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Vanir - Onwards Into Battle

Onwards Into Battle
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 09 August 2012, 2:21 PM

Legends and mythologies can only be truly savoured, aside from their physical forms if there are any, by spreading them through chants, songs, conversations and storytelling through generations. In a modern world where the large sum of these legends sound likes infant’s tales or a way to scare children to go to bed on time, there is a need to remind that several of these legends such as Norse Vikings, Asgard and Valhalla are a part of the lore of the Norse frost warriors of the north. There is a lot of pride among the Scandinavian people due to these stories. So who is better than to tell them with the orchestration that comes with it? Metal bands I presume and it has been going for at least three decades. The Viking / Folk Metal band VANIR from Denmark, signed to the local Mighty Music, released their second album “Onwards Into Battle” with a war cry all the way through the past ages. The ancient lore carries on with might and vengeance to never be silent again. It is hard not to recognize this young band’s passion towards the renowned foundation of their old heritage and what has been going on back in the days where the axe, Odin and the gods, bloody conflicts and true brotherhood reined the land.

In general, “Onwards Into Battle” is certainly no different than any other Viking / Folk Metal album out there. VANIR have been going through the safest elements to create their songs. Aside from the lyrics delivered by blackish toned growls and clean storytelling vocals, which like always, were highly influenced by the ancient stories, musically, VANIR merely clung to a single or duo catchy lead section, played mostly by Keyboards or Bagpipes rather than guitar, that followed the song till its end. I have to admit that it was rather hooking for a couple of songs, but when it kept on coming and it began to be pretty obvious, it lowered the spark of the songs and made them a bit banal. On a few occasions I could hear a few inspiring guitar solos that broke the chain in the ongoing string of the main lead aspects. Undoubtedly that same formula aided VANIR to write some great songs though being a thorn in its back. These songs, “By the Hammer They Fall”, “Warriors of Asgard” (A true warrior’s anthem for sure) and the last hammer to fall, “Sons of the North”, also harbored a few supplementary elements that made them more unique than the others. On the other hand, I consider “Æresdød”, even though an instrumental, as the album’s major pride. Without a single word I could felt the great, though rather mournful, atmosphere of once a profound fallen legacy that its influence carried people to stand up for themselves even though succumbing to different beliefs that overcame their aged tradition.

Originality or not, VANIR successfully spread their malediction of the Viking rule. Even though that their sense towards their melodies was more or less robotic as the same song pattern came crashing down over and over, “Onwards Into Battle”is still a good release forged in the fires of Valhalla. I recommend this release for all Folk Metal admirers and fans of EINHERJER, BORKNAGER and others alike.

3 Star Rating

1. Dark Clouds Gather
2. Onwards into Battle
3. Thyrfing
4. By the Hammer They Fall
5. Tveskægs Hævn
6. Brigands of Jomsborg
7. Æresdød
8. Vinlandsfærd
9. Hlidskjalf Gynger
10. Warriors of Asgard
11. Raise Your Horns
12. Fimbul
13. Sons of the North 
Andreas- Lead Vocals/ Keys
Sara– Bagpipes/ Whistles
Lars- Bass
Phillip- Rhytm Guitar
Martin– Drums/ Backing Vocals
Lasse- Lead Guitar
Record Label: Mighty Music / Target Distribution


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