Vanir
The Glorious Dead

2014 was  an quietly decent  year for high quality folk/viking with Eluveitie’s Origins, Crimson Shadows‘ Kings Among Men, Nothgards, Age of Pandora, Skalmond’s Með vættum, Valknacht’s Le Sacrifice d’Ymir and Equilibrium’s Erdentempel (with only Equilibrium making my 2014 year end list).  And I wish I could say that Denmark’s Vanir and their 3rd album would be included in that list but unfortunately it’s a rather mediocre if at times,  solid effort that delivers all the genres tropes without any of the energy or excitement.

Plying a sound that’s somewhere between Eluveitie and Svartsot, Vanir play a style of bagpipes and whistle layered, well produced, chunky, melodic death metal with a mix of gruff and raspy vocals. Like early Eluveitie,  the main criticism seems to be that its simply rather forgetful music with a bagbpipe warbling over it. The riffs themselves simply don’t evoke any sort of heathen, viking blood lust or pillaging emotion. Sure the pipes of token folk band female member Sara Oddershede are well done and amply folky, but still even a but lifeless, but the flat riffs just don’t do anything for me. Just listen to opener “Fall of the Eagle” which should bean album opening throttler, is just meh. Even the attempted somber ballad “I valkyriernes skød”, even with its moody bagpipes just wanders and plods with no real impact.

Which is a shame as I’m typically all over this kind of stuff and I really wanted to like this more as  occasionally the band deliver some solid Amon Amarth sounding march or chug such as “Written In Blood”, “The Flames of Lindisfarne” or  the more urgent “Overlord”, but nothing truly rousing or memorable and as a result, the whole album is just kind of there rather than an album that makes me want to put on my chain mail cod piece and viking helm and chase pigeons in the park with a broad sword.

Mighty Music is usually pretty reliable, but with recent and a really weird recent slew of pretty bad hard rock and power metal releases ( Saint Rebel, 23 Acez, Estate, Malrun, Sea Ruinside) the label needs to step it up and return to its more chunky Euro death metal sound- maybe reunited Czech veterans Pandemia and their upcoming 2015 effort will help.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
January 22nd, 2015

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