About “Saxon Shore”
“Saxon Shore” tells the story of the first wave of Anglo-Saxons to come to Britain as conquerors. The Saxon Shore was an area in southeast Britain originally fortified and manned to defend against Germanic raiders (referred to collectively as Saxons by the Romans). In time, the Romans recruited some of these same peoples to serve as soldiers, offering them settlement in this area in exchange for military service. These peoples eventually turned on the British, conquering them instead of fighting for them, carving out their own kingdoms that would eventually become England.
While the song is written from the perspective of the Anglo-Saxons, the lyrics are mainly based on the version of the story first recorded by the British monk Gildas in his 6th Century work The Ruin and Conquest of Britain, which is largely unfavorable of the Anglo-Saxons. The end of the song includes a quote from Gildas’ work, from a letter the Roman inhabitants of Britain sent to the Emperor requesting aid against the Saxons. The Emperors rejection of these pleas for aid are seen as the end of Roman rule in Britain and the beginning of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.
ISENMOR’s debut EP, Land of the Setting Sun, can be streamed to the right.
About Land of the Setting Sun
The EP title “Land of the Setting Sun” is loosely based on the expeditions to the new world at the beginning of the 11th century CE, referring to North America, the land far to the west, beyond the setting sun for those still in Europe. While this term does not appear in any of the extant literature (to our knowledge), it is based on the mythology surrounding the sun, and our imagining of what a pagan viking might have thought when venturing to the west. The vikings did not know the earth was round, and their mythology described the sun as being pulled in a chariot by the mythical horse Skinfaxi (Shining Mane). That a pagan might have thought he was venturing to the same land that the sun traveled to during its trip across the sky seemed a reasonable enough scenario for us to make a song on it. The song is riddled with references to the Norse myths surrounding the sun, but funnily enough, and contrary to popular belief, Christianity had reached Greenland before Leif Erikson’s expedition, and Leif as well as many or all of the vikings who reached North America were Christians, not the noble pagans we normally imagine. In addition to referencing the historical event, with special considerations for those voyagers who kept to the old ways, the song is also an ode to the human drive for discovery and adventure that led northern Europeans to North America, and leads people to new discoveries even to this day.