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Einherjer > Blot > Reviews
Einherjer - Blot

Their masterwork - a slick and powerful beast - 90%

Absinthe1979, July 23rd, 2020
Written based on this version: 2003, CD, Tabu Recordings

At the dawning of the twenty-first century, viking metal and its associated sub-generic branches – call them what you will - had evolved into a collection of bands that were at the zenith of their creative and emotive skills. Acts like Moonsorrow, Thyrfing and Tyr were producing albums that would remain to this day their meisterwerks, providing plausibility to a genre that traditionalists found somewhat suspicious. There was a grand enthusiasm in the pagan air as bands crafted evocative and moving odes to times past.

Einherjer, I feel, tend to be generally overlooked when it comes to the champions of the genre. Perhaps this comes down to the fact that they effectively disappeared after the release of ‘Blot’ in 2003 before later resurfacing once the genre bubble had burst; perhaps it was because, apart from ‘Blot’, they never really produced albums that put them in the first-rate category. They were always good, but they were never always great. All the more reason, therefore, to celebrate the most excellent slab of pagan melody that is the mighty 'Blot'.

‘Blot’ was the final release for the band before a hiatus that lasted until 2011, and it was interestingly their first album without clean vocalist Ragnar Vikse since their debut in 1996. At the time I was slightly disappointed that they parted ways, as I had always enjoyed Ragnar’s rasping bellow, yet it proved to be an excellent move, as the growled vocals of Frode Glesnes ensured a more mature and grim sound to the whole album. Gone were the more celebratory and rousing vocal lines of the drunken viking, and in came the more otherworldly and darkly present growled vocals of the dead. It injected a sense of seriousness that they had never really had before, and it worked superbly.

The album begins with the bombastic keyboard intro ‘Einherjermarsjen’, a stirring march of warriors off on campaign. It’s a fantastic way to open the album, and the melody is quite infectious. It soon gives way to ‘Ironbound’, with its stomping and swinging pagan melody, albeit played tightly and with crisp yet heavy production. Those familiar with previous Einherjer albums will immediately recognise the vast improvement in the sound on this one – indeed, my foremost complaint about ‘Norwegian Native Art’ was the somewhat murky (in a debilitating sense) production (despite a decent subsequent remastering job). ‘Ironbound’ is a brilliant track that recounts Loki’s torment when tied to the rock: “Oath-bound to Odin in blood but beware/In truth I am gut-bound to rock”. Great line delivered so effectively in the final verse, and perhaps an apt metaphor for modern life if I’m feeling philosophical.

‘Hammer Haus’ is a stirringly melodic track with a heavy-hitting chorus, while album closure ‘Venomtongue’ is slightly more epic without losing the name of action. The whole album is high energy in the sense of a tightly constructed mid-paced viking fist-pump, and the 60 minutes fly by in a high degree of excitement and satisfaction. Drummer Gerhard Storesund provides tastefully implemented keyboard augmentation that sublimely matches the guitar tone – it’s clear there is a deft hand at work with this aspect of the sound. The album is definitely heavy and guitar-driven, but it’s also atmospheric and draws the listener in.

The album artwork presents an evocative image, golden with norse imagery. The booklet, with lyrics and additional art, is very well put together and a joy to flick through.

Unfortunately, even recent releases from the resurrected band such as ‘Norron’, ‘Av Oss For Oss’ and ‘Norrone Spor’ have failed to capture the magic and power of ‘Blot’, which remains Einherjer’s magnum opus. I wish these latter-day albums had a bit more crunch and energy, but I find them slightly chugging and a little lame. ‘Blot’, however, is the sound of a band at their peak and remains mandatory for sword-wavers everywhere.

They were right - 91%

PhantomMullet, October 17th, 2011

Einherjer split up in 2004 because they felt their most recent album at the time, Blot, was the best that they could come up with and anything else would be a futile disappointment. They're back together now, but I do respect a band that can put out something awesome before quitting, and I think Blot fits that criteria.

Blot is by far EInherjer's most complete album. With 12 tracks and a total time of over an hour, there's a lot here and there are going to be at least a few songs that most people will like. The production of the album has never been more clear - this is a huge step up from their choppier work from the beginning of their career. Guitars are pronounced heavily throughout each track and are the main driving force for most of the tracks. Keyboards supplement the rest the music but do not come on too strong. Blot is a good example of triumphant sounding viking metal, but remains controlled enough in the song writing to not jump over the line of cheesy campfire viking party metal. Instead, I sense a lot of influence from older heavy metal bands, whether it was intentional or not. Tracks like "Ware Her Venom" come across as something Dio could have made it he decided to make some modern viking metal.

With twelve tracks, Einherjer has done a very good job differentiating all of them. There are a lot of moods you can sense when you listen to Blot. For example, songs like Berserkergang, Ironbound, and Ware Her Venom come off as more militant sounding based on how the drums keep up the tempo. Starkad and Wolf Age are incredibly catchy and borderline happy sounding. The piano and riffs in the latter do an awesome job complementing each other throughout the chorus of the music. Songs like Hammer Haus are more melodic, but even remind me of the final Windir album. The guitar work really excels in a lot of these tracks - solos come up in their most natural transitions in the music, but nothing here is really predictable.

Blot is one of those albums that can get a lot of replay value because of the diversity of the songs. There is so much to choose from depending on the kind of mood you're in. It's not a deep album by any means, but it's fun to listen to and highly entertaining. Blot is a prime example of solid viking metal and is worth recommending to followers of the genre.

Highlights; Wolf-Age, Ware Her Venom, Ride the Gallows

Beautiful and Epic Viking Metal - 90%

Shadoeking, February 19th, 2010

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.

Good style, but substance? - 80%

Egregius, February 9th, 2005

I went on a massive haul a while back, and when making the final selection, I picked Einherjer's Blot over Devil Doll's The Girl Who Was Death. I just want to point out I regret making that decision, even if Einherjer was a lot cheaper.

I listened to Einherjer's Blot in the store namely, and was severely impressed by it's intro and subsequent songs. The intro was triumphant and intense, it reminded me of Finntroll's Jaktens Tid. The following songs were undeniably METAL songs, that although simple in setup seriously rocked the kasbah.

But back at home, the latter half of the album seemed to blend into eachother, and sounded a bit too similar to eachother. This is viking metal, rather in the style of Thyrfing, and they suffered from the same thing: trouble keeping songs interesting over time. Same heavy guitar riffs that emphasize melody and heavyness, and the synths on top of it; slightly too much on top. Yes, this is one of those albums with keyboards a tiny tad too dominant. Compared to an album like Devil Doll, this doesn't have the same amount of substance or sophistication by a long shot. It's more like cheap thrills.

But damnit, I listened to it again recently, and this is metal and it rocks (the kasbah)! I guess I was a bit dissapointed that this album wasn't more like the other Einherjer album I know, Dragons of the North. That album was purely guitar based, and quite original viking metal, with it's rolling guitar layers that built up that glorious viking feeling. This is a bit too much like the many synth based extreme metal bands. Only really decent. Melodies that settled in catchy rythms, and those slick keyboards on top, and a decent vocalist rasper. And songs that scream METAL at you.

It's just that when I feel like hearing something really good, I'd rather put up Devil Doll or Therion, instead of this. It's nice, but it's style over substance, so it doesn't entertain me forever. Nice style though, but still.

Einherjer, Kings of Viking Metal!!! - 99%

VikingThrone, November 8th, 2004

When I first heard about this album I was excited and scared to hear Einherjer’s new music because I had heard that their style had changed, but as soon as I bought the album and listened to it I was extremely impressed with what I was hearing. Einherjer have once again out done themselves with Blot. While still remaining true to their Viking sounding roots they took a more black metal approach with the singing on this album than their previous albums. The album is very authentic to the Viking metal genre and starts out with a track called einherjermarsjen that is just a Norse sounding instrumental piece and prepares you to get ready for some real Viking metal. The music in this album sounds very full in which it has a lot of melody behind the rhythm guitar throughout the entire song. Frode took more of a black metal approach with his singing this time rather than his usual cleaner sounding vocals but still goes with the music extremely well. Gerhard’s drumming on this album is awesome and he shows a lot of really complex rhythm patterns in his playing and an amazing display of coordination with his double bass playing. This album is overall pretty much fast paced and heavy throughout the entire record and is still very authentic to the Viking metal genre. If you are a fan of Viking metal I would suggest buying this album.

Another Masterpiece from Einherjer - 99%

WIndrider, October 16th, 2003

EPIC. That’s the first word that comes to mind when I think of the new Einherjer album.
While at first I was a little turned off by the dramatic change of sound on Einherjer’s new album, I soon realized the ingenious of this recording. That’s right the new Einherjer is quite different from what we’ve come to know these Viking warriors as, and for many this change will be embraced and for others it will be a disappointment. One thing that cannot be argued about this album however, is the wall of maturity shinning through on this album.
To start the new Einherjer is their most brutal album yet, leaving behind any remnants of their once jovial power metal sound, Einherjer have taken on the identity of a black-Viking monster, so aggressive, it stands up their with the likes of other aggressive folk metal bands such as Mithoytn and Manegarm. However to even make mention of other Viking bands does Einherjer no justice because these men are THEE Viking band, which they have proved once more with their new release.
The most noticeable difference about the new Einhejer is the vocal work, while any Einherjer fan can tell Frode is still at the mike the difference is quite prevalent. Frode’s vocals on this album are way grimmer. Frodes vocals come much more from the throat, automatically giving the album a dirtier feel, authentic feel. When hearing frode sing I immediately conjure the image of a filthy pirate (or Viking for that matter). Anyone who has heard the Moonsorrow’s Kivenkatanja will see a similarity in the vocals (although who influenced who is another question).
The Drums on this album is the other thing that stands out to me. They are absolutely superb. Gerhard, who I believe has been with the band for a while really bust out on this album. He creates unique drum beats (almost progressive) yet maintains a great rhythm staying extremely tight with all the other instruments.
As for the Guitars and keys these are different as well. The Guitars are crunchy and tend to rely mainly on steady rhythm sections, however, Frode and Askel certainly know how to solo when necessary, and this is seen at least once in almost every songs. Einherjer’s keyboard section is brilliant as usual, conjuring massive images and traveling all over the map. This is not to say the keys aren’t also used for rhythm, but in general the keys are Einherjer’s main source of exploration.
Another noteworthy feature is the absolutely stunning production. Einherjer have always been good in this aspect, but Blot takes cake, evoking some of this cleanest, strongest production I’ve heard all year. This album is around 50 minutes long, yet flies by in what seems like seconds.
The overall sound of the new album is bombastic, the riffs are repetitive, yet somehow captivating. The album has an attacking feel to, as if you are in a battlefield. All else I can really say about this album is that it is amazing. Einherjer have been a band for 10 years now and let me say it really shows on this album. BUY IT !!