To someone unfamiliar with the history of heavy metal, the premise of a metal sub-genre dedicated exclusively to Norse themes would sound positively ludicrous.

And yet! In the late ‘80s, Viking metal started gaining traction, thanks, in large part, to the works of Sweden’s Bathory, and, specifically, their seminal trilogy of albums: 1988’s Blood Fire Death, ‘90s Hammerheart, and ‘91’s Twilight of the Gods.

Then, as the heavy metal Valkyries descended across all of Scandinavia in the early ‘90s – launching major “scenes” around Norway’s black metal, Sweden’s death metal, and Finland’s folk metal – it was only a matter of time before these new bands began finding inspiration in their heritage.

Marrying Norse history and legends, its bloodthirsty gods, and pagan rituals with heavy metal’s violent sounds, gothic tones, and natural aggression was almost too easy!

Today, Viking metal is, of course, practiced by almost too many bands to count, including Moonsorrow, Ensiferum, Unleashed, and Amon Amarth, to name but a few.

So we thought we’d have some fun by voyaging back into the past, in search of isolated bands and songs that unwittingly predicted this modern movement, and so we give you the Roots of Viking Metal.

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