Brace Yourselves: Viking Metal Is Invading Fort Lauderdale

Though they perished thousands of years ago, the Vikings leave a legacy that lives on in TV shows, American football, and, oddly enough, music. "It gives you a sense of being on a long ship sailing across the sea, ready to pillage and burn," singer and guitarist Greg Moir explains. His band, Withering Earth, apparently is into that kind of stuff, as evidenced by its musical genre of choice: Viking metal.

"Viking metal has a heavy, gritty tone that gives it an air of might. The lyrical content is one of Viking folklore. There are songs about Thor, Loki, Asgard, and ancient battles with insurmountable odds," Moir says. "If I was going to describe the sound in one word, Viking metal is the sound of triumph."

"Viking metal is the sound of triumph."

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As one might guess, the hotbed of Viking metal is Scandinavia, the group of countries that gave us Vikings. But Fort Lauderdale will have its own night of conquering fun this Saturday with A Viking Metal Party at Kreepy Tiki. Patrons who arrive dressed like a Viking will get in the door for half the $10 cover charge. There will also be a Viking costume contest with $50 at stake. But the true attraction is an introduction to the glorious genre courtesy of two Central Florida bands: Orlando's Sons of Ragnar and Rockledge's Withering Earth.

Moir got into Viking metal when he stumbled upon a record by the band Amon Amarth, a Swedish pioneer of the genre. "When I was 16, I heard their album Twilight of the Thunder God by chance. It had the whole package. The singer has a definitive deep, growling voice. His enunciation is very clear even with his guttural voice. The songwriting is topnotch, and the guitar riffs get under your skin."

Moir was able to put his own spin on it when he formed Withering Earth in 2014. After a search, he found other musicians willing to take a chance on an obscure brand of music with a unique set of rules. In the Viking-metal world, your garb is as important as your sound. Dressing like Hagar the Horrible just won't cut it. Withering Earth's costumes have a wolf motif, complete with helmets, armor, and furry cloaks. But these pesky 21st-century rules of society have their drawbacks. "Venues don't allow us to carry weapons onstage," Moir notes with an audible sadness, "but I do have a battle-axe ready in case we ever play a place that does allow it."

A Viking Metal Party
With Sons of Ragnar,Withering Earth, Faethom, Silenmara, and Maedusa. 8:30 p.m. Saturday, December 3, at Kreepy Tiki Bar & Lounge, 2608 S. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale; 954-648-8435. Admission is $10.

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David Rolland is a freelance writer for New Times Broward-Palm Beach and Miami New Times. His novel, The End of the Century, published by Jitney Books, is available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland