It’s 3AM and you’re curled into a ball so tightly that you’re sure you’ve pulled a muscle and the only thing standing between you and a frozen forest with no phone signal three hours outside of Frankfurt is a thin, historically-accurate canvas tent and the cheap festival sleeping bag you patted yourself on the back for picking up in a sweet, end of summer sale - you dick.

It’s at this point that you begin to contemplate whether you should have been drinking beer for five hours, because your bladder is about to explode so violently you fully expect it to send you rocketing across the field, but maybe you can hold it a little longer because the thought of losing the tiny bit of warmth your body is generating is actually a little scary, so you take a deep breath, and you hold it in a little longer.

Eventually, with the sun coming up you embrace the cold and stride into the darkness to have possibly the most satisfying, emotional, and almost tear-jerking wee-wee you’ve experienced. You take a minute to breathe in the frosty air, to marvel at the way you can still see the stars through a brightening skyline, and you think to yourself, ‘now that wasn’t so bad…’ Pissing like a viking: these are the things they never tell you about.

When director Phil and I took the long drive up to our current location it struck us that we were really going out on a limb. We’d only met Sana, our host and his vikings a few weeks prior at Summer Breeze festival and now we’re in a viking camp full of a couple of dozen men and women in tunics who seem like they’ve stepped out of a movie.

The reason they were at Summer Breeze was to assemble the heavy, wooden longboat that Amon Amarth once used on stage for various tours and festival appearances, and they decided to bring it back for the first night of their old-school, new-school two-night engagement that we shot for The Pursuit Of Vikings. What we didn’t know was that Sana had a very special bond with Amon Amarth that went back years, and we were keen to learn more about it, and so he kindly invited us along.

'I didn’t think you’d actually come,’ he said as we arrived at a truck-stop a few miles from the camp site. He hands us both a pair of tunics with a smile and goes, ‘you’ll need these.’

Sana and his vikings, despite appearances are regular, everyday people who are perhaps notable for spending three or four days every few weeks in traditional garb to cook, to craft, and to re-learn some of the old ways, including how to completely beat the shit out of each other in Viking-style combat. They spar, they skirmish, the laugh, and they wince. It’s truly a sight to behold, and there’s a real sense that we’ve been granted access to an inner sanctum that few people ever see, and we feel quite privileged to be here. Damn they hit hard.

So how’d they befriend Amon Amarth? It all began when they answered an ad in the German edition of Metal Hammer magazine years ago. Amon Amarth needed Viking extras for a promo video, and little did they know that it was the beginning of a deep, long standing relationship between the two groups. As Phil and I talk with Sana, it become apparent that the reasons that they shut out the modern world are possibly the same reasons that so much of Amon Amarth’s music speaks to people: it harkens back to a simpler time, and maybe it taps into something profound that we seem to be missing in modern life. One thing is apparent: there’s a lot more to Amon Amarth than just music, especially when we discover that one of Sana’s vikings got into this unique way of life when he picked up one of their records.

As the sun goes down it’s apparent it’s going to get even colder, only it doesn’t seem so bad this time. Maybe it’s the mead.

-Alexander Milas

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