Battlelore is a Finnish metal band originally formed in 1999 which was gone on and off hiatus a couple times since 2011.
You may remember how I talked about Zeppelin‘s Battle of Evermore, and that the song is no more than Lord of the Rings-adjacent. At the opposite end of the spectrum from Battle of Evermore, we have Battlelore —
[Hey! That rhymes!]
— who have managed to put out an entire discography of seven albums as of 2023 consisting basically only of Lord of the Rings references.
Now, certain songs take the Battle of Evermore approach and are honestly only tangentially related and feel more Generically Fantasy-y than explicitly about Lord of the Rings.
Then, we have songs like The Great Gathering, the closet thing Battlelore’s 2008 album The Last Alliance. Songs that are clearly, explicitly, undeniably about Lord of the Rings.
In this case, both the album and the song refer to the climactic final war against Sauron at the conclusion of Middle-earth’s Second Age — the Free Peoples of Middle-earth marching into Mordor to take the war to Sauron’s doorstep and wrest control of the Ring away from him.
So, basically, this is what Rings of Power is building up to.
That’s not a spoiler.
The books were published in the 50s, and this was literally the prologue of the movies.
And FYI, it’s called the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, but it’s explicitly established (at least in the posthumous writings) that the Dwarves of Durin’s line fought as members of the Alliance and that every member race of the Last Alliance — up to an including Midddle-earth’s wildlife, apparently — except the Elves was divided, with individuals fighting both against and for Sauron.
But I digress.
The Great Gathering isn’t necessarily Battlelore’s song — it isn’t even the best song on Last Alliance (at least Third Immortal and Star of High Hope are better), but Great Gathering has the advantage of being unambiguously about what it’s, um, about.
Third Immortal is apparently about Radagast, but I don’t really see it and Star of High Hope is about Eärendil, but the lyrics are pretty abstract, and also about half in Finnish. Whereas, and I mean it in the most complementary way possible, Great Gathering pretty much beats you over the head with what it’s about:
“Men of Elendil!
Elves of Gil-galad!
Dwarves of Durin!
The Last Alliance!”
And don’t get me wrong, just because there are better Battlelore songs doesn’t mean Great Gathering is bad.
And you can listen to it here:
And now, a couple of reminders.
Fittingly, I’m involved in a Lord of the Rings giveaway. In brief: sign up to follow me and some other authors to get entered into a draw for a haul of free Lord of the Rings-themed stuff:
Sign-up and full details here:
Also, chapter two of Fryte’s Gold is now live for your reading pleasure:
And you can follow me here: