Warhammer 40k fan and metal musician Lorcan Ward released ‘The Wolves of Fenris’ on Thursday, a metal track inspired by the grim darkness of the 41st millennium, via YouTube and Spotify. It’s a classic piece of power metal from the boastful perspective of the Warhammer 40k Space Wolves, and Ward’s second piece of unofficial 40k music.
Ward’s notes for the tracks say that it’s “a song that would serve as a drinking song but also as a battle cry”. It’s written from the perspective of the Space Wolves Space Marine legion during and after the Horus Heresy civil war, when they had a well-deserved reputation as the Emperor of Mankind’s executioners.
Ward’s first 40k track, ‘Unbreakable’, is all about the Asta Militarum holding the line against the Chaos Space Marines at the Cadian Gate. Though both songs are blood-pumping power metal arrangements, Ward says that “Unbreakable was all about honour” while Wolves of Fenris “is about tearing down those ideals”.
At the moment, the only source of official Warhammer 40k music is the soundtracks to Warhammer 40k games on PC or console. Guillaume David’s soundtrack for Mechanicus – a game like XCOM about Adeptus Mechanicus Tech Priests robbing a Necron tomb world – is a fantastic mixture of synths, choral singing, ambient electronica, and real church organ. Jasper Kyd’s music for Darktide similarly mixes religious music into industrial electronica, to great effect.
Back in the early 90s Games Workshop had its own, short-lived music label, Warhammer Records. Most of the bands just issued music as normal, with Warhammer 40k cover art – D-Rok’s Oblivion and Saxon’s UK issue of Forever Free being the best known – but Bolt Thrower’s Realm of Chaos was themed around the Warhammer 40k universe.
Here’s a Warhammer music deep cut – for the original special edition of Dan Abnett’s Warhammer 40k book Traitor General, Black Library commissioned musician John Bergin to produce a soundtrack album. It’s a mixture of noise, metal, military marches, bagpipes, and it’s haunting.
Mollie Russell is Wargamer’s music expert – if you enjoy Ward’s music, she recommends Sabaton, Amon Amarth, Battle Beast, and Turisas (assuming you don’t already listen to them!) Check our her playlist inspired by Pathfinder’s Realm of Metal for some more metal recommendations.