Aldar Rök

Written by: PP on 16/03/2016 22:01:38

Vanir have been a consistent figure within the Danish metal scene since their debut album "Særimners Kød" in 2011. What started as a straight up folk metal band complete with bagpipes, whistles and accordion has slowly evolved in the direction of Viking metal, where fourth album "Aldar Rök" completing the transformation once and for good. Long gone are the danceable and upbeat folk metal riffs that were bordering on the tongue-in-cheek much like contemporary peers in Alestorm and Korpiklaani, now replaced by thunderous soundscapes depicting scenes of downing beer by the hornful after glorious battles at sea. In comparison to their older material, "Aldar Rök" is certainly the most serious sounding Vanir album to date, and one where they begin drawing serious comparisons to the likes of Amon Amarth and Ensiferum for the first time.

Take "Pretorian", for instance. With rollicking Viking metal riffs and tremolo black metallish passages against a dramatic backdrop of symphonies, if that doesn't sound like Amon Amarth then I don't know what does. Likewise, "Unrepentant" focuses on epic melodies with an ever-expansive soundscape, fitting for some of the bigger festival slots the band have been billed for recently. There's more inspiration from death metal than before, but for the most part, "Aldar Rök" is as Viking metal as Viking metal gets. Shrieked vocals and a constant instrumental landscape drawing images of conquering your enemies on a wooden ship to mind, Vanir have created an unstoppable expression that pays tribute to the textbook ideals of the genre. Memorable lead melodies meet a thick and reliable rhythm section, varied percussion ranging from standard fills to rapid-fire black metallish pummeling, and enough theatrical symphonies to qualify as a symphonic metal band, Vanir have certainly taken a step forward to stand on even footing against bigger international peers.

Fans of older material may decry the lack of straight-up folk metal on the record, but given how close cousins Viking metal is with folk metal, they'll likely survive the lack of accordion and whistles that belong to the band's past. A professionally produced and written Viking metal album that might not have the thunderous call of an Amon Amarth adventure, but up there with international peers for sure.

Download: Pretorian, Unrepentant, The Serpent
For the fans of: Amon Amarth, Ensiferum
Listen: Facebook

Release date 26.02.2016
Mighty Music

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