No matter how Christian this country has become, our religious roots will never quite disappear. Although banned for centuries,
the belief in the Norse gods couldn't be killed off and was even dusted off and
used to rewoke the Danish spirit a couple of hundred years ago when the Germans
and Swedes and English had so utterly beaten us and thus diminished the size of
the realm considerably. That rewocation was, of course, initiated by the
Romantic poets, sculpturers and painters, and their renditions of the Norse
myths were naturally...well, romantic and not quite the way I'd reckon the
Vikings told them to their sons and daughters.
The greatest irony, you could argue, is that the myths that many of we
Scandinavians love and adore were written down by Christians. We have no
guarantee that the myths we are taught in school alongside the Christian
mythology are actually the myths that were told around the fire more than a
thousand years ago. There is a real danger that we're relying on Christian
interpretations rather than the raw and untouched mythological truths of
Valhalla, Thor and Odin.
Anyway, fact is that the stories are part of our soul and identity, and
therefore a natural theme for artists.
Vanir, who have taken their name from one of the tribes of gods in Norse
mythology (the Aesir was the other tribe), are along with fellow folk metal band
Svartsot one of the most serious offers you find in this country if you're fan
of folk metal.
I haven't yet seen Vanir live, but I'll have to! Forget all about stuck-up
technicality and look the other way if you don't like bagpipes: this is about
mixing genres and having a feast. Eat some meat, dance and fornicate, that's the
clear message this music sends to all the boring Christians out there.
If I'm to mention one important thing that I'm not quite happy with, then I'd
have to mention the vocals. The almost-but-not-quite-growl that dominates the
album is not my cup of teas. The 'real' growl in the songs Holmgang and Togtet
is much more to my preference.
Still, a fun album that is recommendable for a night of downing a barrel of mead
and crushing skulls.