If you’re feeling a little nervous about the Minnesota Vikings’ chances against the Arizona Cardinals this evening during Thursday Night Football — given the number of hits their D line has taken — maybe what you need is a fresh playlist to help you get amped up. They say music soothes the savage beast, but “they” obviously never listened to some of the greatest songs that were ever written about (or at least have vague passing references) to Vikings and Norse mythology.
Here are some of our favorite Vikings playlist selections, in no particular order. Disclaimer: Some of these songs have too much rock for one hand. Listener discretion is advised.
Led Zeppelin, “Immigrant Song”
This one’s kind of a gimme, but c’mon! “The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands/To fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming!” That’s just a tailgate party in a riff, right there. In fact, you could probably just put this song on a loop and call it a day, but let’s press on.
Bathory, “One Rode to Asa Bay”
OK, the visuals above are a little less Asgard and a lot more Wicker Man, but Bathory have to be acknowledged as being pioneers of Viking metal. You have to have at least one of their tunes in the mix.
King of Asgard, “Up On The Mountain”
Powerful guitars, booming bass. Black metal band King of Asgard have a fiercely devoted following, and even if you can’t understand the lyrics, you can still sort of hear why.
Heavy Load, “Heathens From the North”
Straight outta Stockholm, Heavy Load routinely dropped just that: one heavy load of crunching legacy metal packaged within gloriously kitschy swords-n-fjords album covers.
Black Sabbath, “Valhalla”
For another dose of the familiar, you could do a lot worse (to use Minnesota parlance) than Black Sabbath’s sweeping nod to the Nordic metal tradition. “When the winds of Valhalla run cold/Be sure that the blood will start to flow.” SKOL!
Enslaved, “793 (The Battle of Lindisfarne)”
Got some time to spare? Settle in for 16 minutes’ worth of history that has both got a good beat and you can thrash to it. Somewhere in the folds of this 1997 epic can be found the story of a bloodbath in Northumberland.
Manowar, “Gates of Valhalla”
Gee, think Valhalla was on metal artists’ minds much? Sure this one starts with a whisper. It soon builds into a mighty roar.
You might want to just set Varg Vikernes’ personal, um, issues. The Burzum frontman did hard time in jail for burning churches and murdering the guitarist from a fellow black metal band Mayhem, and has spoken out in favor of returning Europe to paganism and white nationalism. But his music … Um, nah, forget it. Pretend I didn’t list this one.
Legend, “From the Fjords”
Most of the songs on this list tilt toward the massively overblown, understandably. This gem from 1979 feels far closer to the then cresting punk aesthetic, albeit with the usual 32nd-note guitar solos. Call it a palate cleanser, if you will.
Iron Maiden, “Invaders”
The lyric speaks for itself: “Longboats have been sighted and the evidence of war has begun.”
Spinal Tap, “Stonehenge”
This list goes to 11. Wait, what? … Druids are different from Vikings? Well are they in Dubbly?