Saturday, February 20, 2010

Initial Impressions: Einherjer: Blot

Einherjer is often categorized in one of a couple of different genres: viking metal, symphonic black metal, or progressive black metal. Any of those genres is probably adequate to describe the band's music, but none of them individually tell the whole story. To really get an idea of what this band sounds like, the three genres must be combined.

The music on this album essentially sounds like latter-era Enslaved with symphonic flourishes and more use of melody. The riffs remain rooted in second-wave Norwegian black metal style. Einherjer was part of that movement. But added to the riffs are extremely melodic guitar leads and orchestral synth lines giving the whole feeling of the album an epic, grandiose feel. The structure of the riffs also has a more progressive flair to it, which brings in to mind the comparison to countrymen and progressive black metal masters Enslaved. The music is beautiful and captivating.

The production is extremely crisp and clear, allowing each of the riffs to be heard without straining. The drums and bass are also powerful in the mix. This album truly has a great sound quality to it. Somewhat unusual for the genre really.

The vocals are delivered in a fairly normal black metal rasp, though it is deeper than other such bands. The lyrics deal with Viking mythology and legends. The songs are reasonable in length with most songs clocking in between four and six minutes or so. The epic length "Hammer Haus" being the only exception. The music remains varied enough though that the album never drags, despite lasting over an hour.

This was a big surprise album. It was very cheap at my local music store, so I picked it up and was amazed at how well I enjoyed the album. I strongly recommend this for anyone who likes latter Enslaved.

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