The Nordic countries had a band called Black Metal Swans of Carnage. The name was craftily engineered by Finland, who was the female vocalist. Sweden was on the drums because her big, strong arms were perfect for hammering away at things. Denmark took up the male vocals while rocking electric guitar #1. Norway was on the second guitar, but he was so talented that during some songs he would strum while tickling the electric ivories. Iceland was the bassist because he was brooding due to the seasonal depression.
Together they formed the hottest Viking metal band there ever was, mostly because they were the only Viking metal band there ever was. And their biggest fans, by far, were Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia.
Wanting to beef up a little bit in order to not be as scared of Russia, Latvia started going to the gym. When she stepped into the weightlifting room, she saw Sweden bench pressing Finland.
Latvia stood in the doorway, watching as Sweden thrust Finland into the air, then lowered her, then thrust upward again. Finland seemed unperturbed and was actually reading a book peacefully.
“Oh, wow. Okay.”
Upon hearing Latvia’s voice, Finland perked up. “Hi there! Great timing, actually. I wanted to talk to you about something.”
Latvia began walking over to the weight rack. “Oh, sure. What’s up?”
“Tha band wanted to put on a show for you and the guys this weekend.”
“Definitely! I’m sure they’d like that. It’s been a while since we heard you play.”
“Perfect. And tell Ukraine he can come too. I feel really bad for the poor bastar–” Finland yelped when suddenly Sweden shouted the word three-hundred, stood up, dropped her to the ground, and flexed victoriously.
The four of them stood in front of the stage and stared at the giant swan statue before them. Blood, probably–hopefully–paint, was stained in an “I just cried my mascara off” kind of way under the swan’s eye sockets. In its outstretched wings, it held five lightning bolts, each painted to look like one of the five member’s flags. The swan’s mouth stretched open wide as if it were screaming a mighty battle cry.
After marveling at the setup, Estonia leaned toward Ukraine. “I tried like a billion times to get into this band. Never worked out.”
“I’m like a wizard with the kannel.”
Backstage, the band was mentally prepping.
As per tradition, Iceland carried in shots of espresso so everyone could juice up before the show. But he tripped on an amp and one of the cups tipped and started to spill onto the ground.
“That’s unfortunate,” he said. “So unfortunate. That is just too unfortunate. Very unfor–”
Norway looked over. “Iceland? What the hell are you going on about?”
Finland grabbed her espresso and downed it in one gulp. She roared, then wiped her mouth on her sleeve. “Let’s do this.”
“Wait!” Denmark said, trying to untangle himself from some cords. “If Sweden plays too loud again, I’m done.”
“Done?” Norway laughed. “What? You’re going to walk off stage? I’ll pick up your guitar and play it. I’ll play two guitars at once. I’ll play five guitars.” He tried to demonstrate this by grabbing several spare guitars from the rack, but he obviously could not juggle that many instruments at once and they ended up crashing to the floor. “Shit, shit–”
Sweden said, “I’m on the drums. I’m supposed to be loud. That’s what I do.”
“You can’t overpower my guitar. The guitar is essential to the composition. I wrote these songs specifically so the guitar will drown out my voice–”
“F*ck your guitar.”
Iceland waited a long time before whispering, “Brutal.”
Flames burst from behind the swan, bringing the room to life with red hot light. The band filled the stage as a pre-recorded track of guitar riffs blared throughout the auditorium. Each member was dressed in their own variation of Viking Goth, whatever that was.
Finland took the mic. “Hello, beautiful people, and Ukraine! I’m going to make this short. I just wanted to say thank you for coming out. We really appreciate this. But this show isn’t about us, it’s about you. NB8 for life, baby.” She kissed the air. “Okay, let’s raise hell.”
Norway shouted something about Valhalla, the lights dimmed, and then furious metal hit everyone’s eardrums like a truck.
The routine was fairly normal, to a point. The band started off with some folksy, Viking metal classics. Some pieces incorporated a big horn and flutes–very creative. Denmark’s and Finland vocals reflected the darkly whimsical nature of the music. It was a delightful but appropriately hardcore look into the medieval culture of the region.
But a few songs in and then things got a little weird.
The first red flag was the blood(?) that began pouring down from the giant swan. The lightening bolts it was holding began to spark with real electricity. Ungodly, pagan symbols lit up the stage and spotlighted each of the band members.
Sweden seemed determined to be as loud and rough as possible, forcing Denmark to try playing more obnoxiously. This resulted in the music being horribly off-balanced as the guitar and drum fought for auditory dominance. Poor Finland tried her best to sing above the chaos–not that she was actually signing anything comprehensible.
At some point, she had just kind of collapsed on the floor and began whining into the mic as if she were in great agony and pleading for death. (Rest assured, she was fine and that was all part of the song.) Iceland caught on fire; the pyro tricks from earlier were back and, entranced deeply in his bass playing and therefore unaware of his surroundings, wandered too close to the effects machine. He didn’t stop playing for a second. Maybe he didn’t even notice his hair was burning.
Ukraine grew terribly concerned when a ring of sawblades emerged from beneath the stage and encircled the band. He looked around to see how his friend were reacting and was shocked to see that they were enjoying the show–headbanging and moshing about to Denmark’s guttural screaming.
After a huge climax, the music died and the show was over. Finland was about to thank the audience but Sweden and Denmark weren’t finished.
“You ruined my song!” Denmark cried over and over as Sweden prepared to fight him off with her drumsticks.
Norway cried out before throwing his guitar on the ground and chopping it in half with one of the decorative hanging battle axes. Iceland finally realized he was on fire; “How very unfortunate.”
Finland turned away from the chaos behind her and ran a hand through her hair. “And, uh…. Anyway, that last one was called ‘F*ck Russia.'”
If you enjoy humor, personifications, and history, I suggest reading Scandanavia and the World.
If anyone wants to know what inspired this story:
Sweden has most heavy metal bands per 100,000 inhabitants. According to Metal-archives.com, it’s Scandinavia in general and Sweden in particular that has the most heavy metal bands in the world. According to their study there are 53.2 metal bands per 100,000 inhabitants in Sweden. (From Nordstjernan)
Sweden and Denmark have a somewhat turbulent history with each other and neither have really been able to get over it. They seem to have a bit of a modern day rivalry due to it.
NB8 is a common term used to describe the five Nordic countries and three Baltic countries as a collective. They get grouped together this way because the two regions are military partners. Anyway, I see them as good pals even if they all find each other rather weird at times.
(I feel like I should probably clarify that the term “Scandinavia” technically refers to Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Sometimes Finland and Iceland are included. However, the term “Nordic” always refers to all five countries.)