Einherjer - Av Oss, For Oss (2014)
Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth
The Norwegian trio of Einherjer delivers the best “Viking metal” album of the year with its sixth studio album entitled Av Oss, For Oss. This record includes everything a gripping genre essential needs: cinematic atmospheres with occasional nods to folk influence here and there in the opening instrumental tune and bridges, authentic Norwegian lyrics performed via bleak, yet surprisingly chilling black metal vocals, gripping and heavy doom metal riffs, some classic heavy metal guitar soli that lighten up the atmosphere, and finally, a couple of occasional sing-along parts in the bridges that make one think of “heroic” Viking hordes.
While the album has a great flow and works as a whole, three songs really stand out for me. The first of which is the first single, “Nidstong”, which is one of the few upper mid-tempo tracks here. The song doesn’t have anything like a chorus, but the reccurring vocal lines and riffs are quite catchy. There is no doubt that this is the most accessible song on the album. However, mysterious chants add some depth to the otherwise straightforward songwriting in the bridges. These chants sound pulled from a number of gothic metal bands. Another big surprise comes in the form of a melodic rock ‘n roll guitar solo, which adds a fresh touch to the darker atmosphere and manages not to sound out of place. The more I listen to this record, the more original details I manage to discover.
“Nord Og Ner” is one of the darker songs on the album and stands out between the more vivid tracks. The middle passage features raw and simplistic guitar riffs and a dominating rhythmic bass guitar line, accompanied by precise drum patterns that make my head and legs shake. The instrumental portion makes a solid song truly remarkable. Finally, the fitting closing track “Av Oss, For Oss” is an atmospheric epic anthem that runs for far over ten minutes, and which manages to mix musical diversity with catchy melodies. The song has its laid back orchestral keyboard passages, which soak in harmony and melancholy, on one side, but also the bleakest black metal vocals on the entire album as well. This majestic mixture of progressive aesthetics and natural emotions recalls and probably even equals genre classics from iconic bands such as Bathory and Falkenbach. This worthy title song is probably one of the very best songs ever written by the band, and I find it grows with each spin.
Anybody who cares for this style of Viking metal, from Månegarm to Moonsorrow to Týr, should definitely purchase this record, put out by an extremely underrated band. Try to grab the limited digipack edition that includes the bonus track “Blodsbånd” as well. Av Oss, For Oss is a perfectly coherent album, and has a lot of depth, progressive tendencies, and a bleak yet beautiful soul that invites you to plunge into a heroic, nostalgic, and raw world of past glory. This record easily grabs one of the top places of the year for me.
4.5 // 5