CD Review: Einherjer - Norrøn

einherjer norron
Artist: Einherjer
Title: Norrøn
Genre: Viking metal
Release Date: 9th September 2011
Label: Indie Recordings


Album Review

‘Norrøn’ is a welcome sight to many Viking metal fans since EINHERJER reformed in 2008, making this release their first studio album in eight years since their split in 2003. Since then the band has been busy with their other project BATTERED, but the thrash metal just wasn’t the majestic same as their work on EINHERJER. Now, with a new perspective and drive, EINHERJER is stronger than ever and still has the fire to make music about the coming of Ragnarök, amongst other Norse mythological themes, sound as fresh as ever. Even though so many other Viking and folk metal bands like AMON AMARTH, PRIMORDIAL, and HEIDEVOLK are taking the lead in being the lead-runners of the genre, EINHERJER are considered the pioneers of the genre. Now they have come to reclaim their title with a comeback release, and ‘Norrøn’ certainly serves that purpose.

Like most Viking metal/ folk metal these days, a lot of the sound is indeed rooted in black metal with the vocals and their snarling tones, so expect a lot of that. Musically though, EINHERJER is more dramatic and epic, starting off with ‘Norrøn Kraft’ which sounds like a slow battle march with the drums and the slow chords and even when the music picks up, it still keeps a similar pace that churns along a lot more melodically than most metal bands without leaning too much into a reliance of keyboards or flutes to overcompensate the organic sound that folk/ Viking metal usually tries to go for. They do include some soft moments though with the keyboards and choir parts of the music to enhance the epic feeling of the music (this is, after all, the longest track on the album) so the dynamic flow of the music is there. Other tracks like ‘Naglfar’ are shorter and lean a bit towards the thrash sound from BATTERED, but EINHERJER still include some folk elements such as the anthem snarl-chant of the chorus and solo guitar instrumental which sounds a bit like HEIDEVOLK’s work, but without any of the clean vocal parts. ‘Alu Alu Laukar’ seems a bit repetitive with the chorus being repeated over and over, but EINHERJER make it seem like quite a metal drinking song with how they layer the cleaner backing vocals over the snarling, so it won’t bore anyone. ‘Balladen Om Bifrost’ serves as the best example of EINHERJER’S Viking metal style as it is largely acoustic mixed with the harsh vocals and cleaner chorus altogether. It is highly melodic and without all the electric guitar distortion every instrument shines through as clearly as it can like a breaking dawn just after a large, bloody battle, all the way to the epic closing where it is just the vocals going.

This is basically what Viking and folk metal fans have been waiting for after so long. EINHERJER are still on top of their game and haven’t failed to forget their rooted sound (unlike some bands that didn’t have such a hot comeback this year after a long hiatus… like MORBID ANGEL). Usually some might expect a drastic change over such a long period of time passing for as long as EINHERJER has been out of commission, but the band keeps to their discography. Old fans will certainly not be let down and will feel like the album picks up where their last one left off, and new fans will be introduced to a modern sounding EINHERJER that fulfils them in places that other bands may be lacking, whether it is that old Viking spirit, the poetic style of the lyrics (all done in Norwegian of course), or the musical structuring that doesn’t follow all the mainstream standards that restricts it into a narrow sound that just has about ten different names. This is Viking metal in its purest, most honest sense.


Tracklist

01. Norrøn Kraft - 12:54
02. Naglfar - 5:11
03. Alu Alu Laukar - 2:51
04. Varden Brenne - 6:21
05. Atter På Malmtings Blodige Voll - 8:13
06. Balladen Om Bifrost - 5:50


Line-up

Ulvar - Drums, Keyboards
Grimar - Guitars, Vocals
Aksel Herløe – Guitars


Website

http://www.einherjer.com/


Cover Picture

einherjer norron


Rating

Music: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 8 / 10


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