“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

The idea of hell is rather terrifying. Suffering in flames for all of eternity is the stuff of which nightmares are made. However, Italian poet Dante somehow manages to make the standard version of Catholic hell look like child’s play compared to the way he illustrates the dark beyond in his epic poem, "Inferno."

"Inferno" is the first and most renowned part of Dante’s "Divine Comedy" trilogy, which also includes "Purgatorio" and "Paradiso." The poet details a terrifying journey through the nine circles of hell, with each layer more brutal than the last. Starting in the first circle, which is limbo, each succeeding realm exists to punish certain crimes and sins; lust, gluttony, greed, wrath, heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery. He is the only living soul permitted to enter the underworld and is accompanied by the Roman poet Virgil, who guides him through the horrors.

What makes Dante’s detailing of hell so unique is that he blends concepts from Greek mythology and modern Catholicism. This might be to lend more credibility to the forgotten polytheism of ancient times. Or it could be an attempt to present Catholicism as fictitious mythology itself. Either way, the combination of both theologies creates a true horror story, invoking genuine fear of what might await for us when we cross into the beyond.

Many metal musicians have incorporated Dante’s “nine circle” template and epic storytelling style into their own music. This list examines some of the best songs that pay homage to one of the greatest poems of all time, "Dante’s Inferno."

Follow this list on Spotify.

Inspired by Dante's Inferno Spotify Playlist

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