Great Odin's beard; the Vanir have arrived with their second offering, 'Onwards Into Battle'! ...And with no messing about this band grab your attention and cause a storm.
I first caught the band on the unsigned stage at Copenhell 2011 and again at Aarhus Uni later that year and the crowd simply go mad for them, especially with offerings of drink from the stage...
So is this your typical viking Metal band? Well yes, their debut, 'Særimners Kød' dealt with drinking and the current release, 'Onwards Into Battle', is obviously about war, but the latter concept delve's with more focus into the theatrics of norse mythology and history whilst retaining your typical sing a long jigs. So it's not the mindless generic viking/battle Metal that can easily be found, Vanir step up to the front line with their swords held high.
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For the sophomore album, written whilst touring, the band used their experiences of other cultures and music to influence these 13 tracks and chose to sing in both native Danish and English. With the addition of Lasse Guldbærk on lead guitar the music has been manipulated to provide thundering guitars and epic solo's with rumbling war drums from Martin Håken.
Immediately noticeable is the highly melodic pipes from Sara Oddershede, but by tracks 3 & 4 I do feel that it could do with a little bit of a rest to allow the guitars to take over, and so it does in track 5, 'Tveskægs Hævn (Forkbeard's Revenge)' to be replaced with flute, dynamic!
The rhythm section glide harmoniously hand in hand with the pipes, flutes, guitars and bass from members Phillip Kaaber and Lars Bundvad respectfully, but the guitar solo's start form the outset, and boy, do they shred, check out the title track or this:
Vanir - 'Brigands Of Jomsborg'
Tracks that stand out, 'Æresdød (Honorary Death)' is an outstanding track of choral atmospherics whilst 'Warriors Of Asgard' perfects the fine balance of pipes and outstanding guitar solo's along with growly lead vocals to backing chants - similar to that of Korplikaani. 'Raise Your Horns' is probably the most danceable on the LP and finale 'Sons Of The North' throws a curveball with a semi acoustic folk ballad.
So just how viking are they? Well these Danish vikings, hailing from Kalundborg, have their priorities set; Metal, beer, war, more beer and more Metal! A mighty performance ensues in full regale of furs and horns, leather and long hair; an aesthetic pleasure for both women and men! They even have bagpipes, flutes, fiddles and a keytar with lead vocalist Andreas Bigom!
If you're into folk, viking and battle metal then 'Onwards Into Battle' will certainly stand well in your collection, I'd love to see this band bag a slot at Bloodstock-Open-Air and Hammerfest!
For fans of: Tyr, Korplikaani, Ensiferum, Eluveitie