Gungnir is a viking black metal band from Athens, Greece which was formed by Yngve (guitars, drums, vocals) and Jim Havok (bass, guitars, keyboards, vocals) in 2016. While working on their new project they recruited Ithonas (vocals) in 2017. Their first EP ‘Ragnarök’ was released in February 2018 via Metal Throne Productions & Mercyful Hell Prods. Their work, as it is implied by the band’s name and their EP’s title, is inspired by Bathory’s legacy and the Norse mythology.
Congratulations on your first release! Tell us about the conception of ‘Ragnarök‘.
Yngve: Greetings! First of all, thank you for this interview and your support. Our debut EP was released on CD format by Metal Throne Productions (Greece) and on tape by Mercyful Hell Prods (Peru). So far the feedback has been awesome. All the reviews were positive beyond our hopes and of course we are extremely happy about it. When I started composing the songs – there is one song I had in the drawer since 2013 – I had in mind bands like Bathory, Unleashed, Amon Amarth, Enslaved etc. and I wanted to make something that doesn’t really exist in Greece. What I mean is that there are not any pagan metal bands with Norse mythology inspired lyrics. In Greece, all the pagan bands are working with ancient Greek mythology, so I thought that we should do it and here we are.
Many fans of the genre claim that the Greek black metal bands are keeping alive the early phase of the Norwegian scene. Musically speaking, what keeps in your opinion the early black metal sound alive?
Yngve: In my mind the older bands like Thou Art Lord, Necromantia, Rotting Christ, to name a few, are the ones that inspire us to keep “using” this sound. To tell the truth though, after I laid my previous band to rest (Mortuus Sum) I turned to the Swedish black/death metal sound. I think I have many, many more things to work with, playing with Sweden and not with Norway. Of course, the Norwegian black metal scene is still giving us gems, but the Swedish one is more “open-minded”, if you get what I mean.
Now lyrically speaking, it is obvious that you are inspired by the Norse mythology. Which story or character is the most fascinating for you?
Yngve: My favorite characters are Thor and Odin. Yes, I know it is the obvious choice and it is rather predictable, but when something “clicks” in your mind, you go with it. When it comes to the band, we write lyrics about various characters from the Eddas.
You state that you are inspired by Bathory’s legacy. Quorthon is responsible for popularizing the Norse mythology in metal and for creating the path which led to the birth of black metal. Although this is still a debate among the fans, who would you say mastered the genre after Bathory?
Yngve: Now, that is a bit tricky, as everyone would probably give you a different answer. For me it was Darkthrone, Mayhem, Dissection, Immortal and Dark Funeral. Those 5 are my favorite black metal bands and the ones who took what the first wave was to the next level.
In your latest EP there is a bonus track which is a cover of Bathory’s ‘Enter The Eternal Fire‘. For this cover Zel (aka Aphazel) from Ancient did the vocals. As far as I know Zel lives in Greece now. Tell us about this collaboration.
Yngve: I met Zel some years ago while I was out drinking beers. We kept in touch and developed a friendly relationship and at some point, we [Gungnir] decided to record the Bathory cover. I wanted someone from Norway or Sweden to sing as they would be able to sort of reproduce the feeling and the vibe that Quorthon had. When I heard his vocals, I was sure that he was the one. I asked him, he said yes and the rest is history.
Are there plans for live shows in the near future?
Yngve: At the moment we are focusing on promoting the EP and working on new songs, so no plans yet.
Are you working on a full-length release and if so, can you share some details about it?
Yngve: Yes, at the moment we are working on our first full length. If all goes well it will be released sometime in 2019. We want to make it special and we will probably incorporate many different elements from various folk traditions from Scandinavia and of course, Greece. Unfortunately, I cannot say anything more, at least not now.
You come from bands like Flames, Deviser, Chained and Desperate, Dizziness. Are you still involved with these projects?
Yngve: From the bands you mentioned, I am currently playing with Flames and Deviser. I am the former drummer of Dizziness (our singer Ithonas is still their singer) and our bassist Jim Havok plays bass in Chained and Desperate.
Thank you for your time! Close this interview as you wish.
Yngve: Thank you once again for this interview and for all the support you have given to Gungnir and a special thanks to everyone who has supported us and helped us along the way. We hope that the full-length album will be as well received and loved as our debut EP. Below you can find some links to reach the band:
Official Facebook page,
Official Google page,
Official YouTube channel.
Photo credits: Dm Photo (Dimitris Marinis)