Viking Metal Bands and Artists List
Viking metal is a style of heavy metal music characterized by a lyrical and thematic focus on Norse mythology, Norse paganism, and the Viking Age. Viking metal is quite diverse as a musical style, to the point where some consider it more a cross-genre term than a genre, but it is typically seen as black metal with influences from Nordic folk music. Common traits include a slow-paced and heavy riffing style, anthemic choruses, use of both sung and harsh vocals, a reliance on folk instrumentation, and often the use of keyboards for atmospheric effect.
Viking metal emerged from black metal during the late 1980s and early 1990s, sharing with black metal an opposition to Christianity, but rejecting Satanism and occult themes in favor of the Vikings and paganism. It is similar, in lyrics, sound, and thematic imagery, to pagan metal, but pagan metal has a broader mythological focus and uses folk instrumentation more extensively. Most Viking metal bands originate from the Nordic countries, and nearly all bands claim that their members descend, directly or indirectly, from Vikings. Many scholars view Viking metal and the related black, pagan, and folk metal genres as part of broader modern Pagan movements and neo-völkisch movements, as well as part of a global movement of renewed interest in, and celebration of, local and regional ethnicities.
Though artists such as Led Zeppelin, Yngwie Malmsteen, Heavy Load, and Manowar had previously dealt with Viking themes, Bathory from Sweden is generally credited with pioneering the style with its albums Blood Fire Death (1988) and Hammerheart (1990), which launched a renewed interest in the Viking Age among heavy metal musicians. Enslaved, from Norway, followed up on this burgeoning Viking trend with Hordanes Land (1993) and Vikingligr Veldi (1994). Burzum, Emperor, Einherjer, and Helheim, among others, helped further develop the genre in the early and mid-1990s. As early as 1989 with the founding of the German band Falkenbach, Viking metal began spreading from the Nordic countries to other nations with Viking history or an even broader Germanic heritage, and has since influenced musicians across the globe. The death metal bands Unleashed, Amon Amarth, and Ensiferum, which emerged in the early 1990s, also adopted Viking themes, broadening the style from its primarily black metal origin.Read more...
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