The Norwegians from EINHERJER released this album in 1998 by Century Media. Their second full-length effort was produced by Andy La Rocque and in comparison to the debut, “Dragons Of The North,” certain personnel changes took place so the line-up for the below-reviewed record was as follows: Ragnar Vikse (vocals), Frode Glesnes (guitar), Erik Elden (bass) and Gerhard Storesund (synths and drums).
The lyrical concept for this album is based on the content of “Poetic Edda,” which is a collection of medieval skaldic poetry concerning pagan Norse beliefs. How does it work? Well, sometimes the musicians borrow some excerpts from this epic piece and sometimes they just create their own lyrics oscillating around it. I have to admit that this idea makes a real impression on me and adds extremely much to the authenticity of the whole material. More to that, I would be willing to give this album a very good mark only with regard to these lyrics.
If we take a closer look at what EINHERJER offer us with “Odin Owns Ye All,” as far as music is concerned, we see then (or rather hear) the omnipresence of very melodic Heavy Metal riffing with a touch of Folk music enriched by catchy synthesizer fragments which definitely play an important role in creating medieval atmosphere and invoking Viking spirit. When it comes to the vocals, we get here (unlike for instance “Norwegian Native Art”) clean singing performed by Ragnar Vikse who often, especially in choruses, is supported by his comrades.
The first track on the album, called “Leve Vikingeaanden,” is a march-like keyboard piece which constitutes a decent opening for the story that EINHERJER are about to tell us with this magnificent release. Right after this one comes “Out Of Ginnungagap”. Although Folk music sounds created by synthesizer are not present here as on the other tracks, still the vigorous guitars as well as a portion of stunning Viking choirs set this track as one of Viking Metal’s jewels. These powerful chants can be found also in the “Clash Of The Elder”, a track, which sets off with a folk intro after which Norwegians gradually add heavy guitar, rhythmic section and cheerful synth passages, all creating an excellent multi-layered combination. The sluggish tempo of this song, especially in the chorus part, turns occasionally into a bit faster one.
In the title track we go back to the musicianship similar to the one in the second song, i.e. heavy riffing almost without synthesizers, which mark their presence only in a very short part somewhere in the middle of this composition. Of course also here EINHERJER grants us some epic choirs and these are indeed one of the most significant feature of this album.
The next song, “Remember Tokk”, is similar in composition to the previous one though some synth playing appears and the whole track contains something ominous in its expression. This thought comes to mind probably because of the lyrics dealing with one of the most interesting yet deceitful characters in Nordic mythology, Loke.
“Home”, the title of track number six, refers to Valhall which is the warrior paradise in Viking beliefs. Apart from recurring viking choirs (this time truly drunken!) we get again a bunch of juicy Heavy Metal riffing with a subtle synth background from time to time. Proceeding further on we meet “The Pathfinder And The Prophetess”. The song, in which they are the main characters (Pathfinder is one of Odin’s names in Nordic mythology) has a speedy beginning with galloping guitar parts which later transcend into a slow-paced mighty choir chorus. A drunken, tuneful and awesome one! What else can a Viking Metal fan expect? A melody to remember!
Norwegians recipe for Viking culture influenced music continues also on the last two tracks of which the first one, called “Inferno”, has the evil atmosphere which resembles of the one in “Remember Tokk”. It is actually nothing surprising as the lyrics tell us the story of the final battle between giants and Norse gods – Ragnarök. Luckily, a new world will arise and this is the subject of the closing song “A New Earth”. It starts with a synth-passage and has a very nice ballad-like feeling. The tempo is getting faster in the chorus just to slow down before the second verse and as we get near the end of this track we can hear a fragment with a touch of Progressive Rock.
All in all, the second album of the ensemble from Haugesund delivers us music consisting of majestic choirs, epic synthesizer tracks and lively heavy metal riffs. For me, this record is without a doubt EINHERJER’s best one ever and after listening to this stuff, only few ones, I believe, will doubt whether Odin really owns us all.
(Online February 23, 2008)