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Viking metal is a subgenre of metal music characterized by lyrics drawing on Norse Mythology and the history and legends of pre-Christian Scandinavia and its interactions with the rest of Europe. Think of it as the intersection between Horny Vikings, Heavy Mithril, and Horrible History Metal. As this is a lyrical theme more than a true genre on its own, considerable Genre-Busting goes on in the Viking metal scene. However, the lyrics tend to be paired with some combination of Death Metal, Black Metal, and Folk Metal in terms of technique, so common traits include:
- Harsh Vocals, often the deeper growls associated with Death Metal.
- Sea shanty-like and otherwise Folk Music-derived rhythms.
- A grandiose feel.
- Lyrically, characterization of the Norse as Barbarian Heroes (not mutually exclusive with Villain Protagonist in this case), skepticism or hostility to Christianity and glorification of Norse and Germanic paganism, hyper-masculinity.
- Male vocalists predominate, though female-fronted Viking metal groups do exist.
Viking metal music
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Viking Metal Bands
- Amon Amarth: Musically a mix of Death Metal and Thrash Metal, they variously draw from Norse myth and historical Viking raids, and based a Concept Album on The Saga of the Jomsvikings.
- Leaves' Eyes: A female-fronted Symphonic Metal/Gothic Metal group formed by Liv Kristine (Theatre of Tragedy) and her then-husband Alexander Krull (Atrocity). About 90% of their output is Viking-centric (the rest being Heavy Mithril or Horrible History Metal), including a Concept Album about the Norse settlement of Newfoundland led by Leif Eriksson.
- Manowar: A rare American example, much of this Auburn, NY Heavy Metal band's output discusses Norse mythology.
Viking Metal Songs by Non-Scene Artists
- When war metal band Sabaton re-released their fourth album, The Art of War, in 2010, they included the bonus track "Swedish Pagans", which proved a Sleeper Hit with their fanbase to the point where it got its own T-shirt and audiences have been known to demand it be played in concert by repeating its "oooh-OOOOH-oooh" chant at the band.
Viking metal featured in other works
- The Last Podcast on the Left did a three part episode about the Norwegian Black Metal scene, including the more infamous things such as the church burnings to promote the Norse religion and the murder of one of the scene's prominent figures. While the hosts all love the music, their general opinion of the major figures was that they were Card Carrying Villains who were all about bragging about how evil and dark they were and that escalated into the above mentioned criminal behavior.
Indexes: Dark Age Europe, Europe Index, Image Source.Music, Music Tropes, National Stereotyping Tropes
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