Of Music and Mayhem: How Dante and Black Sabbath Birthed a Musical Genre

26 April 2019

 

Dante Alighieri’s epic The Inferno reaches back to pagan traditions to people a Hell with fully realized characters of myth giving The Inferno a vital literary texture that would not otherwise exist within the sparsely worded lines of the text. The familiar mythic characters are then recontextualized within a Christian framework. The preexisting characters and their stories help Dante to create a new Hell that feels just as ancient and alien as any older conception of the afterlife. The use of myth also allows Dante to recontextualize the mythic past as a living mythology of the Christian Hell. Black Sabbath’s creation of the Heavy Metal genre mirrors Dante’s process. Black Sabbath and the Heavy Metal bands they give rise to dip into their past through the Gothic literary tradition and recontextualize tradition to suit their needs.

Bryan Bardine’s article, “Elements of the Gothic in Heavy Metal: a Match Made in Hell,” explores the connection between Gothic Literature and Heavy Metal music. Originally, Gothic Literature only referred to literature written between the 1760s and 1820s, but later the definition was expanded to include literature from other time periods that shared elements typical to the genre (Bardine 126.) According Bardine “Typically, Gothic stories from the period took place in medieval settings, which were often archaic, like castles, abbeys, convents, or just dark cave-like structures. Also, the literature contained supernatural elements, the occult, suspense, violence, vice, religion—in particular the demonization of the Catholic Church […]” (Bardine 126.) While The Inferno may or may not be an easy sell as the first text of Gothic literature as it is written hundreds of years before the genre came into wide spread popularity, Dante’s epic poem follows many of the gothic themes. The Inferno contains the cave-like structure, the occult, representations of vice and violence, and the demonization of the Catholic Church that is characteristic of the Gothic mode. Anita O’Connell backs up The Inferno as a Gothic work. In her article, “Dante’s Linguistic Detail in Shelly’s Triumph of life,” O’Connell says, “The Inferno was [Dante’s] most popular work […] and his reputation in the general public often stemmed from its Gothicism. […] It had entered the public consciousness as one of the ultimate expressions of the grotesque” (O’Connell 2.) Dante’s Gothicism as well as his flair for the grotesque are the themes that connect Heavy Metal music and The Inferno.

Dante and Black Sabbath both use distorted references to the Catholic Church as one way that they demonstrate both the Gothic and the grotesque. Plutus says, “Papa Satan, Papa Satan, aleppy” (Alighieri 7.1.) According to John Ciardi, “The word ‘papa’ as used here probably means ‘Pope’ rather than ‘father’” (Alighieri and Ciardi 65.) Dante’s depiction of Plutus as a supernatural monster of Hell is an example of both the Gothic and the grotesque, but Plutus’ dialogue is what really sets this scene apart as grotesque. The Pope is Gods representative on Earth, and, to have the Pope as Satan one and the same creates a horrifying caricature. Black Sabbath creates a similarly grotesque image of modern Christianity with the inverted cross on the inside cover of their first album. Bardine cites Ian Christe’s Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal and says, “The interior of the album’s gatefold sleeve contained few details beyond a grim gothic poem inscribed in a giant inverted crucifix” (cited in Bardine 134.) Inverting the crucifix creates a caricature of the symbol of Jesus’ crucifixion symbolizing a world where God sacrificed himself in vain as his redemption of the human race could not hold.

While a strait reading of the poem from the cover of Black Sabbath’s initial album shares little more than gothic themes with The Inferno, the presence of the poem on the inside cover of the first Heavy Metal album inscribed inside of an inverted crucifix stands like the inscription on the gates of Dante’s Hell. Being that Black Sabbath’s first album is considered to be the first example of the Heavy Metal genre (Bardine 125), the poem on the inside cover shepherds listeners  into an uncharted, Gothic, and grotesque musical space. Yet on its own, the actual poetry of Black Sabath’s “Still Falls the Rain” lacks the foreboding power of Dante’s inscription on the gates of Hell: “ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE” (Alighieri 3.9)

While Black Sabbath’s “Still Falls the Rain” (1970) shows Gothic themes and some grotesque imagery, the poem only obtains its eerie and ominous warning once read against Dame Edith Sitwell’s poem, “Still Falls the Rain” (1941.) Edith Sitwell’s poem is a mature juxtaposition of the horrors of World War II and Christ’s crucifixion. While Sitwell’s poem is decidedly dark, it contains a feeling of hope and mercy that is decidedly absent in Black Sabbath’s poem of the same name. Black Sabbath’s “Still Falls the Rain” is a much more juvenile poem. It contains images of death and darkness but more for shock value than as societal commentary. But a shared title and disturbing imagery is not all these poems have more in common.

Black Sabbath’s “Still Falls the Rain” is almost certainly written as a response to Sitwell’s poem as it shares and recontextualizes themes and images from Sitwell’s work. Both poems cover darkness and blackness within their first two lines. Sitwell writes, “Dark as the world of man, black as our loss” (Sitwell 2.) Sitwell writes of darkness as a metaphor for the emotional content of a world at war. However, Black Sabbath misses the point as they write of darkness as little more than a device to elicit a Gothic feel to the poem. Black Sabbath writes, “[V]eils of darkness shroud/the blackened trees” (Black Sabbath 1-2.) Later in the poem, Sitwell writes of a Bear being beaten by its keepers and the tears of a hunted hare (Sitwell 23-24.) Black Sabbath counters this with images of mutilated birds and dead rabbits strewn about the ground (Black Sabbath 6, 7, 9-10.) Sitwell’s poem uses the images of violence against animals as another metaphor both for man’s cruelty toward animals and toward his fellow man through the atrocities of war. Black Sabbath is just using dead and mutilated animals as Gothic scenery of the grotesque. At this point Black Sabbath’s contribution to this literary conversation is to do little more than remove the metaphorical meaning frim Sitwell’s words.

However, Black Sabbath turns up the volume on their critique with their version of Sitwell’s imagery of Christ’s crucifixion. Sitwell says, “At the feet of the Starved Man hung upon the Cross./Christ that each day, each night, nails there […]” (Sitwell 13-14.) Sitwell mentions Christ and the cross and the nails that affixed him there. Yet, Black Sabbath writes, “[T]o caress the feet of the/headless martyr’s statue whose only achievement was to die” (Black Sabbath 19-20.) Black Sabbath follows Sitwell’s religious imagery starting at the feet then moving to the figure of the statue that they simply call “the martyr.” Black Sabbath’s imagery of a statue of an unnamed and headless martyr read against Sitwell’s imagery of the actual Christ crucified on the cross situates the Black Sabbath poem in a Post-Christian world, a world with no hope and no meaning. At this point, the simple Gothic and grotesque imagery of the previous examples stand out as definitive examples of a world where life has little meaning and chaos and death exist with no cause. Even the shabbiness of the writing of Black Sabbath’s poem is a statement that beauty has no place in the Post-Christianity of the Heavy Metal Genre. But most of the Heavy Metal bands that follow in the genre created by Black Sabbath do not go quite as far as the Post-Christian dystopia as described in “Still Falls the Rain” (Black Sabbath 1970.)

In fact, the video for “Bleed” by Meshuggah (Nuclear Blast USA 2008) maintains meaning and beauty—at least a Gothic and grotesque sort of beauty— as well as looking back to tradition as an important aspects of their Heavy Metal style. The visual style and storytelling of Meshuggah’s video calls on the imagery of The Inferno to create a vital and evocative feel. In the video for “Bleed,” Meshuggah shows the image of the cockroach struggling on its back kicking its legs to no avail as a symbol of the torture of Hell and the futility of escape (Nuclear Blast USA 2008.) The cockroach mirrors both the scene in The Inferno where the lost souls are chased by wasps and forced to run for all of eternity (Alighieri 3.49-63), and the scene where the Simoniacs are buried upside down in the stone floor with only their feet above the ground (Alighieri 19.13-24.) Furthering the comparison between the roach and the Simoniacs, Dante says, “The soles were all ablaze/and the joints of the legs quivered and writhed about” (Alighieri 19.23-24.) But unlike the sinners in The Inferno, the cockroach foreshadows a danger to the main character of the video.

The image of the cockroach is juxtaposed with flashes of a living human male (Nuclear Blast USA 2008) hinting that the man is going to suffer the same inescapable fate. The image of the cockroach is also juxtaposed with the image of an exposed clock mechanism ticking away the time (Nuclear Blast USA 2008) much like Virgil who keeps track of time for Dante by tracking the movement of the stars in the sky. But unlike Virgil and Dante, the main character of the video is not likely to make it back out of Hell, as the juxtaposition of the cockroach and the ticking clock mechanism imbues the symbolism of the clock with other darker connotations. The futility and decay symbolized by the struggling insect highlights the exposed nature of the clock mechanism, and the camera focalizes the circular ticking gear spinning slowly. This imagery creates the idea that time does not work the same as it does in the living world. Time grinds by painfully slow spinning in an inescapable loop. This loop also mirrors the plot where the main character of the video eventually becomes the beast that menaces him from the beginning of the video. Presumably, the main character has been in Hell and will continue to be in Hell reliving this fall from grace over and over for as long as the clock mechanisms of Hell continue to tick.

Like the image of Satan frozen in place at the end of The Inferno, The Satan in Meshuggah’s “Bleed” video is mostly frozen in place, but this Satan is frozen in yogic meditation (Nuclear Blast USA 2008). The Satan at the end of the video differs in some ways from the image of Satan in canto 34 of The Inferno. Dante describes Satan as if he were an engine of war to be built and placed by an attacking army rather than a being capable of independent—although subtle—action. He says, “Like a whirling windmill seen afar at twilight,/or when a mist has risen from the ground—/just such an engine rose upon my sight” (Alighieri 34.4-6.) Satan, in Dante’s depiction, is incapable of moving on his own and seems not to even take notice of Virgil and Dante as they approach or even when they grab onto his fur and climb down his legs. Yet, Meshugga’s Satan is the size of a man and sitting on a raised pedestal. While this Satan moves very little, the raised pedestal implies that this Satan has power and agency unlike Dante’s Satan. In fact, the flashes of this Satan’s face throughout the Meshuggah video are symbols of him drawing the main character of the video to his doom whereas Dante’s Satan is little more than a tool that Dante and Virgil use to secure their escape from Hell (Alighieri 34.70-93.)While Dante finds a Hell with a possibility of both hope and escape, Black Sabbath and Meshuggah take Dante’s inscription on the gates of Hell much more literally as they create a hellish landscape with no hope and no escape.

Connected through the Gothic literary mode, The Inferno, Black Sabbath, Meshuggah, and more create a multimedia literary lineage of intertextual conversation and recontextualization that can even branch out to works outside the Gothic mode such as Dane Edith Sitwell’s “Still Falls the Rain.” Even Heavy Metal bands with little more than the intention to shock and disturb through images of death and blasphemy can have a positive and transforming effect on tradition regardless of whether or not they get any academic recognition. Popular music as a medium remains a fertile ground to till for literary connections to The Inferno and other classic and as the music medium continues to expand bands that look to tradition for inspiration and there will be more ways to explore the multimedia literary lineage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Alighieri, Dante, and John Ciardi. The Inferno. New American Library, 2003.

Bardine, Bryan. “Elements of the Gothic in Heavy Metal: A Match Made in Hell” (2009). English Faculty Publications. 68. https://ecommons.udayton.edu/eng_fac_pub/68

Black Sabbath. “Still Falls the Rain.” Black Sabbath. Vertigo Records. 1970.

Meshuggah. “Bleed.” obZen. Nuclear Blast USA. 2008. https://youtu.be/qc98u-eGzlc

O’CONNELL, Anita. “‘Dante’s Linguistic Detail in Shelley’s Triumph of Life.’” CLCWeb: Comparative Literature & Culture: A WWWeb Journal, vol. 13, no. 4, Dec. 2011, pp. 1–9. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lfh&AN=74158744&login.asp?custid=magn1307&site=lrc-live&scope=site.

Sitwell, Edith. “Still Falls The Rain.” 1941. PoemHunter.com, 1 Jan. 2004, http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/still-falls-the-rain/.

The Giant Frozen Satan

17 April 2019

 

While Dante’s encounter with Satan was very important for the salvation of his soul and is anticipated through the entirety of The Inferno, the actual encounter is somewhat anticlimactic. Satan is a disfigured giant that is frightening to look upon but of little actual danger to worthy souls. In canto 34, Dante describes Satan as if he were an engine of war to be built and placed by an attacking army rather than a being capable of independent action. He says, “Like a whirling windmill seen afar at twilight,/or when a mist has risen from the ground—/just such an engine rose upon my sight” (Alighieri 34.4-6.) Satan, in Dante’s depiction, is incapable on moving on his own and seems not to even take notice of Virgil and Dante as they approach or even when they grab onto his fur and climb down his legs. This Satan, now that he is frozen in place in the deepest pit of hell, no longer has the power to defy God and acts as a proxy serving out punishment in them employ of God.

 

Aside from his wings whirling the icy winds of hell throughout the ninth circle, the only action that Satan is able to take chewing on the most heinous of the souls damned to hell. When I read Dante’s description of Satan chewing on Judas, I automatically thought of the Goya painting of Kronos eating his son. Dante says:

In every mouth he worked a broken sinner

between his rake-like teeth. Thus he kept three

in eternal pain at his eternal dinner.

 

For the one in front the biting seemed to play

no part at all compared to the ripping: at times

the whole skin of his back was flayed away.

Goya’s painting is a disturbing scene freezing the titan in the act of eating one of his sons, but while Kronos eventually swallows his victims, Satan’s victims are perpetually in the agony of being devoured.

 

I found both Goya’s painting of Kronos and an earlier painting by Giovanni da Modena. The paintings are so similar that one likely is the inspiration for the other. First, Dante is inspired by the story of Kronos. Then, the painting of Satan is inspired by Dante. Then the painting of Kronos is inspired by the painting of Satan.

 

https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/saturn/18110a75-b0e7-430c-bc73-2a4d55893bd6

 

http://www.poderesantapia.com/art/giovannidamodena.htm

 

 

Works Cited

Alighieri, Dante, and John Ciardi. The Inferno. New American Library, 2003.

Giovanni. “Satan.” http://www.poderesantapia.com/art/giovannidamodena.htm

Goya. “Saturn Devouring his Son.” https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/saturn/18110a75-b0e7-430c-bc73-2a4d55893bd6

Ithaca and the Heathen World

10 April 2019

 

According to Homer’s The Odyssey, Odysseus sets out for Troy with the best of intentions. He is defending the honor of Menelaus, the king of Sparta and fighting a war to retrieve Hellen, Menelaus’ Queen (Homer.) Odysseus sets out on his odyssey not due to a lust for adventure or a desire to engage in untoward actions, but due to fealty to his king and service to his Gods. Odysseus is only detained from his wife and son after the ten years of the Trojan war because he offends Poseidon and not for any self-serving or sinful purposes—at least, not in the context of the value structure of the ancient world.

 

In Dante’s Christian view of the world and divorced from the context of his own time, Odysseus, now known as Ulysses, has come to a different understanding of the impetus for his adventures. Ulysses says to Dante:

[N]ot fondness for my son, nor reverence

for my aged father, nor Penelope’s claim

 

to the joys of love, could drive out of my mind

the lust to experience the far-flung world

and the failings and felicities of mankind. (Alighieri 26.89-93.)

Filtered through time and translated by another religious value structure, Ulysses believes that he had broken his covenant with family to seek the worldly pleasures of pillage, plunder, and sins of the flesh like those he engaged in on Circe’s island. Also, when asked about his final voyage, Ulysses starts out by saying that he left from Circe’s island. He says, “When I left Circe, […] who more than a year/detained me […]” (Alighieri 26.86-87.) In Dante’s version of The Odyssey, Ulysses never made it home to Ithaca to save his wife and son from the suitors and never regained the honor of his family. Therefore, Dante transforms Homer’s triumph of human persistence into a tragedy of human folly.

 

Interestingly, Ulysses has an understanding of the changing world uncharacteristic to the other sufferers of hell. Many times, in the summary or notes (I cannot find examples at the moment), Ciardi explains that the dead while they have the power to predict the future they are unable to see the present state of the living world (Ciardi.) Somehow, Ulysses knows the modern names of places that he had visited when he was lost at sea for ten years. He says:

I put out on the high and open sea […].

As far as Morocco and as far as Spain

I saw both shores; and I saw Sardinia […]. (Alighieri 26.94, 97-98)

Dante’s decision, as a writer, to give Ulysses the special privilege to know the what has been happening in the living world helps to divorce Ulysses from the cultural and religious context in which he lived allowing him to be an example of a suffering and tormented soul rather than a luminary of the heathen world living (in death) among the likes of Homer and Plato.

 

 

 

Work Cited

Alighieri, Dante, and John Ciardi. The Inferno. New American Library, 2003.

Homer. Odyssey. Translated by Robert Fagles, Viking Penguin, 1997.

Mounting Geryon

27 March 2019

Dante’s status as a simple observer of punished souls is beginning to break down. As he travels deeper, he engages more and more with both the dangers and the inhabitants of Hell. Virgil tells Dante, “Now follow me; and mind for your own good/you do not step upon the burning sand” (Alighieri 14.70-71.) Virgil’s warning to Dante signals that the further the two go away from God the less influence God has to protect them on their trip through Hell. In fact, the summary at the beginning of canto 15 attributes the safety of Virgil and Dante in the desert of the seventh circle to the magical properties of the river and not the power of God (Alighieri and Ciardi 119.)

 

The rivers of Hell all stem from the tears of the giant of Crete. According to the notes for line 97, the Giant of Crete represents the ages of man deteriorating as they reach the base of the statue (Alighieri and Ciardi 118.) The tears that travel down from the golden section of the statue become the rivers of Hell. If the golden section of the statue represents the civilization of man that was closest to God, then the rivers of Hell must bring the authority of God in a secondary and corrupted form in order to give protection along the borders of the stream that Virgil and Dante follow.

 

As Dante continues deeper into the depths of Hell, the danger he is in continues to increase. When Dante asks to sit and visit with Bruno Latino, Bruno warns him, “[W]hoever of this train/pauses a moment, must lie a hundred years/forbidden to brush off the burning rain” (Aligheri 15.37-39.) In earlier cantos, Dante is warned that he does not belong in Hell and should return the way he came. Yet, now that he has traveled so far away from the protection of God, he is in danger of being corrupted by the influences of Hell and kept there forever despite the fact that he is still alive. And by the time he reaches the edge of the waterfall, Dante must discard the Franciscan chord, a symbol of God’s authority, and rely on the infernal power of Geryon to continue descending into the depths of Hell. Finally, there is something at stake for Dante as he is at risk of losing his immortal soul.

 

On a different note, I have been thinking about the connection between Dante’s vision of hell and the hellish imagery of heavy metal music. I know that there is a connection but I am not sure how to articulate it just yet.

 

The silly tone of this ukulele cover of a Slayer song matches the tone of Dante’s Hell of silliness matched with horrifying imagery. The video is from a series of videos where two ukulele players join a church sponsored ukulele group and play songs inappropriate to the setting. https://youtu.be/97KLphniRAA

 

 

Work Cited

Alighieri, Dante, and John Ciardi. The Inferno. New American Library, 2003.

What in the Hell is Dante Doing?

18 March 2019

 

Dante’s Inferno is not exactly what I expected it to be. I thought it was going to be more Hell Raiser and less Pilgrims Progress. I should have been tipped off by The Inferno being only the first of the three books of The Divine Comedy, but somehow I still expected a harrowing experience of pain and torture. Instead, The Inferno reads more like a guided tour through Walt Disney’s wax museum version of what might look like. The residents of Hell seem not to be in torment but to be resigned to whatever absurd fate that poetic justice deems fit for their crimes. And the monsters of Hell seem little more than carnival barkers dressed up in Halloween costumes ready to back down from their frightening playacting the second a five year old begins to cry.

The reason that this representation of Hell holds such little terror for the reader is the distance at which the terrors are happening. While it is true that Dante does travel deep into the midst of the terrors of Hell, he is never in any sort of danger as none of the torments are even threatened to be leveled against him. And to add more distance between Dante and any danger he may be in, he is led around by Virgil who points out the sights to Dante then explains the poetic significance of the torments that the souls suffer. Over and over again Virgil reminds Dante, the monsters of Hell, and the reader that no harm can come to Dante as they are “on a mission from god,” as the Blues Brothers might say. All in all the story reads like a Sunday school lesson aimed at teaching children not to sin. But I think that is the point; The Inferno is written as an allegory to teach the reader what to avoid if he or she wants to live a good Christian life.

Disco is Dead: Enter the Heavy Metal Inferno

1 April 2019

 

Bryan Bardine’s article, Elements of the Gothic in Heavy Metal: a Match Made in Hell, explores the connection between Gothic Literature and heavy metal music. Originally, Gothic Literature only referred to literature written between the 1760s and 1820s, but later the definition was expanded to include literature from other time periods that shared elements typical to the genre (Bardine 126.) According Bardine “Typically, Gothic stories from the period took place in medieval settings, which were often archaic, like castles, abbeys, convents, or just dark cave-like structures. Also, the literature contained supernatural elements, the occult, suspense, violence, vice, religion—in particular the demonization of the Catholic Church […]” (Bardine 126.) While there seems to be no direct historical connection between the Gothic elements of heavy metal music and the gothic elements of Dante’s The Inferno, Dante’s book and the musical genre are loosely connected through shared themes.

 

Like heavy metal music, The Inferno clearly contains the cave-like structure, the occult, representations of vice and violence, and the demonization of the Catholic Church that is characteristic of Gothic Literature. Dante’s Hell is a cave-like structure as well as a physical representation of the occult. In fact, Dante describes the entrance to hell saying:

And I found that I stood on the very brink of the valley

called the Dolorous Abyss, the desolate chasm

where rolls the thunder of Hell’s eternal cry,

so depthless-deep and nebulous and dim

that stare as I might into its frightful pit

it gave me back no feature and no bottom. (Alighieri 4.7-12)

Dante’s Hell is a cave that descends into the depths of the Earth perpetually emanating the cries of the damned as they suffer for their sins.

 

The ritualistic punishments that take place within hell are violent allegorical recreations of vice. When describing the hypocrites in the sixth Bolgia of the eighth circle of Hell, Dante says, “[A]s Minor Friars go they walk abroad,/All wore great cloaks cut to as ample a size/as those worn by the Benedictines of Cluny” (Alighieri 23.2, 58-59.) The oversized robes block the sinners’ vision and weigh them down as they walk in a circle for all of eternity (Alighieri 23.57-64.) The sixth Bolgia shows the hypocrites allegorically reenacting their vice and suffering the violence of perpetual punishment for their sins.

 

Throughout The Inferno, Dante demonizes the Catholic Church in subtle ways. First, Dante uses the gibbering of the monster, Plutus to subtly infer that the Catholic Church is a debased organization. Plutus says, “Papa Satan, Papa Satan, aleppy” (Alighieri 7.1.) According to John Ciardi, “The word ‘papa’ as used here probably means ‘Pope’ rather than ‘father’” (Alighieri and Ciardi 65.) While Plutus is characterized by speaking only in gibberish, his naming Satan as God’s vicar in hell and the most powerful leader of the Catholic Church not only shows the power that Satan holds within hell, second only to God, but also infers a state of systemic corruption within the Catholic church reaching all the way up to the office of the Pope. Later, Dante names Pope Anastasius as one of the Heretics in the sixth circle of Hell (Alighieri 9.8.) Therefore, The Inferno could be described as one of the progenitors of the Gothic Literature genre despite the fact that it was written hundreds of years before the genre’s inception.

 

Bardine unknowingly cites another striking similarity between The Inferno and heavy metal music when he discusses the album cover of Black Sabbath’s debut album, Black Sabbath. Bardine cites Black Sabbath’s first album as the original heavy metal album (Bardine 125.) Bardine cites Ian Christe’s Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy

Metal and says, “The interior of the album’s gatefold sleeve contained few details beyond a grim gothic poem inscribed in a giant inverted crucifix” (cited in Bardine 134.) While a reading of the poem from the cover of Black Sabbath’s initial album shares little more than gothic themes with The Inferno, the presence of the poem on the inside cover of the first heavy metal album stands like the inscription on the gates of Dante’s Hell. The poem on the first heavy metal album cover stands as an invitation and a warning of what the heavy metal musical genre will bring. In Dante’s words, the poem on the Black Sabbath cover invites us to “ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE” (Alighieri  3.9)

 

Works Cited

Alighieri, Dante, and John Ciardi. The Inferno. New American Library, 2003.

Bardine, Bryan. “Elements of the Gothic in Heavy Metal: A Match Made in Hell” (2009). English Faculty Publications. 68. https://ecommons.udayton.edu/eng_fac_pub/68

Black Sabbath. “Still Falls the Rain.” Black Sabbath. Vertigo Records. 1970.