A band of Northmen

Tai Neilson, Genevieve Neilson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter analyzes the intersection of heavy metal music and Vikings through Northmen: A Viking Saga. Northmen reproduces archetypal discourses from Viking film and television fiction regarding violence, gender and masculinity, myth and religion. The action-adventure movie includes a cameo appearance by Johan Hegg, the singer of Swedish melodic death metal band Amon Amarth. The band also has a song on the soundtrack and a promotional video cut with movie footage. Amidst a mostly orchestral soundscape, the film score includes distorted guitars. The essay adopts the critical theory of intertextuality from literary and screen studies and applies popular culture theories of stardom and celebrity to metal musicians. The chapter contributes to metal studies research on globalization, Scandinavian extreme metal, pagan metal and folk metal. It builds on research about relationships between metal and rock music, Norse and Celtic mythology, imagery, fantasy, tradition and medieval history. We argue that Hegg’s onscreen appearance in the film and its marketing reinforces associations between metal culture and a fantastic Viking past, contributes to the film’s sound and creates connections to his live performances, persona and recorded vocals. He also draws international fans to the big screen.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHeavy metal at the movies
EditorsGerd Bayer
Place of PublicationLondon ; New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780203702642, 9781351333986
ISBN (Print)9781138571594
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameAshgate Screen Music


  • Heavy Metal
  • Metal Music
  • popular culture
  • FILM
  • critical theory


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