If you’re a fan of metal music (and why wouldn’t you be) you can’t swing a battle axe without hitting a million viking themed or inspired metal bands. Some of these bands are great. Downright classics even and there’s probably enough variety just within the viking themed bands to spawn a couple viking specific sub-genres. This wasn’t the case in 1979. Enter Legend, a band from Connecticut that existed for a mere two years and only dropped this one album.

Now whether this is metal or not is a matter of opinion. Sure there were metal bands in 1979. The NWOBHM was just bubbling to the surface and based on what was considered mainstream rock at the time, Legend does have a more metallic quality to their sound. There’s of course a lot of jammy, funky guitar riffing, massively impressive drumming, progressive rock elements. It all sounds very 70′s to my ear. It’s just on the cusp of heavy metal, but it’s the focus on the viking narrative that makes this album a true lost treasure. It would spread like wildfire through the black metal community thanks to bands like Bathory’s embrace of their countries history and it hasn’t released it’s grip yet. I’m not sure if Legend had any influence on Bathory or other earlier embracers of the viking themed music but as far as I can tell, this is the earliest example of a “metal” band using that imagery. It’s definitely worth a listen. It’s also a damn good album.