Review Summary: Viking Metal's best.
This is Einherjer's last album, and I dare say their best as well. Everything is just one great improvement. With "Norwegian Native Art", Einherjer returned to that black metal feel which was lost on "Odin Owns Ye All".
The album opens with a good, short keyboard track, a battle march, which really ain't anything special. After that it kicks off with their probably best-known song, Ironbound. It is a pounding song, delivering hits one after another. Also a somewhat uncharacteristic song for Einherjer.
The next song is Dead Knight's Rite, which starts with the simplest riff throughout the history of music, and then becomes more complex the further the song goes. It has the same marching energy Ironbound has. It becomes a rather sad instrumental midway in the song. Overall this isn't as great song as the following songs are.
After that, the tempo definetly gets kicked up a notch. Wolf-Age is a very fast song, at least compared to the first ones. It features extremely complex double-bass drumming, something you could always hope from Einherjer. Frode Glesnes's growling definetly fits the song well. The solo starts at the correct moment, and doesn't dissappoint, especially the shredding. However, while being a very good song, it fails to give any real feeling.
Wolf-Age is followed up by The Eternally Damned. This song is just desperation. Pure desperation. The keyboards compliment the guitars excellently, and the drumming is one of the best I've ever heard (by Gerhard Storesund).A short song by Einherjer standards, but one of the albumj highlights in my opinion.
Ware Her Venom doesn't waste time one bit. It jumps off at drumming, which is every headbangers dream. The different parts of the song meld very well together, and Frode's growling, while somewhat primitive, again gives the desired effect. In the middle of the song, you'll hear similarites between this song and Wolf-Age.
Next comes Hammar Haus, which is the definetly the best song on the album. The beginning is majestic, pure Viking metal. It manages many tempo changes before the actual singing (growling) begins and the song itself starts. The guitars insert good riffs over eachother, while the drumming keeps the tempo going, though slowly. The song keeps speeding up and breaking to almost full stops continously, and so for 8 minutes. It is also Gerhard's best example of drumming, with extremely fast drumming in faster parts, and incredibly complex rhythm patterns in the slower parts. All of this sustained over 8 minutes. The song ends on a powerful note, with a short keyboard part at the ending, which fits it perfectly.
Then comes Starkad, the song that got me into Einherjer. It is incredibly intense, and has a very hard drum pattern. It is amazing, how they keep up such intensity without any real speed. Halfway through the song it calms down but is still rough, powerful.
Ride The Gallows begins with a soft, enjoyable acoustic part, and explodes into the song itself. It keeps shifting between a slower, rougher part and a majestic, orchesteral part. It's instrumental, beginning halfway through the song, begins beautifully and ends at a angrier feel.
The next one is Ingen Grid, which begins similarily, at a acoustic part, but it is heavier, and soon accompanied by overdriven guitars. It moves on slowly, almost lamenting. The "campfire" choir makes a return (last heard on Odin Owns Ye All), something that isn't particularily good. Ingen Grid is a overall sadder song than the previous songs, and feels somewhat out of place, while being a pretty good song.
The roaming Berserkergang begins with a very heavy riff, and is a very unconvenctional song. Listening to it however gets the sight of berserkers marching on and torvhing everything before your eyes. It is very similar to the beginning keyboard track, just with all instruments.
The last song, Venomtongue, is not that good, and kind of dissappointing as the last track of the album. It does have great, complex drumming, though. The keyboards create a perfect atmosphere for the song. The acoustic guitar in the songs make the song kind of cluttered. The cleaner vocals are pretty bad, though it is good to hear some variety after an hour of growling. The songs highlight comes with the solo, which sounds whining, of sorts. Nonetheless, good solo. You can feel the band trying to over-emphasize the song, though.
It is a pity that Einherjer ended itself after this album, since they were going in the very right direction. A couple of filler, sure, but the album is nonetheless brilliant.