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Viking metal is a subgenre of metal characterized by its "epic" heavy metal inspired approach, elements of nordic folk music, slower pacing, use of keyboards, dark and violent imagery, and, primarily, lyrical themes of Norse mythology, Norse paganism, and the Viking Age.

Many people mistake viking metal for any metal with lyrical themes about Norse or Finno-Ugric mythology, heathenism etc; or with Folk metal in general. However, this is a musical style on its own.

Bathory with their release Hammerheart is considered the founding band of the genre. On this record, the formerly black metal band ditched their blast beats and growls in favor of mid-tempo metal with clean vocals and an "epic" feel. Over time, Viking metal strongly intertwined with Norse Folk metal, with many band combining the two genres (such as Turisas, Falkenbach, Heidevolk, among others). There still exist certain bands that play the "early", folk-less, Viking metal, such as Doomsword. .

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