There’s a lesson in everything, even in Viking Metal.
In case you don’t know, Viking Metal is heavy metal music based almost exclusively around Viking and Norse-related themes. If that sounds weird to you, it is, but weird can give us a different perspective on something we do every day. Like thinking about your content creation process.
Now it’s time I explained myself. (I think this would be much more effective if I could grow a massive beard…)
Say what you will about Viking Metal, but you can’t deny the laser focus of the genre. Plenty of metal acts produce albums that are studies in contrast, others exercises in bland repetition. Viking Metal tends to float somewhere in between, but there is always an underlying theme to tie everything together: you know…Viking stuff.
It’s true that the themes can become a little tired. After all, there is only so much you can say about battle, death, Valhalla, and the other concerns of a lonesome warrior living in a harsh climate and eking out a living in a plunder-based economy.
But I dare you to find a corner of Viking identity that hasn’t been touched in some way by furious fretting and gravelly vocals. The Viking Metallurgist (is that what they’re called?) knows what he’s about and only rarely wanders from that central theme. That’s called building authority.
Know your pace.
In order to keep with the axe-swinging pace of a battle for plunder, glory, and distant lands, Viking Metal needs to keep its listeners’ blood pumping at a sprinting pace with double-bass pedals, some of the most aggressive time signatures you’re likely to find, and syllables that flow off the tongue as fast as a ship docking, a gate locking, and an arrow knocking. Then, sometimes—when the mood calls for it—things take a turn towards a slower, more mournful pace.
Pace can be difficult to control, so make sure yours fits your message. Get the blood pumping when telling a heroic epic, then make the heart sink when celebrating the glorious dead in a solemn lament.
Don’t be afraid to be unconventional.
Vikings are pretty cool, but let’s face it: it’s not something you hear American Idol contestants singing about. Couple the obscure subject matter with a niche musical style and you have a product that’s unconventional by nature.
But because it’s different, Viking Metal stands out. While it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, that doesn’t mean it’s bad. If you give someone with a different point of view a chance, you may find yourself appreciating something new. You may even learn something. Variety, after all, is the spice of life.
Which is why I’ll be listening to David Bowie for the rest of the day.