Einherjer - Av Oss For Oss 01Norway’s Einherjer were a band I always meant to check out, but never got around to back in the late 90’s. With all the big releases that were popping up left and right back then, it was hard to keep up in the days before the Internet, and with me being a young’n with limited funds and no means to check out bands save for issues of Metal Maniacs, I was thrown out of the loop on many groups, Einherjer among them. After disbanding in 2004 and regrouping in 2008, they’ve been steadily leaving their mark in the realm of all things Viking, releasing 2011’s Norrøn and today’s helping, Av Oss, For Oss. So what have I missed in the last decade of all things Einherjer?

Simply put, just strong workmanlike mid-paced metal, nothing more, nothing less. After a long, symphonic intro, “Hammer I Kors” gallops along like a Viking Iron Maiden circa Piece of Mind, minus twin guitar melodies and with the addition of guitarist Grimar’s throaty rasps. And is that cowbell I hear? Yep, Ulvar’s drumming is what keeps the song energetic and interesting with his choice of percussive fills and thick, heavy pummeling. A couple of tasty leads later, and the song closes out.  So far, so good.

“Good,” in fact, is the word I would use to describe Av Oss, For Oss. In other words, it’s not jawdroppingly phenomenal, but it’s also not bad either.  It sits in a comfortable rhythm throughout the album’s entirety. “Nornene” has some incredibly strong clean vocals in the chorus to match Grimar’s screaming, and guitarist Aksel Herløe has some good melodies to follow up the strong rhythm patterns created by Grimar and Ulvar.

Einherjer - Av Oss For Oss 02Elsewhere, “Nord og Ner” has a simple-but driving backdrop, easily the most rock-and-roll-sounding song on the entire album, guaranteed to get heads banging and fists pumping towards Valhalla. The closing title track could use a bit of editing (translated: shave off a minute or three), but even then, there’s some really good melodies to be had there as well.

But, for all the good the album has, the one big flaw Av Oss, For Oss contains is that the songs all go at almost the same tempo, feeling like one big, long song with little variance. A few more tempo shifts would have done wonders in  to make the album (and Einherjer as a whole) stand out in a sea of Nordic metallers. On the production side, Grimar did a good job making the guitars and bass all nice and beefy, and giving the drums a huge thunderous feel, even with the mix being robbed of much-needed dynamics and quieter sound. Those cymbals do hurt a bit, though.

While not mind-blowing, Av Oss, For Oss was an enjoyable introduction to the stylings of Einherjer for me. While not the go-to band for my Viking fix (that would be Borknagar, for you folks at home), I was quite happy with how Av Oss, For Oss turned out. Now to catch up with their back catalog…

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Indie Recordings
Websites: EinherjerOfficial | Facebook.com/Einherjer
Release Dates: EU: 2014.10.27  | NA: 01.13.2015

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  • Thatguy

    Thanks for this review
    On the basis of the embedded song I could only give this a 2.5
    Nothing bad about this, but it’s just not interesting – it’s metal by numbers really

  • This record is a clear 2.5 for me. As a fan of the band’s pre-breakup material primarily (though, man, their whole discog up to the split was pretty fucking great), I just have not been able to get into either Norrøn or Av Oss For Oss. Way too plodding for my tastes, without the absolutely riveting work they were doing on Norwegian Native Art and Blot. Those records are both amazing.

    • Jan

      They never reached the hymnic peaks of FAR FAR NORTH (song and whole 3-track EP) again. The big finale, NAAR AFTENSOLEN RINNER, still holds up as my favourite Viking Metal track period, even though I’ve left that genre behind as a whole. And come on, how insanely cool is that tiny nod to Poledouris’ CONAN THE DESTROYER score that caps off the second track? I mean… THE DESTROYER, not THE BARBARIAN. The sheer audacity!

      • That EP is amazing, but I don’t think it’s fair to them. Blot and Native Norwegian Art are both extremely good records. And Odin Owns Ye All is also awesome. Basically everything they did pre-breakup was stellar.

        • Jan

          Oh, you’re certainly right about these other records being great as well. Just not as perfect. They all have stretches that I don’t particularly care for. But there’s gold to be found there as well. Your comment actually prompted me to revisit them and, man, CRIMSON RAIN, WOLF-AGE and THE ETERNALLY DAMNED blew my mind all over again!

          • Woooolf Age. Love that song so fucking much. And actually, I’ve read that poem they took that from.

          • Jan

            Is that from the Voluspa, read: the one poem that only every fifth Viking Metal song and every second Tolkien page (at least name-wise) is not based on? I haven’t read that in a while. Just did now to look for the exact WOLF-AGE lyrics, which I did not find there. Maybe there’s some other Edda pieces describing the coming of Ragnarök as well? Anyway, that part where Frode goes ‘I saw the darkness descend upon the nine worlds’ is kicking my ass again right now. Love it!

  • Wilhelm

    “before the Internet, and with me being a young’n with limited funds and no means to check out bands save for issues of Metal Maniacs”

    I was in the same camp, Fortunately I was introduced to Einherjer back in the 90’s. Some people don’t like it, but I think the band’s best album is “Odin Owns Ye All.” It doesn’t have the aggression but contains clean vocals and fun viking anthems. Their new stuff is too plodding, it’s good for a couple listens and that’s about it.

  • Feytalist

    I love Einherjer. Blot especially, but Norrøn as well. And I agree, this album is good, but not spectacular. There are some great moments in there though (like the whole of the closing track, for instance). I’d happily put this into regular rotation.

    Also my go-to Viking metal band would probably be Falkenbach.

  • Alexandre Barata

    From the embedded song it sounds like a cool Viking’n’Roll, making it a funny listening, but a bit tiresome after a while. Gotta check the whole album to see if it has more versatility than this song, otherwise I will probably find it boring.

  • euthanatos

    Bring back Ragnar Vikse. It’s as simple as that. He doesn’t want to? Band doesn’t get along with him? get someone else who does that Nemtheanga-like rasp bellowing. Norwegian Native Art was so good.

  • Doomdeathrosh

    well they sound quite good inspite of the fall in form from before!

  • How did I miss this?? One of my favorite all time bands. I’ll have to check it out even if it can’t match the standards pre-split. Thanks for spreading the news Grymm.