The Birth of Viking Metal

Written by on July 16, 2021

Heroes and Mortals recently paid visit to Wyrd Leatherworks and Meadery, a Viking themed venue for fine leatherwork and even finer mead and we very highly recommend a visit if you live in or are just plundering through Portland. That got us thinking of the genres of Viking-themed music (of which there are many) and specifically Viking Metal because after a taste of Runesblod Raspberry or Odin’s Skull, one’s own blood warms up quickly and the “flute and lute” music we play here at the station in the late evening doesn’t quite fit the occasion.

Viking Metal is a sub-genre of metal devoted to Norse themes and rose up from the 80s black metal and folk metal scenes with musical roots in paganism, mythology, and of course, Vikings. Vikings had been a popular theme with artists such as Led Zeppelin, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Manowar, but it wasn’t until the Swedish band Bathory stormed the countryside with a trio of albums from 1988-1991 that set the stage for Viking Metal to become a realized genre of music.

There is a lot of interesting, crazy, fantastical, and at times violently racist, history around Viking Metal and it’s worth reading to educate, and listening to experience, what boils the blood of a Viking Metal musician. With that in mind, we set out to find what music inspired the creation of Viking Metal and came across this article from Loudwire titled “10 Songs that Led to Viking Metal”. Grab your drinking horn and give a listen to the songs that inspired the Viking Metal movement then tune in to our heavier music blocks with some Viking, Celtic and Norse inspired themes: Call of Annwn on Tuesdays, Swordmetal on Wednesdays, and The Hammer on Thursdays (all shows start at 5pm Pacific).

Artwork: “Wild Hunt of Odin” by Peter Nicolai Arbo (1872)


Led Zeppelin, “Immigrant Song” (1970)

Blitzkrieg, “Blitzkrieg” (1981)

Iron Maiden, “Invaders” (1982)

A-II-Z, “Valhalla Force” (1982)

Heavy Load, “Singing Swords” (1983)

Silver Mountain, “Vikings” (1983)

Manowar, “Thor (The Powerhead)” (1984)

Pantera, “Valhalla” (1985)

Crimson Glory, “Valhalla” (1986)

Elixir, “The Son of Odin,” (1986)

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