Friday, December 19, 2014

the excellence of: Einherjer (Norway): Av oss, for oss (Indie Recordings)

Einherjer (Norway): Av oss, for oss (Indie Recordings)
Einherjer’s excellent melodic, midtempo “pagan”/“viking”/folk metal causes diametrically opposed reactions in some circles. Now, the negative views on this album, as well as past albums, focus on some recurring themes. Perhaps the biggest one is that some listeners do not like that Einherjer does no blasting; the music stays midtempo/uptempo throughout, and at no time does the band launch into fast music. Related to this issue, Einherjer is seen as not “extreme” enough because the band insists on sticking with the midtempo/uptempo style.
In some ways, it is necessary to call this Einherjer MKII, the Einherjer of 2008-present. The 1993-2004 version of the band was known for changing styles from album to album, which also caused frustration for some listeners. Nowadays the band has settled into a midtempo/uptempo style with growled vocals that emphasizes big riffs and melodies.
To the point: this is one of the best albums that I have heard in 2014 for its creativity and its difference. It is refreshing to hear Einherjer stay the course of their style and hear them grow as songwriters through the art of making memorable music that is rather devoid of formulaic expectations, like speed to please some short-attention-span public. Einherjer is digging deeper, cultivating the post-2008 musical direction of somber-yet-memorable “viking metal,” which is folk metal with prog elements.
It is plain to see that some people cannot get it out of their heads that Einherjer is its own sound, its own band, and that to compare Einherjer to Enslaved, Bathory, Moonsorrow or some other band is asinine. It is as if some people are upset that Einherjer has not called up Moonsorrow or Enslaved on the phone and consulted with those bands. “I don’t like Einherjer because it is different from Moonsorrow” is not an observant way to assess this album, yet it is an “accusation” thrown at the band. Supposedly, there is much better “viking metal” out there. It does not enter some people’s heads that the members of Einherjer know what they want. This is what they do, and they happen to be very good at it.
Einherjer has become more confident in its style and more consistent in the projection of the desired atmosphere. Nowadays the band sounds very experienced, skilled and knowledgeable about how the music should be. The band does not lean on any crutches, like playing fast, and it appears that any sense of trying to be more successful-popular through being more aware of the times-trends is gone for good, and what remains is grown, adult men with realistic expectations about the eventual popularity of their somber/prog/folk Norwegian-language music for intelligent listeners that know that some metal takes time to understand, and takes even longer for the band to make.
EINHERJER - NIDSTONG (Official music video)

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