Einherjer

Norrøn

Written by: EW on 08/10/2011 17:20:54

As one of the early bands to shamelessly attempt the 'Viking' sound after Bathory had prior laid the found-works for all to follow, Einherjer should be a more recognised name than they find themselves today. The fact they are not is largely down to inconsistency of quality over their four previous LPs before they called it quits in 2004, and now returning with "Norrøn" the Norwegians are destined still to suffer the same fate - unwanted obscurity following a very disappointing return to action.

Opening with the 13-minute "Norrøn Kraft" would seem a risk on paper when the band are not known for their epic-length songs and a failed risk it turns out to be. Plodding along for it's entirety, Einherjer intersperse horn sounds with choral singing and acoustic strumming to produce a song of such non-existent tempo and so unenterprising in spirit it wouldn't even encourage a bunch of rowdy Vikings to raise their drinking horns in glee. Upon each listen I have given "Norrøn", the will to carry on to "Naglfar" and beyond has been a tough one to make, and the reward for doing so is only a small, gradual improvement. "Naglfar" is so stripped-down and basic in the song-writing department as to make recent Satyricon seem busy, while "Alu Alu Laukar" opens like a Rolling Stones song and finshes two minutes later as an interlude of vocal chanting of adequate value at best. Finally in "Varden Brenne" do Einherjer begin to make up any ground, with this and the subsequent "Atter På Malmtings Blodige Voll" does any Viking spirit begin to shine through. "Varden…" feels like the Einherjer of old with Bathory at it's heart and a better usage of vocal chants, while "Atter…" is the first to pick up the pace, mixing the melodies of Ensiferum with smatterings of synth around the occasional blasts of aggression that remain in the band's fast-fading resume. "Balladen Om Bifrost" is "Twilight of the Gods"-era Bathory incarnate - acoustic guitar, slow paced and vocal dominated, yet where it was Quorthon's passionate-if-flawed voice we here have the Abbath-like croak of Grimar before choral vocals guide the song through it's latter stages to admirable effect.

Ultimately, "Norrøn" is too weak too often to see it making a dent in the Viking metal world Einherjer now inhabit as so many other bands are capable of pushing forth more Viking glory in songs more metal, more uplifting and more energetic in nature. Sadly, after being excited when seeing the artistic nature of the cover, my theory of album artwork being directly proportional to the quality of music within suddenly seems as blunt as the swords used by Einherjer in this, their fifth battle.

4

Download: Varden Brenne, Atter På Malmtings Blodige Voll
For The Fans Of: Ensiferum, Thyrfing, Bathory
Listen: Myspace

Release date: 09.09.2011
Indie Recordings

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