Dante's Inferno (song)
|Song by Iced Earth|
|from the album Burnt Offerings|
|Released||April 14, 1995|
at Morrisound Recording, Tampa, Florida
"Dante's Inferno" is a song by the American heavy metal band Iced Earth. The song was originally released on the group's 1995 album Burnt Offerings, and was re-recorded in 2011, with the current line-up of the band. "Dante's Inferno" is also one of the longest songs the band has ever recorded, with the original clocking in at sixteen minutes and twenty-six seconds and the re-recorded version clocking in at seventeen minutes and twenty-eight seconds.
The song is based on the Inferno -segment of Dante Alighieri's epic poem the Divine Comedy. In it, Dante travels through the nine circles of Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. The circles are concentric, representing a gradual increase in wickedness, and culminating at the centre of the earth, where Satan is held in bondage. Each circle's sinners are punished in a fashion fitting their crimes: each sinner is afflicted for all of eternity by the chief sin they committed.
The first circle is Limbo, where reside the unbaptized and the virtuous pagans, who, though not sinful, did not accept Christ. Beyond the first circle, all of those condemned for active, deliberately willed sin are judged by the serpentine Minos, who sentences each soul to one of the lower eight circles. In the second circle are those overcome by lust. These souls are blown back and forth by the terrible winds of a violent storm, without hope of rest. The third circle is gluttony, where the gluttons, guarded by Cerberus, are forced to lie in a vile slush produced by ceaseless foul, icy rain. Those whose attitude toward material goods deviated from the appropriate mean are punished in the fourth circle, avarice. They include the avaricious or miserly, who hoarded possessions, and the prodigal, who squandered them. The two groups are guarded by a figure Dante names as Pluto. The two groups joust, using as weapons great weights which they push with their chests. In the fifth circle, anger, in the swamp-like water of the river Styx, the wrathful fight each other on the surface, and the sullen lie gurgling beneath the water, withdrawn "into a black sulkiness which can find no joy in God or man or the universe."
The lower parts of Hell are contained within the walls of the city of Dis, which is itself surrounded by the Stygian marsh. Punished within Dis are active (rather than passive) sins. The walls of Dis are guarded by fallen angels. Virgil is unable to convince them to let Dante and him enter, while Furies and Medusa threaten Dante. An angel sent from Heaven secures entry for the poets, opening the gate by touching it with a wand, and rebuking those who opposed Dante. In the sixth circle, the heretics are trapped in flaming tombs. The seventh circle houses the violent. Its entry is guarded by the Minotaur, and it is divided into three rings: the outer ring (which houses the violent against people and property), the middle ring (where lie the suicides) and the inner ring (the violent against God and the violent against nature). The last two circles of Hell punish sins that involve conscious fraud or treachery. In the ninth circle, the very centre of Hell, condemned for committing the ultimate sin (personal treachery against God), is Satan. Satan is described as a giant, terrifying beast with three faces, one red, one black, and one a pale yellow. Satan is waist deep in ice, weeping tears from his six eyes, and beating his six wings as if trying to escape, although the icy wind that emanates only further ensures his imprisonment (as well as that of the others in the ring). Each face has a mouth that chews on a prominent traitor, with Brutus and Cassius feet-first in the left and right mouths respectively. In the central, most vicious mouth is Judas Iscariot. Judas is being administered the most horrifying torture of the three traitors, his head gnawed by Satan's mouth, and his back being forever skinned by Satan's claws. Dante and Virgil finally escape Hell by climbing down Satan's ragged fur, passing through the centre of the earth.
After its release in 1995, the song was only performed live in 1999, for the Alive in Athens concert. Rhythm guitarist Jon Schaffer later shed light on why the song was only played at said concert:
"The simple reason why we haven’t [played the song] is because the original click track was erased, therefore requiring a keyboard player to do the parts live. That's OK for a special event like when we recorded Alive in Athens, but to hire a keyboard player for a full tour, for one song, just isn't financially feasible."
After Iced Earth re-recorded "Dante's Inferno" in 2011, they announced that the song would be played on all dates of the upcoming Dystopia World Tour. According to Jon Schaffer, it may be the last tour on which the song will be performed.
|"Dante's Inferno 2011"|
|Single by Iced Earth|
|B-side||Dante's Inferno (Raw version)|
|Released||September 5, 2011|
|Format||Digital download, CD|
|Recorded||July and August 2011|
at Morrisound Recording, Tampa, Florida
|Producer(s)||Jim Morris, Jon Schaffer|
|Iced Earth singles chronology|
In 2011, Iced Earth re-recorded "Dante's Inferno" with the line-up of rhythm guitarist Jon Schaffer (who also played on the original recording), lead guitarist Troy Seele, bassist Freddie Vidales, drummer Brent Smedley and singer Stu Block. Stu Block had just joined Iced Earth earlier that year, and according to Schaffer, the band had already planned to re-record "Dante's Inferno" prior to the leaving of previous vocalist Matt Barlow (who also sang on the original "Dante's Inferno"). The re-recorded "Dante's Inferno" was given away for free on the band's official website on September 5, 2011.
Now that the band had re-recorded the song, they were in possession of a new click track, which meant that they no longer required a keyboard player to the play the song live. As a result, "Dante's Inferno" was brought back in to Iced Earth's setlist for their Dystopia World Tour. A CD version of the song was also sold on the tour.
- Jon Schaffer − rhythm guitar, backing vocals
- Matthew Barlow − lead vocals
- Randall Shawver − lead guitar
- Dave Abell − bass
- Rodney Beasley − drums
- Guest musicians
- Howard Helm - keyboards
- Jon Schaffer – rhythm guitar, lead guitar, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
- Stu Block – lead vocals
- Troy Seele – lead guitar
- Freddie Vidales – bass, backing vocals
- Brent Smedley – drums
- Guest musicians
- Jim Morris - backing vocals
- Tom Morris - backing vocals
- Howard Helm - keyboards, backing vocals
- "Burnt Offerings at Amazon.com". Amazon.com. Archived from the original on 2012-05-23. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
- "Iced Earth re-record "Dante's Inferno" and give it away for free | The Official Iced Earth Website". Icedearth.com. 2011-09-05. Archived from the original on 2012-05-23. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
- "Jon Schaffer interviewed by That Drummer Guy". Retrieved July 3, 2012.
- Iced Earth Interview w/ Stu Block & Jon Schaffer (.mp4). ampmagazine. February 21, 2012. Event occurs at 10 minutes 14 seconds. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
We are talking about doing a live album, it's not hundred percent. But it's probably the last tour cycle when we'll be doing Dante's Inferno. I can't say that for sure 'cause now that we have the tracks and we can do it.
- ""Dante's Inferno" at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
- "Jon Schaffer interviewed on "KASC The Blsze 1330 AM."". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 29 November 2011.