|Review: Einherjer - North Star|
Label: Napalm Records
Year released: 2021
Genre: Viking Metal
Review online: March 3, 2021
Reviewed by: Christian Renner
Rated 4.13/5 (82.5%) (8 Votes)
I think where Einherjer are concerned, you always have a general idea of what to expect. Sometimes the effectiveness may vary from one release to another, but I honestly don't think they have recorded a bad album. There are some that are definitely better than others, but nothing that I would skip outright. The band is closing in on 30 years of their brand of Viking Metal, and at this point I think they might have their style down to a science. North Star will not break new ground or reinvent the genre, but it is a very worthy addition to their discography.
The album starts in top gear with "The Blood and the Iron". No fucking around with a lame ass intro track here. Straight to the driving riffs and pounding drums with harsh vocals that are perfect for this genre. Grimar is criminally underrated when it comes to his vocal performances. Harsh, but still easily understandable. When watching the "Vikings" television show on the History channel, I always think they should all sound like Grimar. "Stars" is up next, and it is a perfect example of what Einherjer's brand of Viking Metal is so good at. Their ability to get into that killer groove and just enjoy every minute of it. Amon Amarth lean more towards that Death Metal sound while keeping that melody intact that is a hallmark of the genre. Einherjer, on the other hand, seem to focus more on the melody and build the surrounding heaviness. With that in mind, when they kick into a song like "West Coast Groove," which is more of a Viking Metal meets Black n' Roll moment, it doesn't feel out of place. I will not go track by track as these are all great songs, although "Ascension" does drag a bit and the reason it's not a 5/5 score. Something I do, however, have to comment on is the guitar work on this album. The riffs are as strong as ever, but the solo work on here is hands down the best of their career. After listening to metal since the early '80s, you can become a bit desensitized to guitar solos. When they really make you take notice, they really are worthy of mention.
Einherjer have released another excellent album that fans of the band will certainly like and could easily draw some new fans as well. No worries of heavy metal pet peeves here. No intro track and an album clocking in under 45 minutes with eight VERY good songs. Highly recommended.
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