Vanir – Allfather

Band: Vanir
Album: Allfather
Release Date: 15th February 2019
Record Label: Mighty Music

Vanir are a band that have been on my radar for quite a while now, but sadly I have never had the chance to give them a proper listen. Their latest release, Allfather, and my little review site gave me the perfect opportunity to do so.

We are introduced to Allfather with heavy guitar and symphonic elements in the background. Væringjar is our first track with harsh, growling vocals.. It sets the tone for the rest of the album, it’s heavy and hard hitting, and perfect for a headbang. A single, distorted guitar introduces Svoldir, and drums and choral vocals come into the mix. It has a heavier feel than Væringjar, it’s grittier and faster. The choral and symphonic elements are low in the mix this time, but they are still audible, though the symphonic elements become more prominent as the track goes on.

The Final Stand prepares us for battle with war drums, and when the full instrumental kicks in, it’s fast paced. There are some slower and heavier sections, but it does build back up the pace again. Some atmosphere is created with wind and drums, it is slower and more atmospheric than the previous tracks. There are choral vocals, and a faster and more intense section towards the end. Battle cries and sounds ready the listener for a Shield Wall. It is a fast paced track, perfect for a pit or (shield) wall of death. There is a fast solo, and this is definitely a track I’ll be standing to the side for if I get the chance to see Vanir live!

Fejd begins with guitar, drums and choral vocals, and there is a great guitar solo. For the first time, we hear some clean vocals, and they remind me of a Creed style vocal, which sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it really does. There are still some harsh vocals in there for people who are pining for them though. Horses and thunder announce the arrival of Thor – The Powerhead, and there are some choral vocals behind the guitar and drums. We’re back to the fully harsh vocals, with a catchy and headbanging beat.

A more sinister and uneasy feel to the instrumental introduces us to Bearer of the World. There is a bit more of a black metal feel to the instrumental towards the end, and it has a bit of a Dimmu Borgir feel to it. Ulfhednar is a strong and steady headbanging track, again with choral vocals in the background. The chorus is heavy with symphonic elements in the background, and I feel that a live crowd could have a shout along to the chorus, and there could be some great crowd participation with a call and answer towards the end.

Einherjer has a more upbeat feel, but it should not be mistaken for a happy track. There is a guitar and drum intro, and the main body of the track has more of a traditional heavy metal feel, and in the verse, there is a definite Guardians of Asgard feel. We finish with Gravfærd, and a strings intro with a buildup of the guitar. The drums are fast but the instrumental overall is slower. The verses are chuggy and the strings are more prominent. We finish with a single guitar, playing alone. 

Vanir are definitely a band I should have taken the time to listen to earlier. I really enjoyed this album, and I look forward to getting a chance to give their back catalogue a proper listen. As anyone who knows me knows full well, I love my happy jiggy folk metal, however, I enjoyed this much more than I expected. I will definitely be taking the chance to see them live if I ever get to. I’m sure I’ll have the best of times.

Verdict: 8.5/10

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