Music to write fantasy novels to

It was only a matter of time before I felt compelled to share my subjective and somewhat strange list of favourite music to write to/get inspiration from. Some of this music I used to roleplay to as well, so it’s been in my collection a long time. I highly recommend it for either purpose, or for general listening, whatever floats your boat. So here goes:


  • Elizium, and Earth Inferno (Fields of the Nephilim) – I have some gothic tastes in music. The Nephilim reference Sumerian religion, magic and Cthulu. Carl growls his lyrics like a chain smoking god of ancient Mesopotamia. I mean, what’s not to like?
  • Takk (Sigur Ros) – my new favourite. I love their gravity defying soundscapes and unique brand of lyrical nonsense
  • A Passage in Time (Dead Can Dance) – it’s actually the only album of theirs which I own. Hmm, I must rectify that error…
  • Songs from a Secret Garden (Secret Garden) – for those lighter moments. I first heard this band being played in a music store in New Zealand, and had to get it. They are an Irish/Norwegian duo and their music a similarly interesting blend of gentle melodies, featuring one of my favourite instruments the uilleann pipes
  • Live Chronicles (Hawkwind) – Pretty much anything by Hawkwind will take you places, but this album is the most fantasy-esque. Influenced heavily by the Elric novels and  featuring Michael Moorcock himself.  

The heavy stuff (good for drama, battle scenes etc)

  • Der Ring Des Nibelungen (Wagner) – Siegfried’s Funeral March being the most stirring piece, it was used as the theme for John Boorman’s excellent 1981 film ‘Excalibur’
  • Carmina Burana (Carl Orff) – no surprises there
  • Tyr (Black Sabbath) – a 1990 concept album, not exactly stereotypical Sabbath but the heavy riffs on ‘Anno Mundi’ and ‘Valhalla’ are very fantasy. 

The dark stuff

  • The Downward Spiral (Nine Inch Nails) – it’s more industrial than fantasy but it’s helped me get to the places no other music can reach. 

Film scores

  • 1492 (Vangelis)
  • Conan the Barbarian (Basil Poledouris) – don’t laugh, this is seriously one of the best film scores of its kind
  • Gladiator (Hans Zimmer) – predictable? Also featuring Lisa Gerrard from… you guessed it, Dead Can Dance. You can probably sense a theme by now.

So there we are. If you feel even remotely intrigued to listen to some of this fine music, I will consider my work today done. And if you have some suggestions of your own, I would love to hear them.

About Scott Foley

Scott Foley is a British fantasy writer based in Manchester. He is author of Knight of Aslath and the Dreaming God Chronicle. Brought up on a steady diet of Tolkien, roleplaying games and a never-ending fascination with the question ‘what if?’, writing fantasy novels seemed the only sensible and worthwhile thing to do with his life. Knight of Aslath is his first novel, and he is currently working on the sequel Warlords of the Dreaming God. Both novels form the beginning of the Dreaming God Chronicle and are set in the fantasy world of Teth-Kiran. Knight of Aslath is available on Amazon, and you can find out more about Scott's work at: