Av Oss, For Oss

Written by: EW on 18/12/2014 21:05:34

One of Scandinavia’s second tier of Viking metal acts, the Einherjer trio return with "Av Oss, For Oss", their second album since reformation in 2008 with the first being 2011’s depressingly dour "Norrøn" - hardly a solid precursor of things to come. The spirited vigour of the band’s early material seemed to disappear through a brief downtime in the middle of the last decade and while it would be exaggerating things to state it has solidly returned this time around I do not at least this time regret taking on this LP for review. That sense of relief is epitomised by "Fremad” which as instrumental openers is rather good - brass, ethnic and heavy percussive instrumentation combining nicely in the spirited piece.

Of course the metal is why we are here though, and as "Hammer i kors" commences the rawness of the Einherjer template is revealed, with a scratchy single guitar track in an uncomplicated formation bent on positively inclined choruses giving a strong Vreid vibe with a hint of mid-era Enslaved (particularly in the croaky vocal performance of Grimar). The lead solo of "Hammer…" or the Motörhead-tinged solo in "Nidstong" are commendable but furthermore these two tracks best demonstrate the relative simplicity of Einherjer’s attack, a documentation of how most of the black metal histrionics of the genre’s past have been rejected in place of a solid rocking chorus and easy-going tempo.

That simplicity loses face however when a lack of depth in composition and production does the band a disservice against comparators like the aforementioned Vreid, I’s crunching classic metal tectonics or Thyrfing’s own fiery crackle, all whom sound more lively and warmer than Einherjer do during "Hedensk oppstandelse" or "Trelldom”. These tracks, among others, sound not just uninspired but tedious, as if the band glibly accept their own limitations without question, rarely daring to think outside the box until the lengthy closing title-track throws off some of the shackles and develops gracefully from a gentle opening four minutes into winding staccato triplets not far removed from the compositions of a certain Jon Schaffer. Even though that burst of energy quickly subsides into a succession of swaggering leads I’m left wondering why such a dramatic could not have been thrown in earlier - it ends the album on a strong note but reinforces the paucity of excitement from what came before. Perhaps comfortable with their position in the scene and possessing the fire to tour relentlessly to further their name, either way it leaves Einherjer stuck in the wilderness, noses pressed against the gates of Valhalla watching in on the antics of more courageous and spirited luminaries.

Download: Hammer I Kors, Nidstong, Av Oss, For Oss
For The Fans Of: Vreid, Thyrfing, I, Enslaved
Listen: Facebook

Release date 27.10.2014
Indie Recordings

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