"Land of the Dead" as written by Richard Lederer and Michael Gregor....
Where forest stream went through the wood
And silent all the stems there stood
Of tall trees, moveless, hanging dark
With mottled shadows on their bark

As faint as deepest sleeper's breath
An echo came as cold as death
Long are the paths, of shadow made
Where no foot's print is ever laid

No moon is there, no voice, no sound
Of beating heart; a sigh profound

Once in each age as each age dies
Alone is heard. Far, far it lies

The Land of Waiting where the Dead sit,
In their thought's shadow, by no moon lit

Upon the plain, there rushed forth and high
Shadows at the end of night and mirrored in the sky

Far far away beyond might of day
And there lay the land of the dead of mortal cold decay

Lyrics submitted by Bloodmouth

"Land of the Dead" as written by Richard Lederer Michael Gregor

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Land of the Dead song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentCan't believe nobody else comments on this.
    Pretty much the definition of epic black metal and one of the greatest songs ever written.
    Grim, frostbitten and glorious.
    The first time I heard the choirs at the end I was speechless.
    Xarthokon May 08, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me, this song is like the theme to Lord of the Rings from the lyrics, to the flute, to the keyboard part to the choir which rules. I don't know, I think it's about the journey of what the characters will find.
    Cabrosaon February 22, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis song captures an ethereal quality that is chilly and powerful. The interpretation I get from this song is that it's about the passage of time. Viewing beauty at the end of our days, the one moment of great clarity that makes us stand still, reflect, and take a deep breath in with glorious understanding about the world. In addition, it's also about the idea of treading where few have gone before. This song captures that special tone of being eerie freezing vocals and beautiful soaring chants with a resounding piano track. This song serenely captures the thought of beauty in ruins, such is our lives.
    DarkWolfenon October 27, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis song is beautiful and brilliant! The grammar is a bit tricky, but if we follow the action of the song its meaning becomes clearer. In short, as it's title suggests, it's a description of the Land of the Dead. But what is the Land of the Dead? The lyrics answer this, and it's pretty sweet.

    First, it describes a location using the imagery of a dark, motionless forest. Then there is an echo there, as faint as "deepest sleeper's" breath, as cold as death. I believe this is a metaphor, but it will make more sense in a moment.

    Then comes the description of the paths of shadows, where there is no moon, where no footprints are ever laid, where there are never the sounds of beating hearts. The only sound here comes once an age, a profound sigh when the age dies or ends. Hence the echo in the "forest" from before; both are descriptions of the same place, but the place is nonphysical—nothing there has a heartbeat, nothing can leave a footprint on its paths, and the only sound mentioned isn't actually a sound. "Deepest sleeper" seems like a metaphor for someone dead, and the echo was described as being as faint as their breath and as cold as death. The dead don't breathe, so this fits nicely with long paths made of shadows that can't be set foot on. On top of that, this non-sound occurs when an era ends. The notion of a period of time "dying" and resounding in this non-space is important for cluing us into what is being described.

    Shadows, too, are a metaphor, each of the four times they are mentioned. Shadows color the trees of this nonphysical place (colored by the absence of color) and they make up its unwalkable paths. They are about to become key.

    "Far, far it lies, the Land of Waiting where the Dead sit..." (note the capitalization), "...in their thought's shadow, by no moon lit.

    The Land of Waiting is inhabited by the Dead, which seems pretty straightforward at first, a place where people go when they die. But what are they doing there? Sitting in their thought's shadow, or rather, in the nonexistence of their thoughts.

    This brings us to the last lines, which I found stunning:

    "Upon the plain, there rushed forth and high
    Shadows at the end of night and mirrored in the sky
    Far far away beyond might of day..."

    These were difficult to understand until the nature of the shadow metaphor became clear. If the place described so far is one of pure nonexistence, it makes sense. Night and day here seem to refer to life and death, hence the "shadows" at the end of night; they're mirrored in the sky, because the night sky is where we see the void of space, the closest thing to pure nothingness, empty space a sort of reflection of nonspace. They rush forth and high at the end of night just as nothingness consumes us when we die. And it finishes:

    "And there lay the land of the dead of mortal cold decay"

    This time, neither the land nor the dead are capitalized, which is deliberate. The dead, decaying in mortal space, are distinguished from the Dead in the Land of Waiting. Also important is that this is the last song on the album. The album takes us on a journey, and it ends with a description of what waits for us at the end of life: nothing. The land of the dead is pure nonexistence, but the way it is so elegantly described here in Tolkein-themed language is as deeply beautiful as the song itself.

    I love it!
    darren1142on April 24, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgreat song ..I love every bit of it ..

    ladysadefairyon November 15, 2009   Link

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