EINHERJER is traditional Norwegian Viking Metal! They helped creating the genre with the releases of "Dragons Of The North" in 1996 and "Odin Owns Ye All" in 1998. Last year they released the excellent "Norrøne Spor!" and now they are preparing the new album. So we had a conversation with Frode Glesnes who shared many interesting details you will want to read about.
The band’s been around for many years now, so where do you find the inspiration to keep playing after all this time?
Simple! We love what we do! We still have passion for what we do. It’s a lifestyle. It isn’t something you can just quit. As long as we can release high quality albums, we will continue. Inspiration can come from anything or everything, and sometimes I don’t even know where it comes from. Life, heritage, history and good music! Good music is of course very subjective, but there’s more to it than metal. That’s for sure!
What’s the main difference between Einherjer now and Einherjer twenty years ago?
We are a better band now. It is as simple as that. We sound better and we write better songs now. Some will probably oppose to this, but that’s just their nostalgia speaking. And we all know nostalgia is the strongest factor there is in music. That’s the reason Kiss pre-83 is my all-time favourite band!!
Your latest album “Norrøne Spor” was released in 2018 and is a very intense and varied work, despite still respecting your classic musical style. Are you currently working on new material? Will it be on the same vein as the latest album?
Yes and yes!
The new album is almost done. We will enter the studio in February to start the recording. The procedure will be that same as always, we will record in my studio, Studio Borealis. And I will also mix the album myself. Same as I did with “Norrøne Spor”.
I am very happy with the demos. They sound new and fresh, but still very unmistakably Einherjer. I’m confident that the album will be killer… but it would be weird if I saw it any other way.
What’s the secret to always write and create awesome songs?
We don’t really change the recipe much from album to album. The basic idea is the same, to make the best Norse Heavy Metal album possible. We have mostly the same influences today as we did 25 years ago. We embrace the classics, the albums we grew up with… and it seems, the older you get, the more important the nostalgic values are.
The band uses both the English and Norse languages… how do you decide which to use or is the song that “requests” the language?
The last few albums have been Norwegian only. Actually, “Norrøne Spor” contains my first English lyrics in 15 years. It felt weird but good to write in English again. Which songs end up in English is just coincidence. There are three songs in English on this album and I think it adds to the variety. I’m sure there will be more English songs in the future though…
“Dragons Of The North XX” was released to celebrate the 20 years of the album “Dragons of the North”… and you were happy with the original album. So why did you do it? Will it eventually happen to any other albums?
2016 marked the 20th anniversary for “Dragons of the North”, so we decided to celebrate the event by re-recording the whole album. Normally bands do this because they are not happy with the original, but this decision was made because of our love for the original recording, not is spite of. Many people hate re-recordings and, to be honest, I am one of them, but I think this one turned out great. And it’s not like the original album disappears because we did a XX version. They are both out there, so everyone can listen to the one they like best.
I will be very surprised if this will happen to any of our other albums. “Odin Owns Ye All” is probably the album that could use it the most, but I don’t see that happening. Maybe a song or two, but not the whole album.
The band did some shows in early November with Månegarm and special guests Dawn of Disease. How did this tour opportunity come up?
A mutual friend presented the idea and both bands liked it. It turned out to be a good tour. A good package with great people.
Then you played in China in December and at the 70000 tons of Metal in January… How excited were you about all this? Playing in China must have been a dream come true, huh?
Playing exotic places is always very interesting. China and Japan was killer. Very different, but very cool! For a small band from the west coast of Norway, it is really a big deal to play in the far East. We don’t take that for granted.
You’ve booked festivals for 2020… which means that new material must be on its way, right?
Yes, we have some first class festivals lined up. Hellfest, Wacken, Karmøygeddon, etc. The summer is looking good so far. And yes, like I said a new album is in the making.
The band’s been signed to Indie Recordings ever since the reunion in 2008. How’s the relationship going?
Our contract with Indie was completed with the release of “Norrøne Spor”. They did a good job for us, but we thought it was time for a change. We just signed with Napalm Records. Can’t wait to see what such a powerful entity can do for us.
Have you achieved all of Einherjer’s goals? What were/are they?
We achieve goals and we set new goals all the time. It will never end; it’s just a part of what we do. It’s a part of being an artist or a musician. What the goals are isn’t important; you just need to aim towards something.
Some of your albums stand as milestones of a genre… how does that make you feel?
Humble, and somewhat proud! It’s not something you aim for when you write an album, but cool nevertheless. But we’re not done yet. There’s plenty more to come!
Your heritage is your main source of inspiration… how old were you when you realized its richness and all of its potential?
I grew up with the sagas. I always found them very interesting and entertaining. Long before forming Einherjer in 1993, I thought that the feeling and vibe in the Norse myths would be perfect to capture in music. In my opinion, only a few bands had really touched the emotions and the feel I felt towards the Norse themes, and it always felt that something was missing. Something wasn’t right. It wasn’t until I heard Bathory that I really understood how powerful it could be when done right.
When you formed Einherjer was it your plan to play Viking Metal or did it just happen?
When we started out, it was all about the feel. It had to be right. It had to be Norse. We play heavy metal! It’s not exactly Viking music, but it’s the feeling we are after. The riffs should resound of ancient times. As the first flyers for "Aurora Borealis" stated; "Out of the wastes of the Northern hemisphere, comes the most epic & atmospheric Viking Metal. Charged with the power of Mjølner. Enchanted by the mysticism of the land of Thule." A very bold statement indeed, but I think it sums up the way we wrote music back then and still do to this day.
What do you think are the differences, if there are any, between the 90’s scene and today? Which one do you appreciate the best?
Viking metal as a term had a meaning in the early 90’s. At least for us… or at least for me. A lot of things have changed since then… and, to be honest, most modern day Viking metal is a large plate of cheese! If you listen to “Hammerheart” or “Twilight of the Gods”, that’s not the case at all. That is the blue print how it should be done! But somehow, somewhere down the road something went horribly wrong. We held the Viking metal banner high as long as we could. Now we have a bunch of clowns with horned helmets and furry cloths running around singing drinking songs like this is some sort of joke.
In all the years of activity, what’s the change in the underground scene that you appreciated the most? And the least?
We started pre-internet, or at least in the very early days of internet. I miss the letters and the tape trading. Even though internet has made that way more convenient, it also took away much of the excitement. The world has become smaller. In many ways too small…
I miss individuality. Bands with distinctive character! But who I am to judge… I’m just an old fart anyway.
What are Einherjer’s plans for the near future? What can fans expect?
We have a few months in the studio. Then we have the summer festivals with Hellfest, Wacken, Karmøygeddon & Månegarm Open Air to name a few. Album release coming up after summer and we are currently planning activities in connection with the release.
Please share a message with our readers. Keep on rockin’!
Thanks for your support! Hope to see you out there soon!!
Interview by Sónia Fonseca