Folk metalheads are my people. I love them, am endlessly aggravated by them, and enjoy making fun of them. They’re like the brothers and sisters I never had, so I’m going to channel Jeff Foxworthy a little and rag on them like only a fellow folk metal fan can. You might be a folk metalhead if…
Having this experience actually inspired this entire article. Most people have never even heard of Ginnungagap, but here I was, rummaging through my folk metal queue on Plug.dj, looking for Einherjer’s “Out of Ginnungagap” and finding myself unable to filter by “Ginnungagap” alone. Even if you don’t actively follow any Old Norse religions, you probably also know the names of places, people, things, & concepts that the vast majority of people worldwide are totally unfamiliar with.
Christianity is so 1,982 years ago. Thanking Odin, or saying “Odin damn it” (as if damnation itself isn’t Christian as fuck), is a sign of being way too into folk metal as well as a huge dork. Double dork points if you spell it Óðinn and you’re not actually Icelandic.
When I was a teenager, my Wiccan friend taught me elder futhark runes so that we could pass notes in class that would be mostly — save for words like “bitch” and “shirt” — be unreadable by teachers if we were caught. At certain points in my life, I could write in runes more quickly than I could in English. Even if I hadn’t though, I still wouldn’t have made it to adulthood without learning T, Y, R, A, K, and E (and probably a whole shitton more).
There was one time where I went to a Týr show with a group of friends, and when we got near the venue, we got out of the car and the driver, clad in some sort of pelt, used a hatchet to open a bottle of mead so that we could pregame. If I recall correctly, none of us drank it because we didn’t want to get glass shards stuck in our esophaguses, but it remains the most folk metal thing that ever happened in my life.
There are more than a few nerdlingers who have been inspired to study northern European languages by metal (myself included), folk and otherwise. Of course, if you can’t afford lessons or you’re just way too far from the nearest class in beginner’s ancient Gaulish, you just go on the internet and learn that shit phonetically! Whether it’s something “simple” like French or impossible like Icelandic, learning at least enough to reproduce sounds in other languages is a priority.
Feel free to lay into me on Twitter if I’ve forgotten anything that speaks to your folk metal soul.