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Einherjer – Aurora Borealis / Leve vikingånden [Compilation / Re-Release]

einherjer – aurora borealis / leve vikingånden [compilation / re-release]


Some ten years ago, the American The Crypt label reissued both of Einherjer’s pre-album recordings onto one nicely packaged vinyl compilation. But like many of those well-crafted The Crypt releases, they were not all too cheap but sold out quickly nevertheless. The Crypt versions on Discogs now yield roughly double the original purchase price, so it was no superfluous luxury that the Dutch Soulseller Records made these earliest recordings available on vinyl once more (and on CD as well). The label is no stranger to re-releasing Norwegian Black Metal, with releases from Ancient, Gorgoroth, Mayhem, Malignant Eternal, Aeternus, In The Woods…, Obtained Enslavement, Tulus and Ved Buens Ende, it cannot be otherwise stated that Einherjer is more than in place with Soulseller Records.

Musically this reissues doesn’t offer anything different from the previously released version, but the vinyl record is not cased in a gatefold jacket with the inner-artwork of the original gatefold being printed on a double-sided inlay. It also omits the poster, but then again, who is actually caring for posters? I think I can now wallpaper my entire house about 6.66 times with all the posters that are included with all vinyl releases nowadays. But, without the poster and the album not presented in a gatefold jacket, this one is significantly cheaper too, which is a plus in times of overly expensive vinyl records.

As the title suggests, this compilation starts with the ‘Aurora Borealis’ demo tape, which was originally released in 1994 and was already reissued on CD in 1996 by the famous Necropolis Records as well as Warmageddon Productions. It offers an incredibly good sounding piece of classic Viking Metal. A term that has become somewhat tarnished over time. But long before bands like Korpiklaani ridiculed metal with a strong sense of folklore and folk music, there were bands that took the legacy and heritage of their ancestors very seriously and made it a part of their music and, in many cases, their lives.

The music comes with catchy melodies, acoustic parts and well written riffs, all wrapped in an epic and heroic sound. The same can be said about the ‘Long Live Vikingånden’ 7″ EP that saw the light of day through a collaboration between Damnation Records and Necromantic Gallery Productions in 1995. Both Dutch labels also have a tradition in Norwegian Black Metal and were responsible for the earliest releases of Ancient, Gehenna, Emperor and Troll (Damnation Records) and Dimmu Borgir, Ulver and Gehenna (Necromantic Gallery Productions). The recordings of this 7″ EP are a bit rougher in nature, but with their unique, minimalist sound they fit well into the tradition of those early Norwegian Black Metal 7″ EP’s, such as those of Ancient, Arcturus, Dimmu Borgir, Emperor and Immortal. They provide an insight into the astonishing and immeasurable diversity of that exceptional early Norwegian Black Metal scene.

While this compilation’s music has been reissued several times before, it can’t be left unmentioned that this version (or that of The Crypt for that matter) offers the best experience both in music and in looks. From the very first time I saw this particular artwork, it had fascinated me and it still does to this very day.


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