I went on a YouTube wander tonight, starting at Rupesh Cartel and ending up at Jethro Tull, who’ve been around since the 70s. I noted that in their earlier days Jethro Tull sang about very mediaeval stuff, along with the small concerns of ordinary life one might expect to associate with a peasant’s view (think Thick as a Brick and Heavy Horses here), but by the early 90s they were singing about agricultural society and the larger issues of a complex and interconnected social structure (think here Farm on the Freeway) before advancing further to the concerns of the military-industrial complex (in Broadsword) in the mid-90s. Of course, the tone of Broadsword is very much mythical/legendary, but the content – voluntary preparation for war and glory – is a much more modern (Victorian?) phenomenon. The peasant from whose view they sing in the early days would see war very much as a catastrophe that he/she has to be involved in, not as a source of mythical glory.
Is there any phenomenon in human society that Heavy Metal hasn’t covered?
fn1: If you aren’t sure yet, I watched a clip from The Man of la Mancha, a 70s movie starring Peter O’Toole and Sophia Loren, based loosely around Don Quixote. I was brought to it by the Australian prog metal band Vanishing Point, who sample it. It’s all covered, I tell you.