The Northman Soundtrack To Be Released Digitally Next Week — Listen To A Stormy Track

Robert Eggers' "The Northman" is almost here, and the early buzz is that it's a bloody and brilliant epic that will delight fans of the director's previous two films. The Viking revenge film stars Alexander Skarsgård as an exiled prince who seeks to get revenge on his uncle (Claes Bang) for the murder of his father (Ethan Hawke) and kidnapping of his mother (Nicole Kidman). It's a little bit Shakespearean, a little bit Poetic Edda, and a whole lot of Eggers' signature arthouse style. To bring the world of these Nordic warriors to life, Eggers' enlisted the help of composers Robin Carolan and Sebastian Gainsborough to create an otherworldly score rooted in Scandinavian history. The original soundtrack will release on digital on April 22, 2022, the same day as "The Northman" opens in theaters, and to drum up excitement for the upcoming release, the folks at A24 have released just a taste of the atmospheric, haunting, and potentially brutal sounds to come. 

Old instruments, new sounds

"The Northman" is a violent, heart-pounding Viking saga, so it makes sense that the music is equally intense. The soundtrack, releasing on April 22 through Back Lot Music and on physical media on July 1 through Sacred Bones Records, will have 43 original tracks that mirror the music in the film. Eggers is a research-heavy director who likes to make sure that the historical worlds he builds feel authentic, and he tasked the composers with using as many traditional instruments as possible to bring "The Northman" to life. They used instruments like a tagelharpa (a type of deep cello), a langspil (a stringed instrument similar to a lute), a kravik lyre, and a säckpipa (Swedish bagpipes) to try to take audiences back in time as much as possible, and Carolan revealed that they even attempted to emulate the infamous-sounding bullroarer using an entire symphony: 

"One of the pieces we wrote was intended to emulate the sound of a bullroarer; an ancient, relatively humble looking instrument used in sacred rituals, or in battle to intimidate enemies. It makes a really disorienting roaring vibrato sound and was capable of creating insanely low frequencies that could travel for miles. For this we attempted to do the same thing, but the twist being that we used a huge, 40 piece string ensemble in order to do so. Recording that made for a pretty mad, suitably unsettling experience."

The composers both come from the world of electronic music and used that experience to combine the old world with the new in "The Northman." The restrictive nature of using old instruments helped them in their mission to recreate the past while also creating an alternate world. If the track above, "Storm at Sea/Yggdrasill," is any indicator, this score is going to rock everyone's horned helmets off. 

You can pre-order the soundtrack here, and check out "The Northman" when it releases in theaters nationwide on April 22, 2022.