The history behind Novgorod song by song - Forging a New Land
Our new E.P. Novgorod (out March 4th) is a concept album that touches on events in history that at least in the western world have long been forgotten. These triumphs and failures of a society long gone have helped shape the world as we know it today. The tensions of modern day Ukraine and Russia can be traced back to the 9th century A.D. when a small force of Scandinavian Vikings led by Rurik made his way into Eastern Europe and founded what would become modern day Russia. With the release of our new concept E.P. Novgorod close at hand it’s only fitting to take the time and share with you a bit of the rich history that inspired us to craft music paying homage to such an epic part in the story of mankind. Let us start with track one and the birth of a new nation.
1.Forging a New Land
The bitter cold and harsh landscape of Russia made it grow surpluses of food and transport supplies across large distances. Such obstacles resulted in vast areas of land controlled by small tribes of farming villages. Political strife and arguments over farming rights often led tribes to wage war with one another. Such a divisive population spawned opportunity for Scandinavian Vikings facing the economic problems of a growing population that left them hungry for a new land full of untouched riches and farm land. That land was Novgorod. Scholars have some disagreement as to how Rurik entered modern day Russia. The only texts known to tell this tale (The Russian Primary Chronicle) were written nearly 300 years after the event. The book states that Rurik was asked by several Slavic leaders to rule over them and unify the lands but scholars don’t rely on this document for historical accuracy. Even with an invitation to rule it is highly unlikely Rurik and his men walked into a new kingdom without resistance from at least some of the many Slavic tribes present.
862 A.D. marks Rurik’s ascent to the throne as he became the Grand Duke of Novgorod. The narrow and shallow rivers offered highways easily navigated by the Viking ships through the thick forests and high mountains thought impenetrable before. The Rus’ (as they were called by the native Slavs) had not only erected new settlements and seeded new fields. They had also opened a gateway into both Europe and the Middle East quickly establishing trade routes that would fund raids and greatly expand their presence in the world. As more and more fellow Vikings poured into the newly conceived nation of Novgorod the Rus’ prepared ships, crafted armor, and forged weapons to embark on raids. The most powerful empire in the world was to the south and it was ripe for the taking.
In this cold unhospitable land full of ice and snow Waring tribes of Slavs spread about where wild beasts roam with out mighty ships we'll take this land for the glory of our kin and Odin
Sharpened steel glistening bright we make our way across the country side No opposition no army in sight surrender now spare your life We'll forge this land into our own and give our kin a place to call home building tall walls of stone the death of an ideal the purging of old
bow to Rurik your new master stand before him embrace new rule opposition met with blood shed to defy him ensures your doom
vast countless rivers now belong to us unlocking the gateways to the Middle East and Europe financing a country on rape and pillaging selling all our slaves and gold for goods in the middle east the hearts of our men know no fear for they are not afraid to die financing a country on rape and pillaging selling all our slaves and gold for goods in the middle east
forging spears, axes, and shields crafting armor against swords that pierce assembling armies biding our time before unleashing violence on lands near by from this land of ice and snow we bring with us fire and smoke a trail of blood leads us back home after we take all that you own
growing stronger ever fearless death in battle pleases Odin
time has come to march on south we sail to war
the river tells us where to go south towards Constantinople a great city filled with gold lays defenseless with armies abroad many ships take us from home many men won't return sacrifice shall be made a trip to Valhalla the worthy shall make