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These Four Beasts Defend Iceland, and Inspire Icelandic Viking Metal

Asgeir Jon Asgeirsson

The Giant in the South will stab you with his massive pointy stick. If you’re metal enough.

Artist Asgeir Jon Asgeirsson painted these scenes for Með vættum, the most recent album by the Icelandic viking metal band Skálmöld. “Með vættum” means “among wights,” and these paintings depict the four landvættir (land wights) of Iceland. As told in the Saga of King Olaf Tryggvason, as summed up by ye mighty Wikipedians, King Harald Bluetooth Gormsson of Denmark sent a wizard (in whale form) on a reconnaissance mission to Iceland, looking for a place to invade…

He swam up Vopnafjörður, intending to go ashore, but a great dragon came flying down the valley toward him, followed by many snakes, insects, and lizards, all spitting poison at him. So he went back and continued around the coast westward to Eyjafjörður, where he again swam inland. This time he was met by a great bird, so big that its wings touched the hillsides on either side, with many other birds large and small following it. Retreating again and continuing west and south, he swam into Breiðafjörður. There he was met by a huge bull, bellowing horribly, with many landvættir following it. He retreated again, continued south around Reykjanes, and tried to come ashore at Vikarsskeið, but there he encountered a mountain giant (bergrisi), his head higher than the hill-tops, with an iron staff in his hand and followed by many other giants (jötnar).

If songs about huge bulls and viking dragons sound like a good idea to you, you probably need to be listening to more Icelandic viking metal. Check out the video for “Gleipnir” below the paintings to hear what Skálmöld sounds like.

Asgeir Jon Asgeirsson

“The Dragon in the East” by Asgeir Jon Asgeirsson

Asgeir Jon Asgeirsson

“The Vulture in the North” by Asgeir Jon Asgeirsson

Asgeir Jon Asgeirsson

“The Beast in the West” by Asgeir Jon Asgeirsson

Asgeir Jon Asgeirsson

“The Giant in the South” by Asgeir Jon Asgeirsson

Asgeir Jon Asgeirsson

“Wights” (cover art for “Með vættum”) by Asgeir Jon Asgeirsson

Asgeir Jon Asgeirsson

Cover art for the album “Börn Loka” by Skálmöld by Asgeir Jon Asgeirsson

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Published on: May 17, 2015

Filled Under: Artwork, News

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One Response to These Four Beasts Defend Iceland, and Inspire Icelandic Viking Metal

  1. Brundle Fly says:

    Thanks for the article. These illustrations are really cool

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