Sheep in the Box next mentioned Amon Amarth. They are a Viking-themed heavy metal band that has been around for almost 30 years.
If you’re like me, you might think that a Viking-themed band was unusual — like a band that only performs songs about Toonces the Driving Cat. But no.
Wikipedia lists over 5 dozen Viking metal bands. Not surprisingly, most of them are out of northern Europe. A number of them started in the 1980s but the vast majority started in the 90s.
I’ve never been much a fan of metal. This can seem odd because I really like punk and in a purely musical sense there often isn’t much that separates them. But there is something very important that separates the punk I like (eg, Minutemen) from the rest: sense of humor.
So much of metal is so serious that I would find it funny if there were any indication at all that it was intentional and that I wouldn’t be beaten up for laughing.
The Way of Vikings
Amon Amarth is fully in this tradition. There is not even a hit that this should be fun. It is filled with self-importance. But what else would you expect from Vikings?
This is on me, but I don’t hear much difference between any of their songs. Or albums. The earlier ones seem a little more raw and that’s about it. Otherwise, it’s the usual kind of death metal with lots of tremolo-strumming and lyrics that I can’t even begin to make out.
They are clearly a great band in terms of musicianship. I can see why they are still going strong after all these years. But I won’t be checking in with them in the future.
Here is “The Way of Vikings” off their 2016 album, Jomsviking. I can actually make out the lyrics on this. It also has a nice guitar solo.