Einherjer – Norrøn

It’s been awhile since the last Einherjer album, probably due to the fact that they were supposedly retired. Retired in the music industry doesn’t mean the same thing as it does for the rest of us. Eight years after “Blot” Einherjer are back with their first album to not feature any songs in English. Awesome; at least I won’t have to worry about lyrics interfering with my enjoyment of the music.

Einherjer are Viking metal in theme if not in the traditional style. I first heard them back in 1998 when they released “Odin Owns Ye All”. Since then the music has been constantly evolving. My first impression upon hitting play on “Norrøn” was that Tom Waits (circa the “Alice” album and particularly the track “Kommienezuspadt”) got together with Prong to record a metal album. But before long folky elements emerge and dispel that fantasy.

I haven’t actually listened to Einherjer for some years now but I don’t recall the vocals being harsh before. Pretty sure they were clean. But the harsh vocals on this disc fit well with the militaristic dramatic music. Within the context of metal this sounds fairly original compared to others in the Viking genre. The music is rather cold sounding, but not like most black metal. It’s sparse and bare bones sounding as opposed to the lo-fi wall of fuzz one might expect.

No idea what they are singing about (Viking-y stuff I’m sure), but anytime you have metal music and a lot of group chanted lyrics it’s not hard for me to enjoy the songs. Surprisingly I like this album more than the “Odin Owns Ye All” –era material. I bet this would sound even better with a punchy bass-heavy production. As much of the music sounds like a march I think it would add greatly to the atmosphere of the album to punch it up a bit.

If you’re into Viking metal and don’t mind non-English lyrics this is worth a listen. It didn’t blow me away and leave me begging for more, but it was enjoyable and I don’t regret dropping $10.99 for it on iTunes.