Swedish Ragna-Rock is coming
Norse mythology is really pretty awesome. It’s got giant trolls, flying Viking babes and eight-legged horses. The gods are ruled over by a one-eyed badass called Odin and the world is supposed to end in a great battle called Ragnarök. Sign me up.
The awesomeness of Norse mythology is how it continues to inspire an entire lively subgenre called Viking metal. This is essentially death metal with lyrics about battles and valkyries and stuff, but as Viking metallers King of Asgard demonstrate, all the songs don’t have to be about mythological beings. They could just be about regular Viking stuff too. Their sophomore album to North … is a frosty blast of raging metal laced with ancient pagan tones and coarse vocals detailing visions of mythic apocalypse. (It’s out in North America July 31st.)
We’re so down, but it gets us thinking. We had a lot of questions. For answers we got KoA bassist Jonas Albrektsson on the phone to field every one of our asinine questions about vikings, metal and viking metal. Thankfully, he doesn’t take his gods and goddesses too seriously. King of Asgard are just celebrating a rich cultural heritage that happens to make excellent fodder for metal songs. Read on, as Albrektsson patiently humors MTV Iggy.
So, who is the King of Asgard?
Is Norse mythology like a spiritual thing for you guys, or is it more of a metaphorical thing in your music?
It’s more metaphorical. It’s a topic we all like and like to spread out to other people around the world. But it’s not that we necessarily have to do with Norse mythology, it could be about anything but it is the way it is, with the name and so forth. We like it too but it’s not in a religious way.
Was there an overall inspiration for to North … ?
Yeah, some of the songs are about the beginning of the Norse mythology story. One of them, “Gap of Ginnungs” is just the creation story and ending with the End. We are really just telling the old stories. “Nine Worlds Burn” is about the Ragnarok story, the end of everything. It’s the big battle in 4 minutes.
But not all our songs are about Norse mythology either. They could be about living in the Viking age.
Which of the Norse deities is the most metal?
The most metal? I guess that would be Thor with his hammer. Ha ha. Many of them are really metal.
What kind of metal would Thor be into?
He would like Manowar a lot. Power metal!
Which of the Norse deities do you think is the best role model for kids.
That would be Odin. He’s a strong deity. He keeps up with everything and takes on a lot of stuff. And he sacrificed himself for his sons and relatives at the end of the story.
Which of the Norse deities would be the biggest fan of your band?
That would be Odin, he would be the perfect King of Asgard.
What would he do at one of your shows?
He would make people go crazy. He’d be helping us out.
Who would you be most afraid to be in the pit with?
Hel would be kind of scary to wind up with, but on the other hand it would be kind of cool.
Within the Norse cosmos, where do you think metalheads would wind up when they die?
They’ll be in Asgard. Because they’ve been fighting the battles. You know Einharjar? That’s the warriors of Odin and they’re all partying in Asgard awaiting the great battle. The metalheads would be there.
If Ragnarök was upon us today, would you do anything differently?
No way. I’d just wait for it.