"Av Oss, For Oss"

By Lord Randall

I've had a Mjolnir-sized hardon for EINHERJER since way back in 1996 with the CD release of the "Aurora Borealis" demo on Necropolis. Said erection has even sustained, Viking-Viagra like during the years from '03-'11, when Hell knew if there would ever be another album, or if the mighty "Blot" was to be their swansong. "Norron" came out of the mist in 2011, and while a solid “enough” return (don't call it a comeback!) to form, something felt lacking. But...

Opening instrumental 'Fremad' falters from the start, the overt synths coming across as contrived and overbearing. I know budgets are a concern in this day and age, but when I heard the waters and the winds in the beginning, I found myself hoping for another 'Leve Vikingeaanden'. Alas this was not to be. I don't know if drummer/keyboardist Ulvar has forgotten everything he knew that gave Dragons Of The North and Odin Owns Ye All (yeah, I said it) such atmosphere, and make them such important records to me to this day, but the ever-present, abrasive keys on 'Hammer I Kors' would be laughable in any other Viking metal band. Here, it hurts my heart. Thankfully, 'Nidstong' stomps into view, bass-heavy and rumbling, Ulvar using his keys to accent, not dominate, resulting in hopes being raised for the remainder of "Av Oss, For Oss". 'Hedenske Oppstandelse' continues with the same mid-paced, robust sound of the former track, Grimar and Askel Herloe playing with surprising heft and purpose, 'Nord Og Ner' finding the band going as cock-rock as (hopefully) they ever will, yet delivering – to my ears – one of the most solid tunes on the album. 'Nornene' wanders in spots, but the trio always manage to pull you back, while 'Trelldom' would've worked as a BATTERED tune, had the keys been removed and the riff sped up. The title track closes things on the standard edition, and at over ten minutes in length had me worrying if my attention would be held. But...

I shouldn't have. The word “captivating” doesn't come to mind often when listening to metal, especially to an album which I entered with more than a bit of trepidation. Yet that's exactly what 'Av Oss, For Oss' is, both song and album. The oceans within are choppy and fraught with danger. The ship that is this album shudders from time to time, but despite the shaky start to the voyage, EINHERJER has sailed us to glory once more.