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Vanir - 10 Years of Mead and Metal

Vanir
10 Years of Mead and Metal
by Jean-François ‘’Jackal’’ Poulin at 25 March 2020, 9:12 AM

VANIR is a Viking Metal Band out of Roskilde, Denmark. Not to be confused with other bands that have the same name from Germany and Netherlands respectively! They decided to celebrate their ten year existence by launching a small compilation EP with re-recorded versions of their songs. The only newer song is ‘’Kringsatt av Fjender’’ which I couldn’t find on their previous releases, it may or may not be an unused song from the past or simply a new song to celebrate their decade-long run. I was not able to gather much information on the band so let’s dive into the listening of this EP!

For those who were wondering, in Norse Mythology, Vanir means a group of gods associated with nature, fertility, wisdom and the ability to see the future. Some say Vanir means friend and some say it means the Goddess of Love, it really differs from one account to another but nonetheless Vanir has a huge importance in Norse Mythology.

When we talk about Viking Metal, you will always have this comparison with AMON AMARTH, its pretty much a given. I would say that the music is very reminiscent of them but the vocals have a more harsher edge. The singer almost has that Black Metal-esque vocals, especially on the first song of the album. It does not have the overall theatrical ambiance that AMON AMARTH has had the last few albums but it’s still a pretty good overall EP. It’s really tough to compare any band to them unfortunately but I think VANIR did a fine job trying to distance themselves while offering something a bit different from song to song.

‘’Gildet’’ is a fun-loving song about drinking and you have good humour in spades on this one. It’s very jovial and reminiscent of bands like early FINNTROLL and KORPIKLAANI. A full album of songs like these would get on my nerves but one song amongst the others, well I don’t mind. It gets you in a great mood and you just feel like doing a circle pit! (Please don’t do this at home during the quarantine!).

‘’Rejsen Til Udgardsloke’’ is another song that is a lot of fun and the singer sings a bit differently on this one. It seems to be more guttural than anything else. You have the full keyboard and accordeon regalia in the back but with the really non-descript grunting from Martin Hakan. The vocals don’t seem to fit the song that well unfortunately and it hurts the overall quality of the song even though it’s a pretty rad song.

‘’Kringsatt av Fjender’’ are the first words of ‘’To the Youth’’, a poem by Til Ungdommen. This poem was transformed into song back in 1952 by Danish composer Otto Mortensen. This is a very important song for the Norwegian culture and has been used at memorials and gatherings after the terror attacks of the 22nd of July 2011. They put their own flavor on this version and it’s still a pretty somber song. If anyone wanted to know, well it means ‘’Surrounded by Enemies’’ in english.

I was pleasantly surprised by the English version of ‘Saerimners Kod’’. I was quite happy to hear it in English though it really shows that it’s not their native language though. It sounded a bit when Max Cavalera sang in English on those first SEPULTURA albums, a little bit all over the place! I still enjoyed this version though I prefer the original version but to add an English version on their compilation was a nice touch.

They are a very enjoyable Viking Metal band that offers a bit more to the taste of fans of the genre and they have enormous potential for the future. This was a really fun ride even though it’s only 5 songs long!

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Saerimners Kod
2. Rejsen til Udgardsloke
3. Gildet
4. Kringsatt av Fjender
5. Saerimners Kod (English Version)
Lineup:
Martin Holmsgaard Hakan  – Vocals
Philip Kaeber – Rhythm Guitars
Daniel Kronskov – Drums
Lars Bundvad – Bass
Kirk Backarach – Lead Guitars
Stefan Dujardin – Keyboards
Record Label: Mighty Music
     


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