Einherjar – “Norrøne Spor”

Einherjar – “Norrøne Spor” (Indie Recordings) 
Battle Helm Rating

In Norse mythology, the Einherjar were those warrior dead who were chosen by valkyries to be brought into Valhalla to sit at Odin’s table. And so too is it with the Norrøn Heavy Metal of the band known as Einherjar! Following in the footsteps of viking metal bands like Unleashed and Enslaved, Einherjar formed in 1993, coincidentally in the historical viking town of Haugesund, so it’s pretty clear that Norse culture is rich in their veins. Going through the waves of metal that have swept Norway, Einherjar themselves have felt black, folk and even symphonic inspirations….but always the love of their heritage has been foremost. Coming 4 years after the Grammy winning  “Av Oss, For Oss” is “Norrøne Spor” that steadfastly adheres to that philosophy and indeed, a way of life. And pretty f–king amazing it is too. 10 songs that are richly soaked, nay, drenched in Norrøn viking steel but also, for some, also influenced by epic, black and folk elements either to a greater or less prominent degree, along with a cover of Motörhead’s ‘Deaf Forever’. If there’s been any movement, then it’s now that the songs are no longer composed and arranged individually by Frode Glesnes (guitar, bass, vocals) and drummer Gerhard Storesund, but together, which definitely works for the better as judging by the superior material here! Spiritually stirring to the soul, songs like ‘Mine Våpen Mine Ord’ have a brooding darkness about them brought about through cold icy riffing and evil throat raw drawls, yet also resplendent with beautiful, flowing Nordic melodies that together have deep emotional reach, especially when valkyrie harmonies add to the memorable chorus and resonating pagan bass and guitar solos bring it all to a climax – wow! More twisting and black are the dark riffs on ‘The Blood Song’ as Glesnes’s undead drawls sing about ‘…the wings of the raven…’ but are starkly contrasted by a serene chorus of uplifting warrior vocals as drum rolls and virtuoso guitar breaks and heavy metal solos add even more to the excitement. Then there’s ‘Tapt Uskyld’ with its brilliant Nordic folk melodies and flowing medieval guitars contrasted by Glesnes’s throat rolling goblin utterances giving a truly epic and old world feel to the track, changing towards the end to become heavier through a deeper bone crunching bass and pagan thudding drums before returning to the original Nordic melodic bliss. Frankly, all the songs have something special about them and best of all, the overall feel doesn’t pander to either the old school or modernity, but rather a timeless piece that will ring as long as it’s underlying heritage still holds true. Einherjar have totally nailed it here in spreading their culture, albeit musically, with a total smasher – so onward with hammers to chests!

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