Einherjer - Norron

Posted on Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Back in the day, when one said “Viking Metal,” you were only referring to three bands: Enslaved, Bathory and Einherjer. That was before the whole Folk Metal explosion that brought us Turisas, Falkenbach, Folkearth and dozens more from all over the planet. Sadly, Einherjer had broken up by then. Eight years after breaking up following their Blot album, Einherjer has returned to a landscape that has vastly changed. Though they were once considered the vanguard of Folk/Viking Metal, their sound and style bear almost no resemblance to what folks call Folk Metal now. These days, Folk Metal often sounds like a Renaissance Faire with a double bass drummer. Rest assured, though. Einherjer may have disappeared into the fjords for eight years, but they didn’t spend them drinking beer with Korpiklanni. In fact, with Norron, Einherjer may have invented a whole new sub-genre of Folk/Viking Metal. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Progressive Viking Metal band before, but this album clearly falls into that category. This is way different than anything they’ve done previously. The inclusion of Progressive Metal elements into their sound makes this album an interesting listen, but it also brings with it some problems. The first thing that you tend to lose when you go Progressive is the simple, catchy hook that most Folk Metal bands rely heavily on. Without that hook, you lose a lot of memorability. When the CD ends and you can’t really remember any of the songs, that’s always a bad thing. Another problem is that the songs tend to be overly complex and meandering. This is particularly a problem with the first two tracks. The first one, “Norron Kraft” is a almost a full thirteen minutes long. The second song, “Naglfar,” is slightly over five minutes. That means that for close to twenty minutes, you get some convoluted songwriting before the good stuff kicks in. This isn’t to say that the first two tracks suck. They’re pretty good, but the other songs seem more focused and the Folk/Viking elements come out fuller. If you can make it through the first two tracks, Norron gets a lot better.

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