naval exercise of the K-141 as a prideful overindulgence that cost the lives of under-prepared and under-equipped sailors. According to the band itself, the phrase “The Queen and Antaeus” is also a reference to Hardy’s “On the Convergence of the Twain”, which is about the Titanic.
  17. I am unable to locate the original source of this refrain, but it seems to be of some importance because it is used in other metal songs beyond this one. Help me out if you know this one!

So, did you learn anything? Did I miss anything? Have any suggestions for songs we should examine? Let me know in the comments below.

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  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

    Mgla’s are killer.

    • Vote for Jeb

      They are. I’ve thought of including them in a later edition.

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        Good idea.

    • Stanley

      All of them. Always.

      “The great truth is there isn’t one
      And it only gets worse since that conclusion
      The irony of being an extension to nothing
      And the force of inertia is now a vital factor”

      • CyberneticOrganism

        *buys Nietzsche book*

  • Examine this one. It’s difficult.

    • Vote for Jeb

      I’m seeing a lot of Oedipus Rex in here.

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        You think this is difficult? Try examining Neil Young lyrics.

        • Vote for Jeb

          I didn’t actually examine them, nor am I looking at Steely Dan lyrics.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            They both have lyrics which are notoriously difficult to examine. I’ve never been able to figure some of them out.

          • Do you want to know what “Titties and Beer” is about?

            It’s about Titties and Beer and holding your pickle. Tuff, I know.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            I knew that. I’d just like to see someone try and examine the lyrics of the two artists I mentioned. I knew you were joking when you said examine the lyrics to Titties and Beer because they’re self explanatory.

          • Tyree’s funny like that!

          • KJM, Shake Zula

            “Don’t seem right
            I’ve been strung out here all night
            I’ve been waiting for the taste
            you said you bring to me” – Steely Dan ‘Doctor Wu’

            Yep. That’s some pretty indecipherable stuff, right there.

          • DoYouThinkHeSaurus

            Uh, it’s a velociraptor.
            -Doctor Wu

          • He was on an episode of the X-Files I saw the other day. The
            Hell Money episode.

          • Vote for Jeb

            I liked that episode. What season are you on now?

          • Like 3/4 of the way through season 4.

          • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

            He was also the priest on Oz.

          • never watched Oz. guess i have to cause Ernie Hudson, and now BD Wong

          • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

            It always had a good, though revolving door, cast of actors.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            So that song is about drugs. What about Aja?

          • KJM, Shake Zula

            Pretty much every song on that album is about cocaine(maybe heroin too), especially ‘Black Cow’.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            What about Dicks and Whiskey?

          • KJM, Shake Zula

            Angst, cocaine, and underage sex. There, I’ve just analyzed nearly every Steely Dan song.

          • The Cuervo Gold, The fine Colombian.

          • KJM, Shake Zula

            Yeah, it’s obviously spelled out.

          • Vote for Jeb

            *notoriously difficult

          • p sure that’s all of rock n’ roll in a nutshell.

          • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

            I don’t think this one would fly nowadays.


          • Old Man Doom

            DGAF — I still like this song

          • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

            What’s a DGAF?

          • Old Man Doom

            Acronym: Don’t Give A Fuck

          • KJM, Shake Zula

            Yeah, but that’s more of an underlying motivation most of the time.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Still can’t quite crack this one

  • Dave Vincent’s Perm

    Their song ‘deus ex machina’ is killer but I find the rest of the discography rather forgettable.

    • Vote for Jeb

      That’s on this same album. I have no idea what those lyrics are about. Mumm-Ra, if I had to guess.

      • Dave Vincent’s Perm

        The lyrics are pretty much Ancient Aliens.

      • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

        Mmmmmmm Bop?

  • I cannot sleep until we figure out that last section of the lyrics

    • Vote for Jeb

      I dropped it into google scholar earlier. Still nothing.

      • I dropped it to catholic scholar friend. Within minutes she had the same links I had, but nothing more. She doesn’t even listen to metal either

        • Vote for Jeb

          In that thread they mentioned there may be more info inside the cd jacket, similarly to how Nile would provide extensive liner notes.

          • Easily my favorite part about Nile

          • Vote for Jeb

            I loved delving into those notes for Annihilation of the Wicked.

          • I think I read them to my mom one time. She wasn’t amused

          • Niles lyrics can be quite dizzying.

          • EsusMoose

            Yeah I gave it a try to find it, my only thought would be to find someone who has it and ask them to scan the pages of the booklet. I haven’t heard the album but I’m intrigued now.

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    I’d love to see an examination of this song as well as any other songs from The Dan.

    • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

      I’d love to see a dissection of Alphaville’s oddball lyrics. Everything past their first CD is one huge jigsaw of dreams, metaphors and coded lyrics.

  • A lot of Lord Worms lyrics would be interesting to dissect. If you are in a morbid mood.

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    Speaking of metal lyrics I’d love to see the band Shining’s lyrics dissected. I’d like to see what runs through the warped and depressed mind of Ghoul.

  • Scrimm

    Lyrics are a bitch. My hat is off to anyone who can write a piece that doesn’t suck.

    • Vote for Jeb

      I’m also impressed by bands who can do so without following an ABAB rhyme scheme. As much as I like them, Amon Amarth seem to do that in every song.

      • Scrimm

        I hate that, though it is hard to avoid completely. I really made an effort to minimize that with our stuff, but there is still a little that snuck in there,

        • Vote for Jeb

          A little rhyming can help with flow. Too much, and it feels juvenile.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            I don’t know about that, many of the most revered lyricist (here) wrote a lot in rhyme.

          • Vote for Jeb

            i think rhyming is more a historical trend, but I should ponder this more.

          • Scrimm

            Exactly, but I prefer a verse or section that finds a flow and manages to be memorable without falling back on that. Sometimes though a part just needs it. Here’s a great example, the last good thing this band did.

          • Vote for Jeb

            This is a solid example.

          • Scrimm

            That vocalist is probably my biggest inspiration when it comes to phrasing/lyric writing.

          • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

            There’s a band I sadly haven’t heard in forever. I’ll have to correct that later!

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      You just gotta MAKE lyrics your bitch!

      • Scrimm

        Almost there, 2 tracks to go

        • squeeee!

          • Scrimm

            Going to try to post a full track this week. If we get enough time to work I may be able to know the rest of the vocal recordings out by this weekend

    • CyberneticOrganism

      I’m the blackmetalpotamus, my lyrics are bottomless.

      • Scrimm

        That’s good shit right there

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    Sucks that most metal-listeners don’t care about which in turn gives an excuse for many to never even try.
    The so called Satanic lyrics with conviction are oft the most laughable garbage.

    • Vote for Jeb

      Oh man, Masterlord sent me some the other day that were atrocious. Let me see if I can find them.

      • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

        Oh please do, I do enjoy a laugh or two every now and then at the expense of a poor sod considering himself a poet.

    • Old Man Doom

      Yeah, just listen to the lyrics from the first Ancient VVisdom album. Love the music, but the lyrical sentiment appeals to a middle school audience.

    • Aeon are like that. Very juvenile lyrics.

      “You pray to god every night when you are in bedYou want your god to come and take your pain away
      Your Christian god will always say that he is your friend
      But I know for fact that all he wants is to give your head
      Join your f***t god
      Chsistian f***t race
      With open mouth he kneels
      Ready to give head
      God gives head in heaven
      God gives head in heaven
      He will swallow it all
      Your filthy Christian seed
      It ain’t no big surprise
      This is how your god is like
      God gives head in heaven
      God gives head in heaven
      Forced to fuck your god
      He wants it up his ass
      Heaven is for f***ts
      Christian paradise
      Now your god wants blood
      He takes you from behind
      Christian assholes bleed
      Holy paradise”

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        Hahaha. So bad.

      • This song is so goddamn stupid, but the acoustic version is really well done. I wish they would have used like ANY other lyrics.

      • Vote for Jeb

        Wow that’s stupid.

      • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

        Sounds like the ramblings of an 8th grader who tries to shock everyone by carrying around the Necronomicon and threatening to summon Satan with it. Then again, Deicide lyrics make these lyrics sound like Walt fucking Whitman!

      • KJM, Shake Zula

        “Christian assholes bleed
        Holy paradise”

        That’s beautiful, man…(sniff)

    • Based Potoo

      Atheistic lyrics give me the lolbuttz. They mostly sound like ramblings of a teenager whose intellectual intelligence is far superior.

      • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

        Autotheism. Hail science.

        • Based Potoo

          Lol. Terrible album with terrible lyrics by a terrible band. Zuper lolz

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod


  • I tend to be less interested in lyrics than the instrumental side of the work. In fact I would go so far as to say I do not really care for what an artist is actually saying with regards to lyrics. I like to think of the vocalist as just another “instrument” in the sonic space, only their to accompany the other cacophony that is occurring.

    I enjoy both music with and without vocals. With metal, I feel like I could do a much better just looking into what the actual lyrics are and delving into what they could mean. The sad part, at least for me, is that I do not really care. This also leads me to never now the names of songs…

    I think part of this disconnect results from actually have to think and digest what an artist is trying to say. Associating lolbuttz lyrics with a song that hits me in the feels just feels wrong. So I avoid them. I think I would rather just push play, listen, and enjoy the soundscape.

    Not sure where I am going with this. I guess I am just trying to digest how I feel about lyrics. Also, killer work tracking down all this information W.


  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

    New metal from Michigan, fuck you.

  • Old Man Doom

    As someone who explicates literature on a daily basis, I really appreciate this post and the amount of research that went into producing it. Awesome job, Dubs. Looking forward to more. I would love to dissect The Atlas Moth lyrics.

  • Vote for Jeb

    I didn’t get into it here, but the Muslim myth surround Gog and Magog involves a gate constructed by Alexander the Great (Iskander Dhul Qarnayn) and provides the source material for this Nile song.

    • Old Man Doom

      I’ve never heard the Magog myth before, so I’m really stoked to look into it some more. Also, killer song; one of the better ones on that record.

      • Vote for Jeb

        It’s pretty interesting stuff. Eschatology is always pretty whacky, but a number of marauding peoples have been historically identified as gog and magog.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      “Hey man, stop touchin’ ma gog.”

  • AndySynn

    Always glad to see more posts about the importance of Metal lyrics (ones that don’t suck, I mean). And it helps that these guys are a) friends of mine, and b) one of my favourite bands (though the former came after the latter).

    I’ve actually had a long-gestating piece on the “how” of writing good Metal lyrics on the backburner for a while now, aiming to start with describing how I work (not that mine are necessarily “good”) as a vague introduction and as a way to explain certain things about the process, followed by input from other lyricists (most of whom I know work very differently). I should really get that done sometime…

    I am, of course, totally guilty of stealing from literature and better writers for my own purposes, as I’ve used ideas from Ursula Le Guin, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jeff Noon, and (most recently) Jeff Vandermeer, as jumping off points for various songs.

    Looking forward to more of this.

  • Vote for Jeb

    Update, Robin Kok of TMDC just gave us this slight addendum:

    All verses from “in a solitude..” until “… And indifferent” are adapted from Hardy’s “in the convergence of the twain” but with a modern, sinister touch.

    • Jason Kolkey

      People don’t read Hardy’s poetry enough. Or probably read Hardy at all these days.

  • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

    Listening to that MD song made me think of this right off the bat (pretty grim in it’s own right):

    • Vote for Jeb

      Ha, I saw a post on Metafilter that he actually recently went back and amended the lyrics because analysts recently came up with a better understanding of the shipwreck.

      • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

        I remember seeing something on Fark about that, but haven’t checked out the new lyrics. Hopefully the change didn’t affect the grim atmosphere of the song. I’m actually amazed that Ahab hasn’t covered it yet, since it’d be an obvious choice.

        • CyberneticOrganism

          Ah Fark, the haven of the just-about-to-retire crowd.

          • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

            One of my fave sites, actually. Been a member since 2002.

  • This is a damn good post, I’m excited to see more like this. Great job, Dubs!

    • Vote for Jeb


  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    I think this is a fine idea for a series and a fine inaugural post. And I learned that I should actually listen to The Monolith Deathcult instead of putting them off because of their name. But after I do some washing up.

  • Waynecro

    Awesome article! Awesome band! Awesome work, W!

  • Dagon

    I really really really really really like you and your idea to talk about metal lyrics in depth. I have always enjoyed the lyrical aspect of the game (being into rap and all) but as my tastes delved further into extreme metal it has been a lot easier to disregard lyrics when assessing quality.

    I hope that when I’m able to get back to writing I can feed this wonderful column.

  • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample


    I wanna lock Betty Crocker in the kitchen

    And knock her upper during supper

    Clutter up her butter gutter

    Hostess Ding Dong wrapped an eggroll around my wong

    While Dolly Madison proceded to ping my pong

    Your Milky Way is M’n’M in your britches

    And I’ll tell you Baby Ruth it looks mighty delicious

    Keep blowing my gum, cuz here I come

    I’m gonna get you all sticky with my Bubble Yum

    Knick knack paddywhack and give your dog a bone, baby

    I was givin’ some head to some french bread

    It was a four course orgy on the spread of my bed

    French kissin’ french fries in my Fruit of the Looms

    I get deeper penetration with a fork and a spoon

    I got yogurt meat loaf smeared all over my ass

    I stick my weiner in two buns and and then give it the gas

    Sour cream from my spleen into Levi jeans

    Gonna bust the seams with my refried beans

    Ronald McDonald just loves to be fondled

    With Big Mac he’ll f*ck it like a Chicken McNugget

    Colonel Sanders wants to goose Granny’s loose caboose

    He’s gonna give her a boost with that Kentucky fried juice

    Sooper doop poop scoop, loop de loop, chicken coop

    Shoot some hoop, top sirloin from the groin

    Topped with dick cheese, sneeze, wheeze,

    From the skeez disease, wooi!

    Take a dump, baby, squirt some gravy

    Pour some sugar on me, honey, make it brown & runny

    Give a little Flavor Flav, back from the grave

    Gonna burn some toast, pump some humpin’ rump roast

    Knick knack paddywhack, jump in the sack, in fact

    Jerk the smack and crack Jack from the back

    Bananarama or ramabanana

    F*ckin’ Barry Manilow on the Copa Cabana

    Squeeze me macaroni, slop your face with my bologna

    You gotta syphon the spinach, you gotta cream the corn

    Sperm scrambles the eggs and a meal is born

    Cookin’ like a beginner, but I’m goin’ up in her

    I had Fritos for lunch I’m havin’ bush for dinner

    Chef Boyardee and the Three Muskateers

    Shove Charleston Chews in their rears like queers

    “Holy moly, guacamole!” said my Chips Ahoy

    I’m gonna pinch a ravioli on the Pillsbury dough boy

    Knick knack paddywhack and give your dog a boner, baby

    We came to pottie…we came to pottie down your throat


  • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

    Some more deep, cryptic lyrical work: This was the 90’s answer to ‘The Times They Are A Changin’.

  • KJM, Shake Zula

    New England’s masters of Sludge(circa Sept 2000)

  • KJM, Shake Zula
  • KJM, Shake Zula

    BREAKING GNUS: Wo Fat has just announced via Twitter(and other places) that they will be releasing a new album in Spring 2016. Anyone who remembers back that far will recall they were one of my faves in 2014 and I’m sure this will be no different.

    • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

      That is pretty awesome art!

      • KJM, Shake Zula

        All their albums have great artwork.

    • Boss the Ross

      That is exciting.

  • KJM, Shake Zula

    I like this album better upon second listen than first.

  • Devin Dohrmann

    My personal favorite lyrics are Pig Destroyer’s and Cretin’s

    • Vote for Jeb

      Pig Destroyer have fantastic lyrics.

      • Devin Dohrmann

        My favorite are the lyrics on Prowler in the Yard. Sheer fucking poetry.

  • Eliza

    The lyrics have a kind of mythology feel to them, like the story that they tell is an old legend passed on from father to son for many generations.

  • Great job, Dubz <3